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What is the difference between panel heaters and electric radiators

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As you search the market looking for ways to heat your home this winter, you’ll probably encounter a variety of different options available to you. So it’s time to break down the technical jargon and find out what exactly is the difference between panel heaters and electric radiators.

What are panel heaters?

Panel heaters work predominantly through convection. Hot elements inside the panel body heat the air and create convection currents. These currents of warm air rise and then circulate around the room. The advantage is they heat the air quickly, however they have to work harder to maintain the room temperature. They are often slim, lightweight and stylish.

Since new regulations have come into play under Lot 20, all electric heating units must be programmable, thermostatically controlled and have other energy saving features such as open window detection. The cheapest panel heaters, operated by an on/ off switch, will no longer be manufactured from January 1st 2018. You may still be able to buy these units for a short period of time.

What exactly is an electric radiator?

Radiation is the same form of heat given off by the sun or by a bonfire. It travels in a direct line from the heat source to warm people and objects directly, regardless of the temperature of the air. Electric radiators use a combination of radiated and convected heat to provide efficient, effective and comfortable home heating. The main difference between an electric radiator and a panel heater is inside its body; the core. A radiator has the ability to retain and radiate the heat for longer. It will usually contain oil, sand or stone, which has high thermal inertia.

Panel heaters are less efficient than electric radiators?

Convected heat is inherently less efficient than radiated heat. Radiation heats people directly, transferring energy in one straight-forward transaction. Convected heat is more complex. Panel heaters transfer heat to the air which in turn transfers heat to the people in the room, which is much less efficient. Heating by radiation causes far less energy to be lost. Therefore, you would need less energy to keep a room heated to the desired temperature with an electric radiator than a panel heater.

Because panel heaters are less efficient than electric radiators, they have to work much harder to heat home spaces. This can give them significantly shorter lifespans than our energy efficient radiators. They are much better suited to occasional use in rooms you do not use regularly - such as spare rooms and offices - or as a portable free standing heater you can move about your house. In the case of infrequent use, the running costs of the panel heater may be offset by the cheaper purchase price. However, if you are looking for a permanent, primary heat source, the increased investment in electric radiators would pay off. Knowing the difference between panel heaters and electric radiators can really help you make the right decision.

Want to know more about our range of ceramic electric radiators? Download a brochure or call the team on 01484 213151

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