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Old 11-03-2009, 08:10 AM   #1
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electric baseboard heat


i need to heat the upstairs of a house with electric heat due to difficulty running ductwork. i have the option of using 120v heaters plugged in, or running 220 lines up for 220v baseboard heaters. with the lower resistance of 220 lines, i think it would be cheaper to opperate these heaters than the 120v ones. the housde is 4 bedrooms up, 1000 sq ft. (2000 for the whole house) im in ohio. its insulated with new windows up. how substaintial of difference would there be in the electric bill? i know this cant be answered exactly, but how long do think it would take recoup the cost of the wire and heaters? closer to 1 year or 10 years? i already have four oil filled 120v space heaters i could use. where as with the base heat, i would have to buy enough wire to run these lines up from the basement, along with the baseboard heaters. thanks for any help.

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Old 11-03-2009, 08:22 AM   #2
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Watts are watts. If you use 1500 watts at 120 and 1500 watts at 240, cost of use will be the same.

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Old 11-03-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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You will be using less of a draw if you use the 240 volt heaters. The 120 volt heater will draw about 12.5 amps and the240 volt heaters will draw about 6.25 amps. You will use less and save $$ if you use the 240 volt heaters
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
You will be using less of a draw if you use the 240 volt heaters. The 120 volt heater will draw about 12.5 amps and the240 volt heaters will draw about 6.25 amps. You will use less and save $$ if you use the 240 volt heaters
Are you being serious?
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
You will be using less of a draw if you use the 240 volt heaters. The 120 volt heater will draw about 12.5 amps and the240 volt heaters will draw about 6.25 amps. You will use less and save $$ if you use the 240 volt heaters
How do you figure? Since you pay the electric company for watts there is no difference on your electric bill.


But the one thing I do have a concern about is wanting to use plug-in portable heaters to do the job of permanent heating systems. I do not believe that they are designed for full time use.

I would recommend the use of permanently wired units in lieu of using portable heaters.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:36 AM   #6
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My home has a 400 sq ft family room that was added to the home back by a previous owner in 1960 and put on an unaccessible crawl. The main home is on a full basement. They installed electrical baseboard heat in the family room. I can tell you that my electric bill is UGLY once it gets cold and the heat has to come on in this room -- and I turn the thermostat down when not home or sleeping. I heat 2800 sq ft .. this 400 sq ft eats up 1/3 of the heat bill. (I should note too, this room has 18 ft of french doors so more glass than other spaces).

Maybe the electrical heat systems today are more efficient that mine and will take less energy.... hope so for your sake.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by roxksears View Post
My home has a 400 sq ft family room that was added to the home back by a previous owner in 1960 and put on an unaccessible crawl. The main home is on a full basement. They installed electrical baseboard heat in the family room. I can tell you that my electric bill is UGLY once it gets cold and the heat has to come on in this room -- and I turn the thermostat down when not home or sleeping. I heat 2800 sq ft .. this 400 sq ft eats up 1/3 of the heat bill. (I should note too, this room has 18 ft of french doors so more glass than other spaces).

Maybe the electrical heat systems today are more efficient that mine and will take less energy.... hope so for your sake.
Nope. Not much better now. They were efficient to start with. Just expensive to operate.
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by drewhart View Post
how long do think it would take recoup the cost of the wire and heaters? closer to 1 year or 10 years?
The rule of thumb for room heaters is 10w [34 BTU/hr] per sq. ft. For 1000 sq. ft. this would be 34,000 BTU/hr.

How much do you pay for a kwh?
How much will you pay for heaters and wiring?
How many Heating Degree Days per month or per season do you have for your area?
http://www.degreedays.net/

For the 8 samples of houses in North America I was able to get, here's the histogram for heat loss in BTU/sq.ft./HDD

0 to <3|x
3 to <6|xxxx
6 to <9|xx
9to<12|x

So 75% of heat loss values were between 3 and 9 BTU/sq. ft./HDD so the tolerance on the 5.9 figure is at least +/- 3.

Figure on 5.9 BTU per sq. ft per heating degree day for your heat loss.
For 1000 sq. ft. this is 5900 BTU per HDD.

