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Question DetailsAsked on 10/2/2014

How much would it be to install baseboard heating throughout my 800 sq. foot home and do I use hvac or electrician?

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I am curious why you are looking at installing baseboard heat - unless this is a house previously heated only by fireplace or not at all. If you want to provide more detail, using the Answer This Question button right below your question, what info you provide on your current system might change by response. For instance, if you currently have in-wall electric heaters, the installation cost for baseboard type heaters at that same location would be far cheaper because the wiring is already in.

There are four common types of baseboard heating - steam or hot water (steam/ hydronic), electric-heater oil or antifreeze, and pure electric. Generally, steam/hydronic baseboard heat is installed in new construction but not real commonly added after the fact, because of the amount of tearing into drywall needed to run the piping, though if your house has open floor joists (basement or crawlspace) then it is quite simple to do. Steam baseboard heat is pretty rare - usually that is run in upright radiators because of the noise and vapor-locking issues in baseboard applications.

Electric (either heating oil/antifreeze in the individual heaters or direct electric, which is basically a baseboard electric wall heater) requires new wiring in the electric panel plus running wires to each heating unit location, which can also be invasive if you don't have easy access from underneath. Might also require an expensive (ballbark $1500-3000 range typically) electrical service/distribution system upgrade if you do not currently have equivalent wattage electric heat in the house.

The hydronic units are installed by plumbers, the electric ones by electrician, or sometimes by plumbers (installing the unit and controls) with an electrician sub doing the wiring and breakers and such.

Hard to say what the cost would be without knowing the heating load being served, building layout, type of building construction, access issues, amount of drywall repair that will be needed, etc - but I certainly cannot see if being less than pushing a couple of thousand and possibly up to double that in difficult conditions or solid brick/concrete construction, though for an open floor-plan house needing only a few heaters you might get down to the $1500 range in low-cost conditions. You would certainly need to get at least 3 responsive bids to be sure you are getting a reasonable price.

Which one you go with would depend on the initial installation cost of course, but also on relative heating energy cost. In most areas, natural gas fired hydronic heating would be quite a bit cheaper than an electric system, over the long run, assuming you have natural gas service installed already - or maybe even if it has to be run from existing lines at the street.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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