Heat Pump vs Baseboard Heaters

Late last year we revamped the studio downstairs which involved removing the wood stove to make space. We were never happy with the location of the wood stove, which was in the corner of the basement taking up a huge footprint and requiring us to make our living space downstairs if we wanted to feel any of the warmth, when we really wanted to use the upstairs space with the large windows for hanging out. Not to mention the cost of seasoned firewood here is $250-300 a cord, and we could easily burn a couple cords a season. If you can even get it, that is, firewood is pretty in demand due to all the wood stoves here.

After having the chimney inspected we learned the stove did not meet code requirements which prevented us from getting it WETT certified, therefore we could not get home insurance that covered fires that originated in the stove or chimney. This was a risk we did not want to take and to replace and relocate the wood stove was too costly for us, so we just took it out. That left us relying on electric baseboards for our heat, and due to the cost of running them we have never really turned them on properly. Our house was always cold!

This winter I was home full time for the first time since moving here, and also pregnant, and I was frustrated at the house being freezing cold while I was laid out sick on the couch. So I caved and we turned on all the heaters and ran them 24/7 for December and January just figuring we would deal with the expense later (at least I would be warm!) We learned pretty quick just how ridiculously ineffective they actually are after discovering to warm the house to a tolerable level we basically had to crank them to the max of 25C… and then there was the cost. Two months of running the baseboard heaters stuck us with a pretty surprising bill of $710.00!!! We knew it would be costly, but that is just ludicrous and completely unsustainable.

Lucky for us my Mom offered to buy us a heat pump so we could adequately heat our home and not have to pay through the nose. WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT MADE.

I am such a huge fan of heat pumps now. They work by extracting heat from outside air and blowing it into the house, and when it is hot outside it draws cold air and acts as an air conditioner. It uses way less electricity and is super effective. The baseboard heaters warm using a metal coil inside radiating heat up from the unit itself, but doesn’t actually spread the heat anywhere. The heat pump has a fan that blows the warm air into the home and one unit can heat over 1200sf, so our entire upper level is heated with the one installation, whereas the baseboard heaters were located in each room (kitchen, living, bedroom, bathroom and hallway, each with a separate thermostat).

We have had the heat pump set at the minimum temperature of 16C since the install and it has heated the whole upstairs to a lovely tropical temperature haha. So much better than the lousy baseboards! It’s quiet, easy to control, and we are also looking forward to having an air conditioner during the summer.

BC Hydro also offers a rebate of $800 for customers that install a heat pump to replace electric baseboard heat in their home, which is just an extra bonus for us. If anyone else is thinking about making this switch I would definitely encourage you to do so! We haven’t gotten our first hydro bill yet but are expecting it to be a lot less than $355/mo to operate the heat pump. Plus we can now remove the ugly baseboard heaters, they just collect dust and bugs haha.

The first photo shows the indoor unit, which gets mounted on an exterior wall, and the last photo shows the fan unit that goes outside. It’s a pretty simple set up that has made a huge difference. Two thumbs up!

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