All electrical heater use a high resistance wire element which heats up when electricity passes through it. The hot wire then heats air around it, glass, oil or clay bricks depending on the heater-unit type.
Electric heater designs use various methods to store or transfer the heat from the hot wire to the air in the room. They also offer different ways of disguising or dressing up the fact that that steel box is a heater.
- Convection heater-units
Electric convection heaters emit heat through thermal convection, wherein the hot air is less dense as compared to the cool air. The warm air rises from the top of the convector heater and moves around the room by convection currents. These heater-units have a thermostat, but they do become very hot.
- Oil-filled Radiators
This is a special type of convector heater where the electrical element inside heats oil rather than air. The oil heats up and in turn heats up air surrounding the heater, which again circulates around the room by convection currents. These are safer that plain convection heater-units because they do not become so hot, they have a thermostat and some are programmable.
- Radiant Heaters
This type of electric heater system has a heating element that can reach high temperatures. They hot wire usually is encased in glass and has a reflector behind it. A radiant heater-unit only gives out radiant heat, so you have to sit in front of it to feel any heat. They operate silently but may pose a fire risk when too close to nearby furnishings. Radiant heaters are often referred to as electric fires or radiant fires.
- Fan Heaters
Also known as forced convection heater-units, fan heaters are made available in different shapes and sizes and can even be as small as desktop units with only few hundred watts of output. This type of electric heater system makes use of an electric fan to blow air over the hot wire inside. They are quick to warm up and the heat is spread around the room. This heater-unit system is noisy when used and has a moderate risk of ignition possibilities when in contact with furnishings. An example of this is the hand dryer. Larger room heaters may be up to 2KW. They have a thermostat, but are very expensive to run.
- Ceramic Storage Heaters
This type of heater-unit system is sold as being economical and expenditure-reducing. They are not. At least the ones sold to use ordinary day-time electricity cost the same to run as any other convector heater. They are typically sold at lower prices. They have heating elements that run through clay bricks, which heat up and which in turn heat air that is blown over them.
- Night Storage heater-units
These work on the same principle as the storage heaters above but they usually have a larger stored heat capacity and are designed to run on a restricted hours economy tariff, charging up at night when electricity is cheaper. They are the cheapest to run, but your day-time electricity rate is higher than the standard rate, so everything else in your home that you use during the day will cost you 20% extra. Most people do not save money by switching to night storage heaters.
- Halogen Heater
The Halogen heater uses electrical source to provide warmth to enclosed areas such as rooms and offices. The heater system makes use of the air that circulates within the area then heats it u using its oscillating halogen heater and disperses it out in a broad arc throughout the space. Its oscillating heater makes it easy for it distributes air throughout the space in a quick manner with increased efficiency.
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It is highly important to become familiar with the different the types of electric heaters there are on the market especially when it is your first to buy one. Oil filled electric radiators are the best solution for most people who want an appliance to heat just one room.