Efficient Tube Heaters Guide – Radiant Heating Solutions


Tubular heaters are tubes made of materials with high thermal conductivity, such as copper or stainless steel. Understanding what your application requirements are will help you choose the most suitable heater for your specific application. Electric tube heaters use heating elements, usually made of electric resistance wire. When electricity flows through the resistance wire, it generates heat through resistance, which is then transferred to the tube. The tube emits radiant heat.

Tube heaters are versatile and efficient heating devices commonly used in various industrial applications. They provide focused and radiant heat, making them suitable for heating large spaces such as warehouses, workshops, and even outdoor areas.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the inner workings of tube heaters, their components, operating principles, and advantages. Let’s delve into the world of tube heaters and uncover the science behind their functionality.

Key components of a tube heater

• First, select the gauge wire based on watt density and power. The gauge wire material is typically a Nickel Chromium Resistance wire.

• It includes a protective metallic sheath (or pipe) that covers the heating wire.

• Filled the gap surrounding the wire with magnesium oxide powder (MgO), which has a high resistance to electric current and is physically as well as chemically stable at high temperatures.

• Vibration imparted to the tube to increase its compactness.

• Before bending the element in the furnace at an appropriate temperature, annealing is done. This process softens the material, making bending easier.

• Apply sealant at the exposed end of the tube so that no moisture will enter the tube.

• The electrical connections are at the end of the terminal pin.

Tubular heaters are a great way to keep the temperature stable in a variety of heating applications, and they are also more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

The working principle of tube heaters

The working principle of electric tubular heaters is based on the concept of electric resistance heating. These heaters use a tubular heating element made of resistance wire, typically made of materials such as nickel-chromium (NiCr) or iron-chromium-aluminium (FeCrAl). The resistance wire encased in a metal sheath, usually stainless steel, which provides mechanical protection and helps in heat transfer.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the working principle of electric tubular heaters:

1. Electrical Current Flow: 

When an electric current applies to the tubular heater, it flows through the resistance wire, which has a high resistance to the electrical flow. The wire is heating because of this resistance.

2. Joule Heating Effect: 

As the electric current passes through the resistance wire, it encounters resistance. According to Ohm’s law (V = I x R), where V is voltage, I is current, and R is resistance, the resistance in the wire causes a voltage drop. This voltage drop results in the conversion of electrical energy into heat energy, known as the Joule heating effect.

3. Heat Generation: 

The high resistance of the wire causes it to heat rapidly. The heat generated and transferred to the outer sheath of the tubular heater.

4. Heat Transfer: 

The metal sheath of the tube heater acts as a conductor, transferring the heat from the resistance wire to the surrounding environment. Primarily achieved this process through conduction and radiation.

5. Radiant Heat Emission: 

Once the tubular heater reaches the desired temperature, it emits radiant heat. Radiant heat travels as electromagnetic waves and directly warms objects and surfaces within its path, similar to the way sunlight warms objects.

6. Temperature Control: 

Electric tubular heaters often incorporate temperature control mechanisms, such as thermostats or temperature sensors. These devices monitor the temperature and regulate the electrical current flowing through the resistance wire to maintain a consistent and controlled heat output.

7. Safety Features: 

To ensure safe operation, electric tubular heaters may include safety features such as thermal fuses or limit switches. Designed these components to interrupt the electrical circuit if the temperature exceeds a certain threshold, protecting against overheating.

Safety measures when using tube heaters

When using Tube heaters, it is essential to follow certain safety measures to ensure proper operation and minimize the risk of accidents.

1. Read and Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions: 

Carefully read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions, user manual, and any safety guidelines provided with the electric tubular heater. Follow the recommended installation, operation, and maintenance procedures as specified by the manufacturer.

2. Choose the Right Heater for the Application: 

Ensure that the electric tubular heater you select is appropriate for the intended application. Consider factors such as voltage, wattage, temperature range, and environmental conditions. Using the wrong type of heater can lead to overheating, electrical hazards, or inefficient operation.

3. Proper Installation: 

Install the electric tubular heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that it is securely mounted, with clearances and proper electrical connections.

4. Adequate Ventilation: 

Maintain adequate ventilation around the electric tubular heater. Ensure that there is sufficient space for proper airflow and heat dissipation. Avoid placing any obstructions near the heater that could impede ventilation or cause overheating.

5. Avoid Overloading Electrical Circuits: 

Do not overload electrical circuits by connecting too many appliances or heaters to a single circuit. Check the electrical rating of the heater and ensure the circuit can handle the load. If uncertain, consult an electrician to assess the electrical capacity and make any necessary adjustments.

6. Never Leave Unattended: 

Avoid leaving the electric tubular heater unattended for long periods. Always turn off the heater when leaving the area. This precaution reduces the risk of fire hazards or other accidents.

7. Keep Flammable Materials Away: 

Keep flammable materials such as curtains, papers, oils, and solvents away from the electric tubular heater.

8. Regular Maintenance: 

Regularly inspect the electric tubular heater for any signs of damage, wear, or malfunction. Clean the heater as recommended by the manufacturer and replace any worn-out parts promptly.

9. Follow Temperature Limits: 

Adhere to the recommended temperature limits specified by the manufacturer. Avoid exceeding the maximum temperature rating of the heater, as this can pose a safety risk.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority when using tube heaters. By following these precautions and exercising caution, you can ensure the safe and effective operation of the heater while minimizing the risk of accidents or damage.

Advantages of Tube Heaters

1. Energy Efficiency: 

Tube heaters offer high energy efficiency since they directly heat objects and surfaces, minimizing heat loss through air convection.

2. Zoning Capabilities: 

Some tube heaters have multiple burner sections, allowing for independent control of heating zones to maximize comfort and energy savings.

3. Quick Heat-Up and Response Time: 

Tube heaters provide rapid heat-up and response times, enabling users to achieve desired temperatures quickly.

3. Versatile Installation Options:

Tube heaters mounted overhead, freeing up floor space and providing uniform heat distribution throughout the area.

4. Improved Air Quality: 

Unlike forced-air systems, tube heaters do not circulate air, reducing the likelihood of dust and allergen dispersion.


Tube heaters are reliable and energy-efficient heating solutions that use the principles of combustion and radiant heat transfer to create a comfortable environment. Whether powered by gas, propane, or electricity, these versatile heaters offer quick heat-up times, zoning capabilities, and improved air quality. By understanding the inner workings of tube heaters and their advantages, you can make informed decisions about incorporating them into various applications, from industrial settings to residential spaces.

Explore more about Electrical Tubular Heaters at Marathon Heater and experience the innovation driving heating and sensing technologies forward.

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