In today's economy every penny counts, especially when it comes to your energy bills. If you have or are considering baseboard electric heat, you really should learn more about how it works. Then see how adding a ceiling fan is the best thing you can do to make the system more efficient. Here's why.
How Electric Baseboard Heating Works
Electric baseboard heaters are popular for many reasons. They are cost effective to install because they don't require ductwork, they are easy to maintain with no real moving parts, and newer models are energy efficient. Because they can be installed just about anywhere, they are common finds in basement rec rooms, converted lofts, and patio enclosures.
When the thermostat on a particular unit is activated, the coils inside the unit heat up, warming the air nearby. This air rises and is replaced by cooler air which is drawn in due to natural convection. This process involves warm air rising and pulling cold air in to take its place without the help of any outside force like a fan or pump. When the air in the room reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, the unit turns itself off.
How a Ceiling Fan Can Help
The process of natural convection works great; it's just not the fastest way to heat an entire room. The longer it takes for a room to come up to the thermostat setting, the longer the unit will run and the more energy it will use. That's where a ceiling fan can help increase the efficiency of baseboard heat. It gives natural convection a helping hand to heat the room gently, but more quickly.
You're probably thinking that your ceiling fan is what you use to cool off in the summer months, and you'd be right. But it can also be used in the winter time as well. The key is to make sure it's spinning in the right direction. In the winter your fan should gently rotate clockwise. This causes an updraft and the warm air that is hugging your ceiling is pushed down into the room. This makes your room more comfortable by helping you avoid hotspots and by distributing the heat more efficiently than by natural convection alone.
No matter what kind of heating system you have in your home, there are some things you can do to help stretch your energy dollars. In addition to using your ceiling fans the right way, you can add more insulation, weather strip your windows and doors, and close off rooms that aren't in use. In the case of saving energy dollars, the old adage is certainly true: every little bit helps.