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There are several home heating systems to choose from and depending on your needs, some may be better than others. One that isn’t as common today but still a great option is a baseboard heating system. Baseboard heater systems can be used as a supplement to an existing home heating system on an as-needed basis in rooms that just refuse to heat up. Or they can be a complete home heating system all on their own. Here are some things to know.
Baseboard heating system vs. forced air heating system
There are several reasons why you may want to opt for a baseboard heating system over a forced air heating system, despite the fact they’re less common. For one, baseboard heating systems are much easier to install, especially in older homes, since there is no ductwork. Because there’s no required ductwork, baseboard radiator systems tend to require less maintenance. Unlike a forced air heating system which blows hot air loudly and intermittently, baseboard heating systems work quietly and constantly as long as they’re turned on.
Two kinds of baseboard heating systems
Baseboard radiator systems can be generally classified into two different types: electric and hydronic. In an electric baseboard heating system. Electricity is used to directly heat the air in the home. For supplemental heating, you can purchase plug-in portable baseboard heaters. For a complete home heating system, however, you’re better off paying for a system that’s hardwired into your home’s circuitry.
Hydronic baseboard heating systems also operate off of electricity. The difference is that the electricity heats the room indirectly rather than directly. In a hydronic system, electricity is used to heat up fluid (usually water though some systems use oil) enclosed within the radiator. It is the hot water which warms the air in the room. Hydronic systems are more common for whole home use since electric baseboard heating systems are known for being less energy efficient. A downside to hydronic systems is that they take longer to warm up a room once turned on. Once the enclosed fluid is warm though, it retains its heat much longer after it’s turned off.
Is a baseboard heating system right for you?
If you have an older home with no forced air heating system, installing the necessary ductwork may be more trouble than it’s worth and you may want to strongly consider a baseboard heating system. If your current heating system just doesn’t cut it for certain rooms in the home, such as in the basement, a baseboard heating system may be for you. Since heat rises, a heat source at floor level makes a lot more sense when it comes to circulating heat and warming a room more evenly.
If you’re going to go the baseboard heating system route, it might be wise to protect them with snap-on baseboard heater covers. These make the system look more stylish. If you have an older system, these easy-to-install baseboard radiator covers can make it look like new again.
Measure the height from the floor to the top of the metal wall plate.
Follow our guide for baseboard heater cover measurement:
Any baseboard larger than 7 3/8" (188 mm) will be compatible with our standard cover.
Any measurement greater than 9 3/8" (238 mm) will fit our tall cover.
Measure from the bottom of the finned tube heating element to the top of the metal wall plate,
A measurement of 5 1/2" to 6 3/4" (140 mm – 172 mm) will fit our standard cover.
A measurement of 7 1/2" to 8 3/4" (191 mm – 222 mm) will fit our tall cover.
Measure the distance from the wall or the metal wall plate attached to the wall, to the outside of the finned tube heating element.
Any measurement of less than 3 1/8" (76 mm) inches from the wall will fit our
Any measurement of less than 3 1/8" (76 mm) inches from the wall will fit our tall cover.
EZ Snap™ Wall Widgets are used when your old or existing wall back plate has been removed or if you have to hang your new cover 1 inch or higher to bring them up to a height that will fit our installation guidelines. Just measure your overall desired height, subtract 1", drill a hole, preferably in a stud and attach it to the wall with the included screw.
EZ Snap™ Floor Fidgets easily raise your new covers ¾ inch to compensate for any ¾ inch floor (wood, tile, or other) that has been installed any time since your baseboard heater was originally installed. May be used for any reason when the overall height has been shortened and the total height is less than 7-½ inches for standard height or 9-½ inches for the TALL height EZ Snap™ BaseBoard Covers. Just use the self-tapping screws to secure them to the top of your existing wallplate.
EZ Snap™ Wall Contraptions are used when your wall back plate has been completely removed. EZ Snap™ Wall Contraptions receives your EZ Snap™ BaseBoard Cover and keeps your aluminum fin tube from sagging. These completely replace your wall back plate. To install, slide up from the bottom and make sure the top is at your desired height. Screw to the wall, then bend the front finger up to hold the fin tube in place.
Measure from wall to wall and subtract ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) The endcaps can be pulled or slid ½ inch outward on either end to fit your existing length requirements. Choose 2 flush to wall end caps.
Measure the overall length of the existing unit with ends attached then subtract ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) The endcaps can be pulled or slid ½ inch outward on either end to fit your existing length requirements. Choose 2 Closed or Open-end caps.
Measure from the corner to the end of the unit with ends attached then subtract ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) The endcaps can be pulled or slid ½ inch outward on either end to fit your existing length requirements. Choose 1 Closed or Open-end & 1 flush to wall end cap.
Measure the left side from corner A to corner B (see diagram). Then subtract 3 inches for the 90 degree inside corner, then subtract another ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) Repeat for the right side if also wall to wall. You need to subtract a total of 3½ inches from each side that is wall to wall. Choose your end caps.
Measure the left side from the corner of the wall to the end of the unit with ends caps. Then subtract 3 inches for the 90 degree inside corner, then subtract another ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) Repeat for the right side. You need to subtract a total of 3½ inches from both left and right sides. Choose your end caps.
L-Shaped outside radiators ending in the middle of the wall:
Measure from outside corner of the wall A to the end of the radiator unit with end caps attached B, then subtract ½" (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.)
Measure from outside corner of the wall to the corner of the wall, then subtract 1/2" (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.)
Left leg - measure from the corner out to the end of the radiator subtract 3" for the corner and ½ (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.)
Center leg - measure from corner to corner and subtract 3" for each corner a total of 6"
Right leg - measure from the corner out to the end of the radiator subtract 3" for the corner and ½" (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.).
We recommend that you order covers a little longer than normal and cut them on site, as there are many opportunities for mistakes in measuring and installation. By cutting on site you can fit and cut to fit. The covers can be cut with a good quality jigsaw and a fine metal cutting blade.
Now that you’ve learned how to measure baseboard heaters,
you’re ready to order.