A Buying Guide For Finding The Perfect Commercial Heater

commercial heaters
Post Date: November 14, 2018 Posted by: Eleanor Sadler
Category: Heating, HVAC

This guide contains everything you need to know about purchasing a commercial space heater.

So if you want to know which heater will work best for your workspaces, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get started…

1. Is It Worth It to Add Additional Heating to My Industrial Work Space?
2. How Do Space Heaters Work?
3. Which Type of Commercial Space Heater Will Work Best for Me?
4. How Do I Know What Size Heater I Need?
5. What Should I Consider Before Purchasing a Commercial Space Heater?
6. How Can I Prevent Accidents or Fires Caused by Electrical Heaters?
7. How Can I Tell the Heater’s Power Consumption and Electrical Requirement?
8. Is It Better to Have An Industrial Heater Plugged-In or Hardwired?
9. How Much Will Supplemental Commercial Heating Cost?

1. Is It Worth It to Add Additional Heating to My Industrial Work Space?

As temperatures plummet during cold winter months, the risks for employees and production processes increase significantly. Workers exposed to freezing or cold temperatures are more susceptible to serious health problems like:

trench foot, frostbite,


and in some cases, even death.

Adding heating to your work environment will not only ensure protection for employees, but it will also help benefit production processes. Worker efficiency begins to drop at 20 degrees Fahrenheit and can continue to fall by as much as 50 percent in extreme conditions.

A 2004 study by Cornell University proved that workers perform better when they are warm. The results showed that comfortable thermal zones can save employers about two dollars per worker hour, or up to 12.5 percent of their wage costs per worker.

Nine women were monitored throughout the day at an insurance office in Orlando, Florida. Productivity was monitored and tracked by software that cataloged their typing speed and errors for 20 days.

The results showed that when temperatures were at a warm 77 degrees the women had a 10 percent error rate. When temperatures dropped to a cooler 68 degrees, their typing rates declined and the error rates increased to 25 percent.

In addition to helping employee productivity, adding heating to industrial processes can prevent corrosion on products and machinery and has a quick return on investment.

Keeping environments in steady warm temperatures prevents the formation of condensation. Condensation can cause corrosion in metals and other products.

With workers performing at optimum levels and without the risk of corrosion the return on investment from purchasing a heating system will be almost instantaneous.

2. How Do Space Heaters Work?

Thermal Radiation

When you feel heat without touching a heated object, that’s radiation. Like the comic shows, the dog isn’t directly touching the fire, but they are absorbing the heat from the fire by relaxing near it. Radiation heats the area that is directly in front of them without physical contact.

They are normally used to give heat to a specific area, but with time they can warm a room. Radiant heaters offer consistent and soft warmth.

The best example of radiation heating is how the sun heats the earth. The sun is millions of miles away, yet we still feel its blaze and that’s all thanks to radiation.

This type of heating is great at providing almost instantaneous heat to a specific area. They are a popular choice for space heating. They do not make any noise because there are no moving parts like fans or blowers. They will not send dust into the air and will not disturb other potentially harmful substances.

They are more efficient than forced air heating because there are no duct losses. It also heats the objects themselves so there is no condensation formation because they bring the object up to temperature instead of the air around it.

Convection Heating

Convection is the naturally occurring process when warmer air rises while the colder portions of air sink. This happens because high energy, hot gas moves to take the place of cold particles with less energy. The air from cold spaces like the middle of the room cools, descends and circulates back up again as it is warmed up. Eventually, the whole volume of air within the area warms up.

A great example of convection is a hot air balloon. The hot air moves upward and it causes the balloon to rise because all the hot air is trapped and circulates inside. When the pilot wants to land, they release the hot air from the balloon and cool air takes its place, lowering the balloon.

Convection heaters easily provide heat to an entire room for an extended period of time. The heating elements of convection heaters aren’t exposed and are concealed within the unit, making them a safe option. They are also generally less expensive than radiant heaters.

3. Which Type of Commercial Space Heater Will Work Best for Me?

Radiant Heaters

Radiant heaters are great for industrial and commercial applications. They can heat materials fast and can bring them to their operating temperature quickly. They save energy and are equipped with a reflective surface that prevents energy loss.

They are available as either a portable or fixed heater.

Wall Convectors

Wall convectors provide comfortable temperatures in work areas for commercial and institutional settings where large spans of windows are present. They are particularly effective at counteracting cold downdrafts and minimizing condensation.

They are available only as a fixed heater option.

Electric Forced Air Heaters

Electric forced air heaters are equipped with fans that can quickly carry heat throughout the room where they are installed. Some options can be very energy efficient. They use forced convection to heat.

They are available in many different options, sizes, and variations.

Hazardous Location Heaters

Hazardous location heaters are specifically made for environments where there are potentially flammable or explosive materials.

They come in different models and orientations, using different technologies to heat. No matter the application, there will always be a viable heating option.

Portable Heaters

High-quality portable heaters and accessories can be ideal for indoor and outdoor applications in commercial or industrial settings where supplemental heat is needed.

They come in different models and orientations, using different technologies to heat. Options are available to fit any need.

4. How Do I Know What Size Heater I Need?

By using wattage output, you can determine how large of a heater you will need for your space. A general rule of thumb is that you will need about 10 watts of heating power for every square foot of the room.

For example, a 2,000-watt heater can be the heat source for an area measuring up to 200 square feet. If the heater is being used as a secondary form of heat, it will be sufficient enough for an even larger area. For an exact calculation speak with an expert, like one of the knowledgeable employees at ISC Sales.

