# A basic question about electric heaters

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by etpm@whidbey.com, Nov 21, 2011.

1. ### Guest

My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
serve me a little crow.
Eric

, Nov 21, 2011

2. ### Guest

On Mon, 21 Nov 2011 10:10:12 -0800 (PST), spamtrap1888
<> wrote:

>On Nov 21, 7:55 am, wrote:
>> My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>> heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
>> told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
>> consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
>> sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
>> if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
>> same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
>> Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
>> light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
>> neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
>> range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
>> room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
>> correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
>> serve me a little crow.
>> Eric

>
>There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and radiant.
>Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room, radiant heaters
>heat objects, including you. The oil filled radiator is a convection
>heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>
>Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn into
>heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units because
>their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source. Their
>heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>
>But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that they
>require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room plus
>you in it.
>
>http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12600

Correct, if you ignore one minor detail. Since a radiant heater warms
you, rather than the air, you will always feel colder on the side away
from the heater.

PlainBill

, Nov 21, 2011

3. ### gregzGuest

<> wrote:
> My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
> heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
> told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
> consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
> sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
> if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
> same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
> Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
> light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
> neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
> range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
> room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
> correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
> serve me a little crow.
> Eric

True.

The only thing, radiant might be considered more efficient because inducing
drafts might make the air feel colder.

Greg

gregz, Nov 21, 2011
4. ### gregzGuest

<> wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Nov 2011 10:10:12 -0800 (PST), spamtrap1888
> <> wrote:
>
>> On Nov 21, 7:55 am, wrote:
>>> My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>>> heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
>>> told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
>>> consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
>>> sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
>>> if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
>>> same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
>>> Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
>>> light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
>>> neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
>>> range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
>>> room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
>>> correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
>>> serve me a little crow.
>>> Eric

>>
>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and radiant.
>> Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room, radiant heaters
>> heat objects, including you. The oil filled radiator is a convection
>> heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>
>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn into
>> heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units because
>> their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source. Their
>> heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>
>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that they
>> require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room plus
>> you in it.
>>
>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12600

>
> Correct, if you ignore one minor detail. Since a radiant heater warms
> you, rather than the air, you will always feel colder on the side away
> from the heater.
>
> PlainBill

I don't know what the efficiency of radiant conversion is, but radiant
heaters give out plenty of heated air also. Some also have fans.

Greg

gregz, Nov 22, 2011
5. ### Bob FGuest

wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Nov 2011 10:10:12 -0800 (PST), spamtrap1888
> <> wrote:
>
>> On Nov 21, 7:55 am, wrote:
>>> My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>>> heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating
>>> coils. I told him that there is no difference, that all the
>>> electricity consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the
>>> room. Even the sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats
>>> it up a little. So if both were operated in a perfectly insulated
>>> room and consumed the same amount of electricity the rooms would
>>> heat up the same amount. Now I'm wondering about real world
>>> situations. Some frequencies of light pass through walls, some
>>> through windows, some both, and some neither. So I suppose the best
>>> heater is one that glows in a frequency range that is completely
>>> absorbed by objects (including people) in the room and reflected by
>>> the walls and windows. Are my asumptions correct? I hope so.
>>> Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can serve me a little
>>> crow.
>>> Eric

>>
>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and
>> radiant. Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room,
>> is a convection heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>
>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn
>> into heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units
>> because their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source.
>> Their heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>
>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that
>> they require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room
>> plus you in it.
>>
>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12600

>
> Correct, if you ignore one minor detail. Since a radiant heater warms
> you, rather than the air, you will always feel colder on the side away
> from the heater.

