Heating a building with electricity

What’s the best way to go about heating a building with electricity? Want to know what electric resistance heating is and whether it makes sense to use it?

Energy.gov calls electric resistance heating 100 percent energy efficient because all of the incoming electric energy gets converted to heat.

Sounds great, right? However, the U.S. Department of Energy says most electricity comes from coal, gas, or oil generators, and those generators change only about 30 percent of the energy into electricity. The Department of Energy says that causes electric heat to many times be more expensive than heat that comes from combustion appliances, or the more common types of heating that come from propane, oil, and natural gas furnaces.

Electricity as heat

heat pump circuit boardAccording to the U.S. Department of Energy, if electricity stands as the only option for a heating system, it’s a good idea to use heat pumps. The Department of Energy says heat pumps are better than electric resistance heating because heat pumps only use half the electricity that electric resistance heating does.

The Department of Energy says dry climates with either hot or mixed temperatures are the exception because those climates don’t have a lot of days where heat is needed.

According to the Department of Energy, electric resistance heating is plausible when people add on to their home when it wouldn’t make sense to extend their current heating system to heat the new portion of the home.

Electric Furnaces

electric-furnaceThe Department of Energy says that centralized forced-air electric furnaces could provide electric resistance heat, as could having heaters in each room of a building. Of the electric resistance heating systems that it discusses, the Department of Energy ranks electric furnaces as the most expensive. The Department reasons that the ducts that electric furnaces use lose heat, and extra energy is needed to distribute heated air throughout the home.

The Department of Energy explains that an electric furnace doesn’t overwork a home’s electrical because the furnace’s heating elements will kick in in stages. Those elements, as the Deparment of Energy lays out, are a set of three to seven electric resistance coils. Energy.gov also says that electric furnaces have a built-in thermostat that the furnace uses in order to not overheat.

Electric thermal storage heaters

electric storage heaterOf all the types of electric resistance heaters it goes through, the Department of Energy lists electric thermal storage heaters as one of the more efficient types. The Department of Energy explains that electric thermal storage heaters help consumers save money because they help the consumer take advantage of the fact that some electricity providers charge more during the day and less at night.

The Department of Energy says that resistance heaters that have their elements in ceramic are most common.


The Department of Energy says that a thermostat is necessary to control any electric resistance heating system. Energy.gov also says that baseboard heaters use a different type of thermostat than other heating devices.

Which household appliances use the most electricity?

Have you ever taken a look around your house and wondered which appliances use the most electricity?

Knowing which of your appliances is costing you the most on your electric bill may not be something you think about often, but it’s great information to know. It could even help you save money on your electric bill in the future.

The major electricity users


Sparkenergy.com lays out in an excellent table information on everyday appliances that we may take for granted at times, but information that is great for our personal bottom line. According to their research, if you have a central air/heating system, that could be using up to 15,000 watts per hour, which at a dime per kilowatt-hour, would be costing you $1.50 an hour.

They’ve ranked the clothes dryer and the water heater the second-most expensive appliances. Those two are more common than a central air/heating system. According to their research, the dryer and the water heater each consume on average 4,000 watts per hour for a 10-cent-per-kilowatt-hour cost of 40 cents per hour.

Coming in third on spark energy’s list is a water pump, which they estimate usually consumes 3,000 watts per hour, costing those who are charged a dime per kilowatt hour 30 cents per hour.

A surprising twist

electricityA refrigerator, which you may think uses a lot of electricity with it being plugged in and running all the time, actually ranks lower on spark energy’s list than you might think. Spark energy ranked it sixth, along with an electric range burner, saying they both on average use 1,000 watts of electricity per hour. That usage rate would cost those who are charged 10 cents per kilowatt-hour 10 cents per hour.

Everyone would like to save money somewhere. Electricity can become a big expense, so knowing where and how to cut costs is key. Understanding your appliances and how they run is a major step to cutting your energy costs, saving you money.

NickAbout the author: Nick came to Visual Element Media with a journalism background. Prior to Visual Element Media, he worked in both sports journalism and college athletics communication. He’s an avid basketball player, sports fan, and Star Wars fanatic. Outside of Visual Element Media, he coaches junior high boys basketball and assists with the varsity and JV boys teams at Bishop Carroll.