Understanding Unit Heaters: Types, Functions, and Efficiency

Feb 6, 2024 | H.E. Rieckelman

Are you looking to enhance the heating system in your space? Maybe even in your bat cave?

Consider unit heaters – versatile heating solutions designed to provide warmth efficiently and effectively. In this post, we’ll delve into what unit heaters are, explore their various types, understand how they operate, and discuss their efficiency.


What Are Unit Heaters?

Unit heaters are self-contained heating devices commonly used in commercial, industrial, and even residential settings. These heaters are typically installed within the space they are intended to heat, mounted on walls, ceilings, or floors. They offer localized heating, making them ideal for areas where maintaining consistent temperatures is essential.


Different Types of Unit Heaters

Forced Flow Unit Heaters: These units use a fan to distribute heated air throughout the space. They come in various configurations, including horizontal and vertical models, and are suitable for both small and large areas.

Radiant Unit Heaters: Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation, which directly warms objects and people in the vicinity. They are often used in areas where spot heating is required, such as garages, workshops, and outdoor spaces.

Steam and Hot Water Unit Heaters: These heaters utilize steam or hot water from a central boiler system to provide heat. They are commonly found in larger industrial facilities where a centralized heating system is already in place.


How Do Unit Heaters Work?

Unit heaters work by generating heat through various means, such as electric resistance elements, combustion of fuel (natural gas, propane, or oil), or heat exchange with a hot water or steam source. The generated heat is then transferred to the surrounding air or objects, raising the temperature of the space.

Forced air unit heaters pull in cool air from the space, heat it using the heating element or combustion process, and then blow the warmed air back into the area with the help of a fan. Radiant heaters, on the other hand, emit infrared radiation that directly heats nearby surfaces, creating a comfortable environment without the need for air movement.


Are Unit Heaters Efficient?

The efficiency of unit heaters depends on various factors, including the type of heater, its size, the fuel source, and the insulation of the space being heated. Generally, modern unit heaters are designed to be highly efficient, especially those equipped with energy-saving features such as programmable thermostats, variable-speed fans, and high-efficiency heat exchangers.

Forced air unit heaters can achieve high efficiency by evenly distributing heated air throughout the space, while radiant heaters excel in delivering focused, energy-efficient warmth to specific areas. Proper installation, regular maintenance, and choosing the right size and type of unit heater for your space are crucial steps in maximizing efficiency and reducing energy costs.


Where To Buy Unit Heaters?

H.E. Rieckelman carries the whole line of Modine unit heaters, the forefront of heating technology. These unit heaters can be sized to your space and application. Inquiring about new units or even just looking to replace some parts? Visit our contact us page to reach out and learn how Modine unit heaters can bring the heat!


By: Nash Mohammad, B.Eng