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Whether you're looking to supplement your existing heating set up with something a bit more environmentally friendly or are considering refitting your entire home with a new, modern and cost effective heating system, perhaps you're looking at Infrared heating as an option?
You might have heard of infrared panel heaters or infrared wall heaters but you're not quite sure how they work or if they are as cost effective and beautiful to have in your home as they sound? We've put together a list of infrared heaters pros and cons and then gone into some detail just so you can see for yourself if they sound like something that you can benefit from.
The way we heat our homes is changing towards more modern technologies that are cleaner, more energy efficient and more cost effective. Compared to electric storage heaters or electric radiators, infrared panel heaters convert almost 100% of the electricity to heat, therefore are more energy efficient and need to operate for less time for a better output.
Infrared heating is a radiant form of heat that does not heat the air in a room rather emits an invisible wave of energy that is emitted to whatever is nearby, so you and objects such as the furniture, walls and flooring, which in turn absorb the heat and release it slowly. So when you walk into a room that is heated by conventional convection heating (radiators for example) the warmth you feel is the warm air that has been heated. Whereas when you walk into a room with infrared wall panels, the warmth you feel is the infrared rays hitting your body, much in the same way the sun's rays feel warm, but without the UV- so you can have the windows open and you will still feel this heat.
The infrared energy produced by the Redwell panel heaters is part of the electromagnetic spectrum called FAR infrared heat that should not be confused with Near infrared heat (the type produced by red bar-heaters and patio heaters) which is more intense.
Far infrared is a type of invisible electromagnetic radiation that is a completely safe form of heat energy. Just for comparison, ultraviolet light is on the higher end of the electromagnetic spectrum, and infrared is on the lower energy end of the spectrum, much like visible light and radio waves, which are of course also 100% safe.
So when we refer to infrared heating we are talking about Far infrared heating which is safe for our bodies and our well-being.
Rather than heating the air by circulating it across a heating element by convection, infrared panel heaters emit a type of electromagnetic wave that is invisible to the human eye but we feel as heat on our skin . So, heat produced by infrared is not a fluid (like air) but it is a wavelength.
In fact, infrared waves are also known as heat waves , because when an object encounters infrared waves, it produces heat due to the vibration of its atoms and molecules. We encounter infrared waves every day in remote controls, in the heat of the sun's rays and even humans emit their own infrared radiation.
This also means that infrared heat panels are unaffected by open windows and doors, and can actually allow you to breathe fresh, cool, clean air while still feeling the heat emitted by the panel, much like the warmth from the sun (without the UV rays).
Infrared wall heaters offer homeowners more control over the thermal comfort of their homes and how much energy is used and for how long.
Panels can be controlled individually, and some models have wireless programmable controls that allow for areas to be zoned for optimum efficiency and so you can manage what panels are being used when needed. This is called Zone heating, whereby you heat certain zones within your home, when and where you need it.
Being able to specify which rooms you want to heat means that infrared heating is highly energy efficient. Infrared panels work very quickly, as soon as you switch them on they begin to emit electromagnetic waves and start to heat up within 10 minutes, so you don't need to turn them on hours before to preheat your house before you get home.
An Infrared panel heater is a radiant heater that can be powered by electricity, natural gas or propane with different heaters having different output levels and control systems. Infrared heating can also be powered by renewable sources such as solar panels to produce a more carbon friendly approach making it a fantastic sustainable heating system.
The initial cost of fitting your home with an infrared panel heater can seem expensive, perhaps more so than a traditional central heating system. Prices of the panels vary depending on the manufacturer, the size of the panel and the model. The smallest Redwell WE heater is £336.00 and the biggest is £1380.
If they have additional features such as thermostatic controls for your heat setting or customization such as stylish picture panels that complements your interior design then prices will be higher.
Installation costs however are low, with no plumbing, gas pipework or radiator installation needed and with minimal disruption. Installation can be carried out by a reputable electrician and this can be wall or ceiling mounted. Simply have the panel mounted on the wall as you would do your flat screen TV and run a discrete power cable to the nearest plug socket.
