Can water heater elements be used in a radiant heating application?
I have a project that requires some radiant heating but was wondering if water heaters function properly if they are not immersed in water.
- DJLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
The system COULD be designed to work, but it's going to be incredibly inefficient. The coil will need a TON of air flow to carry away enough heat to prevent overheating.
Alternative solution: Buy replacement heat elements for space heaters. They're designed for air transfer. Just be sure that you size your air handling system (fan) properly to prevent over heating. Also, do not forget to wire in thermal relays to cut power to the coils if it should over heat. Size the element cluster and air handler appropriately for your heating demands so you A) meet your needs and also B) don't have excessive power cycling. If the system runs almost full time, it will be better in the long run than switching on and off every 5 sec.
Be sure that your thermal relays only cut power to the coil, not to the fan. You'll want the air flowing still to help cool the coils down and to maintain air circulation through your entire system.Source(s): I'm an engineer with too much time on my hands.
- scottsdalehigh64Lv 71 decade ago
I think that you are in dangerous territory. Water heater elements are designed to produce a great deal of heat that is cooled by a large supply of water. If the water is not there, where does the heat go?
If you want to use it for radiant heating, I suggest that you pump hot water from the water heater through pipes in the walls or the floor. However, the efficiency will be low since the water temperature will be relatively low.
The best radiant heaters like this are the old style steam heating systems using radiators that are found on older buildings. They deliver steam, not water, to the radiators and are relatively efficient. The downsides to them are noise and the question of who controls the system. In appartment buildings with radiant heating, the tenant cannot turn on the heat. It is under the control of the building supervisor.
- redbeardthegiantLv 71 decade ago
They will burn out in seconds.
They have to be immersed in water.
A radiant heating element is more expensive to make. The resistive element has to be able to take a much higher temp without failing.
Check out chromalox or omega.
- Chandramohan P.RLv 71 decade ago
Heating coils designed to work immersed in water will damage if heated in air.Its temperature will rise and it will melt.