A Beginner’s Guide to Tubular Heaters

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Understanding how to make the most of these low cost sources of heat

Making the most of electric heating in terms of achieving the right amounts of heat without spending too much isn’t as simple as it may appear. It’s easy to use heat sources not suitable for the demands being made of them and wind up out of pocket and heating an area inefficiently.

Tubular heaters offer a convenient and very low cost way of providing heat, but it’s important to understand what they’re specifically designed to do and your options.

What is a tubular heater?

As its name suggests, a tubular heater is a tube shaped heater; it provides heat through electricity heating the element inside the tube structure and the heat radiating out.

Tubular heaters are designed primarily to provide background heat so can be used to keep frost away from rooms such as seldom used attics, back bedrooms, conservatories – and to take the chill off during cold conditions in locations such as walk in cupboards and pet kennels.

What versions are available?

They are available in different sizes ranging from one to six feet long and this dictates their heating output; you get 60w per foot, so a one foot heater will produce 60w while the longest type available, at six feet, will produce 360w of heat.

Intermediate sizes of tubular heaters are available in one foot increments, so six in all.

You can specify your tubular heaters in hard wired form for wiring straight into the mains electricity supply, or with three pin plugs.


You can use more than one heater in a space either spread out at intervals or banked together using accessory brackets.

Accessories to enhance the heater’s use

In order to achieve the most efficient heat supply, tubular heaters can be controlled via accessory temperature sensors and timers to come on when temperatures drop below a certain level; or to switch on and off at certain times.

So to stop frost forming in a space, you’d use a thermostat set to kick in when freezing point is reached; to supply background heat at specific times – such as to a small office room in an attic – you’d use an electric timer.

Tubular heaters can be used outside such as in greenhouses with thermostats and timers designed specifically for outdoor use.

IP54 rating

Tubular heaters carrying an IP54 rating are suitable for outdoor use as they’ve been tested for certain levels of moisture and dust particle ingress.

A rating of IP54 is a high rating and means moisture up to full splashes of water can be resisted and even smaller dust particles can’t get into the heater.

Complementing other heat sources

Tubular heaters are ideal for background heat as explained above and can complement your other heat sources. For example, rather than running a central heating radiator just to keep a seldom used box room from frost, tubular heating offers a far less expensive option.

For areas where central heating doesn’t reach such as, say, a loft or attic room then tubular heaters can keep these areas frost free. Or they can add a ‘base level’ of background heat you can augment with electric heaters such as oil filled radiators or convection heaters.

Money savings

Tubular heaters are very cost effective and a standard 60w heater can be run for under a penny per hour.


Understanding what heating types tubular heaters are designed to provide such as background heating and keeping areas frost free and the guises they’re available in.



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