Heaters in North and South Carolina

Unit heaters for commercial & industrial heating are stand-alone appliances specifically created to provide heat while using different sources of energy to accomplish this task. The sources of energy used can range from hot water and steam all the way to number 2 fuel oil, natural gas and propane.

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Types of Unit Heaters

Because of the wide and varying environments that unit heaters operate in, they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and types. Some are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways while others are designed specifically for niche applications.

Most unit heaters use a fan to produce a flow of air that is high-volume in order to be strong enough to distribute the generated heat evenly and efficiently in the environment in which it’s installed.

Each type of unit heater comes with its own limitations, disadvantages and advantages. A common component however is an integrated fan used to produce the high-volume flow of hot air while the variable lies in the way the heat is generated.

There are many types of unit heaters that are primarily used for commercial and industrial heating; however, we will focus on the types that Hahn-Mason represents

What types of heaters are available?

Standard Electric Heaters

For medium sized commercial and industrial facilities, these basic units start from 3kW (3,000 Watt) and upwards with support for both three phase or single phase electrical applications.

The size range of such a unit heater begins at just over 12 inches wide and extends all the way up to 3 feet and sometimes beyond. Some are quite square in shape, while others are more pancaked in nature. The way they operate is quite simple, they convert electrical current into heat.

This is achieved by circulating an air current through a set of electrical resistors that heat up. The resistors heat up the air and this results in radiant heat for the space it’s installed in.

These types of unit heaters are for smaller spaces in commercial and industrial buildings, such as offices or test rooms.

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Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters emit heat that is very similar to that of the sun. This energy is absorbed by our skin, clothes, and other surrounding objects, which is how the surrounding environment gets a warming effect. This method of heating is different than a traditional forced-air system because it is warming with direct radiation towards objects, rather than warming the air within the space.

infrared heaters in SC

Forced Air Heaters

Perfect for many different small, medium and ever larger commercial and industrial installations. This system is very similar to the Standard Electric Heater system but has a fuel source such as natural gas or propane and employs a fan.

Fans are used to speed up the airflow through the system and also to help carry the heat with air.

To distribute heat better and farther, the forced air heaters are usually linked up to a system of duct work, but not always. Often times they are used stand alone and hang overhead with minimal electrical  and gas requirements.

If a duct work is used, it facilitates the transportation and pointing of the heat in the desired area. This provides heating for larger spaces without taking up any floor space.

Forced air unit heaters are quite common and make up the bulk of many heating requirements for warehouses, garages, stores, shops, etc. They have only one drawback and that is many of these are louder in character and aren’t good for conversations nearby.

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Specialty Heaters

Hahn Mason also offers a number of specialty heaters such as those used for personal or portable needs.  Please reach out to a specialist to discuss any specialty heater requests.


Sizing unit heaters

When it comes to calculating your unit heater sizing, there are a few components to take into consideration. This is just a basic guide as you must always take in other environment variables to make a final determination as to proper sizing.

1. Figure out the cubic feet of the desired areas to be heated

Measure the height, length and width of each area you want to heat. Now take and multiply these numbers to obtain the cubic feet.

2. Calculate the temperature increase that you need

Write down the temperature you want to maintain. Check and see what the lowest area temperature is. Subtract the lowest area temperature from the desired temperature to be maintained. The result is the desired temperature increase.

3. Determine the BTU you need

Get your total cubic feet number and multiply by .133. The result is then again multiplied by the temperature increase result from the calculation at step 2. Round the result to the nearest thousand to have a clear image of the total BTU requirements or heater size you may need.

4. Make sure the calculations take everything into consideration

Your heater size needs might need  to increase if you have large windows, light insulation or drafty doorways. It’s always better to oversize the system than to install one that doesn’t cover the entire need.

Once all the above steps above are done, all that remains is to search for the unit heater capable of producing the required BTU’s. Once again, there are other variables that come into play with air quality, electrical demands, and/or fuel resources available and cost metrics to be considered.

Heater placement

Location, location, location… is crucial when it comes to unit heater placement for commercial and industrial heating. Efficiency is easily diminished with a bad placement and ends up costing you more money, fuel and/or electricity.

Best place to install a unit heater is near doors or windows. The simple reasoning behind this is that unit heaters in general will heat up cold air that manages to get in through these doors or windows and avoid the propagation of cold along the floor. These spots are known as heat loss sources. Just as a reminder, we’re not talking about central heating installations in these cases.

Placement in heat loss sources will significantly improve efficiency and can save you money from the very beginning. Efficient heater placement eliminates the need for extra heating equipment such as door heaters or infrared tubes.

Another important tip is to place the heaters near the perimeter of your space and direct them to blow inwards, to the center of the space. However always keep in mind that the heater should not blow directly into obstructions as these reduce the effective range of the heater.

It’s best to position a unit heater in such a way that it has the most amount of open space in front of it and clear of any obstructions.

Depending on the type of space you have and the total size of it, unit heaters can be placed on the ground, suspended on walls or suspended from the ceiling to fit any building structure or other requirements. However, not all types of unit heaters support installation on walls or from the ceiling.

Contact Hahn-Mason

Whatever your heating needs are – HMI has a solution for you. Contact Hahn-Mason Air Systems today at (704)-523-5000. Hahn-Mason has 9 offices conveniently located in the Charlotte and Charleston areas.

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