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Space heaters and baseboard heaters: A cost-effective combination?

If you’ve had a look around powersmart.ca, you’ll notice that we talk about space heaters and we talk about baseboard heaters. But is there a way to use them together for maximum efficiency?

To find out, we need to think about heating differently: the goal is keeping you and your family warm - without overheating unoccupied parts of your home.

You can make some quick wins before you even turn the heating on. Like wearing warm clothing and snuggling up with a blanket when you’re watching a movie. One little trick to remember is keeping your feet warm. If your toes are nice and toasty, the rest of your body will feel warmer too.

It’s also important to know what the ideal temperature - both for energy efficiency and comfort - should be:

  • 21ºC while reading or watching TV

  • 18ºC while moving around the home - such as cleaning or cooking

  • 16ºC while sleeping

Getting the most out of your baseboard heaters

Baseboard heaters are most efficient when you:

  • Use them to heat larger rooms and spaces, such as open plan living areas

  • Maintain steady, moderate temperatures like the ones above

  • Install programmable thermostats so they’re always at the right temperature

  • Reduce heat at night when you’re asleep, in rooms you’re not using, and when you’re away

Anything else you need to be aware of?

  • Baseboards are usually located under windows (to counteract the cold, dense air near said windows), try reducing drafts from your windows with draftproofing, window film and coverings, like blinds or curtains

  • Baseboard heaters work best when they’re clean, so remove any dust regularly

  • Avoid blocking baseboard heaters with furniture that blocks the warmth

  • Don’t be tempted to crank up baseboard heaters in a cold room - it won’t warm up any faster

Getting the most out of your space heater

Space heaters are most efficient when you:

  • Use them to heat a small room or space - such as under your desk

  • Place your space heater facing out of a corner of the room, with doors and windows closed for maximum effect

  • Only use space heaters for short periods of time when you really need them

Anything else you need to be aware of?

  • Always position your space heater on a level, hard surface on the floor

  • Plug it directly into an outlet, not an extension cable

  • Don’t place it near liquids or any loose fabrics, such as blankets or drapes

  • Choose a space heater with the latest safety features like overheat and tip-over protection

  • Don’t leave your space heater running unattended or while you’re asleep

Getting the most out of them both

As we can see, baseboard heaters are great for maintaining a steady, moderate heat. But on colder days, especially if you’re sitting still working or watching TV, turning up your baseboards to warm the whole space you’re in might be a bit excessive. This is when using a space heater can be effective in giving you a quick burst of direct heat every so often.

If you’re wondering what kind of space heater to use, here’s how to choose the right one for your home.