Steam garage unit heaters use the steam from a pre-existing steam system to provide heat to an isolated area.
A common example would be a garage attached to a house. Left disconnected from the home's heating system, the garage could still benefit from the heat generated by the home's boiler by way of a steam garage unit heater.
Now that you've selected the application and fuel for your unit heater, it's time to choose those final specifications!
Choosing a Heat Exchanger Material
In most cases, you will have an option of choosing between two heat exchanger materials, copper or cupro-nickel.
Copper is the most common metal used for steam garage unit heater heat exchangers. Rather than using corrosion-susceptible steel like other unit heaters, steam unit heaters rely on corrosion-resistant metals like copper to help withstand the oxygen found in the steam.
While copper is resistant to corrosion, it is relatively soft, making them not suitable for high-pressure steam systems. If you have a standard, low-pressure steam system, copper is the best choice for you. This will be the case for all residential applications.
Cupro-nickel is an alloy that maintains the corrosion resistance of copper, but also has improved stability - especially at high temperatures. This serves particular importance in high-pressure steam applications, where temperatures can reach extremes. The typical example of this would be a small workshop or garage connected to a commercial or industrial steam plant.
If you have a steam system with a PSI greater than 150, you'll want to go with cupro-nickel. Otherwise, you likely won't notice much of a difference compared to copper except a higher price tag.
Choosing an Orientation
Because steam unit heaters don't include a combustion site (i.e. a flame), they can be angled in more ways than a gas- or oil-fired unit heater. Steam garage unit heaters come in both horizontal and vertical orientations, and your application will dictate which makes the most sense for you.
In most cases, horizontal will be the orientation that provides the best comfort. Horizontal unit heaters blow air outward from one side of the room to the other.
Especially effective when placed at the far end of a room or in rooms with low ceilings, horizontal steam garage unit heaters will provide broad coverage across your entire space. Note that horizontal steam garage unit heaters are only available with copper heat exchangers.
Steam Garage Unit Heater Buying Guide - How to Pick the Perfect Steam Garage Unit Heater. Our heating, ventilation and cooling equipment how-to library can help you pick the perfect comfort solution for your home.