a baseboard heater with its cover off

The heating system you choose will significantly impact your electricity bills. For example, suppose you’re considering switching from your current home heating system to a more efficient one. In that case, you may wonder about baseboard heating energy efficiency. Is this your greenest option?

There are better options than a baseboard heater in terms of energy efficiency. Still, it does work for quiet heating minus potentially toxic gas. Moreover, baseboard heaters can be a great secondary heating source for a household that primarily uses a heat pump.

The rest of this article will discuss electric baseboard heating energy efficiency compared to other heating options. Make sure you keep reading!

Baseboard Heating Energy Efficiency – How Good Is It?

Electric baseboard heaters, also called resistance heaters, have an energy efficiency rating of 100 percent. That means they generate as much heat as the electricity they consume.

However, as mentioned, many heating options have better energy efficiency than them.

To further understand baseboard heating energy efficiency, let’s take a closer look at how they work, their pros and cons, and how they compare with other heating options.

How Does an Electric Baseboard Heating System Work?

Baseboard heaters install on the wall about an inch (2.54 centimeters) from the floor. The heaters can run on any source of electricity, including rooftop solar panels.

The heating unit has an element inside that gets hot and generates heat. The system then releases heat to warm the room.

Baseboard heating energy efficiency in a home
Baseboard heating warms by room, so large houses will require multiple units.

Each room in your house will need its own baseboard heating unit. The units have a zone control feature that lets you individually set temperature requirements for each room.

This can help you save on utility bills because you can selectively lower temperatures in rooms that don’t require too much heating.

Also, baseboard heaters don’t produce a blowing noise. There’s also no direct emission of greenhouse gasses or other potentially toxic gasses because the system runs on electricity.

The Pros and Cons of Baseboard Heaters

The advantages of a baseboard heating system include the following:

  • Lower upfront costs: The upfront cost of purchasing and installing a baseboard heat system is usually lower than other heating sources, such as heat pumps.
  • No noise: Since baseboard heaters work quietly, they won’t disrupt your quiet moments or make it difficult for you to sleep.
  • Great for backup heat in colder winter: If you have another primary heat source, baseboard heaters can act as a secondary heat source when temperatures plummet below tolerable levels.

On the flip side, here are the downsides of baseboard heating systems:

  • A safety hazard: Since baseboard heaters can get extremely hot as they work, they can be a safety hazard in homes with small children. They can also be dangerous if placed close to flammable objects.
  • Requires regular cleaning: Baseboard heaters require regular cleaning because they collect dust. Otherwise, the system will be less energy efficient than it should be.
  • Difficulties heating a large home: Since baseboard heaters heat room by room, you may need several units if you have a large house with multiple rooms to keep warm.

Baseboard Heating Energy Efficiency – Better or Worse Than Other Heating Options?

Aside from baseboard heaters, standard home heating options include heat pumps, electric furnaces, and residential heat boilers.

Which has the most energy efficiency? Let’s explore.

Baseboard Heating Energy Efficiency vs. Heat Pump Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps are among homes’ most common heating systems and are more energy-efficient than baseboard heaters. A heat pump can convert up to 300 percent of the electricity it consumes into heat in a moderate climate.

Baseboard Heating Energy Efficiency vs. Electric Furnace Energy Efficiency

Heating furnaces use gas, oil, or electricity, with gas being the most popular type. On the other hand, electric furnaces are the most energy-efficient furnace.

Roaring furnace flames
A furnace doesn’t convert all its power into heat, especially the electric variety!

Still, even so, they hardly convert 100 percent of the power they use into heat.

Baseboard Heating Energy Efficiency vs. Residential Heat Boilers

Residential boilers circulate hot water around the home to keep the rooms warm. You can expect a boiler system to convert up to 95 percent of the power it consumes into heat.

Boilers primarily run on natural gas, but there’s also the electric variety.

How To Choose the Best Heating System for Your Home

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, home heating systems are the largest energy consumers in households.

Heating systems account for nearly 30 percent of households’ utility bills!

Remember these tips when choosing the most energy-efficient heating system for your home.

Consider Your Home’s Heating Needs

If your home needs 3,000 watts of heat, you need a 3-kilowatt baseboard heating system. If you heat the room six hours a day, the system will consume 540 kWh of electricity monthly.

At an average electricity cost of about $0.16 per kWh, your monthly power bill would be slightly over $86.

Running an electric furnace or boiler system would cost you more because of its lower energy efficiency.

Since heat pumps are 300 percent efficient, you can use a 1-kilowatt system to heat a house with a 3,000-watt heat requirement.

Running the system for six hours each day in winter will use up to 180 kWh of electricity in a month. At that rate, your monthly power cost for running the system is under $30.

Account for the Climate in Your Area

While heat pumps are more energy-efficient than baseboard heaters, they can struggle to keep up with your home’s heat requirements in severe winter.

a modern house buried in snow with trees all around it
Heating systems can drop in efficiency in severe winter temperatures.

In particular, their efficiency drops in temperatures below freezing. In that case, a baseboard heating system may be a better option — or, at the very least, a good backup.

With a smart thermostat, you can make a baseboard heating system more energy efficient and gain more control over your utility bills.


While baseboard heaters may not be the most energy-efficient heating option, they do have their benefits.

For example, baseboard heating helps you avoid clunky heat pump noises. Additionally, since heat pumps can struggle to generate heat to keep your home warm in severe winter, baseboard heaters can be a great supplement.


Energy.Gov: Home Heating Systems | Your Air Experts: What’s the Most Efficient Heating System for Your Home’s Needs? |  Tri-State: Heat Pumps Energy Efficiency | Energy.Gov: Electric Resistance Heating | Saveonenergy: Electricity Rates

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