Fan convector hydronic unit in NYC apartment  (C) Daniel Friedman

Guide to Water-to-Air Heating Fan Convectors: Inspection, Repair, Maintenance

  • FAN CONVECTOR HEATERS - HYDRONIC COILS - How to identify, inspect, diagnose, and repair problems with hot water to air heating convectors - hydronic heating fan convectors & hydronic heating coils
    • Guide to convector fan heaters and similar heat sources in buildings
    • Freeze Proofing by adding water to air or electric fan convector heating units - convector fan heating
    • Backup heat for heat pump systems using water to air hydronic heating coils
    • Hydronic heating coils for backup heat or water to warm air heat conversion
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about heating convectors and water to air fan convector heating units, problem diagnosis & repair

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Here we explain the identification, selection, diagnosis and repair of hydronic or steam heated convector fan heaters and similar water-to-air or steam-to-air heating devices such as ceiling, wall or floor mounted heating convectors and heating coils in heat pump air handlers and ductwork. This article focuses on heating convectors heated by hot water from a heating boiler or heat pump. Hydronic heating convectors use hot water or steam from a separate boiler to heat a water-to-air heat exchanger coil mounted in the heating convector unit. A thermostat or manual switch operates a fan to blow room air across the heat exchanger coil to deliver heat where it is wanted.

Our photo above (at page top) shows a hydronic (hot water) heated wall-mounted fan convector heater in a New York City apartment. You can see dual blower fans at the bottom of the unit (the air intake port); Hot water piping from the building boiler is visible at the left edge of this convector heater. Also see ELECTRIC HEAT where we show a wide variety of electrically heated wall, floor, and kick space fan convector heating units.

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How Ceiling, Wall, or Floor Fan Convector Units or Hydronic Heating Coils Convert Hot Water Heat to Warm Air Heat

Fan convector heaters combine a heat source such as hot water piped through a heat exchanger coil and a fan to blow warm air into HVAC ductwork of a warm air heating system or to push warm air into a chilly spot such as a basement, crawl space or into a bathroom or kitchen where there may not be wall space for a conventional heating register radiator.

Fan Convector Heaters as Backup Heat for Heat Pumps

Hydronic coil converts hot water to warm air heat (C) Daniel FriedmanFan convector heater units as a main building heat source or as a back up heat source where a heat pump is installed (combining air conditioning and heating).

As our photo of a hydronic heating coil (photo at left) shows, hot water heated by a hydronic heating boiler is used to warm air via a heat exchanger that is mounted in an air handler.

Pipes conduct hot water from the boiler to the heat exchanger and back to the boiler. The air handler blows building air from return registers and ducts into the air handler, across the heating coil, and on to supply ducts and registers.

We illustrate and discuss conventional heating convectors (units that work by "gravity" or warm air convection without the added output of an internal fan) at RADIATORS.

Fan Convector Heaters as Add-On Heat for Crawl Spaces, Basements, Garages

Used in crawl spaces, garages, basements, or other locations where additional heat is required or where we want to add heat to a previously un-heated area, ceiling, wall, or floor mounted fan convector heating units are a convenient way to push warm air heat into a chilly or un-heated area by converting hot water heat produced by a heating boiler to warm air heat provided by a fan convector unit.

Fan Convector Heaters as Add-On Heat for Freeze Protection in buildings

We often find an electric or hot water-heated convector unit mounted in crawl spaces or other building areas in freezing climates as a step to protect building plumbing from freeze-ups.

Plate warming home heating radiator (C) Daniel Friedman

Notice that the convector heater suspended from the crawl space ceiling (photo at left) has nothing combustible too close to the heater? Make sure that your added heat source does not create a fire risk

This is an electric ceiling mounted fan convector unit.

Similar fan convector heaters obtain their heat from hot water piped as a separate heating zone or as a loop off of an existing heating zone that is otherwise heated by a conventional hot water heating boiler or hydronic heating system fueled by heating oil, gas, a heat pump, or even solar heating.

You can see an example of a ceiling mounted fan convector used to avoid freezing pipes in a crawl area at Heat tapes, Heat, Insulation prevent Freeze-Up.

At ELECTRIC HEAT we show a wide variety of electric-heated wall, floor, and kick space fan convector heating units.

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