Electric Heaters

Types of Portable Electric Heaters

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The two main types of heating used for electric heaters are radiant and convective. Radiant heaters predominately heat people and objects by direct radiation of heat. Convective heaters warm and circulate the air in a room through convection.

A combination of radiant and convective heating is best for large rooms with high ceilings. In small spaces, convective heating is effective. For rooms with draughts like bathrooms, radiant heating works well.

Radiant Heaters

A radiant heater radiates heat from a heating element. They are relatively inexpensive, costing as little as $20 to $200. They are suitable for bathrooms as they are almost instant to heat; warming your body directly and quickly. However because the heating element is exposed, clothing dropped over it can ignite, making it an unsafe option to leave on overnight or unattended.

Oil filled column heaters

Oil filled column heaters are a mix of convective and radiant heat. Electricity is used to heat the oil inside their columns or fins. The heat from the oil is then transferred from the casing to the air circulating the fins. Some also come with a fan to spread and distribute the heat more quickly around the room. Because oil heaters do not have exposed elements and their surface temperature is lower than other heater types like radiant heaters, they make a safe option to leave on overnight in a bedroom. However, it is essential to exercise caution and never hang towels or clothes to dry on them.

Convection and panel heaters

Convection heaters draw cold air over an electric heating element. The warm air leaves the heater and rises toward the ceiling while cooler air moves in to replace it. Convection heaters are suited for rooms with high ceilings or poor insulation levels where there is a high ventilation rate. Some have a fan that enhances the convection, heating the room quicker. Panel heaters are a type of convection heaters that are thin and flat and can be wall-mounted or permanently attached.

Fan Heaters

Fan heaters heat the air and provide convective heat. They can warm smaller rooms quicker and some have a thermostat to help reduce energy use. Ceramic fan heaters have ceramic rather than metallic heating elements. They are generally smaller and more portable than other electric fan heaters and can heat the air in a small room more rapidly and evenly.

Infrared Heaters

These are some of the newest range of heaters in the consumer market, and some claim them to be one of the most energy efficient. Infrared heaters heat the room like the sun warms your face (without the UV so there’s no danger of skin cancer). Infrared heaters will heat objects rather than the air in a space. The heat is instant, requiring little time to heat, and because there’s no fan, it is relatively quiet. The heater can be mounted behind mirrors to heat a bathroom, ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted behind paintings. They are also one of the most expensive heaters, ranging from $300 to $900.


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