Title:
Cove heater radiator apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An embodiment of the heater has a radiant panel, a heating element, a thermal dispersion gap, and an integral wire chase. A method of heating includes heating a radiant panel, having a thermal dispersion gap, with a heating element, and then directing the radiant heat emitted from the radiant panel towards an object.



Inventors:
Hinesley, Carl Phillip (Pinehurst, NC, US)
Grossenheider, David Scott (Florence, SC, US)
Application Number:
10/993362
Publication Date:
05/25/2006
Filing Date:
11/22/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
431/343
International Classes:
F24C3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAMPBELL, THOR S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAKER & HOSTETLER LLP;Washington Square, Suite 1100 (1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC, 20036, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A heater, comprising: a radiant panel; a heating element attached to the radiant panel; and a thermal dispersion gap in between the heating element and the front surface of the radiant panel.

2. The heater of claim 1, wherein the heating element is located in a channel defined by the radiant panel.

3. The heater of claim 1, further comprising a thermal barrier covering the rear surface of the radiant panel.

4. The heater of claim 1, further comprising a wire chase integrated into the radiant panel.

5. The heater of claim 4, wherein the wire chase is an enclosure defined by the back surface of the radiant panel and a hook-shaped flap.

6. The heater of claim 1, further comprising a radiant coating on the front surface of the radiant panel.

7. The heater of claim 6, wherein the coating is comprised of one of the following: a vitreous enamel or a powder coating.

8. The heater of claim 1, wherein the thermal dispersion gap is generally rectangular in shape with rounded edges.

9. The heater of claim 1, further comprising a junction box with bracket holes and mounting rails for mounting the radiant panel on the junction box.

10. The heater of claim 1, further comprising a capturing tab located on the back of the radiant panel.

11. The heater of claim 1, further comprising at least one groove on the surface of the radiant panel that defines a channel for the heating element, for facilitating the staking of the heating element into the channel.

12. The heater of claim 1, wherein the thermal dispersion gap is defined by an interior surface of the radiant panel.

13. The heater of claim 1, further comprising a bracket assembly configured to accommodate the lateral expansion of the cove heater.

14. The heater of claim 13, wherein the bracket assembly comprises: a bracket with at least one hole; and a mounting plate with at least one projection, wherein the projection fits through the hole in the bracket and is configured to allow the bracket to translate along the projection.

15. The heater of claim 13, wherein the bracket assembly comprises: a mounting plate with a slot; and a bracket with a projection configured to fit through the slot in the mounting plate.

16. The heater of claim 1, further comprising an intermediate bracket configured to provide support to the heater, wherein the intermediate bracket comprises: a base portion with at least one hole; an upper arm extending from the base, and a lower arm extending from the base.

17. A heater, comprising: a radiant panel; a heating element attached to the radiant panel; and a wire chase integrated into the radiant panel.

18. The heater of claim 17, wherein the heating element is located in a channel defined by the radiant panel.

19. The heater of claim 17, further comprising a thermal barrier covering the rear surface of the radiant panel.

20. The heater of claim 17, further comprising a radiant coating on the front surface of the radiant panel.

21. A method of heating comprising: dispersing the heat generated by the heating element around a gap and across the surface of the radiant panel; and radiating the heat from the surface of the radiant panel.

22. The method of claim 21, further comprising running power through a wire located in an integrated wire chase in the radiant panel.

23. The method of claim 21, further comprising reducing heat loss through the rear surface of the radiant panel with a thermal barrier.

24. The method of claim 21, further comprising emitting radiant heat from a coating on the front surface of the radiant panel.

25. The method of claim 21, further comprising mounting the radiant panel to a wall by fastening the radiant panel to a junction box with bracket holes and mounting rails.

26. A method of heating comprising: heating a radiant panel with a heating element; running power through a wire located in an integrated wire chase in the radiant panel; and radiating the heat from the surface of the radiant panel.

27. The method of claim 26, further comprising reducing heat loss through the rear surface of the radiant panel with a thermal barrier.

