Electric Heaters

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Most of the popular heaters on the market are usually powered by either electricity or fuel (either propane or kerosene). While both types of heaters have their own individual benefits, electric heaters seem to be the most popular option because they're often inexpensive to purchase and easy to maintain. In fact, 90% of the heaters we carry use electricity to provide warmth.

Electric heaters primarily work by converting electricity into heat via an electric resistor within the heater, and an electric current flowing through the resistor then coverts the electric energy into heat energy.

Some of the benefits of an electric heater are obvious - electricity is available anywhere, and electric heaters do not require any fuel to be stored.

In that respect, electric heaters do not emit pollutants into the area being heated, but they're still generated using fossil fuels. In terms of operating costs, electric heaters can sometimes be costly when used at peak times, so it's important to be prudent when running an electric heater. If used intermittently, an electric heater can be relatively inexpensive to run, but depending on your heating needs, they may not be as cost effective as a unit with the same output utilizing gas.

It's also important to understand safety issues when purchasing a heater.  Some of the older models of heaters available in second-hand shops do not have safety features such as tip over switches in place, and some heating fires can occur with the use of an electric heater. However, many new models of electric heaters are required to pass rigid safety tests in order to ensure safe operation. Wire grills, tilt switches, automatic shutoff controls, and thermostat controls are all safety features to look for when purchasing an electric heater. Also, because oil-filled heaters have lower surface temperatures than most other types of heaters, they're usually safer than most.

In terms of design variations, although all electric heaters use the same basic principle to generate heat, there are differences in how electric heaters provide heat to the environment. Here are some different electric heating methods available:

Common Electric Heating Methods

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Convection Heaters:

  • They are relatively silent and provide a low risk of fire hazard.

  • They are great for providing background warmth in a closed space.

  • Convection heaters warm the air near the element or body of the heater by using air convection currents to generate heat.

  • They generate heat using air convection currents, which circulate throughout the appliance and across the heating element.

  • Examples of convection heaters are oil-filled radiators, which are perfect for personal spaces such as under desks; and electric baseboard heaters, which can efficiently heat rooms such as a bedroom or lounge area.

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Infrared Heaters (or Radiant Heaters):

  • They transfer thermal energy via electromagnetic waves.

  • Heat is emitted or radiated from the heated object or substance, and only objects are warmed (as opposed to entire areas).

  • They're relatively quiet, and no contact or medium between two bodies is needed for this energy transfer, making these heaters energy efficient.

  • Infrared heaters are great for multi-purpose use.

  • They're especially effective for industrial use in warehouses, and even greenhouses, where high temperatures are required to be quickly reached, when temperature gradients are needed, or when areas need to be heated in a targeted way.

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Fan Heaters: 

  • A fan heater is a type of convection heater that uses a fan to pass air over a heating element in order to speed up the airflow.

  • Fan heaters provide extremely rapid heating in a room.

  • However, they aren't as effective at providing background warmth when compared to convection heaters, and can sometimes be a little louder.

  • They work well in areas where installing other types of heating devices would be impractical.

  • Fan heaters should not be left unattended.

  • Examples of fan heaters would be portable fan garage heaters, which are placed on the floor and provide blasts of warm air onto the body.


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