Electric Baseboard Heater: Convection vs. Radiant - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 

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Old 2009-03-02, 02:16 PM   #1
mikec
 
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Default Electric Baseboard Heater: Convection vs. Radiant

I am trying to find out what the difference between Convection and Radiant heat is when it comes to Electric Baseboard heaters. I have read that convection is more efficient, and better when trying to heat rooms in a house.

My house is about 20 years old, and I assume have the original baseboard heaters. I can't figure out if they are convection or radiant. I am sorry if this is a stupid question, but I would appreciate some help.

Thanks!
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Old 2009-03-02, 02:25 PM   #2
eljay
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Google convection vs radiant heating and you'll get lots of info. like this.
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Old 2009-03-02, 02:33 PM   #3
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I did google this topic a lot of different ways, and couldn't really find what I was looking for. Your link has a bit of info, but it still doesn't clearly answer my questions.

My baseboard heaters are your standard baseboard heaters. It heats up, and the heat dissipates over the fins inside. If what I read is right, then is this convection?

If that is the case, then has anyone noticed a benefit from replacing an old baseboard heater with a newer one? I am talking in terms of efficiency, cost, etc?

Thanks again.
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Old 2009-03-02, 02:50 PM   #4
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Yes, I believe those old-style baseboard heaters are convection, given that the air is drawn across the hot fins and heated, and there is no element emitting infra-red radiation into the room.
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Old 2009-03-03, 12:16 AM   #5
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All electric resistance heaters are 100% efficient - go with the cheapest and use programmable thermostats to save money. Forced convetion = more parts to fail - keep it simple.

Anyone who says otherwise is either energy illiterate, dishonest, or both.
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Old 2009-03-03, 11:04 AM   #6
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^
ditto
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Old 2009-03-03, 11:31 AM   #7
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True but there is a comfort factor you have to consider. I currently do not have baseboard heaters but I always preferred the forced convection versions since they can push the heat where you want it and the heat is instantly available. If you set it and forget it then go with the cheapest.
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Old 2009-03-04, 01:42 AM   #8
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Direct electric resistance heating (not referring to ground or air source heatpumps) in general is insanely expensive to operate unless you live in Quebec.
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Old 2009-03-04, 02:34 AM   #9
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Not sure if you are referring to "radiant heat" that was installed in ceilings at one time or "radiant heat" as in radiant space heaters. The ceiling method involves installing heating wire in the ceiling and is incredibly inefficient. That system was abandoned by most people many years ago due to high operating costs. That should not be confused with similar system that is sometimes used under floors in bathrooms or other hard to heat rooms. Radiant space heaters work by exposing a red hot element to the open air so that infra red light (AKA radiant heat) is emitted. This can sometimes be installed overhead. I would avoid these as well since they tend to be dangerous and are not very comfortable.

The most comfortable electric heating method involves oil filled radiators or baseboard heaters. That works because the heat given off is more even over time. (This is similar to water filled radiators from a central boiler.) The more even heat produced reduces or eliminates the temperature cycling of the heater and reduces cold drafts.

If you are looking for a more efficient system, you might want to consider switching to a hot water system that is powered by a central boiler. That can use natural gas, a heat pump or possibly even geothermal or solar energy to heat the water for circulation. Units that combine hot water and house heating are also available. Some more costly solutions also use heat pump units in the room to provide heat in winter and A/C in summer.
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