When submarines were first developed, steam was used for vessel heating requirements. Though steam heating systems worked quite well on submarines, they required too much space for piping in a place where space is at a premium. Additionally, if the piping became damaged, it caused substantial heat and power loss, and potential bodily injury to military personnel. System maintenance was also an issue. Continual cleaning of the steam coils was required to prevent deterioration over time due to fouling or scaling.
The Navy desired a more efficient, safe heating method for its submarines. They wanted a reliable system with a smaller footprint. The new design was required to be rugged enough to withstand the military shock and vibration tests, and must be able to hold up to the real life rigors of military action.
Chromalox responded by introducing our electric duct heaters to the Naval design engineers. They were shown that electric power is much easier to install throughout a submarine compared to steam piping. The ease and flexibility of installation in compact confined areas of the submarine made it a perfect fit for the vessel. Electric wiring resolved the hazards of injury to personnel, without the heat loss of steam piping. The duct heaters themselves are smaller and lighter than a steam heating system, and are virtually maintenance-free. Electric duct heaters can provide heat to individual areas, and may be precisely controlled with simple, compact devices. The Chromalox electric duct heater design met the Navys environmental design requirements, as well. They passed the military's demanding shock and vibration tests.
For many years, Chromalox duct heaters have remained the heating method of choice, and are still used today. We're proud that our military personnel are kept warm and dry >800 feet below sea level by Chromalox innovation and quality.