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Heating is warming a space for human comfort. Use this tag for questions on space heating and central heating. For questions about heat for preparing food use the [cooking] tag. For heating water use the [water-heating] tag.

Heating is one common element in many environmental conditioning systems. The environment to be conditioned is oftentimes a home or a vehicle, but the concept isn't exclusive to those. Conditioning systems are often collectively called "HVAC" (Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning). But stand-alone heaters are also common, depending upon climate.

Heating Concepts

A heater is an object that emits heat or causes another body to achieve a higher temperature. In a household or domestic setting, heaters are usually appliances whose purpose is to generate heating (i.e. warmth). {from Wiki-Heating Article}, accessed 3-Jun-2014 [emphasis mine]

Other types of heaters might be dual-purpose (i.e. wood stove that cooks and heats).

Heat Sources

There are three categories of heat-transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. Heating methods will be different variations (or even combinations) of these three categories.


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For the purposes of environmental heating, conduction doesn't deserve that much attention. For the sake of completeness, however, a brief overview follows:

The earlier example of the wood stove provides two sources of heat: conduction and convection. The stove heats your pan, which in turn cooks your food through conduction. A thorough, scientific treatment of conduction can be found in Wiki's "Thermal conduction" article.