And, the radiant heat will go right through any uncovered windows in its

Bob F, Nov 24, 2011
6. ### Guest

On Wed, 23 Nov 2011 17:31:36 -0800, "Bob F" <>
wrote:

> wrote:
>> On Mon, 21 Nov 2011 10:10:12 -0800 (PST), spamtrap1888
>> <> wrote:
>>
>>> On Nov 21, 7:55 am, wrote:
>>>> My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>>>> heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating
>>>> coils. I told him that there is no difference, that all the
>>>> electricity consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the
>>>> room. Even the sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats
>>>> it up a little. So if both were operated in a perfectly insulated
>>>> room and consumed the same amount of electricity the rooms would
>>>> heat up the same amount. Now I'm wondering about real world
>>>> situations. Some frequencies of light pass through walls, some
>>>> through windows, some both, and some neither. So I suppose the best
>>>> heater is one that glows in a frequency range that is completely
>>>> absorbed by objects (including people) in the room and reflected by
>>>> the walls and windows. Are my asumptions correct? I hope so.
>>>> Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can serve me a little
>>>> crow.
>>>> Eric
>>>
>>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and
>>> radiant. Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room,
>>> is a convection heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>>
>>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn
>>> into heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units
>>> because their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source.
>>> Their heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>>
>>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that
>>> they require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room
>>> plus you in it.
>>>
>>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12600

>>
>> Correct, if you ignore one minor detail. Since a radiant heater warms
>> you, rather than the air, you will always feel colder on the side away
>> from the heater.

>
>And, the radiant heat will go right through any uncovered windows in its
>

Not necessarily. Glass is opaque in the infrared range. However,
they WILL absorb the energy and if single pane will release half the
heat generated outdoors.

PlainBill

, Nov 24, 2011

nesesu <> wrote:
> On Nov 21, 10:10?am, spamtrap1888 <> wrote:
>> On Nov 21, 7:55?am, wrote:
>>
>> > My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>> > heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
>> > told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
>> > consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
>> > sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
>> > if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
>> > same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
>> > Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
>> > light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
>> > neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
>> > range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
>> > room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
>> > correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
>> > serve me a little crow.
>> > Eric

>>
>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and radiant.
>> Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room, radiant heaters
>> heat objects, including you. The oil filled radiator is a convection
>> heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>
>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn into
>> heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units because
>> their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source. Their
>> heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>
>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that they
>> require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room plus
>> you in it.
>>
>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm...

>
> That said, I have not yet seen an oil filled heater more than a few
> years old that did not leak to some degree. Not sure what might happen
> if the oil level drops to the point that the heater element starts
> boiling it.
>
> Neil S.

Are those things full of used chinese motor oil or something else you
don't want to touch or have catch on fire?

8. ### Guest

On Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:44:28 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader
<> wrote:

>nesesu <> wrote:
>> On Nov 21, 10:10?am, spamtrap1888 <> wrote:
>>> On Nov 21, 7:55?am, wrote:
>>>
>>> > My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>>> > heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
>>> > told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
>>> > consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
>>> > sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
>>> > if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
>>> > same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
>>> > Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
>>> > light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
>>> > neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
>>> > range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
>>> > room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
>>> > correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
>>> > serve me a little crow.
>>> > Eric
>>>
>>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and radiant.
>>> Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room, radiant heaters
>>> heat objects, including you. The oil filled radiator is a convection
>>> heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>>
>>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn into
>>> heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units because
>>> their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source. Their
>>> heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>>
>>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that they
>>> require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room plus
>>> you in it.
>>>
>>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm...

>>
>> That said, I have not yet seen an oil filled heater more than a few
>> years old that did not leak to some degree. Not sure what might happen
>> if the oil level drops to the point that the heater element starts
>> boiling it.
>>
>> Neil S.

>
>Are those things full of used chinese motor oil or something else you
>don't want to touch or have catch on fire?

Where do you think they're putting all that pcb tainted oil?

