Tube Heaters or Unit Heaters? Settling the Debate Amongst HVAC Companies in St. Louis, MO

A long-standing debate between HVAC companies in St. Louis, MO has been whether tube heaters or unit heaters are best for commercial buildings and warehouses. The reality is that both are suitable options, and their compatibility with your specific needs is what will make one option better than the other. Let’s look a little closer at the functions of each, which will help to determine which one is best for your commercial heating needs.

Tube heaters

Tube heaters are tube-like heating mechanisms that are usually secured on ceilings or support beams, and are utilized predominantly in warehouses near dock doors or other small sections of space that consistently see cooler temperatures due to an influx of outside air. The tube heater doesn’t heat the air, but instead provides a great source of heat for all of the objects in the area, including people, flooring and walls. The biggest knock against tube heaters is that they don’t heat entire spaces as effectively as unit heaters, because they can only heat the area directly below their location.

While this is a valid concern, it is possible to at least partially remedy this issue with the strategic placement and layout of multiple tube heaters. The higher up a tube heater is placed, the more surface area it will be able to heat. You can also opt for a design that includes larger aluminum reflectors, which will increase the distance that the heat is projected. Tube heaters are also the most cost-effective option, especially if you are placing them in an open area from which forced air would be wastefully escaping. If you have a large warehouse with multiple open spaces and dock doors, then tube heaters might be the best option for your commercial heating needs.

Unit heaters

While tube heaters are powerful, unit heaters pack the most punch. With output specifications of up to 400,000 BTUH, forced air unit heaters are ideal when you do not have specific pockets of cool air permeating a space, and are instead looking to create a more uniform comfort level throughout a room. Forced air units usually operate as one entire system, instead of several individual units that need very specific placement for maximum effectiveness. Warm air is blown into an entire room, and this heated air is distributed evenly, creating a consistent and lasting feeling of warmth that allows you to move around the room comfortably.

Because of the high capacity of unit heaters, you will likely need fewer units to heat an entire building. This means that while tube heaters are the most cost-effective option in the long-term, the installation of unit heaters is cheaper, and can be the best choice if your budget is limited initially. Unit heaters are also ideal in situations where there will be lengthy interactions with customers inside of your building. Not to be taken for granted, this comfort could be one of the reasons people decide to come back.

Tube heaters and unit heaters both have their own practicalities that work best in certain situations. Ashley Brothers Heating & Cooling has been one of the top HVAC companies in St. Louis, MO for more than 15 years, and our experienced team is ready to help you figure out which system will work best for your company.