Discussing the timer and thermostat add on options for making the most of cheap to run electric tube heaters by controlling when heat is switched on and off.
Making economical tubular heaters even more cost effective and efficient
Tube heaters are a popular choice for heating smaller spaces including walk in cupboards and greenhouses and providing background heat for spaces such as conservatories.
Their compact dimensions and low running costs make for an efficient and inexpensive heating option, and their efficiency can be boosted by the use of thermostats and timers to ensure heat is provided exactly when it’s required.
Flexible control options
In order to make the most of heating of any type, control over when it comes on and off and when it should ‘kick in’ makes for increased efficiency and ensures money isn’t being wasted when heat isn’t required.
Ideally add ons such as timers, thermostatic heater controls and other accessories such as circuit breakers should be bought from the people who make the tube heaters installed as the equipment will be designed with their heaters in mind.
Depending on where a tube heater is used will influence what type of thermostat is used.
Weatherproof design – for use in harsher environments such as, say, in a greenhouse a weatherproof type would be best such as a soil and air capillary design.
These have the added benefit of being able to also control electric cooling equipment in the warmer months and can provide accurate temperature control from 0 to 40℃.
Room thermostat – similar to the types commonly found in homes to control the central heating, in a similar way these can be wall mounted and a pre determined temperature set when it should activate the heater – or heaters.
They incorporate a frost setting so will provide heat when frosty temperatures are reached, and are simple to adjust with a rotary control and clearly marked temperature graduations.
They’re available with a tamper proof cover to prevent preset temperatures being altered when they shouldn’t be.
Time control units
Usually available incorporating a thermostat control, these have a three pin socket so can be used with the plug in versions of tube heaters as opposed to those hard wired into the mains supply.
This type of plug in timer features the following:
- Four operating modes: on, off, timed and automatic. Therefore, the timer can simply switch heating on and off as and when required but also offer timed, thermostatically controlled heat.
- A 0 to 35℃ temperature range
- A battery that will retain timer settings when unplugged or if there’s a power outage
- Easy to read LCD screen
- Suitable for use with other types of electric heater such as fan, convector and oil filled radiators
It’s possible tube heaters may be used in areas near water, so a reliable way of cutting the power supply in the event of water ingress would be vital.
A three pin version of a tube heater can plugged into the mains via an RCD (Residual Current Device) that will instantly cut the power supply if water – or even moisture – gets in.
These can be used with other electrical and garden appliances with a rating up to 3kW.
A little extra goes a long way
Spending a little more on equipping tube heaters with a means of controlling the heat, and adding safety with an RCD where necessary, can save more money in the long run in the more efficient use of this already cheap to run type of heater.