# If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???

• 02-05-2013, 01:46 PM
vikasintl
If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
We have two baseboard heaters one has single pole thermostat and another has double pole thermostat.

I was told befor that 'Baseboard heaters are either off or on. When they are on, they are at highest current draw and when they are off there is no current draw. Turning the thermostat very high does not draw any more current than their normal cycle.'

So, it does not save us any money if we choose to set thermostat in the middle setting instead highest setting?
• 02-05-2013, 02:44 PM
keith3267
Re: If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
Yes, the thermostat acts like an on off switch. When they are on, they consume the same amount of electricity regardless of the temperature setting. What does change when you adjust the thermostat is how often and how long they stay on, so a higher setting will cause a higher electric bill simply because it is on longer.

Now some baseboard and other portable electric heaters have a second switch for high/low or even high/med/low. This switch does change the amount of power consumed for a given time frame. This will have little effect on the electric bill over the long run because at any given temperature setting, the heater will run longer in the lower setting or less in the higher setting, but in the end the average consumption will not change much. These still have a thermostat that controls the temperature and that will still determine the total electricity used.

However, many people find that the lowest temperature setting is the most comfortable as the longer running time means less cycling of the room temperature. But the higher settings may be needed on days when it is just too cold for the lower setting to keep up. The higher setting may also be desirable if the heater is on a timer because the higher setting will warm the room up faster. These too still have a separate thermostat that determines the room temperature and ultimately the total power consumption.

There are even heaters now that will automatically adjust so that they go to the high setting as soon as they are turned on the quickly warm up the room, then switch to low to maintain a constant temperature.
• 02-05-2013, 02:50 PM
vikasintl
Re: If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
[QUOTE=keith3267;274067]Yes, the thermostat acts like an on off switch. When they are on, they consume the same amount of electricity regardless of the temperature setting. What does change when you adjust the thermostat is how often and how long they stay on, so a higher setting will cause a higher electric bill simply because it is on longer.

Now some baseboard and other portable electric heaters have a second switch for high/low or even high/med/low. This switch does change the amount of power consumed for a given time frame. This will have little effect on the electric bill over the long run because at any given temperature setting, the heater will run longer in the lower setting or less in the higher setting, but in the end the average consumption will not change much. These still have a thermostat that controls the temperature and that will still determine the total electricity used.

However, many people find that the lowest temperature setting is the most comfortable as the longer running time means less cycling of the room temperature. But the higher settings may be needed on days when it is just too cold for the lower setting to keep up. The higher setting may also be desirable if the heater is on a timer because the higher setting will warm the room up faster.

There are even heaters now that will automatically adjust so that they go to the high setting as soon as they are turned on the quickly warm up the room, then switch to low to maintain a constant temperature.[/QUOTE]

I am talking about single pole thermostat mounted on side of basedboard heater itself, will it use same power if we set it in middle setting or highest setting? please note that this thermostat does not have on and off modes just low and high modes.
• 02-05-2013, 03:01 PM
keith3267
Re: If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
Is there a temperature dial of some kind on it? Is it a plug in unit or is it hard wired into the house and controlled by the room thermostat on the wall?
• 02-05-2013, 03:15 PM
vikasintl
Re: If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
[QUOTE=keith3267;274072]Is there a temperature dial of some kind on it? Is it a plug in unit or is it hard wired into the house and controlled by the room thermostat on the wall?[/QUOTE]

It is 1500 watts hard wired metal baseboard heater with temperature dial with low/high.
It is not a plug in unit or thermostat is not on the wall
thermostat is on the baseboard heater itself on left side.
• 02-11-2013, 05:05 PM
gerardmatthews
Re: If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
Keith is correct. Most hardwired baseboard heaters are ON or OFF. Your power bill will be based on how long (minutes, hours, days) it has been on during that billing cycle. The HIGH/LOW setting on your unit is likely a rough thermostat that will determine how often the unit will kick on.

And if you want to geek out a little you can calculate how much you will have to pay for that power. Just take the total estimated hours that the unit has been on during that month or day. Multiply it by 1.5 (1500 Watts) and then multiply it by your electric rate (probably somewhere around \$0.10). Example: 24 hours x 1.5 x \$0.10 would be \$3.60 for one day of heating where the baseboard was putting out heat non-stop for 24 hours. In actual practice the unit would be kicking on and off and likely run 2-8 hours a day depending on how cold it is outside.
• 02-11-2013, 09:41 PM
The Semi-Retired Electric
Re: If baseboard heater is on they use highest current ???
Vikasintl, all good answers (above). The heater acts just like a light bulb. When it's "on" current is being consumed.

In the "high" setting it's like a bigger bulb is being switched "on" and "off" by the thermostat.

Usually a proper setting (high or low) is when the "off" time equals the "on" time. That's called a 50% duty cycle.