The Technology and Science of the Oil-filled Heaters

The oil-filled radiator heaters have become one of the most popular in the space heaters available on the current markets, only second to electric heating systems. This is due to their safety, energy efficiency and effectiveness.

Electric Radiator - The Technology and Science of the Oil-filled Heaters

Oil Filled Heaters Explained

An oil-filled heater basically looks very similar to the old-fashioned radiators, except these are far more compact. They are made up of a series of fins or columns that are joined. In some models, there will be an open space between each fin or column that will be attached to the base and then fronted with the control panel. Some of the oil-filled heaters are designed in the form of a single flat-panel.

In the interior of the fins and the body of these heaters is diathermic oil. One of the more common questions that consumers ask about these oil-filled heaters is whether you need to refill the oil. The answer to this question is no, you will never have to refill this oil. This type of oil is not classified as a fuel, but rather serves the purpose of a type of heat reservoir. This means that the oil is never used up and will continue to circulate through the heater every time you turn it on.

Here is an overview of how an oil filled heater works:

  • Electricity is first channelled into the resistor inside this heater that turns the energy source into a heat source.
  • This heat is then absorbed into the diathermic oil which is encased inside the heater.
  • As this oil warms up, it starts to circulate into the columns and fins.
  • When the oil starts moving, it transfers this heat into the metal fins, which creates a surface temperature that is even.
  • When the metal heats up it starts to radiate this heat into a room and this heat is circulated through the space through natural convection present in the surrounding air.

Air Circulation and Natural Convection

A stand-out-feature about the oil-filled heaters has to do with their silent operation. The reason for the silent operation has to do with that the majority of models do not feature built-in fans in order to distribute the warm or hot air. The process involves once air that surrounds this heater has become warm, physics handles circulating this warmth through the room through the process of convection. This natural process is associated with the familiar phrase that “heat rises.”

In scientific terms, when the temperatures of a gas or liquid increases, it will become less dense which allows it to rise upwards. What this means is that when the oil-filled heater warms up the air that surrounds it, this will rise towards the area of the ceiling followed by pushing cooled air back to the ground. This cooler air will then be warmed due to the heater, which creates continuous convection currents through the room.

Over a period of time, the convection currents will result in a constant and even temperature throughout the space. Before this happens, anyone close to the heater can still enjoy direct effects of the heat that radiate from the heater.

The Benefits of Oil-filled Heaters

Now that we have covered the mechanics associated with the oil-filled heaters, here are few benefits of using them in your office or home environment.

  • The heater will not dry out the air, and the absence of a fan also means that the air present in this room will also not dry out.
  • Energy efficiency, the electrical heaters are virtually 100% efficient, that means that any energy that is utilized is directly converted into heat.
  • They cool down slowly, which means they continue to radiate heat even once they are turned off.
  • These heaters are thermostat controlled. This means once the room has reached the desired temperature, the heater will automatically switch off and on in order to maintain this warmth. This can save you money as well as prevent the room from becoming overheated.

The oil-filled heaters are also regarded as safer options and provide the following safety benefits:

  • A non-scorching surface. The metal does warm up, but will never become hot enough that it will burn if you accidentally brushed past the surface.
  • The heating elements are not exposed. The oil-filled heaters feature a electric heating systems element inside the actual heater, which does away with the risks of coming into contact with something that is flammable.
  • These heaters do not emit any fumes or gas and are regarded as one of the safest for indoor use.

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