28. The method of claim 26, further comprising emitting radiant heat from a coating on the front surface of the radiant panel.

29. A heater comprising: a radiant panel; a means for heating the radiant panel; and a means for distributing heat across the radiant panel.

30. The heater of claim 29, further comprising a means for integrating a wire crossover into the radiant panel.

31. The heater of claim 29, further comprising a means for reducing the heat loss from the back side of the radiant panel.

32. The heater of claim 29, further comprising a means for increasing the radiant heat emission from the radiant panel.

33. The heater of claim 29, further comprising a means for mounting the radiant panel to a wall.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to heaters. More particularly, the present invention relates to a radiant cove heater.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Heaters are used in homes, commercial settings, industrial settings, and outdoors to heat living spaces, office spaces, working spaces, objects, substances, people, and other living organisms. Heating can be accomplished through several different means: conduction, convection, and radiation. For example, a hot plate heats an object primarily through conduction, whereas a gas furnace heats an object primarily through convection and conduction. Some heaters, on the other hand, heat objects substantially through radiation.

A cove heater operates by emitting radiant heat from a heated panel. This radiant heat passes through air with little attenuation and is directly absorbed by occupants in the room, as well as the furniture, carpet, walls, and other structures in the path of the radiant energy emitted by the heater. As these objects become warmer, they heat the surrounding air through the process of conduction and convection. Because objects and people are heated directly by the radiant cove heater, the cove heater is able to provide a similar comfort level as a conventional convective heater while maintaining a relatively cool air temperature.

Traditionally, many cove heaters are constructed with a back heater enclosure and a front panel that serves as a radiant surface. The back heater enclosure functions to provide a structure for attaching the heater to a surface such as a wall. The back heater enclosure also functions to provide mechanical support and an enclosure for a crossover wire chase that allows the heater to be wired from either end. Finally, the back heater enclosure sometimes provides part of the electrical enclosure for a wiring junction box. Although the back heater enclosure provides important functions, it can add substantially to the cost, size, and weight of a cove heater.

One problem related to some back enclosures is a banging noise caused by the different rate of expansion of the front panel and back enclosure. Because the front panel at times is much hotter than the back enclosure, it can tend to expand more than the back enclosure, which can result in a bowed-out front panel. When the heating cycle is shut off and the heater cooled, the front panel can sometimes snap back into shape to relieve the stress, causing a loud banging noise.

Another problem suffered by some traditional cove heaters is the uneven heating of the radiant surface by a heating element. The heating element produces a hot band on the radiant surface that is a result of conduction of most of the heat generated by the heating element to the parts of the radiant surface closest to the heating element. Because of the hot spot, an expensive, heat-stable finish is often used. Furthermore, because the temperature profile across the radiant surface is not uniform, different parts of the radiant surface undergo different amounts of thermal expansion, which can cause degradation of the surface finish.

Another problem with some existing heaters is that some of the heat energy generated by the heating element goes to heating the air behind the front panel via convection.

Accordingly, it is desirable to provide an apparatus that does not need a back enclosure, evenly heats the radiant surface, has a higher radiant heating performance and a lower convective heat loss.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing needs are met, to a great extent, by the present invention, wherein one aspect an apparatus is provided that in some embodiments evenly heats the radiant surface, has a higher radiant heating performance and lower convective heat loss.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a heater is provided. The heater has a radiant panel, a heating element attached to the radiant panel, and a thermal dispersion gap in between the heating element and the front surface of the radiant panel. In some embodiments of the invention, the heater also has a wire chase that is integrated into the radiant panel.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a heater is provided. The heater has a radiant panel, a heating element attached to the radiant panel, and a wire chase integrated into the radiant panel.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a method of heating is provided. The method includes dispersing the heat generated by the heating element around a gap and across the surface of the radiant panel, and radiating the heat from the surface of the radiant panel.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a method of heating is provided. The method includes heating a radiant panel with a heating element, running power through a wire located in an integrated wire chase in the radiant panel, and radiating the heat from the surface of the radiant panel.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a heater is provided. The heater includes a radiant panel, a means for heating the radiant panel, and a means for distributing heat across the radiant panel.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, certain embodiments of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof herein may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional embodiments of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of embodiments in addition to those described and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view illustrating a cove heater according to a preferred embodiment of the invention with the end caps, heating element, and wiring removed for clarity.

