Baseboard heating is found in many homes throughout the US. The most popular form of baseboard heat is a hydronic system (or boiler) that distributes hot water to baseboards located throughout the home. 

Installing a boiler system with water pipes and baseboards is quite an intensive job, but there are other types of baseboard heating that can be used to warm up cold areas in your home.

Both gas and electric baseboards are available, but electric is by far the most common. Let’s take a looks at both of these baseboard units so you can compare.

Why Electric Baseboard Heaters Are More Common Than Gas Baseboard Heaters

Gas baseboard heaters burn natural gas or propane to provide heat. They must be connected to the gas line in your home.

Electric baseboard heaters work by heating coils behind metal fins. These are a type of radiant heater, while gas-fired baseboards require a small fan to distribute the heat they create.

A homeowner undertaking an electric baseboard heater installation
Electric baseboard heater installation, as seen here, isn’t as expensive as installing a gas heater.

The two big reasons electric baseboards are more common than gas are:

  1. Electric baseboards are easier to install. They do not need to be connected to a natural gas or propane line. 
  2. If you have access to natural gas or propane, there are more efficient and effective ways to heat your home.

How To Know if Your Baseboard Heater Is Gas or Electric?

Gas baseboards are connected to a gas line, while electric baseboards are connected to electricity. If you’re still not sure which one you have, check these things:

Pilot light. Gas baseboard heaters typically have a pilot light, while electric baseboard heaters will not.

Thermostat. Gas baseboard heaters have a thermostat that controls gas flow to the burner. In contrast, electric baseboard heaters have a thermostat that controls the amount of electricity that flows to the heating element.

Sound. Gas baseboard heaters tend to make a loud noise, while electric baseboard heaters only make a discreet noise.

If you still have questions, contact a qualified HVAC professional.

Gas vs. Electric Baseboard Heating: Which One Is More Beneficial?

Gas Baseboard Heating: Pros and Cons

Pros

● Gas baseboard heaters are easy to use and operate.

● Gas baseboard heaters can heat rooms with limited airflow.

● They’re effective for zone heating because you can install numerous thermostats and control valves in different rooms.

● Gas typically has a lower operation cost than electric heat.

A Hydronic Baseboard Heater running along the junction of the floor and the wall in a home
Gas baseboard heaters retain their warmth well when traveling through ducts but don’t heat up quickly.

Cons

● It takes a long time for a gas baseboard heater to heat up.

● The installation and maintenance costs of a gas baseboard heater are high.

● If you have natural gas or propane going to your home, there are likely more efficient HVAC solutions available to you.

Electric Baseboard Heating: Pros and Cons

Pros

● Electric baseboard heaters are quiet. They don’t use fans, so you can expect them to be discreet and unobtrusive in your home.

● Installing an electric baseboard heater is a relatively simple process that takes a few hours.

● Easy to maintain.

● Can be used to create zone heating.

An electric baseboard heater along the junction between a wall and the floor in a home
Electric baseboard heaters are efficient but must be cleaned regularly to work well!

Cons

● While electric baseboard heaters do not require the same level of maintenance as other heaters, they must be cleaned to prevent dust and dirt build-up.

● They produce dry heat, which can create problems for people who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems.

● Electric heat can be costly to operate. If you are looking for a heating solution for an entire home, this can get expensive.

Final Thoughts

Electric baseboards can be a good solution for supplemental heating in your home. They are quiet and effective at heating up small areas but they can create expensive utility bills.

They might not be the best choice to heat your entire home but can work well for giving a little extra heat to certain areas.

Gas baseboards are less common but will be a little cheaper to operate through the winter.

However, there are other gas-fired HVAC solutions that you might want to consider before installing baseboard heating.

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