Industrial Portable Electric Heaters – Infrared vs Forced Air

It’s winter time here in Ohio and we just had our first decent snow fall. Only two weeks ago we were enjoying a nice Indian summer but it looks like we are well beyond that now. When it comes to serious BTUs (50k-150k per unit) from a portable electric heater there are a few options. If you have already moved past the less expensive kerosene & other gas options for what ever reason there are some real advantages to electric including cleaner, safer, easier. Here are the different types to choose from in the way the electric heaters actually heat.

Infrared Heaters
Portable infrared heaters use long wave infrared radiation that travels across the area, makes contact with a solid surface and transfers radiation into heat energy in that object. Actually it sounds pretty scary when described like this but we are assured we would not morph into super heros, no matter how long we stood infront of the heater. If you have ever waited outside a restaurant those orange overhead heaters are infrared heaters and they are definitely very warming out in the cold. The advantage to this type of heat is that a breeze in the air will have no effect on the heat you feel from the lamp and that you can “aim” the heater in a specific direction. Another situation for this type of heater would be in a shipping & receiving department where the constant opening and shutting of delivery doors might rob the room of ambient warm air.

Forced Air
In a forced air heater there are several types of heating elements that can be used including ceramic, metal coils or quartz tube. The heating element warms the air around it then a fan pushes the air around the room. The air then gets recirculated back to the heater and each time becomes warmer. In this fashion a forced air system can effectively raise the temperature of the entire room over time. This type of heating is obviously more effective when the area is sealed and insulated. It will also heat the room evenly so it is good when multiple people are working in the area. A good example might be a new construction build when the finishing work is being done or a warehouse space with decent insulation.

There are several options available from Ohio Power Tool in the TPI/Fostoria line of portable electric heaters. The small 110V heaters are ok for individual use but not effective for heating a large space, there are several 240V good options that are prewired to work off standard range plugs including the 10KW Salamander. For serious heat however the 15kw to 45kw electric salamanders are the way to go (see chart above for area/time). These will not run off of standard household circuits as many are 3 phase so do require a little bit of electrical expertise to set up. For serious spot heating (require 4–7 ft clearance) with the larger infrared units there are several options of 6kw & 13.5kw carts units. As always if you have any questions it is best to give the experts at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424. They will be happy to help with any of your portable heating needs.    

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