A cabinet heater is designed to maintain a minimum temperature inside a small enclosure. These devices may be used to heat electronic equipment which cannot be exposed to extreme temperature differences. They may also be used in residential homes to generate temporary heat, or in construction sites that do not have access to a central air system. They can be purchased through the Internet or at local home improvement stores.
These devices are most commonly used to warm small areas that house electrical equipment. The cabinet heater is placed inside the small area to warm power and fiber optic cables, computer modules, and wired circuitry. This type of equipment is often susceptible to corrosion and service interruption when exposed to damp and cold conditions. Condensation can easily form on the exterior of modems and electrical equipment if the air temperature is not set to a consistent level. This type of heater is most commonly used in traffic signal boxes, outdoor electric power houses, and control panels.
A cabinet heater may also be used to maintain the temperature in any type of enclosure. Each unit is typically designed to heat a minimum and maximum amount of space. Consumers should read product labeling carefully before purchasing their model to determine if its wattage output will adequately facilitate the size enclosure which they have in mind. Local wind temperatures, enclosure insulation, and square footage are all factors which play a role in discovering the wattage requirements for the heater.
High-end heaters allow the interior temperature of the enclosure to be monitored by a built-in thermostat. The cabinet heater can be programmed to turn off once the minimum temperature requirements have been met, lowering the cost of powering the unit and preventing it from overheating.
A portable cabinet heater may be powered by batteries or propane. These units are suitable for use in construction sites and require some ventilation to avoid a build-up of harmful fumes. Multiple heaters may be combined to generate the desired overall temperature for large or unfinished spaces.
Electric and propane units may be used as a means of temporary heat in residential homes. The model may be purchased as a stand alone unit, or can be mounted into a wall or ceiling. Stand alone units often require space in front of and behind the heater for proper ventilation and to avoid the possibility of starting a house fire. Models designed for use in homes should not be placed inside small enclosures.