The heaters - put on the heat

People trying to sell you an oil filled space heater will try to convince you that oil radiator heaters are more efficient than other types of heaters. There are a couple of problems with the efficiency argument. In the first place, electric heat is one of the least efficient forms of heat in terms of its ability to convert a fuel source into heat. There are two conversions you need to think about. The first conversion is that you have to convert the energy source to electricity. If the energy source is a fuel such as coal, natural gas, oil, or nuclear, then it is used to create steam which in turn drives a turbine to produce electricity. This conversion process is typically 30-40% energy efficient, because 60-70% of the energy from the fuel (or nuclear fission) is waste heat at the power plant. So from the outset, electric heaters are a maximum of 40% efficient when the electricity is generated from a thermal source – compared to natural gas furnaces which can reach efficiencies of up to 96%.

Using the oil as a heat reservoir, the heating element heats the oil, which remains warm for a long period of time while the heat is transferred to the metal wall through convection, through the walls via conduction, then to the surroundings via convection and radiation. The columns of oil heaters are typically constructed as thin fins, such that the surface area of the metal columns is large relative to the volume of the oil heat reservoir. A large surface area allows more air to be in contact with the heater at any point in time, allowing for the heat to be transferred more rapidly from the heater into the room.


The Heaters - Put On The HeatThe Heaters - Put On The HeatThe Heaters - Put On The HeatThe Heaters - Put On The Heat

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