Buying Baseboard Heaters? 5 Answers You Should Know (Read this first!)

No doubt, baseboard heaters are safe, energy-efficient, and noiseless heating options.

They don’t take up so much space, and they can be easily mounted underneath widows to keep a room warm.

Are you thinking of installing baseboard heaters, but you’re not sure they’ll be perfect for you? In this article, I have detailed out all the information you’d like to know about these heating devices.

How Does an Electric Baseboard Heater Work?

The electric baseboard heaters are the most popular baseboard heaters. They are made with a metal heating material.

Electricity runs through this heating component and its electrical resistance causes it to heat up. 

Electric baseboard heat is radiated through your room through fins that are incorporated around the heating element.

Therefore, it does not make use of fans to spread out the heat it produces.

Most times, these baseboard heaters are regulated by a thermostat that is usually mounted on the wall.

Once you turn the switch on, the air is heated and dissipates across the room. Then, the cooler air is hauled into the heater. The pipes and fins also help to dissipate the heat.

Operating a baseboard heater is very easy.

All you need to do is to program the temperature you need on the thermostat and the heater will rise to the desired temperature.

They will automatically come up again when the temperature drops.

For more effective usage, a 3/4 inch minimum clearance should be made between the floor and the heater.

This ensures that cool air gains access to the heater from the bottom.

Once the cool air is heated, it will spread out to the room through the fins that are incorporated in the heating element of the baseboard heater.

For safety and risk of fire hazards, there should be about 12 inches of space between draperies above the heater and the units. This should be enough for safe usage.

In addition, there should be at least 10 inches of space between furniture and the front of the units.

Furniture that is too close to the front of the units may restrict airflow, thereby reducing the efficiency of the baseboard heater.

Does Baseboard Heat Make Air Dry?

Electric baseboard heaters spread out air just like a furnace that makes use of water radiators to create heat.

Therefore, the heat from an electric baseboard heater will not make the air in your room as dry as the vent would.

Heaters that radiate heat through vents are more likely to dry the air in your room.

But during winter, your baseboard heater may seem to dry air in your room.

The baseboard heater does not completely dry out a room by itself, but there are ways you can increase the humidity of your room during winter.

During winter, as a result of the sun radiating heat, the moisture evaporated from the soil becomes less.

And this often causes low humidity during winter. As a result of this, the air that gets in your home has less moisture.

And as such, the air from the outside gets dried faster as it mixes with the heat created by a furnace.

This is why the decrease of moisture in winter is always obvious. If you suffer from dry skin during winter, it will become noticeable that the air in the room is dry.

Do You Need a Humidifier With Baseboard Heat?

You definitely will need a humidifier with baseboard heat during winter. Why? Because the humidifier adds moisture to the dry air produced by your baseboard heater.

What the humidifier does is simply take water, filter it and add the water into the air of your room as fine moisture.

A humidifier works great for a single room. But you can choose to install one for your home.

For every 10 percent raise of humidity, the temperature of the room is raised by 1 degree Fahrenheit.

This temperature change might seem quite small, but surely it’d save you money during the winter.

Can Baseboard Heaters Cause Carbon Monoxide?

No. Most baseboard heaters are powered by electricity. So no combustion would probably generate carbon monoxide.

Only heating devices that burn up combustible fuel to produce heat are more likely to result in carbon monoxide emission.

Electric currents flow through the metal heating element of a baseboard heater to create heat which gets spread out to the room through fins that are integrated into the heater.

That is simply how the baseboard heater works.

For an electric baseboard heater, carbon monoxide is not a problem. This is because there is no burning-up activity involved in creating heat in this system.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Baseboard Heating?

The baseboard heater has some great reasons why it is the more preferred heating device than others in the market.

Let’s take a look at some of its pros.


1. Less noise

The baseboard heater unlike other heating options does not make loud noises when in use. Apart from a few pops and clicks when the heating elements begin to rise, there’s no sound made by the baseboard heater.

This is very important for a more peaceful sleep with the device on. Furthermore, you won’t be worried about noise interrupting any conversation you might be having with a visitor.

2. Easy and cheap to install

Unlike other heating devices, the baseboard heater is more easy and cheap to install, because there is no ductwork involved in its installation.

And so, the baseboard heater is a more inexpensive choice for homes where it could be difficult and expensive to install new ductwork.

3. Zone Heating

Baseboard heater zone heating makes it possible for you to set different temperature levels in different rooms of your home.

This is possible because each baseboard unit has its thermostat.

Therefore, this feature allows you to set different temperature levels of different rooms to be heated and cooled without influencing the temperature of another room in your home.

Remember that you can as well decide to turn off a unit while you are away from the home or asleep.

4. Long-lasting option

Baseboard heaters are durable options. They can last more than 20 years. You can easily replace any part that becomes faulty over time.

5. Safe option

With electric baseboard heaters, you won’t have to worry much about carbon monoxide. They are much safer options than portable heaters and space heaters, as they’ll be mounted carefully.

In fact, certain units come with built-in thermal cut-out switches that help to prevent overheating.


While there are many benefits you’d get from a baseboard heater, there are also reasons why they are not considered the best heat source.

Most homeowners worry about the smell that seems to come from baseboard heaters, but here’s the thing.

A quality baseboard heater that’s cleaned regularly will not smell.

Here are other reasons why baseboard heaters may not be the perfect heating option.

1. Dry heat

This is likely one of the most complained disadvantages of using a baseboard heater in your home.

The device produces a lot of dry heat especially during winter thereby causing dry skin, dry throats, and dry eye to people who already suffer from such problems.

However, it all depends on the quality of your baseboard heater. Plus, you can simply use a humidifier to reduce the radiation of dry air.

2. Baseboard heaters get really hot

Electric baseboard heaters create heat and they often get really hot when they are on for a long time. The same applies to the heating elements and the cover of the heater.

So it’ll be great to keep the heater at least 10 to 12 inches away from draperies and other furniture.

Getting such items close, can cause a fire outbreak in the home. In addition to this, it is not so safe for curious children.

It’ll be nice to look out for units that come with built-in thermal cut-out switches. This will help to prevent overheating.

3. Cost

Baseboard heaters will cost you more electric bills than other heating devices in the market. This could get worse in cold winter seasons where the baseboard heater works extra to keep your home warm.

You can decide to turn off the baseboard heater in rooms that are not in use. But this isn’t always feasible based on the number of people in the home along with the size.

4. Regular cleaning and maintenance

When the baseboard heater works for a longer period, certainly this will cost more and likely need periodic cleaning and maintenance.

Baseboard heaters become less effective when they are not properly cleaned. So you’ll have to clean them regularly.

Fortunately, cleaning the baseboard heater is very easy.

A vacuum is all you’d need to keep it clean.

by Richard Kelly

Having experienced significant success as a house flipper, I am often approached with questions about all things home improvement. That’s why I decided to start this site. My objective is to share all of the insights I have accumulated over the years so other people can design the homes of their dreams.