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When doing research on whether an infrared heater can start a fire, you’ll be surprised to find out that space heaters are the 2nd most common cause of house fires. As per the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters cause some of the deadliest fires in the country. Statistics show that space heaters account for about 44% of the 52,000 home fires that occur every year.
Interestingly, most modern space heaters are equipped with various safety features to prevent this issue. However, it’s still important to use and store your device as safely as possible. Most people even advise homeowners to avoid putting their space heaters on a rug or carpet as they may catch fire if the temperature becomes too high.
Should you have the same concern if you’re using an infrared heater to heat your home? Can you put an infrared heater on the carpet? Read on to find out, including some of the best places to keep your IR heater!
Importance of considering the location of your IR heater
One key difference between conventional and infrared (radiant) heating systems is the heat transfer system. Most standard home heating systems use a convection cycle of warm air to heat the entire room.
However, infrared space heaters do not work that way. Instead, they emit infrared radiation that travels directly from the heater until it’s absorbed by a solid object. This makes infrared heating so efficient since the type of heat they produce is not lost through draughts or affected by airflow.
On the downside, this direct nature of infrared heating means that it has to be directed towards the right place. Convection heaters warm the entire air volume within a particular space, and can therefore be positioned anywhere. Contrarily, infrared heaters require an unobstructed line of sight to the object or area that needs to be heated.
Common mistakes homeowners make in placing IR heaters
Pointing the heater towards opposite windows
While putting an infrared heater pointing toward large windows allows the unit to cover a much greater room, it has its limitations. For instance, the glass will absorb the far infrared radiation and conduct it through the glazing, leading to heat loss. Also, heat will be lost quickly since glazing doesn’t provide the same level of insulation as a brick wall. However, this may not be an issue with modern glazing since most windows reflect heat back into the room and have better insulation properties.
Installing the heater in alcoves
Installing an infrared heater in alcoves to keep them out of the way prevents them from providing maximum heat distribution. This is because the surrounding walls in the alcove will get more radiation compared to the main living space.
Best places to install infrared Heaters
Apart from the window-facing walls and alcoves, you can mount an infrared on any other wall in the room. This will ensure that most of the heat is directed into the space and absorbed by the surrounding walls and furnishings.
Alternatively, you can mount your IR heating units on the ceiling for unhindered heat distribution. Pointing the IR heater towards the floor also ensures that the living space is always heated comfortably. In addition, the emitted warmth is absorbed and re-emitted by the walls, floor, and furniture.
Another benefit of ceiling-mounted infrared heaters is that the units will be completely out of your way. Therefore, you’ll not encounter any accidental contact with the heater’s surface. However, you have to consider the position of the light fittings since the main light in most rooms is usually installed near the center of the ceiling. If that’s the case with your room layout, consider installing 2 smaller IR heaters mounted on both sides of the central light to ensure the living space is well heated.
Can you put an infrared heater on a carpet?
Most people assume that putting an infrared heater on a carpet will make heat accumulate on the material, causing it to start a fire. However, if statistics are something to go by, home fires rarely start on the carpet. In short, it’s safe to put your infrared heater on a carpet without experiencing any issues.
First, carpets are highly unlikely to accumulate enough heat to start a fire since heat rises to the top. On the same note, you’ll need much higher temperatures to ignite a carpet than what most infrared heaters produce. As a result, most carpets are almost impossible to ignite with infrared heat.
Secondly, the best infrared heaters on the market come with various built-in safety mechanisms. As an example, most IR heaters that have been in the market for at least 10 years or so have inbuilt overheat protection. This feature allows them to detect when the units become too hot and turn them off automatically.
To cut the long story short, you can safely put your infrared heater and other regular household heaters like ceramic heaters on the carpet. More importantly, most space heaters cannot start a fire on a carpet regardless of whether they have a power output of 1500W or 2000W, provided it doesn’t block the heater. This is because the heater distributes the heat via radiation, so power isn’t focused in one spot.
However, despite infrared heaters being safe to use on carpets, it’s good to observe some safety measures while using the device to prevent fires. For instance, you should not use the heater in moist or wet areas unless it’s specifically designed for use in such environments. In addition, you should keep the infrared heater near flammable objects or use it with an extension cord.
Like most modern electric space heaters, infrared heating units are very safe appliances. They’re equipped with various safety features to reduce their risks of starting a fire, making them ideal for use on carpets. However, you should always use a specific IR heater as instructed by the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe operation.
More importantly, there are space heaters like torpedo heaters that should never be used on carpets. Torpedo heaters produce exhaust flames and are not designed for use in bedrooms or living spaces. Instead, these heaters are intended for use in construction sites, garages, and industrial spaces!