Most Québec homes heat with electric baseboards. 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 electricity is the source of 97% of all energy consumed in Québec, greatly 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, and the heat is generated 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 $1000 total to outfit a medium sized home.
  • Easy to Install. Electric baseboards are easy to install and easy to change out in the event that one breaks.
  • Easy to Adjust. Electric baseboards heat independently of each other, and so you can adjust the temperature of each one individually.
  • Long Lasting, Minimal Maintenance. Generally, electric baseboards have a lifespan of around 25 years, during which they require little to no maintenance.

The cons of electric baseboards are:

  • Minimal Aesthetics. While their overall look has improved over time, electric baseboards are far from stylish.
  • Restricts Decor and Placement of Furniture. Furniture cannot be placed too close to an electric baseboard, in order for the warm air to circulate properly. As these units are often under the window, it requires that you also have specific curtains, to prevent them from blocking the air flow 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 units of heat are delivered per unit of energy consumed. For example, a rating of three means that for every unit of energy consumed, three units of heat are generated. 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.

In total, a medium home outfitted with electric baseboards will cost on average $1600 per year to heat.

A Deep Dive into Heat Pumps

Heat pumps do not create heat. Rather, 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.
  • Ecological. Heat pumps use the heat, or energy, from the outside air. This is a renewable energy source, which actually 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, as opposed to 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 vital exterior unit is limited when it comes to 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 the heat pump.
  • Secondary Source of Heating. While most modern heast pumps are efficient up to -30 °C, it is wise to have a secondary source of heating when the temperature drops even lower.
  • High Initial Cost. Heat pumps vary in price. Wall models start at $2500 and full central air systems start at $3500. There are, however, government grants available according to the model. Once installed, annual heating costs for a medium home is approximately $950.

Contact the Experts to Make the Best Choice

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

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

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

Choosing the best system to heat your home is not something to take lightly. You want to be sure to get the best system for your optimal comfort, and in line with your budget.

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