By Gene and Katie Hamilton
When you need to run heat to a room that's far from the furnace ducts of a central system, it might be less expensive to install an electric wall heater that operates on its own, separate from the system. It's not the most economical type of heat, but it may be the most expedient way to warm up the space. These units are also a good source of add-on heat in a room where an existing system isn't adequate. For example, we had one in a bedroom where a heat pump just wasn't enough on particularly cold, windy days.
An electrician will charge $527 to install a good quality, 3000-watt heater which includes labor and material. This type of unit cannot be wired to the existing house circuit, so it's a job best left to a professional. If you have experience with electrical projects, you can buy the heater for $315 and install it in the wall, then hire an electrician to wire it up.
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Locate the unit in a room that maximizes its heating power by placing it low on a wall where it is unobstructed by furniture. Make sure you check with your local building department about the code requirements for wiring. And when you’re working on any electrical project, make sure to turn off the power at the circuit panel or fuse box.
See advice from Air & Water How to Install Wall Heaters.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to install an electric wall heater with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020