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Gas versus Electric for Business Heating

One of the most common questions we get asked is "Exactly what are the differences between gas and electric commercial heaters?" So, in this article we seek to explain some of the main aspects which differentiate the two fuel types.

1.Safety

Gas heaters have naked flames, therefore the safety aspect of these can be quite dangerous. This can be more dangerous in commercial environments such as restaurants and bars when you have customers sat around a gas heater. Not only this, but with gas heaters you have the chore of lugging around, as well as storing, large bulky gas bottles.

2. Mounting location

Electric commercial heaters offer more flexibility in terms of placement for two main reasons;

  • Size: Electric heaters tend to be smaller in size than traditional gas heaters.  
  • No pipework: Unlike with gas heaters, electric heaters do not require pipework to be installed. 

These features help when restrictions come up on building layouts and designs, or planning issues associated with positioning of flues. The versatility of electric heating can also be a major advantage for home extensions where the existing heating system may have insufficient capacity to heat extra radiators. 

The main mounting locations are either wall or ceiling-mounted.  Either mounting can be very beneficial in commercial environments due to not taking up valuable floor space. Compare this with many traditional gas heaters which take up quite a substantial amount of floor space and inhibit the customer flow in a restaurant or bar area. 

3. Maintenance

The maintenance of gas heaters is an expensive factor and when contemplating which type of heater to purchase, this is something that should always be considered when weighing up the costs. 

1539-gas_patio_heater_850.jpg

Traditional gas heating systems tend to have a visit from the heating engineer annually, to check that everything is running ok and to do a service on it. This is mainly to check that no harmful gases are starting to be emitted from the system. 

Electric heaters don’t require this kind of maintenance, in fact  Tansun's electric infrared heaters are virtually maintenance free. Unlike gas heaters, they have no moving parts and therefore will generally have a much longer and maintenance free lifespan than a gas heating system.

4. Environment

It goes without saying that pumping harmful carbon monoxide gases into the environment can’t be doing it any good…and this is just what gas heaters do. Tansun's electric heaters are a clean heating product and produce no CO2 or harmful NOX emissions.

5. Overall running costs

It is commonly thought that gas is generally cheaper than electric, and this can seem a compelling argument when coming to decide between an electric heater and a gas heater. However, when considering running costs, its important to consider all the factors which affect the real-world efficiency of the two fuels. Below we look at three of these.

Pre-heating

  • Pre-heating is a big issue with gas heaters. We have worked with many customers in the past who have gas heating systems installed, however the time it takes the heating system to heat up to an ambient temperature to heat the area is very long.

    This means that their gas heating system can be left on for days at a time, just to heat the area up. This problem is something that does not occur with electric heaters. 

    Tansun infrared heaters provide necessary heat within one second of switching on. The heat is felt instantly and there are no prolonged pre-heating times.

    So for example in a church, you would only turn on the heaters when the congregation are there for a service. Please view our Saint Michael's Church case study to see how much money Tansun heaters have saved the church. The heaters would also be perfect for restaurants as they would only need to be switched on when the outdoor terrace is occupied, greatly reducing the restaurants' heating costs in the long run.

Wasted Heat

  • When emitting energy with gas heaters, a proportion of the heat just dissipates as it is used to just heat the surrounding air. Tansun electric infrared heaters are more energy efficient as they heat the objects, people and surfaces, which in turn radiate the heat back. None of the energy from an electric heater is wasted heating air around people and consequently making the atmosphere stuffy.

thermal image of gas heaterControllability

  • Overall running costs can be significantly affected by how easy or hard a heating system is to control. Tansun heaters can be paired with our wide range of energy efficient controllers and receivers which put you in control of your heating system just that bit more.

    Tansun also has a  time lag switch which allows a heater to be programmed to be turned on for a period of time between 2-20 minutes. This is useful for heaters used in outdoor smoking areas where the heater will only need to be intermittently used.

    Tansun’s dimmers and controllers also allow our range of infrared heaters to be controlled and dimmed down between different stages. Therefore in a  commercial environment where not a lot of heat is needed but an equal level of background warmth is required, then you can switch the heater down to 75-50% if needed with the click of a remote button.

Conclusion

When you consider the two fuel types 'in-the-round', the true ownership costs mean that an electric heating system can be a more cost effective solution in many different sectors. You'll find them cheaper to install & maintain. Electric systems also last an average of 50% longer than a gas system/heater.

We hope that this informative post helps to explain the main differences between electric and gas heating for commercialindustrial and domestic heating.  However, if you do have any more questions about these two different types of heating methods, then please contact one of our friendly sales people who will be more than happy to have a chat to you about it. 

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