Radiant Gas Heaters
Before we discuss radiant gas heaters, let's look at what radiant heat is and why it is effective for specific applications. It is the oldest form of heating, the basis of all heating systems and it can be said that it emulates the sun. Unlike convection heating systems, which heat and move the air around the unit, the objects or people absorb heat as it spreads.
Hot gasses move through a radiant tube (either a linear or a continuous tube) producing radiant energy. The clever part of the unit is the positioning of reflectors above the heat source, which direct the heat downward.
In most areas, the floor is largest mass and absorbs the majority of the heat, then radiates it back up, to be absorbed by other objects. As shown in heat from a convection heater (illustration to the left) is spread, losing large amounts of energy. A radiation heater directs the heat to an object or the floor of a building and energy losses are minimized.
Comparing radiant and other gas heaters:
Heating specific targets: Convection heaters heat an area by heating and moving the air around the unit. With the development of technology, it is now possible to use radiant heat, which is absorbed by targeted objects.
No air movement: Unlike traditional heaters, these units do not cause drafts. This makes them particularly appropriate to use in paint booths and in places where work is carried out in sterile conditions, as there are no particles or dust moving around.
Increased efficiency: Compared to forced air heating systems, a radiation heater is a more comfortable source of heat and reportedly reduces energy consumption by as much as 50 percent. Heat is radiated off the floor, producing a comfortable environment underfoot as the floor retains some of the heat.
Outside use: We all look for ways to use our outdoor areas during colder times. Here again radiation is an excellent option. It does not heat the air only to be blown away, instead it can be positioned to heat specific areas/chairs/sofas and makes for a more comfortable outdoor experience.
Speed of heating: Due to the direct heating process, a radiant heating unit will heat a space much quicker than other options. This makes them ideal for use in warehouses and factories.
Uniform, optimum heating: For heating of areas such as aircraft hangers designers can ensure optimum, uniform heating by suspending an appropriate number of heaters from the roof or ceiling. Convection heaters are not suitable for this kind of application.
Noiseless heating: Radiant gas heaters produce heat by directing heat to objects directly and quietly. Perfect for use in enclosed spaces, they operate without causing noise pollution, one of the down sides of convection heaters.
The advantages of radiant heaters are the fact that running costs are low and they are effective for very large areas, especially where the rate of air change is high (eg. Doors are opened often). At the same time, they are also effective in enclosed spaces and are used in many different areas such as factories, machine shops, auto showrooms, sport facilities, greenhouses, retail warehouses, churches, laboratories, offices and schools.
In summation: Radiation Gas Heaters can be used in a wide range of applications, providing flexible even heating. Its quick heating properties ensure rapid restoration of reduced heat levels and this in turn minimises fuel consumption. It is an effective, low cost source of heating for many modern applications.