A homeowner installs an electric radiant floor – a type of electric heater – in his home

During winter and those unexpected chilly days throughout the year, you need a reliable heat source to create the most comfortable living space.

You could use the usual fireplace or gas and fossil-powered house heater, but they’re either inefficient or create a carbon footprint that’s too excessive for one household. The best alternative, in this instance, is to use an electric heater for your home. 

If you’re heating your home with electricity, you can choose between infrared heating panels, electric forced-air furnaces, electric boilers, and night storage heaters, to mention a few. Electric heaters are powered by electricity and are 100% efficient and safe for your household. 

This article will discuss some of the most common types of electric heaters. Read on to understand how each of these appliances works to make an informed decision on which one’s the best choice for you. 

Types of Electric Heaters

As mentioned, there’s no shortage of alternatives in today’s market when it comes to electric heating. For this reason, it’s crucial to get to know your options and how they work better before making a pricey investment.

1. Infrared Heating Panels 

If you’re looking for something that will heat your surfaces and keep your house warm, an infrared heating panel might be the best choice. It is an electric heater that converts all electricity into infrared heat, which is then released into your house. 

Infrared heating panels are different from conventional heaters, traditional radiators, and electric fan heaters that only heat the air in your room. Instead, these appliances heat the surface they’re installed on, then radiate the heat to the rest of the room. 

A infrared heating panel on a wall above a couch in a living room
Courtesy of Yandiya

You can install infrared heating panels on your ceiling or walls. These electric heaters direct heat to the floor then radiate to the air, meaning all corners and surfaces in your house will be warm throughout the day or whenever you need that extra heat. 

Infrared heating panels are 100% efficient. They convert all the energy served into heat usable for your home. If you put in 100 kilowatts of electricity, you’ll get 100 kW of heat. No wastage. 

Advantages of Infrared Heating Panels

Here are the benefits of using infrared heat panels in your home:

  • 100% efficient – The panels convert all the electricity fed into them into usable heat for your home. So you won’t worry about paying too much for little returns. 
  • 100% safe – Install the panels on your ceiling or walls. Here, they’re out of reach of children and are less likely to cause accidents, unlike conventional heaters, which must be placed on the floor. 
  • Reduced carbon footprint – By using infrared heating panels, you’ll be helping to conserve the environment—electricity is one of the cleanest forms of energy compared to gas and fossil fuels. 
  • They come in different sizes – When choosing an infrared heating panel for your home, you can choose between many different sizes available. 
  • Different styles – Infrared heating panels come in various aesthetics. Depending on your tastes and preferences, you can choose the mirror, glass, or carbon effect varieties. 
  • They help reduce mold – Mold in your walls and ceiling is caused by dampness. Installing infrared heating panels will distribute the heat on these surfaces and dry out the mold. 

Disadvantages of Infrared Heating Panels

  • Only work if there’s no barrier between them and the house This concept is similar to you only getting warm in the sun if you have direct access to the rays. 
  • Rooms get cold quickly – Infrared heating panels don’t heat the air directly. Once you switch them off, the air in your house will get cold very fast. 
  • More expensive electricity in most parts of the country is three times more costly than LPG gas. The longer you use the infrared heating panels on your house, the higher your electricity bill.

2. Electric Forced Air Furnace

If you prefer a furnace in your living room, you can opt for an electricity-powered forced air furnace. It works like a gas-powered furnace, only using electricity instead of gas. For this reason, it has a heating element instead of a gas burner. 

An electric forced-air furnace in a shop, a type of electric heater
Courtesy of Henan Sante Furnace

An electric forced air furnace works more like a hair blow dryer. It sucks in air from the house and passes it through a chamber with a heating element. The element heats the air and releases it back into your home. 

The electric furnace has six heating elements that handle between 3-7 kW. Additionally, it has a sequencer that helps turn the heating elements on and off.

The sequencer also helps alternate the elements, so they don’t heat air simultaneously. 

Advantages of Electric Forced Air Furnaces

  • Lower carbon footprint – An electric forced air furnace doesn’t produce carbon monoxide like its gas-powered counterparts, which helps conserve the environment. 
  • Low installation costs – Unlike gas-powered furnaces, an electric-powered furnace does not come with combustion pipes, making it easier and cheaper to install in your home. 
  • 100% efficient – Electric furnaces use all the energy fed into them to heat your home. Gas furnaces use some energy to burn and combust before releasing heat, creating wasted energy. 

Disadvantages of Electric Forced Air Furnaces

  • More expensive – You’ll be spending approximately three times more money with electric-powered furnaces than you would with a gas-powered alternative. 
  • Slower heating – Electric furnaces take time to heat the air through the heating elements, meaning you need to keep them on longer for your house to reach your desired temperature. 

3. Electric Boilers

An electric boiler uses radiators to heat water and then your home. These electric heaters work more like gas or fossil-fueled boilers, only that they use electricity. The boilers come in different varieties and are 100%-efficient. 

With an electric boiler, water passes through a heating element before being released to the rest of the house. They maximize surface area to ensure heating as much water as possible at once. The water is then released to the water system in your home to warm every part of it. 

Electric boilers are more energy-efficient and less noisy than gas or fossil-fueled-powered alternatives.

