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In the past, infrared heating has been a popular heating option for large workshops and factories. However, that seems to be changing as more people continue to embrace them for warming their homes during the cold winter nights. Moreover, they’re considered to be a clean and economical way of space heating, plus they’re very easy to install. But is infrared heating right for your home?
Well, read on to learn what infrared heating is, how it works as well as its benefits and drawbacks. This will help you determine whether they’re the right heating option for your home and whether they’re as effective as other alternative space heating techniques.
That said, let’s get right into it!
What’s Infrared heating?
Infrared is a form of light that lies between visible light and microwaves on the electromagnetic spectrum. More notably, it’s the same type of heat produced by the sun, only that it doesn’t contain harmful UV rays.
Infrared heating, therefore, is a type of heat produced by electric devices known as infrared/ radiant/ far infrared heating panels. These heating emitters use infrared to target heat in certain areas, warming the objects and people in that space. Infrared heating can either be used to heat the entire room. However, it can also be used as a complementary heat source that works alongside a forced air alternative heating system to warm areas that are difficult to heat.
Another thing worth mentioning is that infrared light can be classified into 3 groups; near, mid & infrared. But near and far infrared are the most common types of infrared light in everyday life.
Near-infrared is commonly used in transmitting data between devices like computers/ phones and TV remotes. While far infrared emits heat and is commonly used in modern hairdryers, saunas, and hospital incubators for newborn babies.
How does an Infrared heater work?
Infrared heater panels produce a deep and relaxing warmth that is similar to the natural heat from the sun. But, as I already mentioned, it doesn’t contain harmful ultraviolet rays. Better still, these systems are energy-efficient and can potentially reduce your energy bills, making them a great alternative to traditional heating systems.
The heater works by releasing radiant warmth from the panel. This radiation then travels through the air in a wave, directly heating you and the surrounding objects. Moreover, the warmth absorbed by the surrounding objects radiates the heat back into the room. Overall, this makes infrared heating more efficient than other heating systems since the generated heat doesn’t get lost through open doors and windows. At the same time, this helps your energy costs, while ensuring your entire house is warmed comfortably and effectively.
Different types of Infrared Heat for space heating
In most cases, the type of infrared heating panel you need is determined by the space you’re trying to heat. Overall, 3 main types of infrared heat are suitable for heating your home. They include;
Near/ Shortwave infrared has the shortest wavelength and generates a robust warmth level that is suitable for outdoor use. On top of that, it’s usually accompanied by strong, visible light, making it ideal for use over shorter periods. Most patio heaters use this type of infrared heat to produce vigorous heat outdoors.
Longwave infrared is slightly more intense and can be projected further. As a result, it provides gentle and comfortable heat for larger, open-place spaces such as workshops and warehouses. It’s mainly used in ceramic infrared heaters. Moreover, it’s an ideal option for heating large spaces in your home.
Far infrared heaters produce a gentle warmth that is easily absorbed by our bodies. This makes it ideal for indoor use since it delivers a subtle warmth that can heat on a deeper level. You can find this type of infrared heat on radiant heating panels that can be installed throughout your home to uniformly heat every corner as per your needs.
Pros and cons of Infrared Heating
What are the benefits of an infrared heater?
Cost-effective and eco-friendly
One of the biggest benefits of infrared heating is its affordability. Specifically, its initial cost is lower compared to traditional central heating systems, underfloor heating, radiators, and so on. Better still, infrared heaters only warm specific areas and objects, saving energy needed to heat an entire room. Some infrared heating panels only use 300 watts of electricity and transmit almost 100% of the generated heat, making them super efficient.
In addition, infrared heating doesn’t add any pollutants to the room. This is because without producing any toxic products, open flames, fuel lines, or carbon combustion. For that, they’ll safely warm your room without adding or removing anything from the air.
Healthy and silent operation
Infrared heaters are healthier than conventional heating systems like forced air or baseboard heating. To start, these heaters don’t reduce the amount of oxygen or humidity in the room. This prevents you from experiencing issues like dry skin, and sinuses.
Secondly, infrared heating panels produce the same type of warmth as the sun. As a result, you’ll enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight without the harmful effect of UV rays and healthier blood circulation. More notable, infrared heating doesn’t circulate allergens around your home as is the case with forced air systems.
Moreover, infrared space heating panels provide silent operation since they don’t use fans. For that, they’re suitable for heating noise-sensitive environments like bedrooms. Better still, their hot coils are wrapped over the heat source to ensure uniform heat distribution. The generated heat is then reflected by polished metal, extending out for several yards to create a gentle and comfortable warmth.
Most heating systems work through convection, which involves warming the surrounding air and allowing it to circulate throughout the room. However, infrared heaters produce a precise beam of heat that directly warms you and any other object in the room by emitting a steady stream of heat particles. As a result, they provide warmth at a faster rate than most traditional heaters. Moreover, they will warm you up rapidly when you step in from the cold, thanks to their fast-acting heat rays.
Require minimal maintenance
Another benefit of installing an infrared heater in your home is that it requires minimal maintenance. That is because it doesn’t contain any motor and moving parts that will need to be lubricated to reduce wear and tear. However, it’s important to clean the unit’s reflectors to keep them working perfectly.
Drawbacks of infrared heating
Some infrared heater disadvantages include;
The heating coils of infrared heaters get very hot, making them dangerous to use around pets and kids. However, as these units continue to become popular for home use, manufacturers are incorporating safety features in their products. For instance, some infrared heaters use a fan to disperse the heat while others are enclosed in cool-to-the-touch casings. In addition, some advanced models do not have an emergency tip-over switch and automatic shut-off feature for extra safety. However, it’s still important to be careful when you’re around these heating units.
Stops emitting heat immediately when turned off
Unlike water-based space heating systems, infrared heaters stop radiating heat immediately when they’re turned off. Moreover, since they don’t warm the air in the room, your house will quickly lose heat when you turn them off.
Infrared heating works best with items that are in their immediate vicinity. For that, you will feel very limited warming if you’re constantly moving between various rooms.
Is Infrared Heating right for heating your home?
Infrared heating offers several cost and health benefits. For instance, it provides more comfortable warmth, plus it’s efficient and cheap. Moreover, many modern infrared heater models are equipped with new safety features, making them ideal for use in homes with pets and children. Most homes are suitable for infrared heating, thanks to the compatibility with the existing electrical circuits.
However, these heaters may not be suitable for everyone as they have their set of drawbacks too. Also, the technology used in these units is in its early stages and cannot be used to fully replace other heating systems yet. All in all, it’s an excellent option for heating a specific area quickly!