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mark2741 12-31-2010 12:08 PM

Electric Baseboard Heater Questions
Bought a house earlier this year that had a 2-level extension added to it about 15 years ago. The rest of the house is heated fine by an older gas furnace (forced air) and newer central air system. Unfortunately, when they added the extension to the house, they did not extend the gas furnace heat or central air to the master bedroom level.

The lower level of the extension is a large family room, which has heating/cooling fed via ductwork from the main HVAC, run through a crawlspace under the family room, and fed from a couple of floor ducts. They probably should have sacrificed some space from the family room to run ductwork to heat/cool the master bedroom but they didn't.

Instead, they installed electric baseboard heaters - 2 in the master bedroom and one in the master bathroom. In addition, sometime later they added a Sanyo split system heating/cooling 'heat pump' like device. It has an outside unit and inside it has a wall-mounted unit that looks like an air conditioner. In the summer, when it is set to cool, it works very well and could probably cool the entire upstairs if we wanted it to, but we only used it to cool the master bedroom. In the winter though, when we switched it to heat, the wife constantly complained about the hot air blowing over us. This occurs because, unfortunately, they mounted the split system inside unit directly over the only logical place to put the bed : (

So, the past month or so we've just stopped using the split system and now just use the 2 electric baseboard heaters. Heating is not the problem - they work fine. But I'm sure my electric bill won't be pretty next month.

I have two questions regarding these electric baseboard heaters:

1. They presently have a cheap thermostat built into them. It's built into the baseboard units themselves and simply has 'high - - medium - - low' settings via a dial.

Is there a way to keep these existing baseboard heaters but add a wall-mounted thermostat?

2. In a prior house we had a family room that was on a concrete slab and the heat pump wasn't strong enough to heat it, so the prior owners had installed electric baseboard heaters that were 'oil-filled'. I recall the home inspector saying that they were the best you could buy at the time, very high quality, and because the electricity is used to heat the oil inside them, they were much cheaper to run than straight electrical resistance heat.

Is that true? If so, would it be worth it for me to just remove the existing electrical resistance heaters in the master bedroom and replace with new oil-filled units?

Thanks for any advice you can share!

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