Baseboard heaters aren't the most efficient way to heat a room, but you can get the most from your heaters by knowing how they work and how to use them effectively.
How they work
Baseboard heaters use a process called electric resistance to heat a room. The electric cables inside the heater warm the air that passes through it.
As this warm air rises out the top of the heater, it pulls colder air into the bottom. This cycle continues until the air entering the heater reaches the temperature specified by the thermostat.
Using baseboard heaters effectively
The key to baseboard heaters is airflow - anything blocking the flow of air into and out of the heating unit will decrease the energy efficiency. If you have furniture or draperies in front of your baseboard heaters, move them out of the away. If you have thick carpet, cut away an area around the heater to let air in underneath.
It's also a good idea to vacuum the coils regularly - a coating of dust and dirt can reduce the amount of heat produced, increase the energy consumption and shorten its lifespan.
If you don't want to heat rooms you're not using, turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees - but don't shut it all the way off. Water pipes under the floor could freeze at lower temperatures, and the cold air from the unheated room can seep into the rest of the house.