Electric Heater – Construction and Workings

Electrical heaters are simple electrical devices that convert electric energy into heat. They have been around for more than a decade and have gained immense popularity. Their lower cost of purchase and low key maintenance are more than a bonus in the case. Most of the electric heaters use electricity as the primary source of fuel but a very low percentage is using kerosene or propane. 

Electric heaters use metals as heating elements. You must have noticed fire among the electrical appliances like toasters, hair dryers, stoves, irons or any other kind of household appliance. Have you ever wondered how they are constructed and how they work?

Construction working electric heaters

The working of all these instruments is based upon electrical resistance heating. This kind of heating is 100% energy efficient as it converts all the incoming electric energy into heat. Electrical energy is the only source of energy that is totally converted into heat. Most of the energy is generated from coal, gas or oil heaters which are only 30% efficient.

Electric heaters are not an ideal source of keeping your home warm in the regions where temperature ranges from extremely cold to hot, known as dry climate. In such dry area, the heating days are so few that the high electrical course is not worth.

Electric heaters use metal as heating element to convert electric energy into heat energy. Due to high resistance power of metals, they allow current to pass through them and provide the required heat. The conversion of electrical energy into heat is quite interesting. The relationship can be represented through this equation:

1 Watt = 3.415 Btu/hr

Normally, electric heating resistance wires are of three types:

  • Open wire: This type of wire consists of nickel chromium resistance wire. It is mounted on ceramic or mica insulation. It is important to keep the wire covered so that it should not come in the contact of any metal object. One should take care of this safety precaution because it is vital for the protection and to avoid any kind of danger of electric shock.
  • Open Ribbon: The material of open ribbon is somewhat similar to open wire. The difference lies in the area of contact. A larger surface area of open ribbon is in contact with the air. It is advised to protect it as well to avoid any kind of risk or electric shock.
  • Tubular cased wire: This type of resistance metal wire is made up from nickel chromium resistance wire. It is surrounded by magnesium oxide powder. It is further enclosed in a heat resistance steel tube. The steel tube is designed in such a way that it prevents the user from the risk of electric shock.

A good heating element assures effective and safe heating.

If you are going to buy an electrical heating unit, look for all the safety features such as wire grills, automatic shut-off control, tilt switches and good thermostat controls. One must look for certifications such as UL or CE.