Electric Panel Heaters
This page deals with wall mounted electric panel heaters – as opposed to ceiling mounted electric radiant heating discussed elsewhere.
Now there are a lot of electric heating systems out there on the UK-market and as I have stated elsewhere electricity is an expensive energy form but one that many folk / businesses are stuck with and therefore it is worth giving some ideas on the most cost-effective electric heating systems I have encountered.
There is a British designed and manufactured system that I have used in a number of properties very effectively. It works on the basis of thermistor control as opposed to thermostat control.
The difference is that a thermistor in these heater is able to control the temperature of the front plate to +/- 1oC where a standard bi-metallic thermostat is often cycling through 15oC, that is +/-7.5oC around the set-point. This allows you to control heating extremely accurately and this can achieve some very useful savings as well as ensuring occupier comfort.
The heaters are available in a variety of formats – from plain white through to mirror finish and even a host of decorative painted and art covered options. Control is wireless which is great for hotels and nursing homes as it means that heating can be controlled remotely, switched off in empty spaces and set by management to suit whatever is going on in a particular room.
Are they expensive?
In all honesty yes – fairly pricey. A typical mirror finish heater will easily set you back over £700.
It’s all about life-style and choices. If you have no choice but to use electric heating then these British made electric panel heaters are a highly controllable, space saving option.
So what about Infra-Red heaters?
Well now this is where I lose the will to live. Electric panel heaters come in all shapes and sizes and many are sold / marketed with all sorts of claims as to what can and can’t do.
I came across one system just now that claims to be the “most efficient electric heating available” but of course that statement is meaningless because an electric heater is always 100% efficient.
1kW in = 1kW out – I don’t believe that formula can ever change when it comes to electric panels heaters.
Of course if you are talking about true radiant heating which replaces the body’s heat losses to moving air then because you are not trying to heat volumetrically it is valid that you do not need to put as much energy into the treated space – for example using electric radiant heaters in church you can heat the space temperature to 15-16oC and yet generate a “feel” of 21-22oC.
I am less convinced that this can be done in the domestic setting – especially as in many household spaces the occupants are sitting still and there should not be much air movement.
Some of these heaters claim to be “good for you” but I have acted as an expert witness for one customer who found that his disabled wife was almost frying underneath some of these heaters and frankly I am not sure that was particularly good for her.
An example of the British-made electric panel heaters in action – The Hairstyle Company, Droitwich
When senior partner, Joseph Warne at the Hairstyle Company in Droitwich planned their new salon from scratch, one of his priorities was to ensure that an even, comfortable heating system was paramount – he turned to ECOLEC electric panel heaters.
The smooth clean lines of the salon “demanded” a stylish yet efficient system. From clients having their hair dried to clients with wet hair, it was important that all should feel comfortable in the salon’s environment. Large full height mirrors were installed and the ECOLEC electric radiant convector heating system complemented the new interior. Measuring approximately 2000mm high by 500mm wide and only 30mm deep these panels were also finished in the same paint colour as the salon walls.
Joseph Warne said, “We had heard of these space-saving radiant heater panels and of how economical and efficient they were to run, so we contacted ECOLEC . Their engineers visited the salon to plan the installation and advise us of our needs”. He went on to say, “Room was paramount and we did not want an ugly boiler installed to be tucked away out of sight. We also needed to have precise control of the salon’s room temperature”. Can You Spot The Heaters?
With the unrivalled quality of the ECOLEC system the salon is able to control the ambient temperature with up to six four-hour settings all working from one “off-the-shelf” thermostat. The panels reach a surface temperature of 70 degrees centigrade making them a safe alternative to traditional “wet system” radiators, a truly ideal choice for architects and builders who want to ensure that the heating systems they are specifying and installing conforms to current legislation.
Joseph said, ” With the different days of opening at the salon we needed a heating system that was easy to control and set and the ECOLEC panel heaters certainly provide this. We now have plans to redevelop our other salons incorporating the ECOLEC system which is certainly attractive looking and very user friendly”.
He summed up by saying, ” Many of our clients do not realise that the panels are the heating system. They think it is an interior design feature”.