How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Baseboard Heater?

Typical Range:

$379 - $1,213

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 296 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated August 22, 2022

Reviewed by Salvatore Cutrona, Licensed Master Electrician.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Installing an electric baseboard heater costs between $379 and $1,213 for most homeowners, with an average price of $784. This range fluctuates according to the size of the appliance and its heating power, with low-powered models starting at $280 and powerful 4,000-watt models costing as much as $1,400. These costs include the labor costs of hiring a local electrician and installation materials, in addition to the heater itself. 

Electric Baseboard Heat Cost Calculator

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National Average $784
Typical Range $379 - $1,213
Low End - High End $100 - $2,500

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 296 HomeAdvisor members.

Estimating Electric Baseboard Heater Installation Costs

Costs for a new electric baseboard heater, including labor ranging from $200 to $400, and unit costs ranging from $40 to $650

Installing an electric baseboard heater is relatively simple for professionals, though beyond the scope of most homeowners to do on their own. The project fees are split evenly between materials and labor, but there are also some unexpected costs like permit fees to look out for. 

Baseboard Heater Unit Costs

Electric baseboard heaters cost $40 to $650, depending on the size and wattage. However, most homeowners require more than one heater when heating large rooms or achieving a whole-home solution. If you own a 1,500-square-feet house, for instance, you’ll need at least 10 of these heaters, at a total cost of $400 to $6,500.

Labor Costs of Installation

Labor is the other main cost factor when installing an electric baseboard heater. You’ll pay $200 to $400 for labor, as hiring an electrician costs $50 to $100 per hour. The installation process takes around four hours per unit, so labor costs increase with the number of heaters you are installing. In some cases, installations also require a thermostat, which takes another two hours at an additional cost of $100 to $200. 

Permit Fees

In many parts of the country, you’ll need a permit to install a new electric baseboard heater, as these appliances are a fire risk when improperly connected. Permit fees for this type of work costs between $50 to $350, depending on how many circuits, amps, and heater units you are adding to the home, in addition to area-specific rules and regulations. Talk to your pro, as they’ll know your local requirements and can help speed the process along.

Overage

Installing electric baseboard heaters is not a one-size-fits-all procedure, so it’s a good idea to account for an overage of anywhere from 5% to 10% of your total budget. This ensures a successful installation even if unforeseen issues pop up, such as an electrician discovering that your current circuit breaker needs immediate repair or that the wiring is old and inefficient, requiring replacement.

Heater Size Price Range
2 feet $40 – $70
3 feet $80 – $110
4 feet $120 – $150
5 feet $200 – $225
6 feet $250 – $275
7 feet $300 – $325
8 feet $350 – $380
9 feet $450 – $500
10 feet $575 – $650
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Cost to Install an Electric Baseboard Heater by Home Size

If you are using electric baseboard heaters to safely heat your entire home, square footage is the most important metric to understand. When it comes to calculating your heating needs, aim to slightly oversize the required wattage to account for any inefficiencies, as this boosts energy efficiency and comfort. Additionally, under-sizing the required wattage is not recommended, as this presents a fire risk. 

The table below illustrates the typical wattage required to heat a 150-square-foot space, or 1,350 watts at 240 volts, in addition to equipment costs.

Home Size Equipment Cost Range
800 – 1,000 sq. ft. $2,400 – $2,800
1,200 – 1,400 sq. ft. $3,200 – $4,000
1,500 – 1,700 sq. ft. $4,000 – $4,800
1,800 – 2,200 sq. ft. $4,800 – $6,000
2,300 – 3,000 sq. ft $6,400 – $8,000

How Many Baseboard Heaters Do You Need?

The number of heaters required does not depend on the size of your home, rather it hinges on how many rooms you are heating and the size of each room. The heating power of each appliance varies depending on wattage and amps. For instance, a medium-sized room of 500 square feet requires a single 4,500-watt unit or multiple units adding up to 4,500 watts to provide sufficient warmth.

With that in mind, here are some average home sizes and the number of electric baseboard heaters typically required. Talk to your pro for specific information tailored to your home’s unique architectural design.

Home Size Number of Baseboard Heaters Required
800 – 1,000 sq. ft. 6 – 7
1,200 – 1,400 sq. ft. 8 – 10
1,500 – 1,700 sq. ft. 10 – 12
1,800 – 2,200 sq. ft. 12 – 15
2,300 – 3,000 sq. ft 16 – 20
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Electric Baseboard Heater Installation Cost by Room Size

Baseboard heaters are not the preferred option for a whole-home heating system, as they primarily excel with adding a heating boost to parts of the home where a pre-existing HVAC system does not reach. To heat a single room, your best bet is choosing a heater with enough wattage to warm up the whole space. In other words, it’s less expensive to heat a single 300-square-foot room than to heat three individual 100-square-foot rooms. 

Here are some common room sizes and equivalent price ranges for purchasing electric baseboard heaters to cover the entire space.

Room Size Equipment Cost Range
64 sq. ft. $40 – $150
80 sq. ft. $50 – $185
100 sq.ft. $75 – $250
150 sq. ft. $100 – $300
300 sq. ft. $150 – $700
400 sq. ft. $275 – $800
500 sq. ft. $300 – $1,000

Factors That Influence the Cost of Electric Baseboard Heater Installation

There are a number of factors that impact the cost of baseboard heater installation, all of which are worth considering. 

