The best thing about manufactured home baseboard heaters is their compactness – they don’t occupy large spaces in your home.
They are rectangular boxes about the size of a piece of a baseboard.
The reason why they are called baseboard heaters has something to do with where they are often installed. Most of the time they are left lying close to the floor baseboard so that they can dissipate heat to the rest of the room more effectively.
Besides occupying little space, they are safe, quiet, energy-efficient, and inconspicuous. These are some of the reasons why you should probably consider installing one in your manufactured home.
Most of the electric baseboard heaters you will find in the store have a rating between 500 Watts and 2000 Watts.
That’s about 50 to 200 sq. ft. of living space that can be sufficiently heated at a given time.
Another nice thing about them is that they can be configured to heat the whole home or just a small area at a given time.
Related: How To Shop For A Space Heater For A Manufactured Home
Four Features to Look for In an Electric Baseboard Heater
Baseboard heaters come with features you wouldn’t trade for anything.
Most of these features help in safety, boosting efficiency, and sometimes helping the heater stay durability and effective.
When shopping for a heater, keep a sharp eye on these features:
1. Quiet operation
It may sound universal for all electric baseboard heaters to be silent, but there are models that would produce significant noise that could upset your pets or yourself.
Even the quietest of all heaters produce occasional clicks which are basically a reaction to temperature changes during contraction and expansion.
However, there are some kinds of noises you wouldn’t put with, like the familiar constant wheezing sound some old heaters produce when left running for a long time.
It is recommended that you perform sound tests before buying the heater just so you don’t realize when it’s too late to return.
2. Overload protection
In general, electric heaters come with one of the two types of overcurrent circuits protectors:
- fuses and
- circuit breakers.
The type of overload protector on your baseboard heater will depend on the control system.
The only reason why you would be a bit careful when choosing between these two is that fuses tend to blow up at a higher pace compared to circuit breakers, but they are the best protectors of the two.
You might still want to choose circuit breakers over fuses, but this may depend on other factors beyond load protection.
3. Electric vs Electric Hydronic
Baseboard heaters can be split into two groups based on how they use electric resistance to heat your space.
All heaters draw power from an AC source to create an electric resistance in a coil which results in the production of heat that ends up being dissipated into the room.
Electric models draw some cold air from the room, heat it, and return it to the space.
These models of baseboard heaters are the easiest to install, cheapest to acquire, and also the cheapest to maintain. But because they can get super-hot, they are a safety threat to kids and pets.
Electric hydronic heaters, on another hand, uses electrical power to heat water which is then moved around in an inbuilt system of tubes to generate heat for the room.
It can maintain optimum heat for long compared to the former, making it the most energy-efficient type of baseboard heaters out there.
They also don’t pose a fire hazard to your home. Their only downside, however, is the long period needed to heat the water to the required temperature.
Related: Are Baseboard Heaters Better Than Space Heaters?
The heat energy produced by heaters is normally measured in wattage.
Most situations require about 10 watts to heat 1 sq. ft. of the living space.
This means that, for every 8 x 10 ft room (which adds ups to 80 sq. ft.), you need a baseboard heater rated at 800 watts to achieve satisfactory heating.
It is recommended that you buy a heater with a slightly higher wattage than what you really need. This helps you to be sure your room is warm enough.
The wattage of the heater is closely related to its efficiency.
To understand how, consider a 1000-W left running for 24 hours, what would it cost you?
The wattage in most of today’s baseboard heaters is 1,500 Watts.
Now apply the consumption formula 1,500-W x 24 hrs ÷ 1,000-W x $0.20 to find out the total cost incurred when the heater is left running for a day. (Remember, dividing by 1,000-W changes your watt-hours to corresponding kilowatt-hours.)
In our case, it could cost you about $7.20 if you left the heater operating for 24 hours straight.
Contrary to popular belief, efficiency doesn’t drop with increased wattage. However, as you would expect, a heater with high wattage left running for long periods means you are paying more in energy bills.
Related: Can You Put a Refrigerator in Front of a Baseboard Heater?
