The need for heating housing in Russia is not discussed — in winter, even in the southern regions of the country, the air temperature drops below zero. There is no escape from solving this problem, so the desire of homeowners to solve it at minimal cost is natural.
To heat apartments and houses, manufacturers of heating equipment today produce many types and varieties of domestic heaters, solid and liquid fuel, gas and electric, constantly improving performance characteristics that the buyer prioritizes when choosing a model, including the amount of fuel or electricity consumption.
When selling heaters in the distribution network, they naturally try to attract the attention of the buyer with the most sought-after advantages of the units, so often all the proposed devices are announced as energy-saving heaters.
In such a situation, without having objective information about the design features of the main types of electric heating devices, it is difficult to make the right choice when buying.
Let’s consider several types of household heaters in terms of compliance with the requirements that determine efficiency, in order to reasonably attribute them to the group of «economical heaters».
Criteria for the efficiency of heating devices
For a heater to be considered economical, low energy consumption alone is not enough. Moreover, the high energy consumption of the unit does not automatically make it uneconomical.
The efficiency of the heater is determined not only by its high technical characteristics, but also by the influence of a number of factors, both individually and in combination with each other:
- equipment safety is directly and primarily related to efficiency, since the consequences of accidents are not predictable either in terms of the degree of harm to the health of residents or financially;
- type of heater — must correspond to its purpose, that is, whether the device is used as the main or additional means of heating;
- energy carrier — the fuel used should be available in the given region, and the creation of its reserves should not create problems;
- heater power consumption — is calculated depending on the purpose of the unit and the area of \u200b\u200bthe heated housing, taking into account corrections for the region, the degree of external insulation of enclosing structures, the orientation of window openings to the sides of the horizon, the glazing area, etc. (not enough power will reduce the efficiency of the heater, excess power will entail unjustified energy costs);
- calorific power — depends on the design of the heater and is always less than the power consumption (the closer this value is to the amount of energy carrier consumed, the higher the efficiency of the device);
- heater class — must correspond to the purpose of the room, it is not reasonable, for example, to equip a country house used for periodic short-term residence with heaters with a complex programming system;
- the price of the heating device — must be affordable and justified, that is, correspond to the durability, functionality and quality of the unit;
- installation of the unit — the cost of installing the heater must also be acceptable, commensurate with the price of the device and justified by the expediency of using the chosen device.
Heaters that meet all of the above requirements in specific conditions are ideal in terms of efficiency, but this is theoretical. In practice, approaching the ideal leads to an increase in price, a longer payback period and, as a result, a paradox — a decrease in profitability.
And yet, different types of devices spend different amounts of energy and time on heating 1 square meter of area or cubic meter of volume, so the question of which heater is more economical is not without meaning.
Electricity is the most environmentally friendly and convenient energy carrier for home heating, the use of which has the following advantages:
- the absence of a factor in the formation of combustion products and the need to take appropriate measures (chimney, ventilation);
- there is no problem of creating fuel reserves and equipping a place for its storage — a factor of increased risk;
- absolute noiselessness of the process of converting electricity into thermal energy;
- no open flame reduces the risk of fire.
The listed advantages were typical even for the first produced electric heaters — primitive devices, and have not lost their relevance after all the improvements in electric heating equipment.
When choosing an economical electric heater, it would not be right to limit the choice to only new generation electric heaters — among the long-known heating units there are also devices with acceptable energy consumption.
Without going into heat engineering calculations, consider the three most economical electrical heater in ascending order of energy consumption (provided that their required power is correctly calculated).
This type of heating device belongs to the infrared household electric heaters of a new generation, but the principle of operation has remained unchanged — the heating of the room is carried out by affecting the building envelope and the interior of the IR waves generated by the emitter.
The radiating device is a flat micanite a heater made on the basis of resistive heating elements placed in mica paper and pressed into the shape of a plate. The temperature of such a mica emitter does not exceed 400 degrees, while for heating elements or spiral heaters it is 800 degrees and higher. Therefore, in order to increase the intensity of infrared radiation, two additional layers are added on one side of the plate with resistors — reflective and focusing, which change the direction of radiation from one side of the heater to the opposite.
On top of this “sandwich”, the plate is covered on both sides with layers of mica, a dielectric material with high coefficients of heat resistance and thermal conductivity. In addition, passing infrared waves through itself, mica forms a radiation spectrum that is optimal for human perception.
Thus, the structure of the layers of the plate is such that after it is heated, the radiation of IR waves occurs only on one of the sides — the working one, therefore, in bilateral mikathermic heaters, two plates are installed parallel to each other, radiating sides outward, protected by a lattice metal case that does not prevent the passage of infrared rays .
IR radiation, reaching obstacles in its path, enhances the Brownian motion of molecules on their surface, which causes surface heating of objects to a certain depth. The heated structures and interior elements give off heat to the surrounding air, due to which the room is heated.
Radiant energy accounts for approximately 80% of the heat released by a micathermal heater, and 20% for convective flows.
The device described above is typical for floor-standing heaters that radiate in both directions. By placing only one flat micanite heater in the body of a micathermal heater, one-way devices are obtained that are used as wall heaters — devices that are no less efficient, but allow them to be placed more rationally, without compromising the usable volume of the room.
Energy-saving wall-mounted micathermal heaters for the home are a variation of the main group of units and, due to being equipped with only one micanite flat heater, are usually characterized by lower power.
The production of tubular micanite heaters with an outwardly directed working surface made it possible to create cylindrical heating units, more compact, evenly generating infrared radiation around them in all directions.
On the basis of radiators in the form of a semi-cylinder, units with oval-shaped bodies are also produced, both with one-sided and two-sided heating direction.
