Understanding direct-acting heating

One type of direct-acting heating is the panel convector heater or electric radiator. Slimline and wall mounted, these heaters provide rapid heat whenever the user needs it.

To maximise their operational ability, these heaters have:

  • Low thermal inertia, meaning they heat up rapidly in response to immediate heating needs
  • An electronic or gas-filled thermostat, so they avoid room temperature ‘drift’
  • A range of controls, allowing the user to match their heating requirements with their occupancy patterns

Our range of heaters achieves this by using convection heat, or a combination of radiation and convection, to heat up a space quickly.

This means that the room is warm for the period of time selected and can be held accurately at the temperature required for the duration of occupancy, creating a comfortable environment. And, when the heater is switched off, it reacts just as quickly.

Is one type of direct-acting heater more efficient than another?

There have been many spurious claims of ‘higher efficiency’ in the electric heating market.

The fact is all direct-acting heaters are 100% efficient at point of use. If your heater uses 1kWh of electricity, 1kW of heat will be transferred into the room for one hour. As The Law of Conservation of Energy dictates:

‘Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can only change from one form to another’.

With that said, all direct-acting heaters do not operate in the same way. Take a fluid (oil or thermodynamic) filled radiator, for example: the fluid in the radiator will transfer the heat uniformly around the radiator, giving a higher proportion of radiant – as opposed to convected heat – compared to a convector heater. This is useful for certain applications “Since the ‘heat generation efficiency’ is always 100%.

It does not allow comparing the energy performance of electric room heaters.”

However, the very small thermal storage capacity of a fluid-filled radiator also results in  slow release heat to the room during start-up and a slightly prolonged release of heat to the room after switching off.

By comparison, a radiator panel convector or Q-Rad electric radiator heater  with no fluid would release heat to the room more quickly during start-up and stop releasing heat more quickly at ‘switch off’.