Electric baseboard heat bad?

We're looking at buying a 1961 home in Oregon. It has electric baseboard heat. I've heard that it's expensive and doesn't heat the house very well. Is this true? I don't want to buy a house and then buy a new heating system.
Skyf
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request to see their utility bills for a year or two (if they tossed them, they could easily get copies/statements from the utility). if they don't seem keen on the idea, you could probably assume the bills are very bad news.
bill

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They heat perfectly fine, provided it was spec'd/designed properly.
For the most part, it's about the most expensive way to heat a house, but these days with oil/gas prices going nuts, it may end up being cheaper.
[Electricity pricing is likely to be more stable than others.]
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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On Fri, 21 Oct 2005 04:33:12 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

Traditionally, electrical resistance heating has been the most expensive way to heat a house. Some parts of Oregon have a milder climate than olthers. If the house was particularly well designed and insulated, though, it may not be so bad. Right now, gas and oil prices are high, but this also puts upward pressure on the price of electricity. There isn't enough cheap hydro electricity to go around.
In Oregon, utilities are required to inform prospective buyers of the estimated costs based on previous bills. They are not required to show you actual copies of those bills though. They will give you the general range of the bill for winter vs. summer conditions. You give them the address of the house you want to buy.
Beachcomber
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Although expensive, they are 100% efficient. If you put 1KW of electricity in, you get 1KW of heat out. How much does the utility company charge per KWH in Oregon?
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Electric is fine if sized right, you give no Kw cost for your area. I pay .125 Kwh and last year apx 1 $ a therm Ng, at that price electric is apx 2.2x more expensive than Ng. If you have cheap hydro and pay .05 kwh you may be cheaper with electric with Ng much higher now, only you can run your local costs or post them. My area produces alot of its electrical from coal, Ng, and reactors so the only thing holding back rate increases is time. Few areas have cheaper electric. Get copies of bills going back many years they may have kept the temps very low. A heating contractor can do a load calculation for you in writing and give you costs and options, call out a few heating pros.
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That works for very large values of 2.2 :-)
Nick
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My home was built in 1966.....Baseboard electric heat....and to be honest it heats just fine.... As for being expensive ...sure it is no question about that at all.....but is it that much more expensive then other forms of heat? I do not think so... No ductwork, no furnace, adding another room to the house did not require any "math" to figure out the additional heat load etc....
Hard to comparee prices with the Price of Natual Gas, Propane expected to really jump this winter...my electric rate has been unchanged for years no guarentee it will stay that way but I doubt it jumps 20-30 or even 40 percent
Bob G
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But if you've got AC then that's sort of irrelevant, isn't it? The ducts serve dual duty for cooling and heating so they're going to be there anyway.

That and there are better public utulity regulations in place on most electricity suppliers. I suppose it'd be cheaper to use electric and better the environment as all the pollution would be manageable at the point of generation. But it's currently less expensive to ship around heating oil and natural gas than build-out the wiring grid.
Me, I'm looking at adding a corn stove.
-Bill Kearney
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skyf wrote:

Well it is resistance type electric heat and it will be as expensive, but not more than any other type of electric resistance heat. In some areas it may be less than fossil fuels, but more expensive most areas.

Not true at all. It is a great way to heat, but it can be expensive.

Other than heat pumps, all electric heat will cost the same to use.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Let's not forget that dehumidifiers are heat pumps.
Moving a pound of 55 F 100% RH basement air with 0.0093 pounds of water vapor up into an airtight house and warming it to 65 with 0.24(65-55) = 2.4 Btu and drying it to 30% RH so it contains 0.004 pounds of water, releasing 1000x5.3 = 5.3 Btu, provides 5.3-2.4 = 2.9 Btu more heat than the electrical energy needed to operate the dehumidifier.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

You are right, I had never thought about that part of it.

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Joseph Meehan

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Nick wrote?

can you run that past us again please? Namely; One pound of air containing 0.0093 pounds of water raised by (65-55= 10 deg. F) = 0.093 BTU? Drying (removing) out the water from 100 to 30 per cent = 0.0093 * 0.7 0.0065 lbs. Heat released from that 0.0065 lbs of water would be ..................... ?????? And that's the point where I lost it! Can you help me out? Terry
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No... Air has a specific heat of 0.24 Btu/lb-F, so raising a pound of air (ignoring the small amount of water) 10 F takes 2.4 Btu.

No... 65 F air at 30% RH has Pa = 0.6e^(17.863-9621/(460+50)) = 0.189 "Hg, so wi = 0.62198/(29.921/Pa-1) = 0.004, ie a pound of that air contains 0.004 pounds of water vapor.

