3 Types of Heat Transfer.
CONVECTION. Neater Heaters are Convector Heaters. Convection quite simply can be summed up by the phrase “Hot air Rises”. Cold air is drawn into the bottom of the heater where it contacts the super-efficient element. As it is heated it expands and rises out of the heater to the ceiling where it “Mushrooms” out and fills up the room from the top down until all the air in the room is at the same temperature. At this moment the thermostat turns off the heater until it detects that the air in the heater is getting cooler, at which point it turns the heater back on.
While the heater is operating, a convection current will be set up constantly re-cycling the cold air at floor level into warm air which rises to the ceiling.
The advantage of this type of heating is that all the air in the room is warm, so everyone in the room feels comfortable.
The disadvantages come if you have to heat a very large area, if the ceilings are high, or if there are open plan areas such as stair-wells and hallways that you don’t need to heat.
RADIATION. Infrared heaters use radiation. The largest example of which is the sun. It is great if you are close to it, and exposed to it. However, if you are far away from it, or in a shadow, it gets less effective. Infrared heats objects, not spaces.
For example: If you have an infrared heater in a dining room on a cold day, your top half will be warm, where you are exposed to the heater, but your feet, under the table and in the shadow, will be cold. With a convector heater the air will be as warm under the table as the rest of the room. It is also possible to be in a very cold room heated by infrared and to have one side of your body hot and the other side cold.
However, the advantage of an infrared heater is that you can heat the people sitting in a small area of a large room, without wasting energy by heating the rest of the room. For example: a television area in a large open space finca.
CONDUCTION If you hold one end of an iron bar and put the other end of the bar into a fire, eventually the bar will become too hot to hold due to the iron conducting the heat. If you were to do the same with an extruded aluminium bar, it would become too hot to hold much quicker than the iron bar. This is because extruded aluminium is a much better conductor of heat than most other metals. Which is why it is used as the element in Neater Heaters.
COMPARING THE EFFICIENCY OF CONVECTION AGAINST RADIATION
Imagine a candle.
Now imagine you are holding your finger 1 cm to the side of the flame. You are being affected by the radiation which radiates equally in all directions.
Now imagine you are holding your finger 1 cm above the flame. You are now being affected by the same radiation you experienced holding your finger to the side of the flame. However, the nasty burning smell and the agony you are imagining is caused by convection.
For the purpose of this explanation you need to imagine we are trying to heat 3 identical rooms that are 10m² (3.2m X 3.2m). Each room is being used as a study, so requires decent heating for someone who is going to be stationary, but mentally active, for long periods of time. It needs to be heated to 22 – 25 degrees. We would recommend a 1KW. Neater Heater.
Room A is being heated by an oil-filled heater bought from a Ferreteria for less than €100. The room, on a cold day, is being heated to 24 degrees. This is acceptable, so this heater is effective. It does the job.
Room B is being heated by a 1KW Neater Neater, again it is effective as it is registering 24 degrees.
Room C is being heated by a 600W “Eco Heater” working flat-out, it is barely reaching 16 degrees. Not at all effective. (I know this from personal experience)
ECONOMICAL (Remember; the most economical heater is any one you don’t turn on).
Room A The Oil-Filled heater is rated at 2kw. The thermostat reduces its consumption to the equivalent of 1.75 KW. At the cost of 20 cents/Kw/hour it costs 35 cents/hour to run.
Room B The Neater Heater is a P10; 1KW. The thermostat reduces its consumption to the equivalent of 0.8 KW. At 20cents/KW/Hour this is 16 cents/hour. This makes it twice as economical as the oil filled heater.
Room C The Eco Heater is only 600 watts. It doesn’t have a thermostat so there is no reduced consumption, but at 12 cents/hour it is more economical to run than either of the other heaters. You may still be cold, but at least you are spending less money – but not much less!
Room A The Oil-Filled Heater is doing the job, but at twice the cost of the Neater Heater. It is therefore less efficient.
Room B The Neater Heater is also doing the job, but at half the consumption of the Oil-filled heater in Room A. It is therefore much more efficient.
Room C The Eco Heater is not doing the job. That is the worse kind of inefficient. (Had it been a 900 Watt model it still wouldn’t have done the job – I know from experience).
VALUE-FOR-MONEY and AFFORDABILITY
Some people opt for the “cheaper” option of the Oil-filled heater and the Eco-Heater (both around €75 from the Ferreteria) when told that they must pay nearly €200 for a Neater Heater. On the above figures, which are extremely conservative, I can prove the following statements.
- Don’t even consider the Eco-Heaters, they are useless. I know, I had one.
- The person who bought a Neater Heater for Room B would, after two winters, be €45 better off than the person who bought an oil-filled heater for Room A. This includes the initial price of the heaters.
- If the oil-filled heater was still working after 5 years, when the warranty runs out on the Neater Heater, its owner will have paid nearly €300 more to heat Room A than the Neater Heater owner will have paid to heat Room B. This also includes the initial price of the respective heaters.
NB The Thermostats on cheap Oil-filled heaters usually don’t work as well as I have suggested in this example, while the Neater Heaters often perform better than I have suggested.
Convector heaters warm all the air in a space/room. It is therefore very important to choose the correct size heaters for the rooms you require heating. We will assume that your ceilings are normal height (about 2.8 Metres)
Adax and Beha both produce size charts, but we find the following rule-of-thumb to work well for non-insulated Spanish houses.
In a living room you will need 100watts per m²: 1,000watts (1kw) per 10m².
In a bedroom you probably only need 75 watts per m²: 750watts per 10m².