And remember, an infrared heater is virtually maintenance free with no filters or exhausts to keep clean or service, simply plug in to an electricity supply and switch on. They are also very durable with an excellent life expectancy of 100 000 hours or 30 years on average.
Operating costs are especially lower when compared to other types of electric heating system because infrared heating panels have a much lower power requirement and therefore running cost per hour. A fan or convection heater has a running cost of 28p per hour (on a standard meter) with a 2kW/h heat output compared to an infrared panel which costs 4-11p per hour with a 0.29-0.8 kW/h output.
The idea being that you don't need to turn them on in advance, you can simply turn the heater on in the rooms you are using at any given time and you are not wasting energy by heating unused space.
The home's level of insulation is also an important factor when considering the energy usage per room, a better insulated home will lead to better heat retention which can help lower the operating costs even more.
We have already explained that infrared heating is a 100% safe technology, but did you know that Infrared heating panels can actually have health benefits too?
The level of thermal comfort with infrared heating is very high. Because radiant heat doesn't use the surrounding air to transmit heat, there is an improvement in the air quality within the home because you can ventilate your home and still feel the warmth being emitted by the infrared heater. There is no air circulation so no dust or bacteria circulating as can happen with convection heating, so the air doesn't feel uncomfortable for people who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Because an ir heater does not change the air temperature, there is no warm air colliding with cold surfaces so condensation doesn't occur. And because there is no condensation, it also acts to reduce mold formation, which can otherwise pose a serious health risk. This also ensures that dampness and mold don't occur and is better in general for those of us that suffer from allergies or are affected by dampness.
Infrared heating can also improve blood circulation by penetrating the skin and helping blood vessels expand which promotes blood circulation and can lead to lowering of blood pressure.
All RedwellGB infrared heating panels and control products are certified to national safety standards. With an infrared heater the only danger is it can get quite hot if a panel is touched when it has been running for a while, placing them at picture height on the wall eliminates this risk almost fully as it is out of reach from children, pets and vulnerable people.
Positioning the infrared wall heaters higher up at picture height or on your ceiling is a more efficient placing of the panels anyway, so nothing can obstruct the path of the heat being emitted.
With infrared panels there is the added peace of mind that you are not burning fossil fuels so carbon monoxide poisoning is not a concern, no smoke or fumes are produced either.
Infrared heating panels are beautifully designed to blend in with your home décor. Infrared heating panels can be discreet or as decorative as you like and are stylish as they come with different high-quality finishes such as artwork, glossy white or black, mirrored or glass. The panels can also be dual purpose around your home by providing additional functions around your home such as a dry-wipe message board in the kitchen or a super functional towel dryer or mirror heating panels in your bathroom.
Infrared wall heaters are ideal for saving space as they are slim and mounted much like a flat screen TV would be, with just a power cable that can be embedded into your wall or fitted within cable trunking for a discreet finish. Wall mounted panels therefore take up no room at all when mounted on your wall at picture height and emit directional heat where and when required.
Furniture placement is a consideration as infrared heaters project heat outwards so it's best not to place furniture directly in front of your wall mounted panels or too close to them. The best option in many cases is to place them at picture height, where the infrared rays can be beamed uninterrupted in the direction necessary.
An infrared mirror heater presents a dual purpose with a beautiful frameless mirror panel that will sit over a fireplace or in your bathroom, bedroom or hallway providing the perfect level of thermal comfort while at the same time looking great as part of your interior decoration.
Ideal for saving on space and functionality while also heating your walls and tiles to ensure your bathroom stays warm and dry even after the mirror heater is turned off. Mirror heating panels are made from toughened safety glass that are mist resistant, especially important in the bathroom.
So whatever heating system you have now or are considering for the near future, feel free to contact a reputable provider of infrared heating solutions such as Redwell who will be happy to advise you on what your best options are when it comes to a modern, clean and energy efficient infrared heating system.