Electric heating: Why is it so popular?

For many homeowners, electric heating is the easiest way to heat spaces where a central heating system might not reach. After all, electricity is readily available.

Electric heating installation

Electric heating is easier and significantly cheaper to install than other heating methods like gas, oil, or biomass. There are no pipes to install, and no flooring to lift. In fact, many electric heaters can simply be plugged in – no wiring necessary. Most can be screwed onto the wall using simple brackets too, making installation a DIY job that most people will be able to do.

We provide an electric heating installation service for local customers in Dundee and the surrounding areas.

Running costs of electric heating

Electric heating has a negative reputation when it comes to running costs. If a home has good insulation installed and modern, efficient electric heaters, then electric heating can still be perfectly efficient for some homes.

Most electrically heated homes use storage heaters. Storage heaters use cheaper off-peak electricity to heat up during the night, releasing the heat into your home during the day when it's needed.

Modern high heat retention storage heaters are better insulated, so are more able to store heat – that can be used when you need it, rather than leaking heat constantly throughout the day. Their heat output is more controllable, and fan assisted, so you can heat a room up faster or keep it cool if you're not using it.

How to use immersion heaters in chemical process applications

Immersion heaters have a variety of applications in the chemical process industries. Knowing which heaters to specify and how to install them can make a manufacturing process more cost-efficient. Its time to learn about immersion heater types; typical applications; and selecting, sizing, specifying, installing and using the heater.

Immersion heaters, as the name implies, are immersed in water, oils, solvents, process solutions, molten materials and gases, where they release all their heat within the fluid, which makes them nearly 100% energy-efficient. Immersion heaters are offered in a wide variety of sizes, kilowatt ratings, voltages, terminations, sheath materials and accessories. They are often custom engineered for a specific application.

The basic immersion heater configurations are the screw plug, flange, pipe insert or bayonet, circulation or in-line, booster, and of an over-the-side style. They?re usually available in a round tubular design or a flat tubular design. The flat variety can operate at a higher watt density without overheating the sheath. Heaters also are grouped into two categories ? pressurized (closed) systems and non-pressurized (open tank) systems.

Understanding Electric Process Heaters

Electric process heaters use electricity to increase the temperature of liquids and gases within process systems. Depending on the application, electric process heaters may be used for both direct and indirect heating, which makes them a particularly versatile heating option. To help you find the best electric heater for your needs, we have compiled a concise summary of electric process heater systems and their common uses.

What is a heating element?

Heating elements are typically either nickel-based or iron-based. The nickel-based ones are usually nichrome, an alloy (a mixture of metals and sometimes other chemical elements) that consists of about 80 percent nickel and 20 percent chromium (other compositions of nichrome are available, but the 80–20 mix is the most common). There are various good reasons why nichrome is the most popular material for heating elements: it has a high melting point (about 1400°C or 2550°F), doesn't oxidize (even at high temperatures), doesn't expand too much when it heats up, and has a reasonable (not too low, not too high, and reasonably constant) resistance (it increases only by about 10 percent between room temperature and its maximum operating temperature).

In water heaters, the nichrome element is covered with an outer sheath made of stainless steel, tin-coated copper, or INCOLOY? (an iron-nickel-chromium "superalloy," which is rustproof, long-lasting, and works well in hard-water areas). The sheath is insulated from the heating element by magnesium oxide, an unusual material that's a good heat conductor but a poor electrical conductor, so it allows heat to flow from the nichrome but not electricity.

Duct Heaters

As the name implies, duct heaters are generally designed to be installed into ducting. They are usually installed through the side wall to cause the air in the duct to be heated as it flows around and through the open-coil elements.

Duct heaters made by Farnam are not for HVAC use. They are for industrial type applications and are not built to the standards required for the typical residential HVAC.

Common Questions about Heating Cable and Heating Tape

We get quite a few questions about heating cable here at O.E.M. Heaters: what exactly it is, how to use it, what it's useful for, and so on. We've put together this page, and the articles that are linked here, to try to answer any questions you might have, so you can feel confident that you're getting the right cable and using it properly.

What exactly is heating cable (heat trace cable, heat cable, etc.)?

Heating cable is, simply put, a cable that gets hot when you run current through it. It's also known as heat trace cable, heat cable, heater cable, and other similar names, but it's different from heating tape and heating cord (see the question below to learn about the differences). There are many different styles of heating cable that will reach various different temperatures and serve various purposes; we have a broad selection that you can browse in our store. We also have some information about the differences between, and uses of, different styles of heating cables.

What is heating tape? How about heating cord? Is there a difference?

Full article: Heat Tape versus Heating Cable: What's the Difference, and Which One Do I Need?

Despite the similarity in names – and even though heating cable is often sold for gutters and roofs under the name "heat tape" – there is a distinction. We've summed up the most important differences between them in the chart below. To read more in depth about the specific characteristics of each one, check out the full article.

What kind of heating cable should I use to keep ice dams from forming in my gutter?

A lot of folks come to our website because they're looking for a more reliable heating cable for roof de-icing. Typically, the kits that are available in hardware stores (from the mom-and-pop place on the corner all the way up to the big-box retailers) will do a good job for a season, but come next year it's anyone's guess whether they'll start working again. We have a simple solution to that problem in stock: the SpeedTrace Roof & Gutter Snowmelt Kit. This is a kit based around the popular and reliable SpeedTrace family of self-regulating heating cables – these cables are professional-grade, durable products and, with good treatment, we've known them to last a decade or more in use. Combine that with the hassle avoided by not having to go up on the roof every year or two to replace the cable, and the SpeedTrace kit is well worth the investment.

Adding any heating cable kit to your roof is a somewhat complicated project, but the SpeedTrace kit simplifies matters by including everything you need, so you don't have to worry about whether you've ordered the right termination kit or go out hunting for downspout hanger brackets. All the information you should need to install it is contained in the kit's installation manual (PDF), which you can also find on the ordering page for any of the kits.

How about keeping pipes from freezing?

Like with roofs, we offer an all-in-one kit for freeze protection on pipes created around SpeedTrace self-limiting heating cable.

How do I run heating cable from a solar panel? (The Rule of Three)

We talk to quite a few people who are interested in running heating cable from a solar array – for example, in remote oilfields where some machinery components need to be heated to an appropriate temperature in order to work. This is exactly the sort of thing that low-voltage heating cable is good for, but you may need more power or a different set-up than you planned on. We have a rule of thumb that we use here to find the numbers for a solar-powered heating set-up that will work like you need it to: the Rule of Three for solar heating. It says that:

Your solar array should be able to output 3 times the maximum number of watts that the heater will draw.

Your battery should be able to hold 3 times the maximum amount of energy that the heater could draw overnight.

This may seem like an excessive amount of redundancy, but it's been our experience that with any smaller set-up, you risk power failures. The Rule of Three protects you against long cloudy spells and short northern days. A proper solar array set-up will pay its investment back in saved downtime.
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