, Nov 29, 2011

wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:44:28 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader
> <> wrote:
>
>>nesesu <> wrote:
>>> On Nov 21, 10:10?am, spamtrap1888 <> wrote:
>>>> On Nov 21, 7:55?am, wrote:
>>>>
>>>> > My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>>>> > heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
>>>> > told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
>>>> > consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
>>>> > sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
>>>> > if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
>>>> > same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
>>>> > Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
>>>> > light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
>>>> > neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
>>>> > range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
>>>> > room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
>>>> > correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
>>>> > serve me a little crow.
>>>> > Eric
>>>>
>>>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and radiant.
>>>> Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room, radiant heaters
>>>> heat objects, including you. The oil filled radiator is a convection
>>>> heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>>>
>>>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>>>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn into
>>>> heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units because
>>>> their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source. Their
>>>> heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>>>
>>>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that they
>>>> require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room plus
>>>> you in it.
>>>>
>>>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm...
>>>
>>> That said, I have not yet seen an oil filled heater more than a few
>>> years old that did not leak to some degree. Not sure what might happen
>>> if the oil level drops to the point that the heater element starts
>>> boiling it.
>>>
>>> Neil S.

>>
>>Are those things full of used chinese motor oil or something else you
>>don't want to touch or have catch on fire?

> Where do you think they're putting all that pcb tainted oil?

Ha, I figured they used all that stuff up in foods and to polish rice by
now.

10. ### Guest

On Tue, 29 Nov 2011 05:18:44 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader
<> wrote:

> wrote:
>> On Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:44:28 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader
>> <> wrote:
>>
>>>nesesu <> wrote:
>>>> On Nov 21, 10:10?am, spamtrap1888 <> wrote:
>>>>> On Nov 21, 7:55?am, wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> > My neighbor was telling me that his oil filled radiator type space
>>>>> > heater is more efficient than the kind with a fan and heating coils. I
>>>>> > told him that there is no difference, that all the electricity
>>>>> > consumed by the heater is converted to heat in the room. Even the
>>>>> > sound made by the fan vibrates the air which heats it up a little. So
>>>>> > if both were operated in a perfectly insulated room and consumed the
>>>>> > same amount of electricity the rooms would heat up the same amount.
>>>>> > Now I'm wondering about real world situations. Some frequencies of
>>>>> > light pass through walls, some through windows, some both, and some
>>>>> > neither. So I suppose the best heater is one that glows in a frequency
>>>>> > range that is completely absorbed by objects (including people) in the
>>>>> > room and reflected by the walls and windows. Are my asumptions
>>>>> > correct? I hope so. Otherwise I'll need to call my neighbor so he can
>>>>> > serve me a little crow.
>>>>> > Eric
>>>>>
>>>>> There are two kinds of electric space heaters, convection and radiant.
>>>>> Convection heaters (attempt to) heat the entire room, radiant heaters
>>>>> heat objects, including you. The oil filled radiator is a convection
>>>>> heater, as are the heating coil plus fan heaters.
>>>>>
>>>>> Comparing convection heaters to convection heaters, there is no
>>>>> difference in efficiency, 100% of the electrical energy does turn into
>>>>> heat. The Department of Energy prefers the oil filled units because
>>>>> their thermal mass makes them a more constant heat source. Their
>>>>> heating elements cycle less, for what it's worth.
>>>>>
>>>>> But, radiant heaters should have more apparent efficiency in that they
>>>>> require less energy to heat just you instead of the entire room plus
>>>>> you in it.
>>>>>
>>>>> http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm...
>>>>
>>>> That said, I have not yet seen an oil filled heater more than a few
>>>> years old that did not leak to some degree. Not sure what might happen
>>>> if the oil level drops to the point that the heater element starts
>>>> boiling it.
>>>>
>>>> Neil S.
>>>
>>>Are those things full of used chinese motor oil or something else you
>>>don't want to touch or have catch on fire?

>> Where do you think they're putting all that pcb tainted oil?

>
>Ha, I figured they used all that stuff up in foods and to polish rice by
>now.

Duzzat mean I should avoid brown rice?

, Nov 29, 2011