The answer is resistance. Actually, electric heaters take the use of resistance to work through. Under applied voltages, electrical current is driven to flow through the heater’s heating element. And then electrical resistance happens at the heating element that heats up finally. Of course, electric heaters require an electrical circuit of 120v or 240v and this depends on the size of the heater you have and the size of the room you need to heat.
Types of Electric Heaters
Electrical heaters work by radiant or convection heat. By using the natural law, convection heat can make hot air rise and it relies on natural convection to move the hot air around the room to warm the room. However, radiant or infrared heaters works differently. It doesn’t heat the air but heats objects directly. You may know that infrared has an obvious diffraction effect, so it can bypass the air and directly work on large objects.
This is very important, because this determines where your electric heater can be located. If you have a convection heater, the ideal location is near the floor level. This is because it will heat the cold air near the floor. However, a radiant heater can be located at the ceiling or floor level, because it directly heats objects like the floor, tub or room occupants, etc.
On the market, there are several types of electric heaters, including:
- Wall heaters
- Baseboard heaters
- Toe-kick heaters
- Cove or panel heaters
And we will discuss them one by one in the following.
Electric Wall Heaters
Wall heaters can be used as supplemental heat in smaller rooms. For example, a bath room really needs a wall heater in cold seasons. Most of them are a convection heater and they are installed in the wall cavity, becoming one part of your wall. Therefore, they will not stick out, saving much space for you. Some of them can be radiant heaters that use electric coils to heat up and back panel to reflect heat to the room. Most of them are self-contained and include built-in thermostats.
Of course, it is not allowed to install them in exterior walls, because they are not compatible with exterior insulation and you will also encounter the condensation problems because the hot metal in a cold exterior wall tends to condense easily.
Electric Baseboard Heaters
Electric baseboard heaters are similar to hydroponic baseboard heaters, but the difference is that they use electric heating coils for convection heating. And they don’t use any motorized method to convect heat. Because they don’t have room for motorized cooling, they only take the use of mother nature to move hot air. Because of convection, hot air rise and cold air is drawn to the bottom to be warmed by its heating elements. Cool or cold air is drawn into its bottom slots and the warm air is released from its top slots. Generally, they are placed beneath windows, because this can counter heat loss through the window glass. Most models offer an integrated thermostat control, while others may come with a remote line voltage thermostat to control the heater. To make it perform better, the unit should be kept clear of drapes and there is no furniture in front of them.
Electric Toe-kick Heaters
Electric toe-kick heaters are designed for limited space applications because of their low profile. Because of their 3.5″ bodies, they can fit in a 4″ toe space under vanities and cabinets. And they can use a fan to distribute warm air thanks to their proportions. You can use them as a supplemental heat source for best performance. A built-in thermostat or a remote line voltage thermostat may be included. Therefore, you can choose your desired type of thermostats.
Electric Cove Heaters
If you prefer to the maximum comfort an electric heater can offer, you can choose an electric cover heater which uses direct radiant (infrared) heat. Because infrared (radiant) heat only warm objects, tub, your tile work and you rather than the air, you will receive maximum comfort. You can place a cover heater anywhere you like, like below the ceiling or on the wall, making it convenient to use.