FIG. 2 is an exploded isometric view of the cove heater illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a radiant panel according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a radiant panel with a heating element and thermal barrier according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a junction box according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is an exploded isometric view of a mounting bracket and mounting plate according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a radiant panel with a shield according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a side view of another embodiment of a mounting bracket according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is a top view of another embodiment of a mounting plate according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a side view of another embodiment of a bracket assembly according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 11 is an isometric view of a radiant panel, a junction box and an intermediate bracket according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 12 is a front view of an intermediate bracket according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 13 is a side view of an intermediate bracket according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 14 is an isometric view of a junction box and radiant panel showing the alignment members on the junction box according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention will now be described with reference to the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout. An embodiment in accordance with the present invention, shown in FIG. 1, provides a cove heater 10 with an integral crossover wire chase 12 and a thermal dispersion gap 14. A method of fabricating the cove heater 10 includes extruding a radiant panel 16 with an integral wire chase 12 and a thermal dispersion gap 14. An embodiment of the invention more evenly heats the radiant surface 18, has higher radiant heating performance and lower convective heat loss.

An embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 shows an isometric view of a partially assembled and mounted cove heater 10. For clarity, the end caps, heating element 20 (see FIG. 4), and wiring have been omitted. The radiant panel 16 is attached to a junction box 22. Only one junction box 22 is shown in FIG. 1 for clarity. Two junction boxes 22 are used to mount the cove heater, one junction box 22 on each end of the radiant panel 16. The junction box 22 is mounted on a wall 24 by hanging the junction box 22 on a mounting bracket 26. The mounting bracket 26 is fastened to the wall by securing the bracket 26 to a mounting plate 28 with screws 30 and 32 (see FIG. 2 for screw 32).

FIG. 2 is an exploded isometric view of a cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1) that is ready to be assembled and mounted on the wall 24. FIG. 2 shows the radiant panel 16, the junction box 22, the mounting bracket 26, the mounting plate 28, and the screws 30 and 32 as separate pieces, and FIG. 2 in conjunction with FIG. 1, shows how the parts fit together when assembled. FIG. 2 also shows a screw 34 (see also FIG. 1) that attaches the lower portion of the radiant panel 16 to the lower portion of the junction box 22. The screw 34 is threaded through a hole 36 in the wire chase 12 (see also FIG. 1) enclosure and a hole in an alignment member 38 located on the bottom of the junction box 22. A view of the alignment member 38 from a different perspective is shown in FIG. 14. As shown in FIG. 14, the alignment member 38 is a hook shaped projection on the end of the junction box 22.

FIG. 3 shows an isometric view of the radiant panel 16 according to one embodiment of the invention. The radiant panel 16 has a substantially flat and planar front surface that serves as a radiant surface 18. Along the bottom of the radiant panel 16 is an integral crossover wire chase 12. The wire chase 12 is an enclosure defined by the back surface 40 of the radiant panel 16 and a hooked flap 42 at the bottom of the radiant panel 16. A hole 36 in the wire chase 12 allows a screw 34 to fasten the radiant panel 16 to the junction box 22 (see FIG. 2). The wire chase 12 enclosure also has a beveled edge 44 that guides and retains a thermal barrier 46 (see FIG. 4) that covers the back surface 40 of the radiant panel 16. Along the top of the radiant panel 16 is a hooked flap 48 that hooks onto the top of the junction box 22 (see FIGS. 1 and 2). In some embodiments, the hole 36 can be moved to the hooked flap 48 at the top of the cove heater 10. FIG. 11 shows a cove heater 10 with a hole 37 in the hooked flap 48. In this configuration, the hole 37 and screw 34 is not visible to an observer positioned below the cove heater 10 after the cove heater 10 is installed, which is more aesthetically pleasing to some customers. Running laterally across the central portion of the back surface 40 of the radiant panel 16 is a channel 50 that holds the heating element 20 (see FIG. 4). In between the channel 50 and radiant surface 18 is a thermal dispersion gap 14.

FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a radiant panel 16 with a thermal barrier 46 covering the back surface 40. Embedded in a channel 50 defined by the radiant panel 16 is a heating element 20. The front surface of the radiant panel 16 serves as the radiant surface 18. Covering the back surface 40 of the radiant panel 16 is a thermal barrier 46. In between the heating element 20 and the radiant surface 18 is a thermal dispersion gap 14.

In some embodiments of the invention, the radiant panel 16 is made of extruded aluminum, but the radiant panel 14 can also be constructed out of a different metal such as steel or any other suitable material. The heating element 20 converts electricity into heat energy. The heat energy is then conducted from the heating element 20 through the body of the radiant panel 16 to the radiant surface 18, where the heat energy warms a powder coating that is effective at radiating heat energy in the form of infrared radiation. The radiant surface 18 is coated with the powder coating to enhance its heat radiating efficiency. The powder coating is heat stable, radiates heat energy efficiently, has in some embodiments an emissivity greater than 0.9, has a crystalline additive that gives the finish a rough surface that increases the surface area available to radiate heat, and provides an aesthetic finish. Other finishes with similar properties, such as a vitreous enamel, a heat stable paint, or another suitable finish, are also acceptable.

The radiant heat energy emitted from the cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1) heats objects directly rather than heating the air and having the warmed air heat the object. The air in a room heated with a radiant cove heater 10 is heated indirectly through conduction of heat from the warmed objects with the cold air, and convection of the warmed air throughout the room. Because objects, including people, are warmed directly by the cove heater 10, a similar comfort level can be achieved with a relatively low air temperature. Also, it is possible to heat outdoor objects with the cove heater 10 by directing the radiant heat energy towards the object to be heated.

Returning to FIG. 4, the integral crossover wire chase 12 runs across the bottom edge of the radiant panel 16. Wiring can be accomplished at either end of the radiant panel 16 via the wire chase 12, and the wiring is connected to the heating element 20. Running wiring from either end of the panel allows flexibility in cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1) wiring. For example, two cove heaters 10 placed side by side can be wired in parallel to share a common power supply by using the wiring at the two adjacent ends of the two cove heaters 10. Additional cove heaters 10 can be added in parallel to the end of the chain of cove heaters 10 through end-to-end wiring connections. Ideally, the size of the mouth of the channel 52 forming the integral crossover wire chase 12 is slightly less than the diameter of the wires placed in the channel 52. This ensures that the wires fit securely into the integral crossover wire chase 12. Because the wire chase 12 is integrated into the radiant panel 16, a separate back enclosure is not necessary.

Another feature built into the radiant panel 16 is the thermal dispersion gap 14 that is positioned between the heating element 20 and the radiant surface 18. The thermal dispersion gap 14, rectangular in shape with rounded edges, is an air-filled gap that functions to distribute heat energy across the radiant surface 18. Although the thermal dispersion gap 14 is rectangular in shape in some embodiments of the invention, the thermal dispersion gap 14 can be constructed in other suitable shapes, such as triangular, oval, or irregular shaped, for example. Furthermore, the thermal dispersion gap 14 can be filled with an insulating material in other embodiments of the invention. Without the thermal dispersion gap 14, a large portion of the heat energy is conducted from the heating element 20 to the portion of the radiant surface 18 closest to the heating element 20, resulting in a hot band along the length of the radiant surface 18. With the thermal dispersion gap 14, the path of the heat energy is diverted around the shortest path to the radiant surface 18 to adjacent portions of the radiant surface 18. Thus, the heat energy is distributed across the radiant surface 18, reducing the hot band. This results in a relatively lower peak temperature on the radiant surface 18, which allows the use of low cost and relatively low temperature rated radiant surface 18 finishes. Furthermore, the thermal dispersion gap 14 helps reduce degradation of the radiant surface 18 finish from the cyclic thermal expansion and contraction of the heated portions of the radiant panel 16 because the temperature variation across the radiant surface 18 is relatively less extreme.

