If you want to use electric heat in your home, most people go with baseboard heaters. This has more to do with tradition than with designer superiority. If you are willing to stray from the norm, you can get better performance, comfort, and safety from cove heating.
Baseboard heaters get their name from the fact they they are installed along the base of the walls in your home, where your baseboards typically go. They use a heating element to warm air that flows through them. As hot air rises from the furnace, it will displace cold air in your room, which creates a current as cold air rushes toward the heater to replace the hot air rising from it. The problem with this system is that the heating element can be damaged and/or obstructed by placing furniture right up against it. Furthermore, small children and pets are at risk of bumping into heaters and getting burned. Cove heaters, which get their name from the fact that they are installed along the top of your walls where cove trim usually goes, present none of the risk associated with their baseboard counterparts.
Unlike baseboard heaters, which use an element to heat air, cove heaters use a panel coated with vitreous enamel to radiate heat around a room. You might think that placing your heaters at the top of a wall will prevent them from properly heating your home. This is not true. Heat can be directed because hot air, not heat, rises. Thus, from its position high on a wall, a cove heater can direct heat through your home in much the same way that the heat from the sun can warm your home. Thus, sitting beneath a cove heater will give you the same feeling of warmth that you get from sitting in a sunlit window.
The radiant heat provided by cove heaters is more efficient than the direct heat provided by a baseboard heater. The reason for this is that they are more effective in distributing heat, and as they warm objects in your home, these objects will act as heat reserves to continue heating a room even after the heater turns off. Thus, if your only interest is saving money, cove heaters are still a better choice.
Electricity is cheaper than natural gas, so it makes sense to use electric heaters in your home as you try to keep your heating costs down. To get the most efficient, safe, and comfortable heat for your home, you should choose cove heaters instead of baseboard models. For more information about your heating options, contact a company like Erickson Plumbing & Heating.