Purchasing in the Off Season

Purchasing your baseboard heaters in spring or summer often gets you a better price than waiting until winter. Plus, installation is often more affordable during the off season, too, as electricians aren't as busy and may offer discounts and deals that you wouldn't get during busier periods. Of course, this varies depending on location. Also, don’t expect too much of a discount on the equipment when purchasing during the hotter months, as they top off at 10% to 15%

Type of Thermostat

Homeowners have plenty of options when it comes to the thermostat affiliated with an electric baseboard heater. Some models come with a built-in thermostat, but many require a second standalone unit. These thermostat types range in price and feature sets, so talk to your electrician to see if the cost of the thermostat is grouped in with the total cost estimate of the job or if it requires additional funds. 

On average, thermostats cost $20 to $500 to purchase the unit it self, with labor coming in at $100 to $200. This price range, however, fluctuates depending on the type of thermostat you choose. 

  • Simple two-pole thermostats: The standard two-pole dial thermostat is the most budget-friendly option, costing between $20–$100 plus labor. These functional units are not programmable.

  • Mid-range thermostats: These programmable and multi-featured units cost $50–$250, plus installation. On the low end of this spectrum, you’ll find simple daily programming options, while more expensive versions allow for more customization throughout the week, via multiple temperature selections for different days and times. 

  • Smart thermostats: High-end thermostats are expensive, at $100–$500 plus labor. The feature sets, however, are rich, as these units offer smart assistant integration and smartphone control. Some even “learn” your routine to reduce energy costs. 

Running Costs

There is no way around it: Baseboard heaters are expensive to run. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Energy recognizes this type of heater as being one of the most expensive systems to operate. To suss out your monthly energy cost to run one of these units, take the heater’s wattage and divide it by 1,000. Multiply this number by how many hours per day you run the unit, which gets you kilowatt hours. Finally, multiply the kilowatt hours by the kWh rates issued by your energy provider. This is your daily cost for running the heater. 

There are some ways to save money to offset the costs of using electric baseboard heaters. 

  • Go with a 240-volt heater, as they are more energy-efficient when compared to 120-volt models. 

  • Be frugal, as every degree above 68 degrees Fahrenheit raises usage costs by about 5%

  • Add more insulation to the home to keep energy costs down when using an electric heater. Putting in new insulation costs $1,400–$6,300, but pays for itself over time. 

  • Only use the heater when someone is actually in the space. For example, don’t turn on the bedroom heater if you spend most of your daylight hours elsewhere in the home. 

Here are the typical running costs for baseboard heaters based on 1,350-watt units running for 10 hours per day, seven days a week, at an average price of $0.13 per kilowatt.

Number of Heaters Monthly Usage Cost Range
One unit $50 – $60
Two units $100 – $120
Three units $150 – $180
Four units $200 – $240
Five units $250 – $300

Maintenance Costs

Electric baseboard heaters are fairly straightforward, requiring only occasional maintenance. To ensure peak efficiency, keep your heater clean and free from dust, debris, and moisture. If you notice any rust, apply a rust remover to stop it from spreading and fill in any gaps in the pipes or baseboard with high-heat sealant. An annual inspection is also a great idea to minimize the risk of repair issues. Wrap this procedure up with your regular HVAC inspection. After all, an annual HVAC inspection costs far less than the price of baseboard heater repair or replacement. With proper maintenance, expect your heaters to last around 20 years

Additional Equipment

Installing a heater and its associated thermostat is enough for many homeowners. However, there are additional items of equipment that add features or provide extra stability and safety during use. 

  • Safety covers: Electric baseboard heater safety covers cost $50–$170 and they protect people from accidentally putting their hand inside of the unit and getting burned. 

  • Brackets: Heater-specific wall brackets cost $6–$10 per bracket and help with installing a baseboard heater when the distance from the floor to the top of the unit is less than 7 12 inches

  • Outlet receptacles: Placing your heater underneath a power outlet will eventually melt the plastic components of the outlet itself. Luckily, you can buy heater-specific outlet receptacles for $20–$30 to solve this problem.

FAQs

Are electric baseboard heaters safe?

As long as they are installed correctly, electric baseboard heaters are perfectly safe. These heaters do not use fire and do not release harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You should practice due diligence to ensure animals and children avoid the hot surface. Purchase a dedicated cover to alleviate these concerns. 

Is electric baseboard heat expensive?

Yes, it's expensive to run a baseboard heater when compared to other options, though there are energy-efficient models available for purchase. These heaters are more expensive than standard units, but convert 100% of electricity into heat without any waste. While monthly running costs are high, there are ways to lessen the strain such as beefing up insulation and only running the unit when necessary. 

Are new electric baseboard heaters more energy efficient?

Yes, newer electric baseboard heaters are more energy-efficient than older models and the technology is constantly advancing. Still, this type of heater is more costly to run than comparable options such as a central heat pump. 

How often should electric baseboard heaters be replaced?

With proper care and maintenance, a high-quality electric baseboard heater lasts anywhere from 15 to 20 years. This figure varies depending on how much you use it, the materials used in construction, and several other factors. It is also worth noting that these heaters lose up to 7% transmission efficiency as they age.

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