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The best electric baseboard thermostat is the thermostat that provides the greatest convenience, efficiency and safety for your heating system and fits within your budget. Different types of thermostats appeal to one aspect over another. For example, baseboard thermostats built in to the baseboard heater are inexpensive to purchase and easy to install, but they can be inconvenient to operate. Programmable thermostats are more expensive but can be set to turn off at a certain time, saving money and improving energy efficiency.
Some thermostats are safer then others. The single-pole thermostat supplies constant power to the heater even when it is turned off, but double-pole thermostats are safer but more difficult to install. Double-pole thermostats allow you to completely turn off the electric baseboard heater, but single-pole thermostats might turn on even when the dial is set to the lowest thermostat setting.
Electric baseboard heaters are extremely efficient appliances, converting nearly 100 percent of the energy into heat. Most electricity, however, is generated in power plants that burn oil or coal, converting less than half of the energy into electricity. The expenses of electricity generation and the loss of transmission from the power plant to your home translate into higher electric bills. Electric heaters are therefore usually more expensive to run than gas- or oil-fueled heaters. Take into account the high cost of electricity when choosing an electric thermostat.
Programmable electric baseboard thermostats are very popular and energy- efficient, because a homeowner can preset the thermostat to his or her desired settings for day and night operation. Sophisticated thermostats will even manage multiple heaters throughout the house in heating zones for various days of the week. Installing a programmable thermostat requires some electrical skills, because the thermostat is hard-wired into the home's electrical wiring system. Also consider the cost of repairing an electric baseboard thermostat. The more sophisticated programmable thermostats contain complex circuitry that can be expensive to repair if something goes awry.
Wall thermostats are available as single-pole or double-pole devices. A single-pole electric baseboard thermostat has no "off" position. The single-pole device is not as safe as the double-pole electric baseboard thermostat, because the single-pole type provides constant voltage to the heater even when the dial is turned down. This might pose a hazard for any person who performs electrical work on the thermostat or heater. The double-pole electric baseboard thermostat has an "off" setting and disables electricity to the baseboard heater, but it is more complicated to install.
A heater-mounted electric baseboard thermostat generally is the least expensive to purchase and is easy to install, but it lacks the convenience of its wall-mounted counterparts. You must bend over to the level of the baseboard to operate the built-in electric baseboard thermostat. A heater-mounted thermostat is best suited for an infrequently used heater or a small space heater installed in a room addition.