You may have heard good and bad things about infrared heaters leaving you confused about whether they are a good investment for your home. As advocates of green building methods, we have successfully installed many infrared heaters into homes and businesses, so we've compiled a handy and honest list of things to bear in mind when deciding to commit to infrared panels or not.
Despite oil and gas powered infrared heaters being available, electric panel options for infared heating are often chosen in the UK. If you are currently not using an electric method of heating your property it may be best to stick with gas central heating as gas is considerably cheaper per unit than the expense of electricity.
The Green Age state that: "With gas costing just 3.5p/kWh, it is pretty clear to see that the cost of heating a home with gas is considerably cheaper than heating a home with electricity"...but... there are several money and energy saving aspects of infrared to take into account.
Infrared heating operates by directly heating solid objects rather than the air like traditional radiators would. Once the panels reach their optimal temperature they release safe infrared radiation that travels until it reaches a solid item- including a person, which absorbs the infrared energy and warms up.
The fact that infrared heating warms up objects rather than air is an important one to remember as, by heating a surface area (such as a piece of furniture) rather than volume (the air in this case), the like-for-like wattage is less. This means not as much electricity is needed equating to lower bills.
The running expenses of any electric heater is governed by its rating (watts/kWs), with higher watts implying more expensive costs. Initial costs of buying infrared heating panels depends on their size, model and brand. Design also plays a role in determining the cost, with more intricate designs bringing higher costs. Prices are affordable though and can vary between £100 and £500.
The maintenance costs of infrared heating panels are extremely low. Infrared panels have no moving parts and no water flowing through them so there's very little scope for anything to go wrong, and less chance of you having to pay anyone to fix anything. In contrast, plumbers often charge high fees to come and fix traditional central heating systems and boilers.
An infrared heating panel can cost as little as £109.99 and can be installed very simply using a plug. We advise using a thermostat to control the panels, but even with this additional, infrared is considerably better value than installing a wet central heating system into your home.
Installations costs are low when it comes to infrared panels as they have a basic set up. You simply use a plug. Even if you use a thermostat to control the panels, this isn't much of an extra cost. meaning installation is significantly cheaper than installing a water central heating system in your property.
#1 Infrared heating allows you to heat specific rooms. How many times have you tutted to yourself that you have had to fire on the boiler for the sake of heating the one radiator in the single room where all your family are curled up cosy in during Winter? Even with the thermostatic radiator valves on gas central heating, it can be hard to zone in your heating to areas you specifically need to be warm. With infrared heating you would just switch on the panels in the room you wish to heat up. Simple. Some infrared heating panels can even be conveniently operated via your phone so no energy is wasted unnecessarily.
#2 Not effected by draughts. Infrared heating is a more efficient option in buildings with poor insulation or high ceilings. These properties are often draughty. This isn't helped if they are heated by traditional convection methods, which heats up the air. In a draughty home, hot air can rapidly leave via gaps around windows (poor insulation) or the chimney and thus gets wasted. Consequently, the temperature in the room drops, so the hot air needs to be replaced by the convection heating system. This means running costs are more than infrared heating as infrared heating doesn't heat air. Once a room is heated by an infared heater it stays heated.
#3 Can combat damp. As walls are solid objects, infrared heaters warm walls up meaning they stay completely dry. Infrared radiation is also easily absorbed by water so any moisture on walls absorbs infrared fast, which dries the walls out. This prevents mould growing throughout the infrared heated property.
#4 Stylish and discreet. Infrared heaters often come in elegant designs, sleek finishes and can double as mirrors. Due to panels being able to reach temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Celsius on their surface, they need to be kept out of the reach of children and pets. The fact that they should be installed clear of any curtains and furniture or other household flammables goes without saying. All of this is easily accommodated by mounting the panels high on walls, well out of the way.
#5 Gentle comfort. It has been found that infrared panels warm up rooms in a less stuffy way than other heating methods. They can eliminate fluctuating temperatures in your home and are extremely speedy in heating up- perfect if you want one instantly cosy room.
#6 Helps allergy suffers. Allergens are not circulated around rooms as much with infrared heating not having an convection currents, meaning the symptoms of people with allergies aren't made any worse.
#7 Condensation is less likely to form. No convection currents also mean no condensation. This is due to hot air in traditional convection heating carrying moisture. Condensation in a building usually occurs when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface. As convection doesn’t heat furniture these cold areas are perfect for water vapour to condense. Infrared panels heat objects like furniture directly so condensation is prevented from forming on these cold surfaces.
#8 Silence is Golden. No moving parts means no disruptive noise is emitted from infrared panels to disturb your peaceful home- and no creepy sounds when your home alone either!