Natural- VS Forced-Draft Burners

Natural Draft BurnerBurners immensely impactful equipment across multiple industries. They are used in the production, transport, and refinement of all sorts of product we use in our daily lives.

They are especially valuable in the oil and gas industry, where they are involved in upstream, midstream, and downstream processes. One of their key functions is in creating products like gasoline and other fuel oils through hydrocarbon production. Burners also play multiple roles in hydrocarbon processing and refinement.

In oil and gas refineries these heaters are involved in separation, dehydration, and compression.

To accomplish this myriad of important tasks, there are two basic types of burner; forced- and natural-draft.

Differences Between Natural- and Forced-Draft Burners


Forced-draft burners function use power to create their own ambient conditions. This allows them to create more pressure, and have greater control over it. This burner type keeps air/flue gases above the atmospheric pressure. This pressure facilitates the flow of the gases through the burner.

Natural-draft burners, by contrast, do not create their own pressure. So their air/flue gases use the density of ambient gases to create flow.


A natural-draft burner is a much less complex piece of equipment. They have a simple design and fewer moving parts. This makes them a more cost-effective solution. As well, the lack of need to create pressure means savings on energy costs.


While natural is cheaper, forced-draft burners are far more efficient. Oil and gas processing operations often find their efficiency outweighs their cost-effectiveness.

Their greater degree of control furthers this benefit. They are not bound by atmospheric and ambient conditions. Thus reducing delays or unscheduled downtime.


The simpler design of natural-draft burners goes beyond makingthem more cost-effective. It also reduces maintenance requirements, reduces risk of failure, and results in fewer repairs. In this way, natural burners can also be effective at avoiding unscheduled downtime.

Access to Power

The cost, access, and availability of power can also determine the best burner type. In remote locations, for instance, power sources may be more limited, more expensive, or less reliable. In these instances, natural burners may be a better solution.

Compatibility With Electric Heaters

Another important consideration in selecting a burner is it’s compatibility. As industries are rapidly adopting the advantages of electric heaters, it is becoming essential to make sure equipment functions with them.

In this instance, both forced- and natural-draft burners are compatible with electric heaters. Electricity is a versatile energy source. Not only does it work well with a variety of equipment, it also is compatible with emerging energy sources like wind, solar, and battery.

Electric Heater Quotes

Wattco custom manufactures electric heaters and heating equipment for all major industries and applications. Our engineers work with you to select everything from the right burner type, to heater materials, settings, and configurations. All specifically matched to your projects needs and budget.

Contact Wattco today for electric heater quotes and information

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