Electric Immersion Heaters: Frequently Asked Questions

What is an electric immersion heater?

Electric immersion heaters are devices, usually applied in an industrial context, that heat water (or other substances) through an electric heating element. Industrial electric immersion heaters attain high temperatures in a variety of substances such as water, oils, gases, and solvents. It heats the substance through direct contact.

Industrial electric immersion heaters can be utilized in many different industries, including processing industries for petroleum, chemicals, oil and gas, as well as in the food industry. The main purpose is to either bring substances to high temperatures or to help prevent liquids form freezing. Their use is often in tandem with large tanks, pressure vessels, or other containers. Industrial-level electric immersion heaters are an efficient, quick and cost-effective method for process heating.

What are the advantages of electric immersion heaters?

The main purpose of electric immersion heaters (especially at an industrial level) is to help liquids reach and maintain the correct temperature. This is important in the process industry for several different reasons. The first advantage is that the effective use of immersion heaters keeps the flow of production continuous. This ensures that the target substances don’t alter or change the temperature in a way that affects the production line.

Secondly, process industries most commonly involve massive quantities of the given substance or liquid; electric immersion heaters are the best option for maintaining these large amounts at the correct temperature.

Thirdly, electric immersion heaters at the industrial level have the added advantage of being both relatively inexpensive and effective, meaning that manufacturers have less up-front and long-term costs through the use of these heating elements.

What are the types of electric immersion heaters?

The two main types of electric immersion heaters are in-line (or circulation) and over-the-side heaters. Over the side immersion heaters are perhaps the most basic application, because it requires no special installation and is easily removed for servicing. These are most common in tanks. The heating element fully immerses in the liquid either on the side or at the bottom of the tank.

The design of these heaters are compatible with nearly any standard tank, and they are customizeable to fit a non-standardized tank. Circulation (or in-line) heaters are relatively compact systems for heating both fluids and gases. They are usually utilized for purified gases, de-ionized water and placed in a semiconductor, because the substance requires constant movement. The major advantage of using inline immersion heaters with substances like oil is its combined ability to control the temperature and regulate the viscosity of the substance.

What are the applications for electric immersion heaters?

These heaters are essential in a wide range of industries; this includes petroleum, chemical, process heating, oil and gas, and even food industries, with the main purpose of helping keep liquids at the correct temperature. More than that, electric immersion heaters see use in various applications within the industrial manufacturing and industrial processing fields. There are many different types of electric immersion heaters. So it’s a fairly simple matter to find the heating element that will best suit the specific project or process.

How do electric immersion heaters work?

Electric heating elements take two primary forms: direct immersion heaters and indirect immersion heaters. Direct immersion heaters, as the name implies, immerse the main heating element directly into the liquid. Whereas indirect immersion heaters conduct heat through radiation or convection. Therefore, over-the-side heaters and in-line heaters are considered direct immersion heaters, since the sheath (or terminal housing) that covers the heating element is inserted directly into the desired medium, while pipe heaters and infrared heaters are considered indirect heating elements, since no contact with the substance is made.    

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