Ceramic heaters : make the right choice
Among all the electric radiators on offer, ceramic radiators are some of the most economical to use thanks to the way they operate. These heaters contain a dry thermal element which is used to continue releasing radiant heat long after the appliance is switched off.
In terms of heat output, these radiators are quite particular. For example:
- the exterior of low surface temperature models won't exceed 70°C;
- they are designed to retain heat very well;
- most ceramic radiators are slow to heat up.
While ceramic radiators and oil-filled radiators both contain heating elements, they work in different ways. So-called dry inertia radiators transfer the heat produced by the heating element to a core material which stores the heat.
This solid core can actually be made of a few different materials including:
- ceramic (slow to heat up);
- soapstone (a highly conductive material);
- cast iron (heavy but durable with good heat retention);
- lava stone (very good heat retention).
Oil-filled radiators, on the other hand, transfer the heat emitted by a heating element to a heat transfer fluid such as:
- mineral or vegetable oil;
- glycol (for faster heat-up times).
Both oil-filled and oil-free radiators come in a few different materials, each of which offers different characteristics:
- steel – affordable;
- cast iron – heavy and good heat retention;
- aluminium – quick to heat up.
Like all electric radiators, ceramic heaters can be fitted with various types of thermostats:
- manual thermostats which are accurate to 2°C;
- electronic thermostats which are accurate to 0.5°C;
- digital thermostats which are accurate to 0.1°C.
There are also a few different programming systems available to improve home comfort and give you better control over energy management and your heating budget.
- Ceramic radiators can be connected to a programmer via a pilot wire or programming cassette.
- An RF programmer can be used to control and program your radiators through radio frequency waves in one central unit.
- Smart heating controls are more advanced and can be used as an energy management system to detect and account for any heat loss caused by things like open doors or windows.
The heat output of ceramic heaters is usually given in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). As a rough guideline, shoot for about 100 W per m². For example, a 2000 W soapstone core radiator should suffice for a living room measuring 20 m².