What are Immersion Heaters and How Do They Work?

Question Marks above a Mans Head

You will more than likely have come across immersion heaters at some point in your life, but what exactly are they and how do they work? If you’re unsure of the answers to these questions, Under Control Instruments Ltd can help! As a key supplier, we can tell you everything you need to know about this type of heating element.

An immersion heater is an electrical device that is installed in a hot water tank or cylinder. Connected to their own power supply via a cable, they can be switched on and off as necessary and can be used as both a primary source of heat or a back-up. On a technical level, they use an insulated electric resistance heater (i.e. a metal loop or coil) to heat the surrounding area and sometimes feature a temperature sensor. But to keep it simple, just think of them as a huge kettle – used to heat up a large quantity of liquid in a relatively short space of time.

Immersion heaters can be installed using over-the-side, flanged, or threaded connection joints and their exact properties depend upon tank size and, ultimately, their intended use.

Use No. 1: Commercial

Commercial immersion heaters are typically a copper-sheathed heating element, nickel-plated and brazed to a brass flange. This brass flange also features a cap for protection of the terminals.  Their applications are far-reaching and include light duty (intermittent) boilers, washing machines, geysers, sterilisers, and much more.

Use No. 2: Industrial

Within an industrial setting, immersion heaters are often used for heavy-duty hot water baths, water jacketed apparatus, and sidearm circulating process tanks. In a similar fashion to those used commercially, they are nickel-plated; however, they are made from not one, but two or three copper sheathed heating elements. They are also fixed to a brass flange and they are provided with a metallic cap for the protection of terminals.

Use No.3: Oil

Oil immersion heaters are manufactured out of a special grade steel tube and brazed to a cast iron flange. This flange is provided with a thermostat pocket, earthing terminals, and a cap for protection of the terminals. In this context, heaters are often used to fuel oil heating and circulate oil. They are also applied in systems that supply hot oil to plastic and chemical processes, oil jacketed kettles, and similar equipment.

Essentially, an immersion heater can be applied effectively and economically anywhere that thermal energy is required. They are a robust, reliable, and highly efficient method of heating liquid, and here at Under Control, we have a complete range of elements to suit the size of your tank or cylinder. If you think you might need a commercial, industrial, or oil immersion heater, why not contact us today? We can provide further information on what immersion heaters are and how they work and will advise on the best heating element to meet your needs and wants.

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