Infrared heaters are heaters which use the infrared radiation that they produce and heat up the objects in their vicinity through electromagnetic radiation. They are very cost – effective and more eco-friendly than other types of heaters.
HEATING TYPES TO CONSIDER
Infrared heaters can be classified into different based on the wavelength of the infrared rays that they emit and the source of energy. The wavelength of the infrared rays range from 700 nm to 1 mm. Based on the wavelength of the rays they are classified as Near-infrared, short wavelength infrared, mid wavelength infrared, long wavelength infrared and Far-infrared. The wavelength of the infrared rays produced in a heater majorly decides the usage of the heater. They are used for domestic as well as commercial and industrial purposes based on this factor.
Also, the infrared heaters are classified based on the source of energy. Metal wire heaters were the first type to be introduced. They used an alloy of Nickel and Chrome and were called Nichrome. Then infrared heaters using heating lamps were introduced and gained popularity in commercial usage like in restaurants and animal farms. Then heaters made of ceramic, tungsten and quartz were introduced. The source of energy all these heaters use were anything from carbon combustion, electricity to gas fired.
WHICH HEATING STYLE TO CHOOSE
Space heaters and infrared heaters employ different heating styles altogether. You have to choose a heater based on the space in which it is going to be used and your budget. Space heaters heat the air bubble in the room and consume lot of energy in comparison with the infrared heaters. But one advantage is that the room remains hot for some time even after the heater is switched off. Alternatively, infrared heaters heat the objects in its vicinity and not the air. Hence, the heater has to be kept on till you use the room. The heating style of the infrared heaters is better suited for places were very few people occupy the room. If the room is crowded or has people coming in and going out often, then the heating might not be felt by all. Infrared heaters vary in their heat production based on the wavelength of the radiation produced, as discussed above.
DETERMINING THE HEATING AREA
Space heaters can be used best only at rooms which are highly insulated. This adds up to the cost of a heating solution. Poor insulation will lead to loss of the heat generated. But infrared heaters can be used in rooms with poor insulation like a basement or garage and even outdoors. So your garden parties will be a big hit and an infrared heater will help you with that.
Care must be taken when placing the infrared heater in its location. It must not be too close to objects that are easily combustible, since the heat produced directly on the object might be over heated. In addition to primary radiation, some flooring elements reflect the heating, thus causing a secondary radiation. This is one of the advantages of infrared heaters and their ability to directly heat the solid objects and surfaces.
One of the major built-in feature available in infrared heaters is thermocouples. They help maintain a standard temperature and checks overheating. Some of the heaters have reflectors and radiators that are built-in which increase the efficiency of the heaters multifold. They are highly useful in case of a larger room or a room occupied with multiple persons.
A very important feature that comes built-in with this type of heaters is the continuous heating which lasts up to several hours depending on the model specification. Some have a very small heat up – cool down timing compared to the others, making it easily controlled thermostatically. This is made possible with the fast responding high temperature panels in which they come in.
One additional advantage of some models of infrared heaters is that they come with contamination resistant surfaces which help them maintain the panels without being attacked by molds and fungus. Some models also come with built-in air purifier and humidifier.
Infrared heaters are designed keeping in mind the cost versus its durability is better than other types of heaters making it truly an economical and energy efficient heating solution for your house or office. The average life expectancy of an infrared heater is 22 years and it can vary with a plus or minus 5 years depending on the usage, the brand, the features it carry and the weather conditions.
There is no secret for its longevity. These heaters are mostly very simple in their architecture required minimal maintenance or replacement of spares. Their design has very less movable parts which are prone to wear and tear. Having a near zero maintenance heater itself is one of the greatest advantages of having an infrared heater. Infrared heaters made from quartz tubes or bulbs have predefined capacities. The tubes or bulbs have to be replaced after a range from 10000 to 60000 hours depending on the model and product information.
ENERGY, EARTH AND ELECTRICITY BILLS
As discussed previously, the infrared heaters do not waste energy in heating big packets of air or circulating them within the room. They just heat up the solid objects and surfaces and provide a heating effect in the air around. So in place of a regular conventional heater which takes up around 5000 watts of energy, only 1500 watts of electricity is required for infrared heaters. Also, they are best known for their high conversion rates, meaning, they convert almost all the input electricity to heat.
Apart from the natural characteristic of being energy efficient, infrared heaters come with additional features like reflectors and radiators creating a secondary radiation. Primary radiation is the heating up of the surfaces and solid objects while secondary radiation is the reflected heating from the already heated surfaces. They are suitable for poorly insulated places and are the only option to be used in open spaces like a garden.
Safety is one of the primary features we look for in any product and the infrared heaters are not an exception. The major concern about this type of heaters is that they are capable of overheating an object or surface which is in close proximity. So, combustible things should never be left unattended inside a room which runs an infrared heater.
Since they have tubes and bulbs and other parts which heat up rapidly upon longer duration of use, pets and children have to be kept away from its vicinity. Hence, if you have a pet or children at home, it would be a better idea to mount the heater near the ceiling. Usage of infrared panels instead of heaters is also one of the safest methods to use. Even the low level models, nowadays, come in insulated cool-to-touch material cabin. They also have emergency tip-over and automatic shut – off as additional safety features in them.
ACCESSORIES – LIFE, AVAILABILITY & PRICE
The cost of an infrared heater ranges from few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars based on the model and the features it carries. Buying an infrared heater for your home should be considered as a good investment towards a more feasible and cost effective heating solution. They have very less maintenance costs in comparison with the other models. Their high life expectancy and lower energy bills for your home month after month will prove to be pocket friendly for you.
Infrared heaters are easily available these days. Companies offer customized heating solutions for homes and commercial spaces alike. They are well within the budget and you have the liberty to choose or omit the additional features based on the budget and requirements.