The hooked flap 48 and the wire chase 12 of the radiant panel 16 have a secondary function, which is to hold the thermal barrier 46 in place over the back surface 40 of the radiant panel 16. The thermal barrier 46 functions to reduce heat loss through the back surface 40 of the radiant panel 16. Reducing heat lost through the back surface 40 results in more energy being radiated from the front radiant surface 18. The thermal barrier 46 is made of a heat-resistant, thermal-insulating material, such as a ceramic fiber, fiberglass, plastic, paper-based product such as a cardboard-like material, or any other suitable material.

At the top and bottom ends of the radiant panel 16 are the hooked flap 48 and wire chase 12 enclosure, respectively. Both the hooked flap 48 and wire chase 12 enclosure function to attach the radiant panel 16 to junction boxes 22 (see FIG. 2) mounted on a surface such as a wall 24 (see FIG. 2).

The radiant panel 16 has a channel 50 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) running longitudinally across the back side of the panel 16 that functions to hold the heating element 20. The channel 50 is shaped to allow insertion of the heating element 20 into the channel 50 while maintaining adequate physical contact between the channel 50 and heating element 20 for the conduction of heat. Optionally, after the heating element 20 is inserted into the channel 50, the heating element 20 can be secured in the channel 50 by staking the heating element 20 into the channel 50. Staking is performed by striking a portion of the channel 50 wrapped around the heating element 20 with a staking tool so that an indentation is formed on both the channel 50 and the underlying heating element 20. The indentation functions to prevent the heating element 20 from sliding in the channel 50. The distance from the heating element 20 to the wiring in the wire chase 12 is a design choice selected to ensure that the wiring is not exposed to excess heat. For example, in some embodiments of the invention, the distance from the center of the heating element 20 to the wire chase 12 is approximately 2.7 inches. In other embodiments of the invention, the distance from the heating element 20 to the wire chase 12 can be more or less than 2.7 inches depending on various factors, such as the thickness of the radiant panel 16 and the power of the heating element 20. One skilled in the art will be able to select a distance that will be appropriate for the individual needs of an individual system.

FIG. 4 shows an cross-sectional view of a heating element 20. Some embodiments of the invention may use a heating element 20 made of a high resistance nickel-chrome alloy wire 54 that converts electrical energy into heat energy. Although the wire 54 is made of a high resistance nickel-chrome alloy in some embodiments, any other suitable material can be used. Packed around the wire 54 is a magnesium oxide fill 56. Although magnesium oxide is used in some embodiments, any other suitable material can be used as fill 56. A non ferromagnetic stainless steel sheath 58 completes the heating element 20. Although the sheath 58 is made of stainless steel in some embodiments, any other suitable material, for example aluminum, can be used. The nonmagnetic stainless steel sheath 58 and magnesium oxide fill 56 function to provide mechanical stability and protection to the heating element 20. The nonmagnetic stainless steel sheath 58 and magnesium oxide fill 56 also function to reduce AC hum by reducing magnetostriction in the sheath. In addition, the magnesium oxide fill 56 provides electrical insulation for the wire 54. Although a metal sheathed heating element 20 is used in some embodiments of the invention, other suitable heating elements may be used in other embodiments of the invention.

Suitable heating elements 20 may be obtained from various manufacturers, including Chromalox, Inc. located in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co. located in St. Louis, Mo.

