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The top heating methods and where to use them

effinity-heater-in-greenhouseIt is well into December and while snow has not yet collected on the ground here at our South Windsor, Connecticut headquarters, the winter chill has certainly set in. With the sun setting just after 4 PM and temperatures rarely breaking 40 degrees Fahrenheit, winter in the Northeast can be one of the most challenging seasons, especially when caring for plants or livestock. Thankfully, our company headquarters have been here in the Northeast since our establishment in 1979, and because of that, we have 30+ years of first-hand experience to help your farm remain warm and functional throughout this challenging time.

What are the different types of heat?

To understand which heater is best for your application, we must first cover the different types of heat. There are three types of heat; conduction, convection and radiation. Each of these create or provide heat in a different manner, making some forms ideal for one situation, but less than ideal for another.

Conduction: This is the transfer of heat caused by contact between a warm object and a cold object. An example of this method of heating would be touching a cold object with your hand. In this scenario, the heat from your hand is transferred to the object, therefore warming that single object. Conduction heating methods are ideal for heating individual objects or precise locations only.

Convection: This is the transfer of thermal energy caused by heating the air between objects. This is the most common method used for heating large areas. An example of this method would be installing a fan-forced heater in a greenhouse or barn. The heater fills the space with warm air, causing the temperature inside the structure to rise. As convection only heats the air between objects, this can prove to be slightly inefficient in certain applications.

Radiation: This is accomplished by radiating heat directly from a hot surface to a surrounding area. Most commonly referred to as radiant infrared heating, this is typically used for heating floors in homes and greenhouses. In these applications, the empty space between the houses foundation and ground floor is heated, most often through the use of a hot water heating system. The hot water heats the empty space between the foundation and floor. As hot air naturally rises, the heat can then be felt above the floor, heating the entire area without having to come into direct contact with a cold object. This application is ideal for homes or as under bench heating in greenhouse applications, as it is very energy-efficient and inexpensive.

What heaters provide these types of heat?

We offer a solution for each style of heating. While all of these heating styles and various heating systems are sure to keep your home, barn or greenhouse warm during the winter season, some heaters may prove to be less effective in certain applications. The following section includes the heaters and related products that are best for each heating style. If you have questions on which heater is right for your application, contact a specialist by phone at 800-327-6835 or use the Live Help feature on our website.

Top Conduction Heaters

 Quartz Infrared Spot Heaters


SunStar® StarGloTM Ceramic Infrared Heaters


Infrared Utility Heaters


SunStar® Tube Heaters


These heaters provide the best results when used in entryways, garage doorways or above seedling benches, livestock pens and work benches. These heaters are not a suitable option for heating a large space. Consider these for any application that involves heating a single object or area, or to counteract areas that often result in significant heat loss.

Top Convection Heaters

Modine Heaters


Heat Wave Electric Heaters


HeatStar Blue Flame Heaters


Pic-A-Watt Unit Heater


Construction Site/Utility Heater


Heat Wave Portable Electric Heater


These heaters provide the best results when used to heat barns, commercial greenhouses, athletic facilities, warehouses, manufacturing facilities or workshops. Consider these for any large scale application. As these heaters are ceiling or wall mounted, heat loss may be an issue. Hot air rises, which can mean that much of the warm air coming from the ceiling mounted heater may become trapped at the roof and never reach the ground. To counteract this, install ceiling fans and run them clockwise at a slow speed. This will circulate air up and towards the walls, helping to maintain and distribute the warm air within the structure.

Top Supplies for Radiant Infrared Heating

Hydro Smart Condensing Micro-Boilers


Hydro Smart Compact Boilers


TekCoil Orange Pex-Al-Pex Radiant Coil


TekFoil Reflective Insulation


Taco Zone Valve Controls


Floor Heating/Hydronic Thermostat


This heating system provides the best results when used for radiant in floor heating, radiant in wall heating or under greenhouse benches. This style of heating is energy-efficient, as it capitalizes on the natural rise of hot air. It is also very clean, because it does not involve blowing or circulating air, which greatly decreases the amount of allergens present. Consider this system if you are looking to provide heat to a very specific location only. These systems are not a suitable option for heating large, open areas, especially if that area includes high ceilings. These locations are less than ideal for radiant heating, as it will require a great amount of time and energy to fill the entire space.

If you have any questions about which heater is best for your application, contact a specialist at 800-327-6835 or visit our website for more details on our selection of heaters and heating accessories.

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