The Science and Technology Of Oil-Filled Heaters

The Science and Technology Of Oil-Filled HeatersThe most popular space heaters currently in the market are oil-filled radiator heaters. The heaters are so popular due to their safety, energy efficiency and effectiveness.

What are Oil Filled Heaters?

Oil-filled radiators resemble old-fashioned radiators but much smaller. They consist of a series of jointed fins or columns, sometimes with open spaces between them attached at the base and have a control panel at the front. Some of the oil-filled radiator heaters feature single flat panel construction.

Inside the heater’s fin and body is diathermic oil. One of the most popular questions that people have about the oil-filled heaters is whether you are required to refill the oil. The answer to the question is No. You are not required to refill the oil in your oil-filled radiator heater. The oil is used as a reservoir of the heat as opposed to a fuel, which means that it is never used up. It simply continues to circulate through the heater as long as it is in use.

The following is a brief breakdown, provided by Electric Heating Experts, of how it works:

  1.  A resistor inside the heater turns energy to heat after electricity is channelled into it.
  2. The diathermic oil enclosed in the heater absorbs the heat.
  3. The oil within the heater starts warming up and starts circulating through the columns and fins.
  4. The circulation of the oil helps transfer heat into the metal of the heater’s fins this creating an even surface temperature.
  5. Once the metal fins have heated up, they start radiating heat into the room. The heat is circulated by natural convection in the air throughout the room.

Air Circulation and Natural Convection

One of the features that make oil-filled radiator heaters so popular is the fact they operate very silently. The reason why this is the case being that many models lack in-built fans that can distribute the hot air. Instead, after the air around the heater warms up, physics handles the circulation of warmth throughout the room via convection. Convection is a natural process described using the popular phrase, “heat rises.”

Scientifically speaking, once the temperature of a gas or liquid rises, it becomes less dense and starts rising upwards. This means that once the heater by your feet has warmed the air surrounding it, the air starts rising up towards the ceiling and then pushes the cooler air back towards the ground. The heater now warms the cooler air and creates a continuous convection current throughout the room.

Over time, the convection current creates an even temperature throughout the entire room depending on the power of the heater and the size of the room. In the meantime, those in close proximity to the heater will start feeling the direct effects of the heat radiating from it.

Advantages of Oil-Filled Radiator Heaters

Now that you have an understanding of the mechanics behind oil-based radiator heaters, here are the benefits associated with using one in your office or home.

  1. It does not dry the air. The heater does not use a fan, which means that the air in your room will not dry out.
  2. Energy efficiency. Electric heaters are close to 100 percent efficient, which means that all the energy consumed is converted into heat directly. Oil-filled radiator heaters do not even require power for a fan motor.
  3. Cools Slowly. Oil-filled radiator heaters keep radiating heat even long after the power is turned off.
  4. Thermostat controlled. Once the room or area has reached a comfortable temperature, the oil-filled radiator heater automatically cycles on and off to maintain the warmth as opposed to running continuously, which saves you money and prevents overheated rooms.

Oil-filled radiator heaters are also some of the safest space heaters available.

  1. Non-scorching surfaces. The metal surfaces might get warm to the touch, but they never get hot enough to burn if you brush against them accidentally.
  2. Heating element is not exposed. The heating element is contained within the heater, which means that it is impossible for it to encounter anything flammable.
  3. No fumes or gas. Since the oil-filled radiators don’t burn any gas or oil, they can be safely used indoors.