What Are Electric Coil Heaters?
Electric coil heaters are a type of electrical heating device that transfers heat by way of a metal coil. Although there are many designs, they all have two major components: a coil and a heating unit. The heating unit generates electrical energy that is passed into the coil. As that electricity passes through the coil, it is converted into heat energy which can then pass to the surrounding medium.
This is a highly flexible type of heating device. They are often favored for their simplicity and low maintenance needs. Electric heating coils can be used to heat open air or can be directly applied to a medium that needs heating. They are used as industrial heaters, electric duct heaters, consumer space heaters, and as parts of larger systems in many other applications.
Types of Electric Heating Coils
Like all heaters, electric coil heating devices can be described by their energy input and heat output levels. Additionally, they can be classified based on whether the design is open or closed and what the shape of the heating coil is.
Open Vs. Closed Designs
Open electric heating coils have the metal coil directly exposed. This means that there is no protective covering to heat. Therefore, the transfer of heat energy from the coil to the surrounding medium is very efficient.
These designs typically have low maintenance requirements and are less expensive than other options. However, the coil can be prone to damage and may not be appropriate for all heating applications, especially when safety is a concern.
Closed coils have a protective sheath around the coil so the heating element and the medium do not directly touch. This can reduce the risks of fire, burns and electrocution. However, they are less efficient than their open counterparts due to the need to heat the sheath.
Shapes of Electric Coil Heaters
Electric heaters can also be classified based on the shape of the coil. These are a few common coil shapes and their benefits:
- Straight: Straight heating elements are not yet formed into coils. They may be used when the coil needs to snake through equipment or if the end-user will want to form the coil in situ.
- Closed Coiled: Closed loops are the most efficient designs. They can come in several shapes to fit the geometry of the application. However, these are always relatively simple designs.
- Spiral: When the coil is formed into a spiral, it can produce exceptionally high temperatures. This is ideal for high heat transfer in a small space.
- Star Wound: This type of cable can be inserted into pipes or ducts. The offset coils help to create a turbulent flow that increases heat transfer.
Common Applications for Electric Coil Heaters
Electric heating coils can be used in industrial, duct, gas or air, space, cartridge-style, pipe and other similar types of heaters. They are also used in lab equipment, machine components, freeze protection, injection machine nozzle heaters and other such uses.
In the household, items such as HVAC systems, ovens and water tanks may utilize electric heating coils. In almost any application that calls for heating using electricity, this style of heater can be used.
Features and Benefits
- Flexible Shapes: The high ductility of electric coil heaters means that they can be formed into almost any shape. Therefore, you can fit them to the application.
- Fast Temperature Change: The low mass of the coil speeds up heat transfer when heating and cooling.
- Durable: These heaters are simple and easy to repair. They tend to be extremely durable even with minimal maintenance work.
- Many Applications: Electric coil heaters are flexible enough to be used in liquid immersion, gas heating, sub-freezing and other situations.
Industrial Electric Heaters
Specializing in industrial electric heaters and as leading distributors of Watlow heaters, Chromalox heaters, Tempco heaters, and more we strive to exceed the expectations of our customers. Contact us today for information on industrial heaters, controllers, and custom industrial heating systems.