5. What Should I Consider Before Purchasing a Commercial Space Heater?

Where does the heater need to be mounted and how?

Heaters come with a range of different mounting options; horizontal, vertical, ceiling, wall, chain or cart mounted. The heater’s location and space limitations will dictate which heaters can be used in your application.

Are there specific safety concerns?

Is your application considered hazardous? If so, there need to be special considerations taken for which heaters can be used in that location.

Tip over switches, thermometers and overheat protection, like limit controls, are important features to consider to ensure that temperatures are controlled and fires are avoided.

Are there louvers?

Louvers are the angled slats located on the front of some heaters. They direct which way the air flow will go. This allows you to choose if the air needs to flow downwards or upwards. They also help to block out rain, direct sunlight and can reduce noise.

Does it need to be mobile?

Portable heaters are just like the name implies, portable. Some stationary models can be made mobile by mounting them on a cart.

If your heater needs to be able to move around your location, some extra features to consider include wheels, handles and how long the power cords are.

How much does it weigh?

Some heaters only weigh five pounds, while others can weight a whopping 350 pounds! Depending on the type of heater, how large it is and where you need to place it, weight may become a deciding factor on which will be the best fit for your application.

Larger heaters will not be easily mobile and they cannot be mounted on ceilings or carts. Lighter heaters will give more options for positioning.

What is the heater made of?

Heaters can be made of many different materials. Each material has its strength and weaknesses. Steel will be heavy but it will be sturdy and have a long life due to its durability. Some may be powder coated for extra protection.

Take into consideration which materials will work best for your application.

6. How Can I Prevent Accidents or Fires Caused by Electrical Heaters?

Keep space heaters away from flammable substances and objects.

All heaters should have at least three feet of open space around them to prevent objects from catching on fire. Don’t leave heaters near things that can easily ignite, like packing materials, sawdust or flammable chemicals. Water is another potential hazard to keep heaters away from. Interaction with water could result in a shock hazard.

Keep space heaters well-maintained and in good condition.

Old heaters are a fire risk. Be sure to regularly check power sources, like the cords. Make sure they aren’t frayed or cracked. Always replace missing or damaged parts to prevent fires or other hazards.

Only use space heaters that are certified as safe.

For a safe warehouse working environment, it’s essential to only use heaters and heating equipment approved as safe by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Any space heaters that haven’t been approved by OSHA should be replaced. You should also never use an extension cord with a space heater or plug anything into an outlet that also has a space heater plugged into it.

7. How Can I Tell the Heater’s Power Consumption and Electrical Requirement?

Watts, amps and BTUs are all measurements that can be used to express a heater’s energy output. BTUs are most commonly used to measure the heating/cooling capacity of heating units and cooling systems. If you can’t find the BTU but you do know the watts you can convert it using this equation:

Heater Wattage Rating to BTU Formula

For example, a 2000-watt heater would deliver 6,826 BTUs of heat. The higher a heater’s BTU rating, the better its heating performance.

8. Is It Better to Have An Industrial Heater Plugged-In or Hardwired?


Hardwired units are permanently connected to a main power source within the workspace. Cables are used to connect your heater into the circuit directly. It can save you valuable space and offers a more secure installation because it is stationary. If you choose to hardwire your heater, be sure that it complies with national and local electrical codes.


Plug-in units are more common and you’ve likely seen them either in your home or in businesses. Most electronics used inside homes and small offices are plug-in. They are less permanent and make using the heater occasionally easier. This makes them a better option for applications that do not intend on using the heater on a regular basis.

9. How Much Will Supplemental Commercial Heating Cost?

The price of a heater can range from around $100 for a basic portable heater to more than $1,000 for large industrial heaters with powerful warming capabilities.

To get a complete picture of the costs for adding in a heater to your application, it is important to consider not only the purchase price but also, how much it will cost to power the new addition. The operating costs will vary depending on two major factors – the heater type and the size of the space.

This equation will help give you a pretty good idea of how much the heater will cost to operate:

Kilowatts per Hour x Electricity Rate x Operating Time = Daily Operational Cost

You can determine the kilowatts that are used per hour, by finding the wattage listed on the heater. Take that number and divide it by 1,000, for example, a 2,000-watt heater will use 2 kilowatts per hour.

Once you have that number, find the utility rate or cost of kilowatt per hour of electricity. You should be able to find this information listed on an electricity bill.

Use the kilowatts used per hour and the cost of kilowatts per hour and plug in the number of hours you plan to use the heater per day and then you will have an estimate for the cost of operation.

For example, a 2,000-watt portable space heater that runs for 14 hours a day at a rate of $0.12 per kilowatt hour will cost $3.36 per day.

Here’s the math written out:

2 kilowatts used per hour x $.12 kWh x 14 = $3.36

If you take that number and multiply it by 31, the number of days in a month the heater will run, you can have a good approximation for how much the heater will cost. In this case, the total for one month is $104.16.

Still have questions on commercial and industrial heating products?

Needs vary so much from application to application it is hard to determine what will work best.

But you’re in luck! The staff at ISC Sales is very knowledgeable, able to answer any of your questions and will ensure that you get the perfect heating application. Contact us today to get started!

A Buying Guide For Finding the Perfect Commercial Heater
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A Buying Guide For Finding the Perfect Commercial Heater
This Buying Guide for Finding the Perfect Commercial Heater includes the best recommendations on how to when choose a space heater! Take full advantage of your Heaters this winter!
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ISC Sales
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