FIG. 5 shows an isometric view a junction box 22 in accordance with the invention. The junction box 22 has an upper mounting rail 60 and a lower mounting rail 62. On the outer edge of the upper mounting rail 60 is an alignment member 64 (see also FIG. 14) that keeps the radiant panel 16 (see FIG. 1) from sliding off the track formed by the upper mounting rail 60. Similarly, the lower mounting rail 62 has an alignment member 38 that keeps the radiant panel 16 from sliding off the track formed by the lower mounting rail 62. Because the radiant panel 16 (see FIG. 1) is fastened directly and separately with no intermediate connection to each junction box 22, the radiant panel 16 may freely expand during a heating cycle. Alternatively, the radiant panel 16 may be fastened to the junction box 22 by a screw connecting the upper mounting rail 60 and the hooked flap 48. Other means for fastening, such as a bolt, are suitable as well. In some embodiments of the invention, the junction box 22 can be fabricated from injection molded plastic parts that would incorporate snap-lock features, rather than screws, as the means for fastening. In addition to steel and plastic, other suitable materials may be used to fabricate the junction box 22, such as other metals or composite materials.

Wiring can be threaded through either of two knockout holes 66 and 68 of the junction box 22. The hole 66 on the rear portion of the junction box 22 (see FIG. 1) is useful for threading wiring that comes directly out of the wall 24 (see FIG. 1). The hole 68 on the upper portion of the junction box 22 is useful for threading wiring that comes from a box or other device mounted on the wall 24 (see FIG. 1). A third hole 70 on the junction box 22 is used to electrically ground the cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1). The hole 70 receives a screw which makes a metal-metal contact with the junction box 22, and a grounding wire is attached to the screw.

Additional features on the junction box 22 include two screw tracks 72 and 74 that are used to fasten an end cap to the cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1). The large knockout hole 76 on the bottom of the junction box 22 is designed to accommodate a thermostat, and the two holes 78 and 80 flanking the large hole 76 are screw holes for securing the thermostat. The two rectangular shaped holes 82 and 84 on the rear of the junction box 22 fit over the mounting bracket 26, which secures the cove heater 10 to the wall 24 (see FIG. 1).

FIG. 6 shows an exploded isometric view of an embodiment of a mounting bracket 26, a mounting plate 28, and two screws 30 and 32. The mounting bracket 26 has a hook 86 and projection 88 that secures the cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1) to the wall 24 (see FIG. 1) via the rectangular holes 82 and 84 (see FIG. 5) on the junction box 22 (see FIG. 5). The screws 30 and 32 are threaded through holes 90 and 92 in the mounting bracket 26 and corresponding holes 94 and 96 in the mounting plate 28 and then screwed into the wall 24.

The two holes 94 and 96 on the mounting plate 28 are raised from the base of the mounting plate 26 by two projections 95 and 97. The projections 95 and 97 fit through the holes 90 and 92 in the mounting bracket 26. When the screws 30 and 32 are fully threaded into the holes 94 and 96, the heads of the screws 30 and 32 rest against the top of the projections 95 and 97. Because the mounting bracket 26 is thinner than the length of the projections 95 and 97, the mounting bracket can rock back and forth and translate along the projections 95 and 97 between the head of the screws 30 and 32 and the mounting plate 28. This rocking action accommodates the lateral thermal expansion of the cove heater 10 during heating cycles, and it reduces the likelihood that noise will be generated during the thermal expansion of the cove heater 10. Alternatively, in other embodiments of the invention, a modified screw can be used in place of the projections 95 and 97. The modified screw has threading only on part of the screw body. The portion of the screw body adjacent to the screw head would be unthreaded. In this case, the mounting bracket 26 rocks laterally along the unthreaded part of the screw body.

FIG. 7 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 7, a cross-sectional view of a radiant panel with a capturing tab 98 and a shield 100 is shown. The capturing tab 98 is integral to the radiant panel and projects from the back surface 40 at an approximately 45 degree angle towards the channel 50. Although the angle is approximately 45 degrees in some embodiments, other suitable angles are acceptable. The capturing tab 98 is located on the back surface 40 and lies between the channel 50 and the integral wire chase 12. The function of the capturing tab 98 is to secure the shield 100 to the back surface 40. The shield 100 is made of aluminum and functions to insulate the other components of the heater 10 (see FIG. 1) from direct exposure to heat. The shield 100 also blocks radiant heat emission from the back surface 40. Although the shield 100 is made of aluminum in some embodiments, other materials such as steel, other metals, plastics, or any other suitable material with the appropriate thermal and mechanical properties are acceptable.