Despite the fact that mikathermic heaters are infrared heating devices, their operation is accompanied by body heating up to 60 degrees, which initiates the occurrence of convection flows in the room, the share of which in the total amount of heat generated, although not large, is in demand.
Choosing the most economical electric heater for the home, first of all, you should pay attention to mikathermic heaters. The difference in electricity consumption for heating 1 square meter of area by these units in comparison with other types of electric heaters is up to 35%.
In addition, these new generation electric heaters, thanks to the mica shell of the heater plate, have a relatively low surface temperature of the body, which makes them safe to operate and economical in the long run.
Micathermic fan heaters
Models of micathermic heaters equipped with a fan are called micathermic fan heaters. This option accelerates convective currents and reduces the time it takes for the room to reach a comfortable temperature. The power of mikathermic fan heaters is in the range from 0.7 to 2 kW, which makes their use effective for heating both spacious and small premises.
A heater of this design of low and medium power is very convenient as a heater for summer cottages, since with the help of a fan it will heat the air in the room before the building envelope is heated.
most economical for heating dachas will heaterswhose power is in the range from 1 to 1.5 kW — with moderate power consumption, these devices will provide the desired temperature in a short time.
Electric ceramic fan heaters
Ceramic heaters are a large group of heating units, which are united by the presence in the design of the heater, covered with a layer of porous ceramics from pressed glass-ceramic powder. Such a coating has a surface temperature of no more than 150 degrees, which is much lower than that of a heating element (600 degrees and above), which makes the device safer. If the ceramic layer has a significant thickness, then it also accumulates heat, increasing the inertia of the heater after turning it off.
Since we are talking about efficiency, it is necessary to narrow the sector of consideration of heating devices to the framework of the group “energy-saving ceramic heaters for the home”, because a large steel stove lined with bricks (ceramics) is also a ceramic heating unit.
Heating of the ceramic emitter, depending on the type of unit, is carried out by electricity or burning gas. For home heating, electrical energy-saving ceramic appliances are preferable, which are safer, among other things, because they do not form fuel combustion products.
Electric ceramic fan heaters have other advantages:
- compactness and light weight;
- the presence of several degrees of security and a safe temperature of the surface of the case, allowing the use of the heater even in children’s rooms; ;
- no effect on indoor air humidity.
The power consumption of these devices cannot be called low, but the speed of reaching the operating mode and the short time to achieve the effect make ceramic devices one of the most economical. for home heating heaters that run on electricity.
Important! The cost-effectiveness of ceramic electric heaters with a fan should be supported by the correct choice of the power of the device, its mode of operation and effective external insulation of the building envelope.
Some models of quartz home heaters are also produced equipped with a fan, but this type of heater consumes much more electricity due to a different type of heater.
Gas ceramic heating devices
Units of this type consist of a housing in which a liquefied gas cylinder (standard or universal household) is arranged, a burner connected to it by a hose through a reducer, an automatic ignition device, a ceramic emitter and security system devices.
The principle of operation of the heater is based on infrared radiation generated by a ceramic emitter, which is heated by the burner when the gas supplied to it is burned.
Considering that gas heaters are equipment of increased risk of use, the safety of operation of these IR devices is ensured by systems for automatically stopping the supply of gas fuel when the device is overturned, the burner flame is blown out and the gas pressure deviates from the nominal value exceeding the permissible value.
The cost-effectiveness of these heaters is due not to low energy consumption, but to the relative cheapness of gas fuel, but choosing a gas-fired ceramic heating unit for use in a country house or in a country house is a rational decision, since it does not require the installation of an internal gas pipeline, and replacing cylinders is an infrequent and not complicated.
Important! The release of some substances into the air during the combustion of domestic liquefied gas (propane, butane) is minimal, therefore gas heaters of this design do not require connection to the ventilation system, but the oxygen consumption of the unit in the room during the combustion of fuel must be compensated by periodic ventilation of the heated room.
To make the cost of gas fuel as low as possible, we choose gas with reference to the season — in autumn and spring it is better to use butane, the calorie content of which is lower, and in winter in cold weather — propane.
The choice of the heating unit, the most efficient in terms of energy saving, cannot have a universal solution. The answer to the question of which heaters are the most economical depends not only on the design of the appliance, which determines the energy consumption, but also on many factors that in the same home can change over time, seasons or changes in the situation with the availability of fuel. Therefore, you should not go in cycles in saving every penny — striving for this can be more expensive.
The main essence of the article
- The desire to reduce the cost of heating housing is natural, but it is possible to achieve a sensitive result only by organizing heating, taking into account all the factors affecting efficiency.
- The high cost of electricity is determined not so much by the cost of this energy carrier, but by many of its advantages — environmental friendliness, affordability, no need to create reserves, etc. Therefore, electric heaters are by and large often more economical than heaters that consume cheaper fuels, but require additional measures to ensure their operation — ventilation, piping, explosion and fire safety, equipment for storage areas, etc.
- Mikathermic infrared heaters are modern, efficient equipment that has proven itself well in Russian conditions in a short time.
- Varieties of heaters of mikathermic design, equipped with a fan, are devices with even greater potential for energy saving.
- Micathermic heaters on electricity are the most preferable for solving the issue of energy saving when heating residential premises for any purpose.
- Gas heaters with a mikathermic emitter are only at first glance more economical devices — due to the relative cheapness of gas. But the need for periodic ventilation of the heated room causes large heat losses.
- When choosing an energy-saving heating unit, you should be aware that even a device with increased energy consumption under certain conditions can be more economical than the most advertised device — there are no universal solutions for all situations.