Advantages of Electric Boilers

  • Lower maintenance costs – Easy to look after, and their spare parts are readily available. 
  • More efficient – Like other electric heaters, electric boilers convert all the electricity they consume to heat. 
  • A lower carbon footprint – Electric boilers don’t release carbon monoxide, making them a more environmentally-friendly option. 
  • Easy and cheap to install – You can easily retrofit an electric boiler to an old oil, gas, or LPG boiler system. 
  • Safe to install and use – Electric boilers have less risk of explosion than their gas-powered counterparts.

Disadvantages of Electric Boilers

  • Not suitable for large homes – An electric boiler can only heat a specific amount of water at a time. So if you have a large household, the water may not be sufficient to keep the whole house heated. 
  • More expensive – Electricity is more expensive than LPG gas.

4. Electric Convection Heater

Electric convection heaters use a heating coil to heat air. They also have a fan that releases warm air into your home. 

An electric convection heater installed along the baseboards in a laundry room

We all know that hot air rises and cool air drops. Convection heaters use this scientific principle of convection to keep the air in your house constantly warm. 

Advantages of Convection Heaters

  • Easy installation process – Setting up a convection heater is faster and cheaper than installing a new central heating system in your house.
  • Low maintenance costs – If you use the heater well, you may never incur maintenance costs. 
  • They save on space – The heaters are usually small and won’t take up too much space in your home. 
  • 100% efficient – Convection heaters convert all energy to heat, unlike gas-powered heaters, which use some additional energy to heat the air. 

Disadvantages of Convection Heaters 

  • Poor heat circulation – The hot air doesn’t circulate easily around the house. If a convection heater is the only heat source in your home, you might have to keep changing its position to keep the whole house warm. 
  • May require a ceiling fan to distribute hot air – If you want the heater to warm an ample space, you’ll need a fan to distribute the hot hair. This requirement calls for additional costs to improve the heater’s efficacy. 
  • Too much heat in some areas – The area near the convection heater will always be too hot.
  • Expensive – A convection heater needs to be on at all times to keep your house warm, leading to higher electricity consumption and higher costs. 

5. Night Storage Heaters

Night storage heaters store heat generated at night and release it for use the following day. The heat is stored in ceramic bricks or clay banks to help keep your house warm on cold days. The night storage heaters are wall-mounted and look like radiators. 

These electric heaters come with simple controls to help you adjust the amount of heat they collect and store. If you don’t spend much time indoors, you can limit the heat stored to be more energy efficient. Night storage heaters also have an output setting that controls the amount of heat released into your house during the day. 

Advantages of Night Storage Heaters 

  • Use less expensive tariffs to charge – Night storage heaters collect and store heat at night when electricity is cheaper, lowering the cost.
  • They’re durable – Once you install night storage heaters in your home, you’re unlikely to keep repairing them unless they’re tampered with. This quality level makes them an ideal choice for residential use
  • Easy to install – Night storage heater installation doesn’t require expensive and messy plumbing. Instead, you can quickly hardwire them in your house. 

Disadvantages of Night Storage Heaters

  • Not good for bedrooms – Most cheap tariffs take effect after midnight. Therefore, if you use night storage heaters in your bedroom, it will be cold until then. The room might also be uncomfortably warm in the morning and can disrupt your sleeping routine. 
  • Not ideal for some lifestyles – If you spend most of your time away from home during the day, you won’t utilize the heat collected by night storage heaters well. 

6. Electric Baseboard Heaters

You can palace an electric baseboard heater below your windows to heat the house. 

Cold air drops from the window and enters the baseboard. It is heated by electricity-powered hot metal fins and then released to the house. The hot air rises as more cold air enters the electric baseboard heater. 

An electric baseboard heater along a wall joint

Advantages of Electric Baseboard Heaters

  • They’re noiseless – Unlike other electric heaters with fans, a baseboard heater is silent as the air is heated on already hot metal fins. 
  • Don’t require a lot of ductwork – Baseboard heaters don’t need heavy plumbing to install and maintain. As a result, they’re ideal for old houses. 

Disadvantages of Electric Baseboard Heaters

  • Expensive to run – If you want the baseboard heater to serve your whole house’s heating needs, you must keep the heater running all day and night long. This operation means high electricity consumption. 
  • Can only serve one room at a time – Electric baseboard heaters can only heat one room, meaning you have to keep moving them to keep the whole house warm. Alternatively, you can install one heater per room, which could be an expensive venture. 

7. Electric Radiant Floors

Electric radiant floors warm your home through thermal radiation. When the floor becomes heated, it radiates the heat to other objects such as walls, furniture, and yourself, keeping your house warm while evenly distributing the temperature. 

What’s more, you don’t have to keep moving the heat source for it to warm the whole house.  

The mechanisms of an electric radiant floor in a home

Advantages of Electric Radiant Floors

  • Energy-efficient – Once the electric radiation starts working, all the electricity channeled there is fully converted to heat. 
  • Easy to use – This heating method requires no maintenance and comes with a 30-year warranty. 
  • Don’t limit your floor designs – Electric floors work with all floor designs to keep your home warm. 

Disadvantages of Electric Radiant Floors

  • Expensive to install – Electric radiant floors are more expensive than other electric heating systems. They also take longer to install. 
  • They increase floor height – Installing electric radiant floors will increase your floor height by at least ½ an inch (0.4 feet). 

Final Thoughts

Heating your house with electric heaters is an excellent alternative to using gas-powered heaters or no heaters at all. Although electric heaters are more expensive to buy and maintain, they offer outstanding advantages. 

You’ll get to create a warm, comfortable home while reducing your carbon footprint. You’re also guaranteed that every cent of energy you’re paying for goes towards your temperature control needs.


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