Electrical Resistance

The measurement of electrical resistance is a determination of the amount of difficulty an electrical current encounters as it passes along and through a conductor. Conductance is the opposite measurement and is a determination of the ease with which the current passes through the conductor.

Use of Electricity

Electricity is an efficient way to energize a heating system. The relative amount of electrical energy required to operate the system is low compared to other sources of energy. However, electricity is created using natural resources and these can be costly to the wallet and the planet.

Resistance Heating Process

This type of heating system is installed with the end being to send electrical current to a unit in each room of the structure. The central power panel is the beginning of the current as it regulates and distributes current from an outside source. This supply of power is usually 240V.

In this system, each room has its own thermostat and the distribution of the current can take on four different paths. First, electrical current is connected directly to a baseboard unit that has its own thermostat. Secondly, a thermostat can be placed at the control panel and when it calls for an increase of heat, a relay makes the connection between the panel and the baseboard unit. Thirdly, a thermostat is placed on the wall and it creates the connection directly to the baseboard unit. Finally, with the use of a heater and a fan, a thermostat is mounted on top of the heater. This thermostat controls the current intended to reach both the heater and the fan.

Baseboard Heaters

These are heaters used in zones throughout the structure that contain heating elements encased in metal pipes. The pipes are surrounded by aluminum fins that assist the heat transfer. Cool air is drawn into the base of the unit while warm air rises. These are usually installed near or under windows to counterbalance the incoming cool air with the warm air rising from the baseboard unit.

Types of Electric Resistance Heaters

Electric resistance heat can be created using electric baseboards, wall heaters, radiant heat, or space heaters. Electric furnaces may also be an option, but because they are duct systems and need energy to direct the air current flow, it may not be the most energy efficient option for heating.

Wall Heaters

These heaters are installed on interior walls and contain a heating element with a reflector behind it. This reflector directs the heat into the room. A fan inside the unit will direct the flow of air.

Control Systems

Electric resistance heating systems are mostly controlled by thermostats. These thermostats may be located at the unit, in the room, or at the control panel. Programmable thermostats are recommended for changing seasonal, personal, and room requirements.

Electric Thermal Storage

Electric companies sometimes charge less for energy at off peak times such as evenings. An electric themal storage device can store electricity at night when the electricity costs less. This can decrease an overall expenditure for energy and make electricity available during peak usage times of the day.

One version of an electric thermal storage heater is a resistance heater with elements surrounded in ceramic. Some systems take advantage of in-ground storage capacities such as cables installed. This type of system requires insulation under slabs and surrounding the heating elements.