What is a radiator, convector, electric heater, and heat exchanger?

Heating is pretty straightforward to understand. Radiator obviously has something to do with radiation, a type of heat transfer. But then you are confronted with terms such as valve, convector, electric heating, pumps, pipes, etc. They can be quite confusing, even many who can tell what all these terms mean find it hard to understand when they start building or ordering them due to questions about the sizes, pressure, etc. So I made this mini-manual for you to make sense about what is a radiator, convector, electric heating and heat exchanger.

What is a heat exchanger?
A heat exchanger is a device used to transfer heat between a solid object and a fluid, or between two or more fluid separated by a solid wall to prevent them from mixing. There are many types of heat exchangers but the main three kinds are radiators, convectors and electric heater.

heat excharger

heat excharger

Note: Fluids can be liquid, gas, or slurry (a thin sloppy mud or cement or a mixture of pulverized solid and liquid).

 

What is a radiator?
A radiator transfer thermal energy from one medium to another for cooling and heating your home. The weird thing is, despite the name, most radiators transfer the bulk of their heat via convection instead of thermal radiation.

radiator

radiator

 

What is a convector?
A convector transfers heat by circulating air convection currents, which heats up the air, causing it to increase in volume and so become buoyant (floatable) and rise.

convector

convector

 

What is an electric heater?
An electric heater converts electric current (a flow of electric charge) to heat.

electric heater

electric heater

 

What is a pump (in house heating)?
A pump is a device that moves fluids by mechanical action.

a pump (in house heating)

a pump (in house heating)

 

What is a pipe (in house heating)?
Otherwise known as a heat pipe, it is device that transfers heat between two solid interfaces.

a pipe (in house heating)

a pipe (in house heating)

 

What is a valve?
A valve is a type of safety lock that allows water to escape from the system when pressure becomes too high or replenish water from the supply if the pressure drops too low.

a valve (in house heating)

a valve (in house heating)

 

There. That’s as basic as I can get in explaining what is a radiator, convector, electric heating and heat exchanger. If you wish to understand more about radiator, I’ve made an easy-to-read article about What You Need to Know About Heating Radiator and Convective Radiator. To understand more about the heat process, please visit The Comfortable Room Climate.

No Comments

Leave a Comment