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How Much Does It Cost To Install An Electric Baseboard Or Wall Heater?

National Average Change Location | View National
$791
Typical Range
$401 - $1,181
Low End
$118
High End
$2,500

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The average national cost to install an electric baseboard or wall heater is $791. Considering the factors that can affect rates, the final price for most homeowners falls between $401 and $1,181. Not including labor, a baseboard heater costs between $25 and $200 and a wall heater ranges between $60 and $120.
When it comes to picking home warming options, electric baseboards are one of the most affordable options on the market. They don't require ducts or vents and take up a small amount of space, so no major installation is required. However, it can still be difficult for homeowners to predict the cost to install one for their unique homes. The first step is to talk to a licensed electrician who can help you assess the best course of action for your home. Once you do that, there will be a couple of common factors that will affect the rate to install an electric baseboard or wall heater.

Electric Baseboard or Wall Heater Unit Cost Factors

The type of model you choose will certainly affect your overall heater costs. There are simple models that exist on the lower end of the price spectrum, as well as more complicated models that include features such as a programmable thermostat or hydronics. Generally speaking, the more complicated the model, the higher the price.

Electric Convection – about $45 - $60

This type of basic baseboard heater relies on an internal element consisting of electric coils that warm up (like a toaster) and affect the surrounding air. The convection heater’s simple design and inexpensive materials give it the following advantages and disadvantages:
  • Low Cost: $45 - $60. The cheapest option.
  • Reliability: Simple and rarely malfunctions — no internal liquid to leak, no motor to break, few parts to maintain. Can last for decades.
  • Cools Down Quickly: Not the most efficient option. Once the desired temperature is reached, the system and surrounding air cool down quickly.

Hydronic and Oil-Filled – about $200 - $250

Hydronic and oil-filled versions include an element that warms water or oil. In turn, this liquid heats the air instead of the unit altering the air directly. The design is slightly more complicated and efficient, giving it the following features:
  • Higher Cost: $200 - $250. Up to four times more than electric convection.
  • Heat Lasts Longer: Similar to a radiator, remains warm after the thermostat reaches the desired temperature and continues to heat the surrounding air.
  • Slow Warm Up: Oil and water take longer to warm up than metal coils.
  • Energy Efficiency: Outperform convection units.
  • Fewer Size Options: More difficult to find in longer sizes.

Baseboard Heaters vs. Wall Heaters

While baseboard and wall heaters achieve comparable results, their prices can vary greatly depending on the features you choose to integrate. However, the type you choose should not be based on cost alone. The best one for your space will be based on factors such as room size and features, available wall and floor space, and how quickly the room needs to reach the target temperature.
Baseboard vs. Wall Heaters
FactorsBaseboardWall
Cost per unit$25 - $200$60 - $120
Time to Heatabout 30 - 60 min.A few minutes
LifespanOver 20 yrsabout 8-12 yrs
TemperaturesLower - Cooler in touchHigher - hot to touch
Space RequiredFree space needed near the floor and away from furnishings.Free vertical wall space, preferably under a window.

Programmable Thermostat

Naturally, a unit with a wall-mounted, programmable thermostat (instead of a built-in or manual one) will put your expenditures on the high end of the scale. Thermostats for baseboard heaters range from $30 to $70, excluding labor. At an hourly rate of $65 - $85 and an average installation time of one to two hours, labor charges should total no more than $170. As a general rule, the more complex the thermostat, the higher the price will be.
A programmable thermostat is not just a convenience. Automatic, digital thermostats are more accurate, easier to control, and respond more quickly to temperature changes in a room. So, while upgrading your unit to include a programmable thermostat may cost more up front, the decision can save a homeowner a considerable amount of money over time by reducing energy bills. This is especially true for older, energy-inefficient homes that currently use unit-mounted or dial thermostats.
Consult with an HVAC Professional
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Installation Labor Factors

The national average labor price for installing an electric baseboard or wall heater is between $75 and $250 per hour. There are several factors that will determine if you'll pay on the higher or lower end of that scale.

Hourly Cost of Running Electrical Lines Suitable for the Unit

The biggest factor in installation price will be the electrician labor rate which falls between $75 and $250 per hour. It's important to work with a licensed professional who can ensure that this type of work is done correctly for safety reasons. An electrician will need to install lines suitable for your home’s needs.

Time of Year

When you purchase and install may impact the price you pay for installation. If you can, try to engage your contractor in late fall or early winter when his or her services are less in demand and prices are lower. When business is slower, your contractor may also be more willing to negotiate to win your business.

