Do Baseboard Heaters Offer Enough Heating Capacity?

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When it comes to heating there are options available to the homeowner.

A centrally heated home powered by a centrally located furnace may be the most familiar option, but it may not be the most practical in all situations.

A great alternative to a fan-forced furnace based system is the baseboard heater. The relatively low initial costs of these units, combined with their ease of installation, make them an attractive option for many home owners.

The question is do they offer enough heating capacity? This will depend on your individual situation, but when used appropriately they can provide enough heating capacity to provide a comfortable level of warmth in your home.

central plus supplementary heat

Room Use and the Baseboard Heater

The first thing you’ll want to do when deciding if a baseboard heating system is right for you is to consider what you’re using the space for.

Are you using the baseboard heating system as the main source of heat for your entire home, or are you looking to add some supplemental heat in an area that isn’t serviced well by the main home heating system?

As a supplementary heat source the baseboard heater is ideal.

  • If you’re only using a room occasionally, such as a games room in your lower basement, a baseboard heater should work nicely.
  • They’ll also work well in a guest room to give your guests a little more control over their own comfort levels.
  • In rooms that are used frequently, or in large rooms exceeding 200 square feet, baseboard heaters are not usually the best option.

You’ll want to consider things like:

  • Insulation
  • How many windows are in the room
  • How drafty the room is


Remember, the baseboard heater relies on the process of convection to provide heat to your home. A room with a lot of windows, especially older windows where the seal is a little worn, will be difficult to heat with a baseboard heater.

The constant influx of cold air and the loss off warm air will disrupt the convection process making your baseboard heater less effective.


Night and Day

Your heating needs will also be different in the daytime compared with nighttime. Nights tend to be cooler than the day, and depending on the time of year and your climate, variations in temperature can be significant. In areas with long periods of extended cold the baseboard heater is not generally appropriate as a main heating source.

Room Size

As we touched on above a baseboard heaters effectiveness will often depend upon the size of the room it’s being used in.

It’s important to be familiar with the dimensions of your rooms before considering a baseboard heater. For example a 9′ x 12′ room = 108 sq. ft. A room this size is ideal for a baseboard heater. On the other hand a large room, say 20′ x 20′ = 400 sq. ft. is too large for a baseboard heater to work effectively. You may consider installing more than one baseboard heater in a large room like this, but that gets a little tricky. If the heaters are not placed properly you may end up with cold spots in the room.

Required heating Capacity

Electricity is usually measured in watts, a unit of measure developed by James Watt in the mid 1800’s.

  • The amount of watts of power you will need a baseboard heater to provide will depend largely on the size of the room, but that’s not the only consideration to keep in mind.
  • Older homes with less insulation will need units with more wattage than newer homes.
  • Keep in mind large rooms and entrance ways where doors are being constantly opened will also require greater heating capacity.

As a general rule of thumb, you will need 10 watts/sq. ft.

Returning to our previous example; a 108 sq. ft. room will require a baseboard heater capable of producing 1080 watts to provide adequate heat to the room. In the 400 square foot room illustrated above you would need a unit capable of producing 4000 watts of power.

Generally the most powerful baseboard heaters produce no more than 2000 watts, not enough to heat this 400 sq. ft. room.

NewAir AH-600 Low Profile Baseboard Heater


The AH-600 is a good example of the perfect baseboard heater for supplemental heating. It is a low profile heater that is not only compact in size, but it is a sleek black color that allows it to blend into your home.

  • This baseboard heater produces 1500 watts of power, and can cover up to 250 square feet.
  • You can choose from 5 heat settings
  • It has a 7.5 hour timer that lets you maximize this heater’s efficiency
  • It has an automatic shut off safety feature

With all these features, there is no doubt that the NewAir AH-600 Low Profile Baseboard Heater is powerful and efficient enough to give you the right amount of supplemental heat.


  • Baseboard heaters can provide enough heating capacity to comfortably heat a room that is less than 200 sq. ft.
  • In larger rooms you can use more than one unit to boost their effectiveness, but it’s usually better to consider central heating in homes with these types of rooms.
  • Baseboard heaters are also not the best option in colder climates, although they may provide a great source of supplemental heat in such cases. This is especially true in basements, sunrooms, and other less frequented areas.
  • Baseboard heaters can provide enough heating capacity when used in the right situation, but you need to consider your situation carefully before moving ahead with this type of heating solution.
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