What is the difference between radiant heat, conduction and convection?

Modern thermal comfort in winter is provided by heating the entire volume of air in a room or building. In earlier times, our ancestor’s  heating methods  were more localized: heating people, not places and things.

They used radiant heat sources such as a fire,  that warmed only certain parts of a room, creating microclimates of comfort. These people countered the large temperature differences with insulating furniture, such as hooded chairs and folding screens and sat close to the fire. 

So what is Radiant heat and what other types of heat are there?

The are 3 types of heat source

  1. Radiant Heat – This is the transfer of heat via electromagnetic radiation and the infrared waves that are emitted are absorbed by people and furniture as opposed to heating the air in the room. Fireplaces of all types (Wood, Gas) emit radiant heat – we feel the warmth on our skin in the same way as we feel warmth from the sun. 
  2.  Conduction – This is the transfer of heat due to physical contact between 2 objects. Thermal energy (heat) will flow from the warmer to the cooler object. The speed of transfer depends on the material – metal transfers heat quickly whereas wood will be slower. Conduction all occurs between physical objects and air, but this effect is limited due to the high thermal resistance of air.  Zero clearance fireplaces such as those using Valor HeatShift Technology will transfer conductive heat away from the fireplace and upwards through hidden ducts to direct it back into the room. This allows them to be installed close to combustible materials and not need a traditional fireplace hearth
  3. Convection is the most common form of space heating. Convection occurs when the air in the room is heated, it becomes less dense and rises away from the heat source. As it moves further away, it cools, becomes heavier and falls back to the ground. This creates a convection current. Convection stoves heat and circulate warm air around a room by air being drawn in and using fans to assist the distribution of heat around the room
Types of Heat
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