34,000/5900 means the assumption in the 10w/sq. ft. rule of thumb is 6 HDD.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 11-03-2009 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
You will be using less of a draw if you use the 240 volt heaters. The 120 volt heater will draw about 12.5 amps and the240 volt heaters will draw about 6.25 amps. You will use less and save $$ if you use the 240 volt heaters

240*6.25 = 1500w
120*12.5 = 1500w

Same cost, whatever 1.5kwh is.

You might save a fraction by going 240 as you will get less resistance so with 120 it might end up drawing a tad more amps, increasing the watts. I don't think the difference is that big.. but that's beyond my knowledge.

I would personally go 240 anyway though, but 240 is not any cheaper to operate then 120 other then the small long run resistance difference. High voltage can go farther with less loss.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:16 PM   #10
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electric baseboard heat


You pay PoCo for the energy you use, expressed in kwh. It's the same whether you use 120v, 240v or 480v and the efficiency is virtually 100%. The 30w or so lost in the connecting wires might be wasted.

The energy over time, i.e. power, is what keeps the room at 72F against the varying heat loss.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:33 PM   #11
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electric baseboard heat


Quote:
Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
You will be using less of a draw if you use the 240 volt heaters. The 120 volt heater will draw about 12.5 amps and the240 volt heaters will draw about 6.25 amps. You will use less and save $$ if you use the 240 volt heaters
Yes. But as Jbfan pointed out "Watts Are Watts". Meaning. Watts are a product of Volts multiplied by Amps. Yes. If you raise the Voltage, you'll be using fewer Amps. to get the same amount of usable energy in Watts. The only advantage I can see in using baseboard heaters that run on 220V. vs. 120v. is a slight energy saving by having less resistance? Then we must know what the rate is per KWH. Eliminate confusion Through Education!
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:10 PM   #12
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Electric heat is essentially 100 percent efficient, in the narrow sense that effectively 100 percent of the electrical energy flowing through the heater is converted to useful heat. The reason it is so expensive is that efficiency losses occur at the powerplant where the electricity is typically produced from coal, natural gas or nuclear energy, then there are additional transmission line losses getting the power to your house, followed by losses at the substation where the power is reduced to line voltage, and there is a very small loss in the wires leading from your basement to the heating element. Actually, this loss is converted directly to heat, which heats your house, so in effect once the current enters your house, it is 100 percent efficient heat.

The problem is that a kilowatt of electricity is typically very expensive. In my town, I pay about 18 cents a kilowatt hour. This makes it about twice as expensive as natural gas heat on a delivered BTU basis, and about twice as expensive as fuel oil.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by spark plug View Post
220V. vs. 120v. is a slight energy saving by having less resistance?
Yes. Half the amps in the wires will give you 1/4th the loss in the wires, but this is only a few dozen watts.
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:11 PM   #14
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electric baseboard heat


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Electric heat is essentially 100 percent efficient, in the narrow sense that effectively 100 percent of the electrical energy flowing through the heater is converted to useful heat. The reason it is so expensive is that efficiency losses occur at the powerplant where the electricity is typically produced from coal, natural gas or nuclear energy, then there are additional transmission line losses getting the power to your house, followed by losses at the substation where the power is reduced to line voltage, and there is a very small loss in the wires leading from your basement to the heating element. Actually, this loss is converted directly to heat, which heats your house, so in effect once the current enters your house, it is 100 percent efficient heat.

The problem is that a kilowatt of electricity is typically very expensive. In my town, I pay about 18 cents a kilowatt hour. This makes it about twice as expensive as natural gas heat on a delivered BTU basis, and about twice as expensive as fuel oil.
What about 22 cents/KWH?! (net)! I haven't seen bills from other utilities, but the Con Ed bill is very interesting, where they take you through twists and turns, breaking up part of your usage @ different rates, in addition to all the taxes, surcharges and fees. So I take the total charge and divide by usage!
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:22 PM   #15
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This makes it about twice as expensive as natural gas heat on a delivered BTU basis, and about twice as expensive as fuel oil.
0.71 gal of fuel oil = 100 cubic feet of natural gas = 29 kwh of elec heat = 8.4 kwh of heat pump heat (COP = 3.5) = 4.2 kwh of heat pump heat (COP = 6.9),

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