The radiant panel of FIG. 7 also shows two grooves 102 on the rear surface 40 of the radiant panel 16 that facilitate the staking of the heating element 20 (see FIG. 4) into the channel 50. These grooves 102 are present in some embodiments of the invention where staking is desired.

Another embodiment of a mounting bracket 104 is shown in FIG. 8. The mounting bracket 104 is used with a mounting plate 106 shown in FIG. 9. The mounting bracket 104 has a substantially flat base 108. Projecting from the base 108 is a projection 110 with a first hook 112 and a second hook 114 that secure the junction box 22 (see FIG. 11) to the mounting bracket 104. The two hooks 112 and 114 fit through a pass through slot 116 in the mounting bracket 106. A capture slot 118 is located on the portion of the projection 110 adjacent to the base 108 of the mounting bracket 104. The capture slot 118 functions to secure the mounting bracket 104 to the mounting plate 106 by fitting over an edge 118 of the pass through slot 116. The base 108 of the mounting bracket has a beveled edge 120 that functions to guide edge of the pass through slot 116 into the capture slot 118. The projection 110 has a substantially flat edge 122 adjacent to the base 108. The flat edge 122 functions as a support for a second edge 124 of the pass through slot 116.

The mounting plate 106 shown in FIG. 9 has two holes 126 that allow the mounting plate 106 to be fastened to a surface by bolts, screws, nails or any other suitable means. The mounting plate 106 is configured so that the portion of the mounting plate 106 containing the pass through slot 116 is displaced outwards relative to the portion of the mounting plate 106 containing the holes 126. When the mounting plate 106 is attached to a surface, the portions of the mounting plate 106 containing the holes 126 fit substantially flush with the surface. The portion of the mounting plate 106 containing the pass through slot 116, however, is displaced from the surface so that a gap is formed. This gap is sufficient to accommodate the thickness of the base 108 of the mounting bracket 104 when the mounting bracket 104 is assembled with the mounting plate 106 as shown in FIG. 10.

Longer heaters 10, for example heaters 10 greater than six feet in length, can be additionally supported by an intermediate bracket 128 shown in FIG. 11. The intermediate bracket 128 can be installed anywhere along the length of the heater 10 and between the junction boxes 22.

As shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the intermediate bracket 128 has a substantially flat base portion 130 with two holes 132 and 134. Screws or another suitable means for fastening can be threaded through the holes 132 and 134 to fasten the intermediate bracket 128 to a joist or stud. In addition to the base portion 130 of the intermediate bracket 128, there are two arms 136 and 138, an upper arm 136 and a lower arm 138, that provide additional support to the heater 10 as shown in FIGS. 11 and 13. The tips of both arms 136 and 138 are bent outwards as shown in FIG. 13 to allow the intermediate bracket 128 to latch onto the cove heater 10.

Although screws are used in an embodiment of the invention, bolts, rivets, welding, adhesives, and other suitable fastening materials and devices can be used. Furthermore, although specific materials, such as aluminum, are used in the construction of an embodiment of the invention, other materials such as steel, copper, or another suitable construction material can be used.

Although an example of the cove heater 10 (see FIG. 1) is shown using a thermal dispersion gap 14, an integral crossover wire chase 12, and a thermal barrier 46 (see FIG. 4), it will be appreciated that other types of heaters can use all or some of a thermal dispersion gap 14, an integral crossover wire chase 12, or a thermal barrier 46. Also, although the cove heater 10 is useful to provide heating of a room and the people in the room, it can also be used in other heating applications in various industries.

The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.