Last Updated on April 20, 2023 by Electricalvolt
In this article, we will discuss the major advantages and disadvantages of electric heating over other types of heating methods. But before that let us first know a bit about electric heating.
It is a well-known fact that electricity and heat are the basis of present-day civilization. Heat is used for performing several tasks such as cooking food, making tools, raising steam from water, etc.
From the analysis of the characteristics of heat and electricity, it was found that electricity and heat have many things which are common to both.
Experimentally, it is found that several effects of electricity are used for heating applications, one of them is when electricity or electric current is passed through a conductor, heat is produced in the conductor. Another effect is that when a magnetic material is subjected to alternating flux heat is produced in the material. In the same way, when an insulating or dielectric material is subjected to an alternating electric field, dielectric loss is produced which causes the heating of the material.
Hence, electric heating can be defined as a heating process in which heat is generated by using electric current. Based on the principle of heating, several types of electric heating methods are present such as resistance heating (based on I2R law), induction heating (based on the electromagnetic induction principle), dielectric heating (based on dielectric loss), etc.
Now, let us discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Electric Heating over other types of heating methods.
Advantages of Electric Heating
The important advantages of electric heating are described in the following section:
(1). Clean Operation:
As the electric heating does not use coal, hence there is no issue of coal ash, smoke, etc. Therefore, the operation of electric heating is clean. Consequently, the cost of cleaning is also minimized.
The capital cost of an electric heating system is less when compared to other types of heating systems like coal-based heating systems, gas-based heating systems, etc.
Also, the operation of many electric heating systems does not require much-skilled labor, hence this in turn reduces the operational cost of the electric heating. No moving parts are present in the electric heating systems, hence the wear and tear are significantly reduced, thereby, the life of the electric heating equipment is high and the maintenance cost is low. Overall, an electric heating system is more economic as compared to other heating systems.
(3). No Pollution:
Since electric heating does not involve the combustion of fuels to produce heat, hence there is no problem with flue gases, ash, dust, smoke, etc. Consequently, electric heating is a completely pollution-free heating method that keeps the atmosphere clean.
(4). Ease of Control:
By using sensors and other automation devices, electric heating can be accurately and reliably used for maintaining the desired temperature. Hence, in the electric heating system, the temperature can be controlled easily over a wide range simply by switching ON or OFF the heating elements.
(5). Quick Heating:
Electric heating provides quick heating, i.e. the desired temperature can be obtained in a very small time as compared to other heating methods.
(6). Uniform Heating:
Electric heating heats the objects uniformly.
(7). Advantages of Electric Heating–High Efficiency:
Electric heating is a highly efficient method of heating. Practically, in an electric heating system, about 75 % to 100 % of heat energy is utilized for heating the subject. We can achieve 100 % efficiency of Electric Heating Systems at the point of use. It means if we consume 2 kW of electricity, we can produce 2 kW of heat.
The efficiency of electric heating is much higher than other heating methods like gas, oil, or LPG systems. Unlike electric heating, other heating systems lose heat through flues etc. When we use solar power in place of conventional power, the efficiency of the electric system improves and moreover, the production of carbon dioxide reduces.
(8). Advantages of Electric Heating–Better Working Conditions:
There is no irritating noise and significant harmful radiation. Also, the ambient temperature of an electric furnace is low. Hence, electric heating has a better working environment.
(9). Heating of Bad Conductors of Heat and Electricity is Possible:
With electric heating, we can heat up bad conductors of heat and electricity such as wood, plastic, rubber, bakery items, etc.
(10). Smaller Size of Heating Equipment:
Electric heating furnaces are relatively compact in size. Hence, electric heating equipment requires less floor area for installation.
(11). Advantages of Electric Heating- Longer life:
The useful life of Electric Heating systems is about 50% longer than oil or gas boilers. The electric heating system does not have any internal moving parts and, therefore, the chances of wear & tear, and breakdown of the heating system’s components are very less.
Disadvantages of Electric heating
However, electric heating is the most efficient and superior method of heating. But it also suffers from some disadvantages. Some common disadvantages of electric heating are listed below:
- Electric heating becomes uneconomic in areas where the cost of electricity is high.
- Electric Hazards: Electric heating sometimes may cause electrical hazards such as electric shock, electric fire, arc flash, explosion, etc.
- High Cost: A large electrical service is required for electric heating which involves a significantly high cost.
- Limited heating coverage: In home heating systems, electric heaters can be used for heating small spaces, but they are not suitable for heating large spaces.
- Inefficiency in cold climates – Electric heating system is less effective and efficient in extremely cold climates. The system needs more time to maintain the desired temperature.
- Interference with electronic devices – The electric heating system generates an electromagnetic field and it can interfere with electronic devices like TV, radios, and other electronic equipment.
- Dependence on electricity – In the case of power outages and blackouts the heating system can not function.
Application of Electric Heating
Electrical heating has widespread applications in various heating processes for domestic, commercial, and industrial heating. Some of the applications of electric heating are mentioned below.
Domestic & Commercial Applications
- Electric water heater, room heater and immersion heater, and hot plates.
- Electric irons
- Electric kettles, popcorn plants, coffee percolators
- Hot air driers for drying wet hair or laboratory equipment
- Electric ovens / electric tandoors / electric toasters
- Ore Extraction: Melting for extraction or purification of metals.
- Process Industry: Heat treatment for various processes such as hardening, normalizing, annealing, tempering, soldering, brazing, joining, case hardening, etc.
- Cable Industry: Enamelling of copper conductor.
- Paint Industry: Heat treatment of painted surfaces.
- Saw Industry: Plywood manufacturing
- Food Industry: For biscuits and bread making
- Baking Process: Baking of insulators, potteries, and sanitary fittings.
- Glass Industry: Glass moulding
This is all about the advantages and disadvantages of Electric Heating, and its applications.