Electric Panel Heaters
Panel heaters work by heating the air in the room. Cool air passes through the heater and rises as it gets warm. This sets in motion a convection heating cycle, where cooler air sinks, passes through the heater and rises as it gets warm. Gradually all of the air volume in the room will be heated and a constant temperature will be sustained.
This is a relatively fast process, however, it’s certainly not the most efficient. Hot air naturally moves away to colder spaces, so is quickly lost through draughts whenever doors and windows are opened. The issue with convection is that it is only effective if the cycle of warm air rising and falling is maintained, so once the heater switches off, the surrounding air will quickly cool and all its effects will be lost. Radiators don’t have this issue – their effective heat is twofold, combining fast convection with lasting radiant heat to keep rooms warmer for longer.
Panel heaters do have their place, however. They are an excellent choice if you need rapid and responsive heat for rooms you may only use every now and then.
Some panel heaters come with similar controls to what you’d expect from a modern electric radiator: a thermostat to regulate temperature and a programmer to set the times when your heater comes on. Panel heaters with this level of sophistication are naturally a little more expensive, but in some rooms, the energy savings they provide will more than make up for it. For instance, if you’re using them as a top-up heater in a room that has storage heaters, a thermostat will automatically switch the heater on when the storage heaters lose charge. Or, if you’ve got a panel heater in a spare bedroom, you can programme your heater to come on at set times when you know your guests will need the room to be warm.
If you just want to have a heater which you can switch on as-and-when you need it, you can probably economise and choose a cheaper heater without these features.
Most panel heaters come with a plug and brackets for DIY installation and can be fitted within minutes if you’re confident with the task. Some products are also available with optional feet to allow them to act as a portable plug-in heater.
Be aware that some panel heaters designed for a hardwired fitting will only have a cable, so you may need to purchase a plug separately if you intend to fit it yourself.
Panel heaters are fast and effective, but they are not the most efficient heating method because they only heat using convection. While they can be convenient, they’re not designed to be used throughout the home as a primary source of heat. This is mainly because of their relatively poor energy efficiency, so if you had a home that exclusively used panel heaters throughout, you would expect to see unsustainably high heating bills. Another, less serious, reason for not using panel heaters throughout your house is that prolonged use can cause wall-blackening as dust and debris burns against the hot elements and comes into contact with the wall as the air rises.
Despite these drawbacks, panel heaters can still provide an economical heating solution in applications that only require occasional heating. These are the three main reasons for choosing a panel heater:
- You need a top -up heater to support your primary heating system. Particularly useful if you have storage heaters that have a habit of running out of charge.
- You want effective heating for rooms that you only use occasionally, such as spare bedrooms and studies.
- You need a heater for a room that only needs heat for a short period of time, such as a bathroom or conservatory.
Electric Panel HeatersAn electric panel heater is specifically designed to heat up quickly and can be used to provide a rapid and pleasant warmth when it is most required. The electric heaters can be installed independently from your main central heating system, making them a popular choice for heating less frequently used rooms such as spare bedrooms or as a temporary backup. We have a comprehensive range of panel heaters, from basic models that are perfect as a temporary measure, to more advanced heaters with energy-saving features such as thermostat controllers and timers.
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