Why Electric Surface Heating?

Any one of several alternative methods may be used to provide the heat source required .
Traditionally, steam has been extensively used as a trace heating medium, although it is widely recognised now that the overall cost and efficiency of steam heated systems compares unfavourably with electric heating.

A recent study carried out by a well known United Kingdom firm of energy consultants looked closely at the costs incurred in trace heating various sizes of pipework carrying various types of product.They concluded that the installed cost of a steam heated system can be between 42% and 110% more than an equivalent electric system.

Additionally, although the unit cost of electricity may be several times the unit cost of steam equivalent, total annual energy cost for an electrical system can be significantly cheaper than steam. This is due mainly to heat losses from the steam distribution system, the condensate return system and from steam traps.

If energy consumption and maintenance costs are combined to arrive at a full annual operating figure, total operating costs for electricity can be anywhere between 25% and 70% less than the equivalent steam heated system. The reason for installing a steam heated trace heating system is often attributed to the fact that there may be a surplus steam available on the plant and that the cost of steam is "free". Clearly, this is not a valid reason in energy conservation and costing terms, as all steam production has to be paid for at some stage.

Other disadvantages steam heating include :-

-- poor temperature control resulting in overheated or underheated pipes or contents.

-- poor reliability of the steam system.

-- excessive energy consumption due to heat losses from the distribution system, steam
traps and condensate return system.

-- excessive maintenance costs.

-- high installation costs.

Electric systems produce heat only at the point of application, can be controlled to within fine temperature limits, are less costly to install and operate, require little or no maintenance, produce heat only when it is needed and where it is needed and offer an extremely high degree of reliability.

What is Surface Heating | Why Surface Heating | Types of Surface Heating

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