Things To Know Before Buying a Home With Electric Heat

Nearly all of the energy consumed by electric resistance heating is converted into heat. It’s vital to remember that the true efficiency and environmental impact of heating with electricity are determined by the source of electricity. In this post, we discuss things to know before buying a home with electric heat.


When considering if electricity is an effective and environmentally friendly means to heat a home, the initial power output should be taken into account.

environmentally friendly electric heat solar wind alternative energy

The efficiency of fossil fuels for energy generation is only about 30-60%. The overall energy efficiency of electric heat varies a lot depending on where you are and what kind of electricity you have. This is because transmission cables lose a lot of energy.


Heating using renewable energy like wind, solar, or hydropower is far cleaner than coal or gas. Fortunately, the amount of green electricity produced in the US is increasing, with 2018 seeing a new high of 742 million megawatt-hours (MWh). That is nearly twice that of 2008. In 2018, renewable energy accounted for 17.6% of total electricity production in the US.

Wind and solar energy accounted for nearly 90% of the increase in renewable electricity supply in the US between 2008 and 2018. A mere 292 million MWh separates wind energy from traditional hydropower generation in 2018. (6.9 percent of total generation). This is great news for minimizing our energy carbon footprint.

On the other hand, Canada is the world’s second-largest hydroelectric generator, producing around 67 percent renewable energy and 82 percent non-GHG sources.

heating in new or rebuilt Green high-efficiency buildings have the advantage that as the percentage of renewable energy increases, your heating system’s carbon footprint decreases.


Electric heating alternatives go beyond noisy baseboard heaters and electric forced-air furnaces. Electric heat includes electric radiators, furnaces, convection heaters, and boilers for hydronic radiant flooring. A heating pad wrapped around a painful neck or an electric cooktop is as efficient as them.

The efficiency of these devices or appliances depends on how well they transmit heat, not how well it is diffused. Heat is concentrated in one location, therefore heat loss via walls around the source or through a stove hood is increased. Because heat is focused in one location, there is a minor increase in heat loss through walls near the source, or as heated air rises and escapes through a stove hood. The fact that most people keep their homes at a constant temperature means that hot spots are more likely to develop if the house is not well-insulated.

Heat added to the home via electric resistance heating (such as a toaster or electric stove) is equal to heat delivered by traditional electric heating systems. A hairdryer is as efficient as an electric furnace (except in terms of effort expended). So does a working computer or a charged cell phone.

Unlike gas-fired heat pumps, electric heat pumps use electricity to operate their condenser and fan rather than gas. For additional details, see our heat pump video.


Furnace With Forced Air

Electricity is neither cheap nor efficient, even if it is cheaper than an oil furnace. Aside from the furnace and ductwork, the functioning requires not only heat generation but also heat distribution throughout your home. Heat loss through ducts in non-heated regions could reduce overall efficiency even more.

Cleaning and maintenance of electric furnaces are required. These charges must also be considered. Expect to live 15-20 years.

Electric furnace sizing is critical for optimal performance, yet bigger isn’t necessarily better. A furnace that is too huge for the space may finish heating faster, requiring more time in the startup period. Smaller furnaces are also less expensive, so everyone wins.

Electric Baseboard Heaters

Electric baseboard heaters generate heat that is then convectively distributed. Heat rises via metal fins, while cold air descends.

Thermostats in each room can control baseboard heaters. This can save you money by lowering temperatures in places that aren’t used often.

Baseboard heaters should be placed beneath windows because they lose the most heat. It’s also important to lift them one inch from the ground to allow for air intake.

Electric Convection Heaters

A convection heater is a baseboard heater with a fan. So, while inefficiency is the same, delivery is different. While they can heat a space faster and more evenly than baseboards, they can also stir up dust more than baseboards, like a furnace. It may also introduce noise depending on the unit’s decibel output.

The choice between baseboard and convection heaters is purely financial and personal. Convection heaters are more expensive because to the moving parts, but they are not more efficient.

Heated Floors

Neither tiles nor engineered hardwood need be heated. This system is not cheap to install, but it provides excellent heat delivery. Water heated by an electric boiler can also provide radiant in-floor heat, but it must be installed at the time of construction.

Summary: Things To Know Before Buying A Home With Electric Heat

Nearly all of the energy consumed by electric resistance heating is converted into heat. It’s vital to remember that the true efficiency and environmental impact of heating with electricity are determined by the source of electricity.

If you have any questions about buying a home with electric heat contact me today.