Why Would I Need an Immersion Heater?
Immersion Heater Used for Car Engines?
The picture is what my husband probably looked like when trying to start my engine at 40 degrees below zero during a frigid Illinois winter in 1973. It was cold. Eventually, he installed a lower radiator heater in the hose coming from the bottom of the radiator. He had no idea how it controlled the temperature or at what temperature, only that it was the cheapest JC Whitney had in their catalog at the time. (His father was Belgium and always went for the cheapest solution). The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. He ran an extension cord from our third-floor balcony to the electrical plug under my hood. He was an engineering student at the time and thought it made sense that heating water at the lowest place in the system would work as water raises just like air when it gets warmer than the water around it. It didn’t make him feel self-conscience about the long extension cord because there were 6 extension cords running from outside balconies that winter. Each went to a variety of heating blankets or other commercial and homemade heaters to keep the engines warm during that long cold winter. And yes, one was a heating blanket for a bed converted to an automotive accessory. At least I could start the car and get to work every morning.
The Newer Technology for Heaters
The applications personal cars or commercial vehicles for electric immersion heaters have come a long way since 1971. Engine block heaters or oil pan heaters now come in many shapes and sizes.
If you have ever lived in a frigid climate you are familiar with the numerous types of heaters. There are oil stick heaters, oil pan heaters, radiator heaters, and even engine blankets that work similarly to the electric blankets you use on a bed at home. Most of these need a thermostat for controlling the temperature or limit the heat by the resistance of the heating element. The later has no control and will remain on as long as electricity is applied to the heater. These types of heaters use resistive wire as the source of heat. Newer electric immersion heaters are utilizing PTC technology to control the temperature of the heater.
Immersion Elements in Hot Water Heaters.
Another common application is an electric water heater in your home, assuming you don’t have natural or propane gas. A modern electric water heater has two heating coils with controls to balance the heating of the water in the tank efficiently.
Hot water heater operation described by Whirlpool Appliances.
The element consists of an inner wire surrounded by filler material enclosed in a sheath of copper or stainless steel. The thermostat allows electrical current to flow through the inner wire, and from the wire's resistance, it creates heat, which is transferred through the filler material to the outer sheath and is then absorbed by the water. Elements may be available in different wattages, and materials, to meet specific heating requirements.
The standard single-phase control circuit consists of a high limit control switch with a reset button, upper thermostat, lower thermostat, two heating elements, and wires. The upper thermostat first sends electrical energy to the upper element until the water temperature in the upper third of the tank reaches the thermostat setting. Power is then transferred to the lower element until the remaining water reaches the lower thermostat setting. If the water temperature exceeds 170°F, the high limit control switch will trip, shutting off power to the elements. Single element water heaters have one element mounted at the bottom of the tank, controlled by a single thermostat and high limit switch.
What is a PTC Immersion Heaters?
PTC electric cartridge heaters have started appearing in the engine oil and block heaters because of its unique ability to self regulate based on a set temperature of the oil or coolant system. The same type of PTC heating is used in a wide variety of industrial applications.
PTC stands for a positive temperature coefficient which provides a maximum surface temperature without addition thermostats or control circuitry. When the surrounding liquid in the case of the immersion heater reaches the design temperature of the ceramic chip housing the PTC element it acts as a temperature cutoff device and stops conducting electricity. This improves both the safety and efficiency of the heating device. The PTC chips used in these applications are specially designed to operate at a set high temperature.
- Automotive and Truck Oil heaters
- Oil Pipelines and Valves
- Fish Farming
- Oil Preheating
- Fuel Pumps
- Electric Car Charging Stations
- Laminating Equipment
- Glue Guns
- 3D Printing
Positive Temperature Coefficient Cartridge Heaters
PTC ceramic thermistor cartridge heaters are provided in round cylindrical aluminum housings. The safety and dependability of the PTC cartridge heaters and the compact size offers the best option for design engineers.
Durability, Reduced Repairs, and Downtime
The ceramic materials used in PTC heaters are much more durable than typical resistive elements greatly improving the durability and dependability of the components. There is no chance of burned-out elements or coils with ceramic heaters.
DBK’s PTC Cartridge Heaters PSA Series are high power heating elements provided in round circular housings varying from approximately 0.24 to 0.87 inches in diameter and 1.89 to 2.36 inches in length.
DBK’s PTC Cartridge Heaters ESH Series are designed with exceptionally corrosion-resistant stainless-steel casings. These robustly constructed heaters come with an optional cable gland to provide IP68 protection. These PTC heaters come in diameters ranging from 0.43 – 0.39-inch diameters and 2.17 – 2.95 inches in length. With wattages from 36W(max) to 98W (max) Watts and surface temperatures from 185° degrees F to 428°-degree F these are truly powerful heaters for a wide variety of applications in a compact design