Experience of Licensed Professional

Choosing a licensed professional is important to both the safety and integrity of the project. In many cases, a higher hourly rate may be less expensive. More experienced contractors often perform the same amount of work in less time. Moreover, a trustworthy contractor can save you money in the long run by helping you avoid post-installation hazards and repairs.
Hire a pro for your heater installation
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Number of Units or Wall Heaters

The number of units and circuits you decide to install will affect wall heater costs. Installing more means buying additional materials, but also more electrical work to set each one up.
Commonly, per-unit installation costs decrease with each one you add. Therefore, to purchase and install a baseboard heater, you should budget $300 - $500 each. Wall heaters are slightly less expensive with an overall price of $250 - $350 each. One meant for an area of more than 1,500 square feet can run $600 or more.

Cost to Run Electric Heat

The amount of electricity it will take to treat your entire home depends on the size of the home and type of heat you are using. In most climates, an average 1,200 square-foot, well-insulated home using an electric baseboard requires about 12,000 watts of power. For a home like this, monthly electricity costs for running the baseboard alone will be approximately $400.
Other factors, like extremely cold temperatures or a poorly-insulated home, may double the amount of energy necessary to keep a home warm. This could also double your bill to more than $800.

Estimate Your Costs

To estimate your operational costs, simply follow this formula:
Step #1:
Determine the kilowatts of your heater by dividing its wattage by 1000.
Appliance wattage ÷ 1000 = kilowatts (kW)
Step #2:
Multiply the number of kilowatts by the number of hours per day the unit is running to get the kilowatt hours.
Kilowatts (kW) x hours = kilowatt hours (kWh)
Step #3:
Multiply the number of kilowatt hours by the electric company’s rate per kWh to get your daily pricetag of running the heater.
Kilowatt hours (kWh) x rate = daily rate

How to Save Money

If you’re looking for ways to save money on your bill, consider keeping your thermostat set at 68°F or below during the colder months. Costs increase approximately five percent for each degree you increase your thermostat setting. You may also consider lowering the temperature on your thermostat to 61°F overnight and when you’re away from home because this could save you up to 10 percent on your energy bills.
Additionally, regular maintenance can increase energy efficiency and save you money. For convection models, this means ensuring it is free of dust and cobwebs that can restrict airflow by up to 80 percent or prevent it from functioning entirely. Keeping up to date with baseboard repairs (which run most homeowners about $130 - $400) is also key to lengthening the life of the heater.
In warmer climates and areas where electricity rates are low, such as the South or the Pacific Northwest, they can be used in one room at a time to conserve energy and costs. Because they provide warmth relatively quickly and evenly, they can be switched off and on as needed.

Is Baseboard Heat Expensive?

According to the US Department of Energy, electric baseboards boast the lowest upfront purchase and installation charges and the highest operational bills of all available options.
Electric heating is the most expensive per BTU (British Thermal Unit) in most regions of the United States. Therefore, this method works best in areas with warmer average temperatures and lower utility prices. This option is also more efficient when the rest of the home is energy efficient and well-insulated to prevent heat loss.
In order for it to be as efficient as possible, airflow and circulation in and around the unit are critical. No furniture or furnishings should be placed in front of it, or you risk low performance, higher energy costs, and an increased safety risk from fire and heat damage.
Ask an HVAC pro if baseboard heating is right for your home
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Alternative Heating Systems

Radiant Floor Heating

Expect to pay about $8 - $12 per square foot for an installed electric radiant floor and $6 - $16 per square foot for an installed hydronic radiant floor. A floor system in a small space like a bathroom averages around $700, while a whole-home hydronic radiant system runs between $6,000 and $14,000. Compare prices and efficiency of electric vs. hydronic in our Radiant Flooring Installation Cost Guide.
Due to the labor needed to install a radiant flooring system and anchor it properly to a subfloor, both electric and hydronic models are more expensive than electric baseboards. (Air-heated radiant flooring is neither cost-effective nor efficient in residential applications.)
  • Electric Radiant Floors - $8 - $12 per sq. ft. - Consist of cables in floor or electrically-conductive, plastic mats mounted on the subfloor. Most cost-effective if they include a significant thermal base like a thick, concrete floor. If offered by a company, time-of-use rates increase efficiency by allowing you to “charge” the base with warmth overnight.
  • Hydronic Radiant Floors - $6 - $16 per sq. ft. - Less expensive and more popular. Pump-heated water from a boiler through tubes under the floor. Regulate room temperatures with pumps and thermostats to control the flow of hot water through the tubes or zoning valves. Factors that affect price: size of home, type of installation, existing floor covering, and labor charges.

