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Old 12-03-2011, 10:26 AM   #1
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


Here is a really tough question, and I think it would require a great deal of knowledge. On the other hand, maybe it's common knowledge.

I'm going to replace two of my thermostats for baseboard heat, and would like to keep the electric bill down, not increase it.

I was wondering about the efficiency of those electronic Triac controled thermostats for electric baseboard heat. The advertizing is that they are more efficient, and I would like to know if they really are.

Suppose the Triac is pulsing about 50 percent power to the heater. Could it be that the electronic thermostat is actually less efficient because the heater might now put out only 40 percent of its heat because the heat element has not reached it's peak efficiency temperature? 50 percent power, but 40 percent heat?

I think my building was built in the 1970's and the baseboard heaters look like they are original.

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Old 12-03-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


50% voltage = 25% heat.

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Old 12-03-2011, 10:16 PM   #3
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


If I understand how these thermostats with a Triac controller work, the full voltage is applied, but intermittently. Do you think that the 50% voltage = 25% heat 'rule' still applies?
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:20 AM   #4
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


These triac gizmos are just like flipping a light switch on/off very rapidly. And because the light would be off 50% of the time, it would appear to be not as bright.

In the electronics world, this is called PWM or Pulse-Width Modulation...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-width_modulation

With a heater, it would not get as hot.

I wouldn't think this would save any electricity? However you would get a more steady heat. So instead of blast of heat, then cool down, then blast of heat, cool down, etc., you would get a steady warm heat. That would be nice in the spring/fall when you might need just a little heat.

This would be REAL nice for a kitchen range cook top! Currently these turn on full blast, then off, then on full blast, then off. And they have done this since Edison invented the light bulb! You would think they would add a bit of new technology to kitchen ranges... Have they?
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:25 AM   #5
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


Baseboard electric heaters are known for being pretty hard on the electric bill, and no pulsing thermostat is going to change that significantly.

The best way to keep your heat bill down is by thoroughly insulating the walls & ceilings, closing and sealing windows & doors, and keeping the heat turned down just a bit. I'm pretty sure you'd be money ahead to invest in those things, rather than a different thermostat.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:33 AM   #6
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


I would start out a test room,new heater controlled by a digital t'stat. You'd need a fan relay controller to cycle the heater. Them t'stats ain't cheap.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:49 AM   #7
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


electronical thermostat are not more efficient but they save energy because they are more precise and will drive the baseboard heater continuously instead of 20 minute on 30 minute off like a mechanical thermostat. Also since they are programmable you wont forget to lower temp at night. this is where the savings are
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:57 PM   #8
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Baseboard hearter/Electronic thermostat efficiency


Thanks folks.

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