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Office of Energy Efficiency Links


Personal: Residential

Electric Heating Options

Mini-split heat pumps

"Mini-split" heat pumps, which have a small air-handler mounted on an inside wall to supply heating and cooling to a single room, have recently become available. These systems work equally well as a window air conditioner, but are much quieter and have higher efficiencies. However, they can be expensive.

An air-source heat pump during the heating cycle.

An air-source heat pump during the heating cycle

Electric Room Heaters

Electric room heaters can be installed in each room and individually controlled. The thermostat controls can be located in the units themselves or mounted on a nearby wall. All room heaters have built-in controls to prevent overheating if airflow is restricted. There is a wide variety of moderately priced room heaters.

Electric Baseboards

Electric baseboards (heaters) are installed permanently, normally under windows, along outside walls in an unobstructed space. They rely on the natural convection of air to distribute heat. Electric baseboards are available in various lengths, suitable to the heating requirements of a room, and are the most common type of room heater.

An electric-resistance baseboard heater

An electric-resistance baseboard heater

Electric baseboards consume a lot of electricity. Each electric baseboard normally requires its own dedicated electric circuit. The easy installation of this wiring is a factor in evaluating the cost of the system. In newly constructed structures or buildings, electric baseboards usually have a lower initial cost than other systems, but operating costs can be high. Be aware of relative costs before you decide to install any heating system.

A portable electric room heater

A portable electric room heater

Convection Heaters

  • Wall convection heaters can be mounted onto a wall or recessed into it. They are suitable as primary or auxiliary heat sources for confined areas such as hallways, entrances, landings and bathrooms.
  • Portable convection heaters can be used for auxiliary heating. Some units have small fans to distribute heat more quickly.

Wall convention heater

convention heater

Floor Insert Heaters

Floor insert units are designed for use in front of stairways, floor-level windows or sliding glass doors. These units are installed into the floor.

Floor insert unit

Floor insert unit

Operating and maintaining existing electrical heating systems