What are the disadvantages of infrared heating?

Infrared heating has many advantages, such as:

  • Cost effectiveness.
  • Aesthetic radiators.
  • Panels produce a great level of thermal comfort.
  • Infrared heating has many health benefits too.

But perhaps infrared technology isn't right for your space. Here are some things worth considering whether you are looking into fitting your entire home with infrared heating or simply supplementing your existing set-up.

The first thing to understand is this:

What is the difference between near infrared heating and far infrared heating? 

Near Infrared Heaters - you may remember a red heat emitting tube in your grandparents' bathroom, which they may have called infrared therapy. They get very hot and if you get too close, you can easily burn or damage your skin. When switched on, they heat up instantly, when switched off, they stop emitting heating immediately. Near Infrared is used to heat up small spaces quickly and only for the duration of its use. They are also used a lot in street cafes to provide a heat source above the outside seats.

Near Infrared Heater vs Far Infrared heater UK

Far Infrared Heaters - the radiators take a bit more time to warm up. Redwell radiators take approximately 10 to be hot and they remain the heat for much longer after they have been switched off. Far Infrared heaters warm up everything in the room, the walls, the objects and so on which then all reflect heat back into the room. So once switched off - the room remains warm for a long time.

Near Infrared Heater vs Far Infrared heater UK

Where can infrared heating panels be positioned?

The positioning of the infrared heating panel is important, since infrared works by emitting radiant heat, the heat is transmitted to whatever object is in the direct line of sight of the panel itself. Therefore, the panel itself should not be obstructed by large furniture or partial walls that might impede the efficient spread of heat.

One solution for this can be to have your infrared panel installed on the ceiling or at picture height on walls, therefore you can be sure you are receiving the full benefit of the radiant heat emitted by the panel with no obstructions. A quick consultation with a specialist installer will be able to advise you on the optimal positioning for your radiant heater panels.

best position for infrared radiator

Is infrared heating possible for all room shapes? 

The shape of your room might not be suitable for a single infrared heating panel, not all rooms are standard square layouts, but splitting into two smaller sized panels if, for example, you are heating an L-shaped space would be an alternative solution. A larger space will need a larger panel or a number of panels and a higher wattage or output.

To avoid your room being too cold or your infrared heater working too hard make sure the size of the panel is chosen relative to the size of the room and the type of room also matters, for example if the room has large windows or a conservatory.

Infrared heating - an electric heating system

An infrared panel heater generally runs on electricity, which is more expensive than natural gas, 14.4p/kWh on average in the UK compared to 3.8p/kWh for gas. Your electricity bill may not come down initially, or not as much as you expect.

This may be due to the fact that, being used to an oil or gas central heating system where it has to be on in all parts of the home to be effective. Infrared heating only needs to be switched on in the room you are in at the time, therefore it is important to zone parts of your house and reduce unnecessary use of heaters.

Zone heating has a different meaning. Although you won't feel the radiant heat from the heater if the room is specified correctly, everywhere in the room should be the same temperature due to the infrared warming the walls, floors and objects in the room.

Essentially, a zone is not a particular part of a room, but a zone could be your study, or your living room. You do not need to heat the full house if you are working or studying from home in a single room.

The panels can be programmed so that certain parts of your home are heated at certain parts of the day. You programme your bedroom for example, so that the heating comes on half an hour before you wake up. You can then programme the heater so that it's switched off for the rest of the day.

Is an electric heater expensive?

Redwell uses 25 to 30 Watts per cubic meter compared to convection heating, which uses 80+ watts per cubic meter. A correctly specified Redwell heater will run on average for 4-6 hours over a 24-hour period to maintain your desired temperature.

Compared to traditional heating systems, such as a standard convection heater (also known as a convector heater), which runs the heating element 9 -13 hours per day, this means that infrared heating runs only approximately half the time of a convection heater which will give you a heating cost comparative to gas. Although you can say that when each room have their own thermostat you can set each space to its own desired temperature meaning you only pay for the energy required to reach your desired temperature unlike a regular heater.

Infrared heating thermostats and timers?

It's important to have thermostatic control otherwise your bills won't be reduced as much as they should- it's very easy to overheat your space when you would ordinarily have been happy to be a few degrees cooler with your previous system. Timing control is also important to reduce unnecessary use of the heaters. You will want different control systems depending on where the panel is installed, and if it is for domestic or commercial use. Heating panels can automatically switch off when the room reaches a certain temperature which leads to even better cost savings compared to other heating systems.

Does infrared heating have higher running costs?

Running costs - Instead of the thermostats being programmed as on and off at certain times of the day, we recommend setting different temperatures at different times of the day so that the building can maintain the energy that is built up with the IR heating. This means the heating just flicks on and off to maintain a desired temperature. The overall benefit is that the IR heater will only run for an average of 4-6 hours per day at a reduced power consumption compared to convection heaters. Air loses heat 3 times quicker than slid objects, therefore with Infrared heating less power is required.

Does infrared heating have a high installation cost?

The initial cost of fitting your home with an infrared heating system can seem expensive, perhaps more so than traditional heating setups. Prices of the panels vary depending on the manufacturer, the size of the panel and the model. If they have additional features such as thermostatic controls or customisation such as stylish picture panels that complement your décor then prices can be higher still. But remember, there are:

  • no additional costs such as annual maintenance costs.
  • no boiler maintenance or annual fees.

You are investing in a modern, technology-driven, and clean heating system for your home for the long term.

Is infrared heating safe?

Infrared heating safety. As with other heating systems, the surface of infrared heaters can get hot, so placing them at ground level is not such a good idea, especially around children and pets. Positioning of the panels 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 and you can ensure they are located away from young children and the elderly.

is Infrared heating safe for children and elderly

Redwell heaters can only get to a maximum of 90 degrees and if you touch it you will not burn as our body can absorb infrared heat quicker than it will burn you, provided you don't keep your hand on it for too long.

Infrared radiation (also known as IR radiation) is perfectly safe. It is just a bit of the light spectrum called infrared light that we cannot see. All our visible light and infrared rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation.

Heating does not stop instantly when turned off. Due to the radiators using Far Infrared Heating, this means that when the radiators are switched off, the objects in the room will emit heat for a long time. You can even air the room briefly and once the window is closed again, the room temperature will increase steadily as all the objects in the room provide warmth.

Try out one of our radiators to see if it might just be the right system for you!