How efficient are electric heaters?

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What’s the difference between efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to electric heaters?

We get a lot of calls from folks who want to know how efficient our heaters are at heating a home.

The answer we often give is simple: electric heat is 100 percent efficient. All the energy that goes into the heater is converted into heat energy. Problem solved. Question answered. Unless that isn’t exactly what the caller meant to ask.

Talking about efficiency in those terms is how an engineer might looks at the question, but I suspect most customers are asking something fundamentally different: How much will this heater cost to operate in comparison to other options out there? In other words: How cost-effective is this heater?

That question isn’t easy to answer with specific numbers. There are so many variables that go into that equation including: your local electric rate, the construction of your home, how you use your heating system, local climate, elevation and what (if any) other heat source you use in your home.

Here’s what we can tell you: Our heaters are pretty darn effective at heating your home whether they’re your primary heat source or used with a central system. They turn all — or most — of the electricity that goes into them into heat. That heat is sent directly into your cold space, instead of through ducts. You can heat the room you’re in, and not heat ones you aren’t using. We think all those things combined makes them very cost-effective, even in places with high electricity rates.

Let’s take a closer look at why that is.

Electric heat is 100 percent efficient

Our baseboard heaters turn 100 percent of the energy that goes into them into heat.

Fan heaters use a small amount of energy to power a motor that turns a fan, which circulates air through your room. Technically speaking that makes fan heaters less efficient than baseboards, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your wallet or the environment.

That fan helps spread the air through your room quicker than a standard baseboard, which means the heater works for a shorter amount of time to keep you just as comfortable. Because you pay your power bill based on kWh (kilowatt hours), the fan heater will be more cost effective at heating your home because it will use less energy.

No ductwork means less energy loss inside your home

How efficient a heater is at converting energy to heat is one thing. How efficient it is at spreading that heat through your home is something else entirely.

If you’re using an central furnace, a lot of heat is lost traveling through ductwork between the furnace and the air vents in your living spaces. That isn’t the case with our heaters, which are installed in the wall in individual rooms. There are no ducts so all the heat is directly sent into your living space.

Heat the room you’re in and save energy

The other issue with efficiency comes with how you heat your home. With a centralized system, you’re paying to heat the entire home or large parts of it, whether you’re using all the rooms or not. With a room-by-room heating system, you can individually heat rooms when they’re in use and keep them at a lower temperature when they’re not in use.

So while we can’t really give you specific numbers on much it will cost to run our heaters in comparison to the alternatives, we’re comfortable saying that our heaters are very cost effective, especially when you use them as your primary heat source or in combination with a central system to heat the room you’re in.

Paul Suarez

Paul Suarez

Paul is a highly caffeinated, uber organized family man that keeps himself busy finding and sharing the stories that make Cadet a great company. When he isn't writing, or shooting photos and videos, you'll likely find him searching for killer deals on Craigslist, playing classic Nintendo games or quoting his favorite movies and TV shows.

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