For area heating, convection and radiant heaters are both common options. They can even use similar components, like finned tubular heating elements. But which is best? We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each heater type to determine which is best for different uses.
To start, an overview of how each heater works:
Convection heaters are indirect heaters, they heat the air that circulates through the target area. Air convection currents are drawn through the heating elements, usually by a fan. The air heats up and circulates throughout the room, raising the temperature of the entire room.
Radiant heaters offer more direct heating. Infrared rays radiate heat out directly to the air in range. These heaters are more directional than convection heaters, covering less area but providing more targeted heating.
The target area being heated is among the biggest differentiators in picking between these heaters. Convection heating is ideal for enclosed spaces. Since it heats circulating air, it’s able to heat an entire room. But this reliance on circulation means it’s only effective in a closed area.
The larger the area, the more difficult it is for a convection heater to achieve and maintain temperature.
For an open environment, like the outdoors, a radiant heater is a better option. It continues to offer effective heating to objects and people within the range of the infrared rays. A radiant heater is also a good choice for heating a more specific area, rather than an entire room.
Another consideration is the timing of the heating. A convection heater performs best when providing heating over a long period of time. It takes more time and energy for a convection heater to achieve target temperature than for a radiant heater to do so. However, once the heat is achieved it’s easy to maintain it.
A radiant heater is better for more intermittent heating. Because the heating is direct, it can reach temperature quickly with minimal energy use. As well, the heat loss is faster when it is turned off, allowing for quicker heat dissipation. This is better for areas that are not frequently in use or that have more variable temperature needs.
Heating the stands in a hockey stadium is a good example of appropriate radiant heat use. The stands really only need the heating during games. As well, the area is too large to heat effectively with a convection heater.
The most energy efficient heater really depends on the heater’s use. For intermittent heating, radiant heaters are much more energy efficient. They require little time or energy to achieve target temperatures. Achieving heat with a convection heater, on the other hand, is slower and more energy intensive.
With the right purpose, and taking advantage of automated thermostat controls convection heaters can be energy efficient as well. When heating an area for an extended period of time the convection heater shines. The heater doesn’t have to run continuously to maintain heat, like a radiant heater.
Instead, the convection heater relies on a controller attached to the thermostat. Once the thermostat reads the room temperature as hitting the desired temperature it shuts off the heater. The heater turns back on if the temperature drops below.
If there are concerns of allergens or contaminants, an infrared radiant heater is generally the better option. Since it doesn’t circulate air like, the heater won’t spread dust or other allergens around the room. As well, it will not spread contaminants around a working facility.
Wattco manufactures and supplies custom-engineered heating solutions for all major industries. Our expertise will help you pick the right heater for your specific application. Contact us today for a quote or more information.
Why is Mineral Oil Used in Thermal Heaters?
Thermal heaters, also known as thermal fluid heaters, employ the use of a thermal liquid such as wat...
What to Use When Heating Wax
Situation A popular chemical compound that often requires heating is wax, which is an organic compou...
What is Passivation? Why do We Need to Passivate Flanged Heaters?
Most of the parts of flanged heaters are made of stainless steel—an alloy that is mainl...
What is a Digital Controller?
Control panels are essential elements of any electrical device. Control panels are especially i...
Vegetable Oil Heating
Food Industries and Vegetable Oil Viscosity In Cleveland Ohio, a large food manufacturer called WATT...
Selecting the Right Electric Heater for Heating Chemicals
Many industrial chemical reactions have to take place at precise temperatures. Some of these reactio...
Methods of Industrial Oil Flushing
Industry machinery and equipment can be touchy sometimes. Hydraulic and lubrication systems need car...
Water Application Documentation
Water temperature is often one of the major considerations for many industrial applications, for exa...
Wattco Duct Heaters In Depth
Wattco has earned its reputation for providing high-quality duct heaters over years of long-standing...
How Do Electric Heaters Help Viscosity of Oil?
Oil flow viscosity is a very real issue out in the oil fields and in other weather-exposed industrie...
.Crude oil, unprocessed fossil fuel, is one of the most important natural resources. In its unproces...
Duct Heating in HVAC and Building Construction
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are used for heating and cooling residenti...
Temperature and Power Controls for Industrial Electric Heating
A control system is an essential part of every industrial heating system. Whereas some applications ...
Wattco’s Guide to Industrial Heaters for the Chemical Industry
In the 21st century we have our ability to control heat to thank for much of the technology which im...
Preheaters of Natural Gas
Natural gas is one of the most commonly used fossil fuel and a nonrenewable source of energy....