Radiant Panels & Cove Heaters - $125 - $300

Radiant cove heaters vary in price from $125 - $300 and come in a range of lengths from three to 10 feet. The cost of radiant panels is comparable to that of hydronic radiant flooring, but you should contact a local professional for an estimate.
Like baseboard models, radiant panels have a quick response time and can be individually controlled for each room. An individual can turn on the heat or increase the temperature setting upon entering a room and experience nearly immediate comfort. For this reason, these features can result in price and energy savings compared to other types of systems. Also like baseboard heaters, the thermostat should be set to a temperature that will prevent pipes from freezing even when not in use.

Space Heaters - $25 - $100

Space heaters are relatively inexpensive, ranging in price from $25 - $100, and are available at any big box store. In addition to the purchase price, the cost of running one 16 hours per day is approximately $2.80 based on the average national electricity rate. Unlike baseboard panels, these should not be used while sleeping.
Most space heaters work by convection, circulating warm air through a room, but some rely on radiant heat. These emit infrared radiation that directly affects people and objects. This option is a better choice when people will be in a room for a few hours at a time and can stay within its sight line. When only using a room for a short period, they save energy by heating the people in the room and the objects surrounding them, rather than all of the air in the room.
While useful, these models pose safety concerns that other types of systems do not. According to the US Consumer Product and Safety Commission, space heaters are connected to more than 25,000 residential fires resulting in more than 300 deaths each year. Moreover, an estimated 6,000 people visit the emergency room for burn injuries caused by touching hot surfaces on these units.

Heat Pumps - $4,000 - $9,700

Excluding labor, mid-quality heat pumps generally cost between $700 and $2,800. Higher-end versions can run anywhere between $4,000 and $9,700 including installation.
Given the choice, pumps are preferable to electric resistance heating in most climates, as they reduce electricity usage by up to 50 percent in comparison. In dry climates with hot or mixed temperatures like those found in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas, there are too few days where heat is required to significantly impact rates.
With electric resistance, 100 percent of incoming energy is converted to heat. However, most electricity is produced via methods that convert only about 30 percent of the original coal, gas, or oil energy into electricity. Due to this inefficiency in production and transmission losses, this option is usually more expensive than heat produced using natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces.
Hire an electrician to install your heater
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Where to Install Electrical Heaters

You will need to work with your pro on identifying an ideal location because they can't be placed just anywhere. It's smart to install wall heaters under windows or where furniture won't block airflow, and baseboard units require a significant amount of floor space. This might require a little creativity, and might end up increasing the cost of installation.

Rooms

The type and number of heating units required to efficiently accommodate a room depends on many factors, including the size and features of the room, as well as how the room is used. The type and number of heaters you require will also determine your level of financial investment.
  • Bedrooms: Effective for bedrooms because less is required than in living areas. Bedrooms can remain at lower temperatures since you sleep under covers.
  • Bathrooms: Wall heaters are preferable to baseboards in bathrooms because they heat more quickly and can provide additional wattage without requiring additional space. A 1000-watt baseboard will require four feet of linear floor space, while an equivalent heater only requires a 10-inch-by-12-inch rectangle of vertical wall space.
  • Basements: Best option for a finished basement is an electric baseboard heater. Inexpensive, space-saving systems operate independently and don’t require expensive modifications to existing system. Most regions will not require much heat in a basement. Ensure walls are well-insulated and seals are air-tight to keep costs down.
  • Garages: Can be expensive to operate in areas of the home that are not fully insulated like garages. A better option in climates where temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Take steps to insulate and seal rooms to maximize efficiency and minimize expense.

Location in Room

Factors such as the available wall and floor space in a room, as well as safety considerations, will determine the best location for a heater. The presence of certain features in a room may add to the price of installing a system by increasing the cost of labor required to work around these features.
  • Near Drapes and Curtains: Electric elements are a fire hazard when placed near flammable materials. Keep curtains and other decorative elements at least 12 inches from baseboards. Hydronic units operate at lower temperatures and are considered safe even when covered by floor-length drapery. Decorations can trap heat and prevent it from circulating, reducing efficacy and efficiency.
  • Near Beds or Furniture: Placing upholstered chairs or couches directly in front of a unit can trap the outflow of heat in a small area, allowing it to build up and the upholstery to spark and catch fire. It can also limit the amount of space that receives warmth. Keep a three-foot surrounding area clear of any furnishings to maximize the safety and efficiency of your system.
  • Near Cabinets: Same rules apply for cabinets and built-in furnishings as for standalone furniture pieces. Consult with a professional before installing in areas where built-in cabinets are present.
Overall, the cost to install a baseboard will depend on the number of units you need to install and the amount of work required to make that happen. These are typically used to supplement another type of heating system, so the amount may depend on that. Still, electric baseboards are much less expensive than installing a new furnace or installing new ducts for a system. By working with an experienced heater installation professional, you should be able to complete this job affordably. Just make sure to talk to at least three professionals before choosing a contractor to ensure you find someone you can trust and who understands your needs.
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