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What is an Electric Radiant Heater?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

An electric radiant heater is a climate control system that uses the principle of radiant energy in conjunction with an electrical power source. This means that heat energy is transferred to a room through a metallic heating element, in much the same way that a stove heats the water in a teapot. This kind of system is one of the many options available for heating a home or commercial space. A radiant heating system has its own distinct advantages for effective seasonal heating.

Unlike other kinds of electrical heaters that heat air, and push it through an interior space, an electric radiant heater provides heat that radiates out from the central heat source to heat objects in the vicinity, rather than air that gets pumped through a space. Some kinds of electric radiant heater systems involve baseboard heating elements, large central heaters, and flat heat panels. These may be tied into a home or building electrical system, or stand alone and operate through a wall outlet.

Radiant heating is a traditional type of heating that has been around for centuries. It has its own specific kinds of results. It also has some substantial advantages for some kinds of homeowners and other inhabitants of a building.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

One of the big advantages of radiant heating is that these sorts of systems do not lose a lot of heat through air that flows out of any apertures in a building. Heat loss is a major factor in how heating systems are chosen for buildings. A radiant system tends to keep heat closer, since it operates in a fixed dispersal pattern. There’s also the idea that an electric radiant heater tends to provide an evenly distributed heat, rather than just hot air flowing in a room.

Another thing about radiant heating is that it does not tend to distribute dirt, dust and particles around the building the same way that forced air heating can often do. This can make electrical radiant heater systems more desirable for individuals with some kinds of allergies or other health conditions related to breathing in small particles in the air. Indoor air quality has become a major concern for many homeowners and renters, and electric radiant heating provides an alternative solution where forced air heating is seen as simply “too dirty.”

Although some electric radiant heater systems are quite primitive, involving a central heated stove that radiates heat, some of the options on the market include much more innovative and sophisticated design. Programmable thermostat elements and other “smart heating” items may be included in a electric radiant heat system. This can help have an impact on total energy use and the overall carbon footprint for a household or business.

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