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What type of electrical heating is most cost effective for the home?

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2011-09-13 14:52:06
2011-09-13 14:52:06

All electrical heating is 100% efficient. Every nickel you spend is converted into usable heat unlike other sources, they just go up the chimmney. The type you choose depends on you and where you are. You can go baseboard, there is a calculation a qualified electrician will make for you so you get the right wattage per room. This relies on the convection current principle to circulate the warm air. You can get an electric arc furnace which uses forced air like the oil and gas one. They are very quiet, of course efficient and have the "feeling" of warmth because of the felt air. This of course is your option if you need central a/c as well. You can go with radiant heat panels in your ceiling that fit between the strapping on your rafters. So you have a clean sheet rock ceiling. Radiant panels don't heat the air, they heat objects in that room. You can also go with radiant heat inlaid in your flooring or subflooring heating the concrete, tiles, hardwood or whatever.

So depending on where you live, you have to pick what's right for your locale. It's clean, it's cheaper than fuels, require zero maintenance, and you don't waste any of your money. Gotta like that.

Andy

AnswerI think Andy must work for the power company. Electricity is most definitely not cheaper than gas, although with the way gas prices have been going, it might become that way.

Electric resistance heat does indeed convert 100% of the incoming energy to heat. But per amount of incoming energy, you pay a lot more for electricity than you do for gas. You can get new gas furnaces that are 96% efficient. One can argue that 4% inneficiency is infinitely greater than 0% inneficiency, but unless the energy prices go totally topsy turvy, it still remains cheaper to heat with gas.

One thing that is overlooked in the above arguments is that with both electric resistance heat and gas heat, the incoming energy must supply all of the heat. On the other hand, with a heat pump, the heat comes from the outside air, and the electricity is used only to move it inside. It works as an air conditioner in reverse. In this way, you can actually get more heat energy out than the energy coming into the house. The disadvantage is that heat pumps don't work if it gets too cold outside. The older ones would only work down to 0 degrees C, but I think some newer ones may work down to 0 degrees F.

The answer to the question really depends on what the climate is where you live. There's a book by Tretheway that you may find at your public library, to go into detail on the pros and cons of various systems.

A properly constructed well insulated house is the key to lower costs, no matter what you choose.

AnswerGoing one step further, a geothermal heat pump should be most cost effective in the long run. These work just as in the second answer above, but the heat comes from ground water, which is a fairly constant temperature of about 55 degrees. This allows a much more efficient heat pump without the air temperature limits above. liquid is a great medium for heat transfer, so the heat exchanger is inside with a pump, not a big noisy fan.
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