No... It takes 1000 Btu to evaporate a pound of water, so condensing 0.0093-0.004 = 0.0053 pounds of water out of that air releases 1000x0.0053 = 5.3 Btu, but heating the air from 50 to 65 requires 2.4, so the net heat gain is 2.9, unless we use a simple air-air heat exchanger to warm upcoming basement air up to about 65 with replacement room temp air that cools to about 50 on the way down to the basement.
Nick
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What Nick was saying, is one pound of 55F air at 100% RH contains 0.0093 pounds of water. After you heat it up and dry it down to 30% RH, it has 0.004 pounds of water, so you've removed 0.0053 pounds of water as condensate.
Nick then approximated the amount of heat given off by 1 lbm of water when it is condensed as 1000 BTU (its a little more, but that's a nice round figure). So if 1 lbm of water vapor gives up 1000 BTU, then 1000 BTU/lbm * 0.0053 lbm = 5.3 BTU given up by the condensing of 0.0053 pounds of water found in one pound of air.
It takes about 0.24 BTU to warm up one pound of air by one degree. So to warm up the air from 55F to 65F would take about 0.24 BTU/lbm-F * (65-55) 2.4 BTU for every pound of air.
So, starting with air at 55F at 100% RH (call it state 'A'), if you run it through 'some process' to get to 65F at 30% RH and some condensate (state 'B'), you have to add 2.4 BTU sensible heat to warm each pound of air, and the vapor releases 5.3 BTU/lbm of latent heat to condense the water vapor from one pound of air, so you have a net excess of 2.9 BTU for each pound of air you run through this 'process'.
But that doesn't tell you how much energy you have to expend to get each pound of air from point 'A' to point 'B'.
daestrom
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That energy heats the house, like electric resistance heating. The net COP is about 1.6. We can also ignore the small amount of heat removed from the liquid water if it leaves the house below room temp.
Nick
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wrote:

Were do you get this particular number? How many kwh / lbm of condensate?

True.
daestrom
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From a fairly new Kenmore dehumidifier with a kWh meter and a measuring cup.
But air conditioning a basement seems more efficient, and ACs cost less, and they can be used all year, and they don't require an air-air heat exchanger.
At 54.3 F (Phila deep ground) and 100% RH, Pw = e^(17.863-9621/(450+54.3)) = 0.430 "Hg. At 60% RH with 100APw(1-0.6) = 5340 Btu/h (an ASHRAE swimming pool formula), we might keep a $69 10.2 EER Daewoo AC busy with A = 310 ft^2 of basement floor.
Nick
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You mean I can take my heat pump evaporator coil unit, bring it indoors, remove heat from my house and then put it back into the house and get more heat that I take out for no energy cost?
Bunch of nonsense.
This is just plain grade nine physics.
wrote:

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When I first movbed into this house, it was late in the fall and getting cold. I was not able to afford to get propane immediately, because they wanted an arm and a leg to bring the tank, tank rental and deposit, do the piping (which they would not allow me to do myself), buy the regulators and of course fill the tank. I had several used, but working baseboard heaters. I installed 2 of them. One in the bedroom, one in the bathroom, and I lived pretty much in those 2 rooms at first. In one month, my electric bill went from about $60 a month to $300 a month. After getting that bill, I disconnected those electric heaters and bought two 100lb propane tanks, which I had to haul to the propane company myself, because they would not come and fill them, and would not approve my piping. That saved quite a bit of money. The following summer I bought a used 500 gallon tank, and the regulators. I hooked it up myself, since I owned it. This company still would not fill it (because I installed the piping). I found a different propane supplier who was more than happy to supply my propane needs, and only needed to do an inspection of my pipes and regulators (which were all fine). It was much cheaper per gallon to get the big tank filled, than to fill those 100lb tanks. (Plus less work). Last winter I paid about $450 to heat for the whole winter, however I do now have a wood stove to supplement. But with the electric I would have paid at least $1000 for one winter, and was still only heating two rooms. Electric is costly, but it does heat well. Of course there is another disadvantage. You cant place anything against the walls where the heaters are. since they get very hot.
I dont know where you are located, and have natural gas available, but I'd check into the cost of a gas furnace. It may not be as bad as you think. Depends if the price of the house is acceptable or not.
PS. I installed one of those baseboard heaters in my garage, but placed it high on the wall, so I can use the wall space. I just use it a couple days a year when the car needs repair, so it wont make me go broke. I got a window fan up there to blow the heat downward.
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