Electric Zone Heating

There are many types of electric heating systems that can be used to heat individual portions of the house, with each area controlled by its own thermostat. Among the most common of such heating systems are baseboard heaters, wall mounted radiant heaters, wall mounted fan assisted heaters, electric ceiling radiant heat, and for bathrooms; heat lamps and ceiling mounted resistance heaters. The advantage of such heating systems is primarily in their relatively low installation cost and the ability to control different heating needs in various portions of the home. This ability to control the temperature in different zones of the house also helps to make this form of electric resistance heat a bit more efficient than the central forced air electric heating system.

The disadvantage of an electric zone heating is primarily its inability to help dry out air circulating within the home, and the danger that in the name of economy, a portion of the home will not be heated at all during the winter months with a resultant increase in mold, mildew, and overall building moisture. A complete discussion of this issue may be found in Moisture Problems with Electric Zone Heating Systems.

Electric zone heaters typical require little, if any, maintenance on the short term, but usually will only last about 15-25 years at which point they will require rebuilding or replacement. Dirty heaters, heaters with missing control knobs, a damaged grill, or other defective portions of the housing, as well as, those which are loosely connected to the wall, should be repaired or replaced as required. Loose drapery, bedding, toys, or other materials should always be kept away from the heaters and a 12-15 inch separation maintained between the heater and all objects in the room.

A common cosmetic problem with baseboard heaters is a dark staining in the wall immediately above the heater. This can be reduced or eliminated by putting a bead of caulk along the top edge of the baseboard heater where it connects to the wall. You should then secure the heater to the wall with additional screws or other fastening devices. Any additional caulk can then be wiped clean and the wall repainted.

Heating Your Home