Most Québec homes are equipped with electric baseboard heaters. In the last few years, we have seen heat pumps popping up in more and more homes. What is the difference between a heat pump and electric heating? What are the pros and cons of each system?

Here is an overlook of both systems to help you choose the right heating source for your personal needs.

What Do Heat Pumps and Electric Baseboards Have in Common?

Both heat pumps and electric baseboards use electricity. As hydroelectricity is the source of 97% of all energy consumed in Québec, significantly reducing Greenhouse gas emissions, it can be said that Québec is an eco-friendly province. Our energy is clean and efficient!

Therefore, both electric baseboards and heat pumps are green sources of heat.

Pros and Cons of Electric Baseboards

Almost every home in Québec is heated with electric baseboards. They are often installed below windows, generating heat through electrical resistance. The air is heated and rises to the ceiling.

The pros of electric baseboards are:

  • Inexpensive. An electric baseboard is around $50, making it between $600 and $1,000 to outfit a medium-sized home.
  • Easy to Install. Electric baseboards are easy to install and change if one breaks.
  • Easy to Adjust. Electric baseboards heat independently of each other so that you can adjust the temperature of each one individually.
  • Long Lasting, Minimal Maintenance. Generally, electric baseboards have a lifespan of around 25 years and require little to no maintenance.

The cons of electric baseboards are:

  • Minimal Aesthetics. While their overall look has improved, electric baseboards are far from stylish.
  • Restricts Decor and Placement of Furniture. Furniture cannot be placed too close to an electric baseboard for the warm air to circulate correctly. As these units are often under the window, you must also have specific curtains to prevent them from blocking the airflow or even catching fire.
  • Low Performance. While electric baseboards heat the immediate space well, they are not efficient together as a whole. On the energy efficiency rating, they are a one.

What is energy efficiency? The energy efficiency rating is a ratio. It indicates how many heat units are delivered per unit of energy consumed. For example, a rating of three means that three units of heat are generated for every unit of energy consumed. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency. In the case of electric baseboards, one unit of energy generates one single unit of heat. Therefore, electric baseboards are not that efficient in terms of energy consumption.

A medium home outfitted with electric baseboards will average $1,600 per year to heat.

A Deep Dive into Heat Pumps

Heat pumps do not create heat. Instead, they take the energy, or heat, from the outside air and bring it into the house.

The pros of a heat pump are:

  • Heat and Cool. Heat pumps have a double function. They heat your home in the winter and cool your home in the summer.
  • High Performance. The energy efficiency rating of a heat pump ranges from 2.5 to 3, delivering more than it consumes, thus providing you with cost and energy savings.
  • Ecological. Heat pumps use the heat, or energy, from the outside air. This is a renewable energy source, which lowers energy consumption.
  • Long Lasting. A heat pump has a life span of 15 years, on average.
  • Quiet. Modern heat pumps are very quiet. You won’t even know they are on.
  • Efficient in Major Cold. As the technology evolves, many models of heat pumps are efficient up to -30 °C.
  • Personal Comfort. Heat pumps allow the air to circulate throughout your home instead of getting trapped on the ceiling.

The cons of a heat pump are:

  • Exterior Unit. While the interior parts of a heat pump system are next to unnoticeable, the exterior unit is limited in aesthetics.
  • Air Vents. A central system of air vents is necessary for a heat pump to deliver the air. Your home must already be equipped with vents, or you will need to install them before using a central heat pump.
  • Secondary Source of Heating. While most modern heat pumps are efficient up to -30 °C, it is wise to have a secondary heating source when the temperature drops even lower.
  • High Initial Cost. Heat pumps vary in price. Wall-mounted models start at $2,500, and central air systems start at $3,500. There are, however, government grants available according to the model. Once installed, annual heating costs for a medium home are approximately $950.

Contact the Experts to Make the Best Choice

It’s essential to make a wise choice for your home and comfort preferences.

Our team of experts at MST Enterprises is well-versed in the world of heat pumps. Contact us for a quote or information on efficient heating.

After an initial home visit, our technicians will evaluate your needs and home requirements. They will then suggest the ideal way to heat your particular home.

Choosing the appliance to heat your home is not to be taken lightly. You want the best system for optimal comfort and in line with your budget.

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