Infrared heating panels will heat the space in your home and are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional convection heaters and even to some wet central heating systems. Using electromagnetic radiation infrared heating panels heat the people and objects in the space rather than the air. Read on to find out if infrared heating panels could be the right choice for your home.
What is infrared light?
We can’t see infrared light, but it is around us all the time. It sits on the electromagnetic spectrum between the visible and microwave light and is why we can feel the sun’s warmth even on a winter’s day when the air is cold. The sun’s infrared waves travel through space and warm any object in their path.
Radio – Microwave – Infrared – Visible – UV – X-ray – Gamma rays
While some people may be concerned about introducing ‘radiation’ into their home, in reality it poses no threat to our health or safety at all. Our own bodies emit infrared radiation and it is the heat used in incubators for newborn babies in hospitals.
Infrared heating panels vs conventional space heating
Infrared heating is a relatively new concept in both the commercial and domestic heating industry, but it is gaining momentum as a potentially more efficient and safer method of space heating than convection heaters. Conventional heating heats the air around you which then circulates as hot air rises and falls. Infrared heating panels emit infrared waves which travel through the air. When an object or our body and infrared radiation collide, we/the object absorb the heat.
Advantages of infrared heating panels
Infrared heating panels do not require gas, oil or any solid fuel and so don’t produce emissions when used. They do require an electricity supply to operate, but their consumption level is generally low compared to other electric heating systems like storage heaters. In addition, if you have solar panels you can run the heating system on free, renewable electricity. This is great for both the environment and your wallet.
Infrared heating panels can be installed pretty much anywhere in the home as long as they are connected to electricity. You can mount them low or high on the wall or even on the ceiling if you want to keep them out of reach from children or pets, or have them as freestanding units so you can move them around as needed. There are plenty of sizes available to suit homes of every type and size.
Variety of designs and styles
Some infrared heating panels such as those offered by Surya are designed to look like pieces of art or even mirrors on the wall or there are white, black or chrome versions.
Quiet in operation
Infrared heating panels have no moving parts and so there is no noise when they are working.
Energy efficient & cheaper to run
While infrared heating panels use electrical power, they use only a small amount in comparison to traditional heaters. On average, infrared heating panels use around 0.29 and 0.8 kW/h of electricity (depending on the size of the panel) while a regular electric fires uses 2 kW/h and a standard convection heater uses between 1 and 1.5 kW/h. This means you could see electricity savings between 40-50% if you switch to infrared heating.
In addition, because infrared heating panels are not heating the air, significantly less heat is lost due to poor insulation and heat loss which means they need to be on for less time than traditional heaters.
Save money with smart controls
Infrared heating systems can often incorporate a smart control system. Logicor’s Clear Heater System, for example, includes a control panel which enables you to have each panel in your home at a different temperature.
Easy to install and no maintenance costs
Infrared heating panels can be installed and left to do their job without servicing or maintenance. They have no moving parts and are simply mounted to the wall and plugged in during installation. Unlike gas or oil boilers, they do not need to be serviced every year.
Do infrared heating panels have health risks?
Despite the misconceptions around radiation being bad for you, infrared heaters can actually offer health benefits rather than health risks.
Because infrared heaters heat the molecules in objects and bodies they do not cause the air to circulate. This means there is far less dust being moved around your home which improves the air quality and because the walls are being heated, mould is far less likely to form. In addition, by heating our bodies directly it produces a more comfortable and deeper sensation of heat where convection heating only warms the skin.
While studies are still ongoing, early reports show that infrared heating is beneficial for a number of health conditions including asthma. It is also used throughout the world in detoxification, anti-ageing treatments, ear, nose and throat conditions, blood circulation, acne, insomnia, pain relief and more. Infrared light also offers many of the same benefits as sunlight, but without the harmful UV rays.
Disadvantages of infrared heating panels
Infrared heating panels typically cost twice as much as standard space heaters, but it’s worth noting that they are much cheaper to run and more efficient at heating your home.
In order to get the full benefit of infrared heating it’s best to minimise the number of obstacles between the panel and you which can be a challenge in busy households.
Are infrared heating panels right for your home?
If you are considering installing infrared heating in your home it’s best to speak with a professional heating engineer who can assess your home and recommend the best solution.
If you would like to find a local heating installer to help, head over to Boiler Guide and they will be able to put you in touch with reputable companies for competitive quotes.
Main image features Clear Heater infrared panels, supplied by Logicor’