You need to find out the area in square metres of your room. For my example I am going to make the dimensions 7 metres by 3 metres, which is 21m². For ease of calculation let’s call it 20m².
This means that if it is a living area you will need 2kw to heat it. If it is a bedroom; 1.5kw will probably be sufficient.
You then have to consider the following factors.
- The most efficient way to heat a rectangular room, like this, is to have two heaters; one at either end.
- It is cheaper to buy one 2kw heater than two 1kw heaters.
- Do you have sufficient wall space to mount your heaters? (free standing options with Neat Feet are available for all our models)
Other Factors you should consider.
- Your contracted limit. It is no good buying 7 kilowatts worth of heaters if your contract only permits you 5.5kw. If in doubt consult your supplier, or a qualified electrician.
- Convector heaters cannot heat half a room. When calculating the area to heat you must always include any open plan areas that cannot be closed off. This includes hallways, stairwells, serving hatches to kitchens etc.
- Many houses in Spain have high ceilings. These must be included in your calculations.
- The aspect of your rooms will also determine how cold they get.
Having taken all the above into consideration, if you are undecided between two sizes, you should usually pick the larger option. The difference in purchase price is minimal, and…….
- The smaller heater might struggle on colder days.
- The larger heater will take less time to achieve the temperature you require, and turn off for longer periods, so the consumption will be similar.
- Never pick a smaller heater “Just to take off the chill”. Always pick the correct heater and just turn it down to the required temperature.
Explaining the Efficiency of the Element.
The Neater Heater Element is a superb conductor of heat. It is made from Extruded Aluminium, which is used in computers to conduct heat away from the processors.
The Elements are designed in such a way that they have a huge surface area. This means that there is a large direct contact between the element and the cold air passing around it within the body of the heater itself. As the cold air is super-heated, it is “convected” upwards and is replaced from below by more cold air which in turn is heated and replaced.
Compare this direct heating of the air by a Neater Heater against the usual “Competition.”
Oil-filled heaters which go through three indirect stages:
- The element heats up the oil (losing energy in the process)
- The oil heats up the carcass of the heater (losing more energy in the process)
- The carcass of the heater heats up the air around the heater. Due to the relatively small surface area of the heater this is less efficient than the Neater Heater.
- Due to the inefficiency of the process many more kilowatts are needed to make the oil-filled heater produce the same amount of heat as the more efficient Neater Heater. This is why we can do with 1kw what it takes our competitors (quite often) 2KW to achieve.
Flat Panel Heaters. Often paint-able, and often called “Eco-Heaters”.
I cannot stress enough how bad and inefficient these heaters usually are. If you listen to the hype you would believe that you could heat an aircraft hanger with a 400 Watt heater. It just isn’t true.
We bought one to heat our son’s 3m X 4m bedroom. Fortunately we read the “small print” and bought a 900 Watt heater. It was so inefficient that it hardly raised the room temperature by 2 degrees, but the heater itself became dangerously hot. My son, even wearing his outdoor clothes, could only stand doing his homework in there for about half an hour-or-so. This heater would have cost me 18 cents/hour to run, at today’s prices, with no thermostat reduction.
We replaced this glorified skillet with a 1KW Beha Heater which, when the thermostat reduction was taken into consideration, cost between 12-16 cents/hour to run. But most importantly, the heater worked so well that my son is able to comfortably spend the whole evening studying in his room dressed in just jeans and a tee-shirt.
I sum this experience up by saying that with an Eco-Heater it used to cost me more to keep my son cold than it now costs me to keep him warm with a Beha Heater.
We were so impressed with them that we decided to import them and re-named them.
Adax, Neo, glamox and Beha heaters come with a manufactures guarantee of 5 years from the date of purchase.
Vigo heaters come with a manufactures guarantee of 3 years from the date of purchase.
The Exciting Adax Neo
The Adax Neo are primarily Convector Heaters. However, the digital thermostat and cutback controls need to be fully understood to appreciate what these heaters have to offer.
The Comfort Temperature is what you set the heater to when you want it on, and warming the room. For example: 22°C.
The Cutback temperature is the pre-set temperature you want the heater to reduce to for a period of time. For example: When you are at work you may want it reduced to 5°C – in effect turned off, or when you are asleep asleep: 12°C.
Controls. There are 5 buttons on the side of the heater.
“OK” The Function button allows you to change the functions of the other buttons, and set their subsequent commands.
“+” Increase the value in the digital display whether displaying temp, time, or day.
“-“ Decrease the value in the digital display.
“<“ Using this control as instructed you will be able to set a cutback temperature and time for five consecutive days. (Usually a daytime cutback during weekdays, so that the temperature setting is reduced for a set period of time while you are at work).
“>” Using this control as instructed you will be able to set a cutback temperature and time for seven consecutive days. (Usually night time cutback for when you are asleep,).
NB. When turned on for the first time after purchase, you must select one of three modes: Home; Office; or Cabin (Norwegian Log Cabin) depending on where you intend to put the heater. Depending on which mode you select, some of the Function commands will vary. The default option is Home.
If you just want to use it as a manually controlled heater, without programming it, just press the “F” button while turning it on. Release the F Then just press the “+” or “-“ accordingly.
Calibration: If the heater display temperature and the room temperature do not correspond, then the heater may need calibrating. This is easy to do. All Adax heaters are able to be calibrated.
Each Neo Heater comes with an instruction book, with pictures, that explain these functions.
Colours: The Neo range come with a choice of colours. The most popular, by far, is white. However, every Neo heater, including the skirting-board models can come in the following colours.
White, Black, Silver, Red
All Adax Heaters can be fitted with feet which gives you a choice of free-standing or wall mounted.