9 Factors to Consider When Buying A Baseboard Heater
Buying a baseboard heater without bearing in mind all the defining factors doesn’t end well. For example, you may end up being overcharged for an average model that won’t deliver to your expectations. To choose a product that meets your needs, consider these factors:
1. 120-V versus 240-V Baseboard Heaters
Virtually all the baseboard heaters you will find in the store falls into two voltage classes:
- The 120-V type
- 240-V alternative.
The 120-V group is the most popular type of baseboard heaters in modern homes because they use one circuit.
When it comes to efficiency, however, the 240-V type has an upper hand over the 120-V type. The 240-V type uses both legs of the power connection, which can reduce power demand by as much as a half.
What type of circuitry do you have in your home?
Most baseboard heaters require a dedicated circuit with enough power to support proper functionality.
Experts recommend that you only use a 20-ampere circuit accompanied by 12-gauge wires for either of the two types of heaters.
This means that it would be futile to connect your heater directly to an already loaded circuit.
3. Location Of The Thermostat
You can choose to leave the thermostat mounted on the heater or move it to the wall. The location of the thermostat can affect how your heater switches on and off to regulate the room temperature.
Most manufacturers will advise you against leaving the thermostat mounted on the heater. Normally, a thermostat would be positioned in regions with maximum exposure to the room’s air.
Leave it on the heater and will produce false responses because of the warmth emanating from the heater.
It will still produce false settings if you install it on windows or areas with rapid air movement that doesn’t reflect the correct conditions of your room.
Determine where you will install the thermostat first before choosing the heater.
What is the cost of acquiring the heater(s) that can service your space? What is the installation cost?
The cost of baseboard heaters varies widely depending on the size, design, material of construction, and even the brand. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of acquiring and installing a baseboard heater is $782.
Most homeowners across the United States spend between $400 and $1,180 with all factors considered. If you remove the cost of labor, the price of an average baseboard heart drops into the brackets of $25 and $200.
Best baseboard heaters for budget:
Cadet 36-in 240-Volt 750-Watt Standard Electric Baseboard Heater – Cost: About $39.00
With a price tag of just $39.00, this is one of the cheapest baseboard heaters you can ever for your manufactured home.
It is a 240-V heater capable of heating 100 sq. ft. With a length of just 36,” it is small enough to be placed anywhere close to the wall and never seem like a bother.
Dimplex 25 in. 750-Watt Linear Convector Baseboard Heater – Cost: About $28.00
This is yet another highly affordable heater for a small space.
It actually comes with some cool features that make the price tag look non-compensating, such as the polyester and epoxy coat that protects it from abrasion and fading.
If you are looking for a cheap heater designed for performance, you might want to try out this option.
5. Ease of repair and maintenance
Most models of baseboard heaters from reputable manufacturers are cheap, easy to repair and maintain.
You just need to ensure you are buying genuine heaters and parts from the original manufacturers.
Unlike the conventional heaters, you will be in a position to repair most of the minor malfunctions you’ll discover in your baseboard heater without calling a professional. Quality products don’t need frequent maintenance.
Still, you need to keep your heater wiped and clean to prevent the accumulation of dust and debris in the grills.
Dirty and badly maintained heaters tend to turn out inefficient if they don’t start breaking up every now and then.
6. Size of the room
This is probably the most important factor that could cost you a lot of money if you get it wrong.
The wattage (the electrical power) of the heater is directly proportional to the size of the room – you will need a more powerful heater to service a large room.
Buy a small and less powerful baseboard heater for a large living space and you’ll barely receive the warmth.
Buy a large and more powerful heater for a small living space and much of the heat will go to waste, which will translate to bloated energy bills.
A 1,500-watt baseboard heater producing about 5,100 BTUs can easily heat 150 sq. ft.
That is equivalent to a 10 x 15-foot room, an 11 x 14, or one with dimensions of 12 x 12 1/2-feet with a typical 8-foot ceiling.
An average electric baseboard heater needs about 225 watts for every foot of the living space. Multiply the length of the heater by 225 to estimate the wattage it needs.
7. Type of the floor
What type of flooring do you have? Many buyers forget to consider the impact the material of the flooring has an effect on the effectiveness of the heater.
Rooms with rugs or carpets take shorter to heat up and remain warm longer because the rug and carpet’s fabric has insulation properties.
