A plinth heater is a type of heating appliance that is designed for use in spaces where it would be impractical or aesthetically unappealing to install large heating devices such as radiators. Plinth heaters are generally designed to take up as little space as possible while still providing adequate levels of heat. They are most commonly seen in kitchens, and are small enough to be mounted within the baseboard below other kitchen fixtures. As they are often not much larger than a car radio, they can be deployed unobtrusively in a variety of locations, such as in pre-existing furniture.
A plinth heater is a small rectangular heater with a grill cover affixed to the front. As the aesthetics of a room are often one of the deciding factors in purchasing a plinth heater, plinth heaters are generally supplied with different finish grill covers to more closely match the design and colour scheme of the room in which they are to be located.
Electric Plinth Heaters
Plinth heaters for the home come in two main varieties: electric and hydronic. Electric plinth heaters are, as their name suggests, powered by electricity and thus are fitted with connectors for connecting to an existing electrical outlet. As with other kinds of electric heater, electric plinth heaters function by passing an electrical current through a resistor to generate heat. In most plinth heaters, a fan located within the plinth heater then circulates the heated air out of the heater and around the room. For this reason this type of plinth heater is sometimes also referred to as a plinth fan heater. Of the two varieties, an electric plinth heater is the most easily fitted.
Hydronic Plinth Heaters
The second variety of plinth heater is known as a hydronic plinth heater. Hydronic plinth heaters are capable of generating more heat than electric plinth heaters, but cannot be mounted in as many places as electric plinth heaters, owing to the fact that they require a connection to a pre-existing heating system. If such a connection is available, a hydronic plinth heater can be connected to the heating ducts of central heating system, using the water within them as a medium to transfer heat from the plinth heater to the rest of the room. This method produces substantial levels of heat in a manner that takes up no floor space whatsoever.
Plinth Heater Options
For those wishing to invest in a kitchen plinth heater or plinth heaters for the home, there are numerous other design options available. Both hydronic plinth heaters and electric plinth heaters are available with a number of façades to allow them to seamlessly blend into the room in which they are positioned. Plinth heaters are also available with a number of safety options, such as a thermostat to allow the temperature to be precisely controlled, and a thermal cut-out switch which will shut off the unit should the heat level within become dangerous. One safety aspect of plinth heaters that must be noted is that as they are most commonly installed at floor level, it is inadvisable to use either plinth fan heaters or other electric plinth heaters in areas where there is likely to be water on the floor, such as in bathrooms.