Tips & Tricks

Convert Baseboard Heat to Forced Air (and How Much It Costs)

Replacing baseboard heaters with forced air systems is a common decision that a lot of homeowners make. While electric baseboard heaters are easier and cheaper to install than forced air systems (or hydronic baseboard heaters), they are also less energy-efficient and can hurt your wallet in the long run.

How much does it cost to convert electric baseboard heat to forced air heat, however? Sadly, to change baseboard heating to forced air you’ll need to do some major renovations to your home as you’ll need to fully remove the baseboard heating system and then install a new forced air system in its place.

This means that you’ll need to:

  1. Do some wall repairs where the old heaters used to be. If you get a professional’s help for removing the old heaters the price for that should be below $100 per heater but that can depend on where you live and whether there are any specifics to your particular heaters.
  2. Deal with the mold or rot that often comes with leaky hydronic baseboard systems if that’s what you had.
  3. With electric baseboard systems, you’ll also need to remove all the wiring behind and between the heaters as those can be a fire hazard if you try to just hide them in the walls.
  4. Then, you’ll have to install the furnace and the AC system. These can vary a lot in their price depending on what volume, power, and size you’re looking for. A good furnace and AC set can go for around $4,000 or $5,000 but it can be more if you need something special.
  5. Next, you’ll have to get the ducts and other materials installed. This will usually cost ~$5,000 per 1000 square feet of living space.
  6. Lastly, there’s all the cover-up and patching work – opening up holes and runs in walls and ceilings, covering exposed ductwork with bulkheads, painting and taping over everything, and so on. A good drywaller, painter and taper should be able to get everything done for several thousand dollars on average, again – depending on the size of the property and the system. If you also get professional help for the clean up after the construction you can expect that to cost several hundred dollars as well.

All in all, to convert baseboard heat to forced air heat you won’t save money from the fact that you’ve had a previous heating system, to the contrary – it will cost extra to remove the old system before you can install the new one. Replacing a hydronic baseboard system is even more expensive on average as they are bigger and clumsier to remove than electric ones.

We can’t give you an exact number because of all the additional and individual factors that go in the whole process but you can almost always expect the process to cost a 5-digit sum, usually between $20,000 and $30,000.

This doesn’t’ mean that it’s a bad idea to switch from baseboard to forced air heating – electric baseboard heaters, especially, are less cost-efficient than forced air or hydronic baseboard systems so you’ll still save money in the long run.

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