Hardwood flooring performs poorly when it comes to blocking the cold, but they aren’t as bad as tiles or linoleum.
An average baseboard heater can get the chill off the tile or linoleum floored space, but it could cost you more in energy bills because these materials are so good at losing heat.
8. Number of windows
How many windows does your space have?
Baseboard heaters are best suited for spaces with fewer windows. But it can depend on the size of the windows.
Small windows, no matter how many they are, may not impact the way the heater warms the room.
Many large open windows, however, will strain your heater to work harder to balance the heat lost through them.
Also, you will need to add some insulation (preferably storm windows) on your windows to cut the loss of heat energy to the outside.
9. Safety features and environment
Heaters can turn into safety hazards when installed improperly or when installed close to flammable materials.
Their safety features in the device meant to prevent heat-induced damages from getting out of hand.
If the heater gets overheated, for instance, the thermostat will switch it off to avert an accident. Some heaters come with fuses or circuit breakers for the same purpose.
The conditions of the area of installation can increase the likelihood of accidents. It is recommended that heaters are installed away from flammable materials, windows curtains, or fuels.
Best of The Types of Baseboard Heaters
As aforementioned, baseboard heaters are placed into two groups based on functionality:
- Electric heaters
- Electric hydronic heaters
The difference in how they operate makes the electric hydronic type to be more energy-efficient than the counterpart.
However, this doesn’t entirely mean all the Electric heater options you find in the store are inefficient. It is possible to find a few options that can bring you the value of your money.
Efficiency only becomes a big deal when comparing a pair of contrasting Electric heaters and an Electric Hydronic Heaters.
1. Best Electric Baseboard Heaters for Budget
Cadet is sort of an authority in the segment of affordable heaters for an average-sized home:
Cadet 24 in. 350-Watt 240/208-Volt Electric Baseboard Heater in White – Cost: About $31.00
This is one of the most affordable heaters in the list of the company’s already lowly priced products.
It is perfect for spaces measuring up to 50 sq. ft.
No cords are needed. Just like most of the Cadet’s products, it is listed with EFL for safety.
Fahrenheit 48 in. 1000-Watt Electric Baseboard Heater – Cost: About $40.00
This cheap Electric heater is great for warming your bathroom, bedroom, or living.
No pings or popping sound – designed for quiet and safe operation while still delivering superb performance.
At just $40, you don’t have to think hard about its impact on your wallet.
2. Best Electric Hydronic Baseboard Heaters
Electric Hydronic heaters don’t come cheap, but there are a few budget brands that offer highly affordable options without compromising on quality.
One such brand is Slant/Fin:
Fine/Line 30 6 ft. Fully Assembled Enclosure and Element Hydronic Baseboard – Cost: About $80.00
Few Electric Hydronic heaters get as low as this – $80.00.
The baked enamel is appealing to the eye and protects the rest of the body from corrosion. It comes ready to use and the fact that it is designed for efficiency makes it worth considering.
Slant/Fine 30 6 ft. Hydronic Baseboard Heating Enclosure Only in Nu-White – Cost: About: $55.00
This is yet another affordable heater from Slant/Fine. The Galvanized-Steel construction and Nu white enamel finish give this heater the durability you need in a heater.
The best thing about this heater is that it comes with high-strength support brackets that enhances the overall performance.
Baseboard heaters make ideal heating solutions for a manufactured home. They are compact compared to regular heaters and some of them are designed with efficiency in mind.
Baseboard heaters are a better option if you are looking for a portable and cheap yet efficient heating solution for limited spaces. They are a perfect option if you don’t want a solution that requires a professional to install.
Most baseboard heaters have power ratings between 500 watts and 2000 watts.
There are two types of heaters based on the mode of operation:
- The Electric Type and
- The Electric Hydronic Type.
The Hydronic type is the most efficient of the two types because they use superheated water to heat the room.
The top features you need to look for in a baseboard heater are the wattage, noise level, overload protection, and having to choose between electric versus electric hydronic.
If you want to select a heater that meets your needs and returns the value for your money, consider such factors as the size of your space, cost of the device, number, and size of windows, among others.