Baseboard heaters - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-14-2006, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are house hunting and I have been rejecting listings that say baseboard heaters because I am assuming that they actually get hot and you can't touch them, so not compatible with toddlers. Is that really the case?

I read a little on the internet about them and sounds like they are not the most efficient way to go and have some downsides to them, but no mention that they actually get hot and can burn you. I have never seen them before but now that I think about it, how can anyone live with heating units that actually get really hot, so maybe they don't?

I found a good house with all the things we are looking for and a great price but it has baseboard heating so not sure if I should bother taking a look.
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#2 of 18 Old 02-14-2006, 05:55 PM
 
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The place we just moved from had electric baseboard heat. The outside of the heaters got hot but you could still lay your hand on it and not get burnt. If one of the kids had stuck their hand in it he probably would have gotten a small burn from it. I was not thinking once and set a small plastic trash can in front of one of the heaters and it melted part of it.

I wouldn't nix getting a house just because of the heat, you could always improve and upgrade to central heat.
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#3 of 18 Old 02-14-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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I've had baseboard heat in a number of homes I've owned. No one has ever burned themselves! Yes, plastic left touching it will melt. I actually put my feet right on the baseboard's for a quick warm up some mornings. Kids lie beside them in the hall and have never even commented on them. They can be an inefficient heat but the nice thing is it is easy to regulate heat in different rooms easily. For example its almost off in our bedroom but quite warm in the family room.

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#4 of 18 Old 02-14-2006, 11:49 PM
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My Grandma has always had gas baseboard heat and I never burned myself. Neither have my children and they touch EVERYTHING. The baseboards can get pretty warm, but not hot enough to cause any pain.
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#5 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 12:27 AM
 
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I was feeling the same way about baseboard heat when we were house hunting & we somehow ended up in a place with them. We've never had a burn or anything like that. They get very warm, not hot. I was surprised at how evenly they heat the rooms, it's really nice.... and they are efficient because you can leave rooms with less use at a lower temp. One thing I don't like is furniture placement, they take up a lot of wall space!
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#6 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 09:33 AM
 
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I grew up with them. I never even realized forced air existed until we bought our home, and I was THROUGHLY confused! No burns here.

They are expensive to maintain if they breakdown.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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I grew up with them, too. Never any burns on me or my siblings. The coverings do get warm, but not too hot to touch. Also, we had wall-to-wall carpeting . . . so there is carpet under the heating units and it never got so hot to cause a fire. I don't think they are a hazard.

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#8 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 02:11 PM
 
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Electric is 'heat' is cold and miserable IMO. I woudlnt go near a house with it.
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#9 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 02:24 PM
 
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We're quite warm & cosy right now and its -10 Celsius outside!

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#10 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone, that makes me feel much better about this house. I like the idea of different temps in each room and without blowing air, there is less irritation, dryness, and allergies, I think.
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#11 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 08:48 PM
 
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We have baseboard (forced hot water, not electric, not that that matters but it's much cheaper).

I have lived with forced hot water with baseboards, forced hot water with radiators, and gas parlor heators/gas on gas stoves. What we have now is by far the safest as far a burns. The last two will burn.

They are very safe, I don't think you should worry. Like others have said, warm but never hot enough to burn.

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#12 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 11:37 PM
 
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I love baseboard heat. We stay at a cabin in Montana that has a wood burning stove and baseboard heat in the rooms and bathrooms. I nannied in a home with really hot radiators. The baseboard heat is perfectly safe, and the other two could burn but not so fast that proper supervsion couldn't cover it (granted we were absolutely vigilant when the wood stove was burning).

but yeah, the biggest complaint I have heard about baseboard heat is that it is expebnsive and not always effective.

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#13 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 11:48 PM
 
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Electric baseboard heat alone (without an auxiliary heating source) is one of the most expensive ways to heat a home. It makes a home EXTREMELY dry - I used to babysit overnight in a home w/electric baseboards, and it was soooooooo hot and dry! They kept the house at 75+ and it was horrible, I would wake up competely parched.

My parents once lived in a brand-new home w/electric baseboard heating, and they HATED it.

Hot water baseboard heating is much more efficient.

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#14 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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Not all baseboard is expensive. There are two types of baseboard heat. One has water pipes that run through metal fins, that are in the baseboard. Hot water runs through the pipes and heat transfers to the fins, then out through the vents in the baseboard cover.

The other is electric. No water, this is the expensive baseboard most people are talking about. When each room has a seperate thermostat, that's usually electric. With forced hot water you usually have a couple zones, like first floor and second floor.

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#15 of 18 Old 02-15-2006, 11:57 PM
 
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Skellbelle, looks like we cross-posted with the same thoughts!

Michelle , 20+ years with a wonderful DH
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#16 of 18 Old 02-17-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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I think there's a bit of confusion here - you can have baseboard heat without having electric heat. In New England, most houses have baseboard but use hot water heat - that is, the boiler (usually oil based or natural gas based) heats the water, which is piped to the radiators, they heat up and radiate the heat, and the water flows back to the boiler to get reheated.

I would not buy a house with electric heat because it is inefficient and expensive, unless you live someplace like Florida or Hawaii or southern California where you use heat infrequently.

I would absolutely buy a house with baseboard heat.... I've never heard of anyone getting burned on baseboards. The only bit of a pain (besides furniture placement) is that you need to vacuum them regularly to keep out the dust. We're actually converting our house from large radiators to baseboard because they are more efficient, warmer, and less of a pain in a room than the huge cast iron rads we have now.
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#17 of 18 Old 02-17-2006, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I talked to my realtor and she thinks that if the listing on a house for sale says "baseboard" for the heat and "electric" for the fuel source, then it is the bad kind of baseboard heating and not water based. Two houses we are looking at tomorrow say this and they are both old and "affordable" which makes me think its this less desirable heat source. I guess we'll see for sure when we check out the houses. We do live in a mild climate although still use heat all winter long. Both these houses don't seem ideal to me but dh likes the prices and huge yards so we'll see. My favorite listings all have forced air.
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#18 of 18 Old 02-17-2006, 09:31 PM
 
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I think there's a bit of confusion here - you can have baseboard heat without having electric heat. In New England, most houses have baseboard but use hot water heat - that is, the boiler (usually oil based or natural gas based) heats the water, which is piped to the radiators, they heat up and radiate the heat, and the water flows back to the boiler to get reheated.

I would not buy a house with electric heat because it is inefficient and expensive, unless you live someplace like Florida or Hawaii or southern California where you use heat infrequently.

I would absolutely buy a house with baseboard heat.... I've never heard of anyone getting burned on baseboards. The only bit of a pain (besides furniture placement) is that you need to vacuum them regularly to keep out the dust. We're actually converting our house from large radiators to baseboard because they are more efficient, warmer, and less of a pain in a room than the huge cast iron rads we have now.
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