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9. Can I use a Peltier module as a heater?


Peltier module can indeed be used for very effective and efficient heating. Since Peltier module are solid-state heat pumps, they can actively pump heat from the ambient in addition to the heating effect that comes from the electrical resistance of the cooler itself. So, the Peltier module can be more efficient than a resistive heater (within limits). The heating can be so effective that you could very easily cause the module to reach the melting point of the solder! Care must be taken to ensure that the module does not overheat.

If you are interested in using one of our standard cooling assemblies for a cooling and/or heating application, please consult with us to determine which assembly would work best.

If you are interested in building your own assembly, you can use the cooling performance graphs of the Peltier module to estimate how much heating can be done. The total heating load is calculated by first estimating a temperature difference across the module and assuming an input current for any particular module. This defines the active amount of heat that the module can pump from the ambient. Combining this with the total power input determines how much total heating the module can do. You would then iterate the temperature difference guess based on the thermal resistances to and from the module and the corresponding heat loads being transferred.

It is possible for the module to provide heating in which the temperature difference across the module is greater than its ∆Tmax. However, in such cases, the module cannot pump any active heat, and the module would then be acting essentially as a resistive heater.

If you plan to do temperature cycling, you can use one of our bipolar temperature controllers. These controllers determine whether heating or cooling is required automatically based only on the set point. If you only need to do heating or cooling above or below the ambient, a heat-only/cool-only controller can work.