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Helpful Terminology for Understanding Electrical Heating Systems
Electric heating systems can vary widely in their cost, efficiency, and versatility. Whether upgrading an outdated heating system or evaluating the existing HVAC system in a house, familiarity with terminology for different heating systems and equipment can be invaluable.
Forced Air Heating - A system in which air is actively pumped. Ducts may run through walls or under floors to deliver heat to different rooms. Air is generally heated with a furnace prior to being pumped through the system.
Electric Heat Pump - Equipment which moves hot air around. Air may be further heated as it is moved through the system. Because they primarily work by moving air, they can also be used as air conditioners. Having a single unit which serves both functions can simplify HVAC installation and maintenance.
Zone Heaters - Also called baseboard heaters. These are a type of radiant heater. Each heater is generally controlled by its own thermostat, allowing specific control of the temperature in each room. They may be the exclusive form of heat in a building, or they may be used to supplement a different primary heating system.
Steam Radiator - A type of radiator that generates heat with hot water vapor. These radiant heaters were much more common in the past than they are today.
In-Floor Radiant Heating - A system in which heaters are installed into the floor. These are considered very energy-efficient. They are typically installed when a building is being constructed.
Infrared Electric Heaters - A type of radiator which works by heating objects, rather than air. Floors and other surfaces retain the heat from these systems.
Electric heating equipment and systems are used in commercial buildings and residential homes all over the world. These systems and furnaces provide radiant heat to small areas or individual rooms, as well as central heating through vents to entire households and buildings. They can often be set to a particular temperature. While heating equipment dates back to the 1800s, now there are both gas and electric options available. Both can be used in residential homes.
Some of the different types of electric heating systems are convection, baseboard, and geothermal. While convection units are commonly referred to as floor or space heaters, they often run on oil. Baseboard heaters are typically placed along the baseboards of rooms in order to control the temperature of the entire room. Then there are geothermal heat pumps, which are supposed to control temperature from the ground up. Many electric units have coils that get hot. Certain electric equipment is also used for hot water pumps or boiler units. This controls the temperature of the water you use.
One thing to remember about floor units is that they often need to sit on a mat in order to prevent fires. Typically, central heating systems come equipped with a control panel that enables you to manage the amount of air flowing through the ducts in your home. You can get more information regarding radiant heaters, energy efficient wall units, and electric temperature control equipment on the web. Simply search for the type of equipment or system that interests you.