Panel Heaters: Slimline Heating Solutions
Every home has its heating challenges. Perhaps your whole-house system leaves some rooms overly warm and others decidedly cool. Perhaps you have a new baby and need to boost the heat in just that area. Perhaps your spacious multipurpose room has lofty ceilings that make the space difficult to heat.
Alone or in combination, slimline panel heaters can help solve these and many other heating problems. Let’s take a look at some of the basics.
Fundamentals. Electric panel heaters are sometimes called radiant heaters because they generate and radiate heat much like an electric baseboard heater. Those that are designed to be mounted with a gap between the wall and heater also function as natural convection heaters, because cool air flows behind the unit and is heated before it’s released into the room. Infrared versions are designed to heat the walls, ceiling, furniture and floors which absorb the warmth and gradually release it back into the space.
Smaller versions plug into a standard wall outlet, and many are designed to be freestanding, wall-mounted or both. Because high capacity units generate more heat, they’re designed for permanent installation and hardwired into the electric system.
Features. Most panel heaters feature:
Thin, flat designs that allow them to be mounted on the wall or ceiling.
Extremely quiet operation since there’s no fan.
Low or no-maintenance construction with no filters to clean or replace.
Individual controls so each unit can be adjusted to suit your needs.
An internal thermostat that allows you to set and control heater temperature independently from room temperature.
Options. In addition to these desirable qualities, most are also very energy efficient, but the particulars vary by manufacturer, configuration and unit capacity. Some can be painted to blend into the surroundings, while others offer matte, metallic or mirrored finishes. Some come with a built-in timer that will turn the unit on and off at preset times, while others are designed to be installed in clusters and controlled with a single wired or wireless thermostat and timer.
Uses. Panel heaters can serve as the primary heat source for a home, but in most cases they’re used in unheated spaces or as supplemental heaters in areas that are persistently cold or difficult to heat. They’re ideal for spaces such as bathrooms, garages and high-ceilinged rooms, or three-season spaces such as enclosed patios, porches and sunrooms. Heat panels can also be a great alternative for allergy sufferers, because there’s no blower to stir up and circulate irritants such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores and similar allergens.
Not all slimline panel heaters are appropriate for every application and many are not suited for use in wet spaces like bathrooms, so work with your HVAC installer to determine what type best suits the space or spaces you need to heat.