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heating, means of making a building comfortably warm relative to a colder outside temperature. Old, primitive methods of heating a building or a room within it include the open fire, the fireplace, and the stove. In ancient Rome a heating system, called a hypocaust, warmed a building by passing hot gases from a furnace through enclosed passages under the floors and behind the walls before releasing them outside. The principal modern systems that are used to heat a building are classified as warm air, hot water, steam, or electricity. In the warm-air system air, heated in a furnace, rises through warm-air ducts and enters the rooms through outlets, while cooler air in the rooms passes into return ducts that lead back to the furnace. The air circulates through the system by convection, i.e., the tendency of a fluid such as air to rise when warm and sink when cool. In newer buildings the circulation is assisted by a fan. The hot-water system has a boiler for heating the water that is sent through connecting pipes to radiators and convectors, the latter devices being metal enclosures containing hot-water pipes surrounded by metal fins. The circulation is maintained by pumps or, in older buildings, by convection. In the steam-heating system, steam generated in a boiler is circulated by its own pressure (sometimes aided by a vacuum pump) through radiators. There are many kinds of electric heating systems. In one type current is sent through wires into electric resistors that are contained in convectors in rooms. The resistors convert the current into heat. In a radiant panel heating system a room is warmed by heat emitted from wall, floor, or ceiling panels. They are warmed by the circulation of warm air, hot water, or steam or by an electric current in resistors within or behind the panels. Experiments are being made to utilize solar energy for heating buildings. In many large buildings, such as theaters, public libraries, and municipal buildings, the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning units are combined in one system. In district heating, heat is distributed from a heating plant to buildings in a section (usually commercial) of a city.


See F. Porges, Handbook of Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a heating unit in central heating systems in which most of the heat is transferred from a heat carrier to the space being heated by convection; it is used for residential, public, and industrial buildings. The most widely used convector is a heating element in a metal housing. Air from the space flows underneath to the heating element and comes into contact with it, whereupon it is heated and discharged through a top opening into the space. The heated—and consequently lighter—air in the space above the heating element creates a draft that increases in proportion to the height h of the volume. A vent is installed above the convector heating element to regulate the amount of air passing through the convector and its heat output. During operation of a convector, dust is periodically removed from the surface of the heating element.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A heat-emitting unit for the heating of room air; it has a heating element surrounded by a cabinet-type enclosure with openings below and above for entrance and egress of air.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A surface designed to transfer its heat to a surrounding fluid largely or wholly by convection; units for water or steam heating usually are installed against the wall or in a recess in the wall.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a space-heating device from which heat is transferred to the surrounding air by convection
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Whilst each model within the range is designed to emit heat quickly, the surface temperature never reaches dangerous levels regardless of the water temperature, making the Grant Solo fan convector radiators safer and an excellent choice for homes with young children or the elderly.
Our 1960s vintage house has baseboard convectors on a hot water system.
Product manager at Myson, Andrew Lowery, said: "We are delighted that South Tyneside Homes decided to use our range of fan convectors for these homes and this is a reflection of the high quality we offer, both in terms of product and service.
The convector system was tested in the same test room in which many regular ventilation systems were tested earlier to be able to compare airflow from the convector system with regular ventilation systems at a later stage of this research.
Diamond commenced his own law suit in Civil Court against the co-op, claiming damages as a result of the negligent installation of the convector. Aa month later, in November 1989, the co-op again served Mr.
ZENA SAYS: B&Q have a large black cast-iron-effect stove with logs and a convector heater for pounds 99.98.
Meanwhile, Spaniard Ruth, 25, refused to step over the threshold of her dressing room until it had been warmed up with a convector heater.
The two-bedroom home is carpeted throughout and benefits from en-suite facilities, double glazing and electric convector heaters.
Air from the atrium flows back into the offices via a convector. In summer fresh air is drawn through the atrium and rises up it due to the stack effect; offices are ventilated from the core.
A ZENA SAYS: Heating specialists Baxi advise that you may need to consider fitting a convector or hotbox.
Newly decorated, the accommodation benefits from suspended ceilings with inset lighting, electric convector heaters and emergency lighting.

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