Infrared Heating Explained: Cost, Benefits, Disadvantages & FAQs

Infrared Heating Explained: Cost, Benefits, Disadvantages & FAQs

Have you ever felt the sun’s gentle embrace on a warm day? This natural warmth that radiates through your bones is the phenomenon that is Infrared. 

In this comprehensive blog post, we will walk you through everything you need to know about infrared heating systems. From the advantages and disadvantages to frequently asked questions, our goal is to provide you with all the information necessary to make an informed decision when choosing your next heating system.

Infrared heating may seem like new technology, but it has been a trusted and efficient heating solution for decades across cleaner, environmentally-conscious countries like Austria and Switzerland. It’s us in the UK that have some catching up to do when it comes to adopting modern, low carbon heating systems. Join us as we explore the future of home and business heating with infrared technology.  Infrared heating is gaining popularity as an efficient and effective way to heat homes and spaces. But how exactly does it work, and what makes it different from traditional heating methods? Let’s dive into the basics of infrared heating to understand its mechanics and benefits.

How Does Infrared Heating Work? 

Infrared heating works on the principle of electromagnetic waves, specifically in the infrared spectrum. Unlike traditional heating systems that heat the air to warm a space, infrared heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and surfaces within their line of sight. This radiant heat is similar to the warmth you feel from the sun, minus the harmful ultraviolet rays.

How Does Infrared Heat Spaces?

Radiant Heat Infrared heaters use a filament or element that gets heated up when electricity passes through it. This element emits infrared radiation, which travels through the air and heats solid objects it comes into contact with. These objects then re-radiate heat back into the room, creating a comfortable and even warmth. Unlike conventional heaters that can waste energy by heating the air, which then rises and escapes, infrared heaters provide instant warmth without warming the air excessively. This targeted heating reduces energy consumption and can lead to lower heating bills. 

Near Infrared Vs Far Infrared: What’s the Difference? 

Near and far infrared technologies are very different, each with its own unique strengths. Near infrared, exemplified by those glowing red/orange bar heaters often seen in outdoor settings, emits electromagnetic radiation that heats objects directly, providing immediate comfort in localised areas. Meanwhile, far infrared, the sophisticated technology powering IR heating panels, operates within a longer wavelength spectrum, gently penetrating surfaces to create a more uniform, consistent warmth throughout the space. 

Far infrared’s ability to penetrate deeper into objects means it doesn’t just warm the air, it heats the objects and surfaces in the room, including walls, floors, and furniture. This not only creates a cozy environment but also helps maintain a more stable temperature, reducing energy consumption and promoting greater efficiency. 

Is Infrared Heating a Good Idea?

When considering heating solutions for your home or business, infrared heating is an option worth exploring. Here are several reasons why infrared heating might be a good choice:
Infrared Heating has a number of factors that make it a potentially good idea for your home. Infrared heaters are known for their high energy efficiency. They convert almost  all the electricity they use into heat. Traditional heating systems often lose a significant amount of energy while warming the air, whereas infrared heaters directly warm people and objects. This targeted heating approach can reduce energy waste and potentially lower energy bills. This can be particularly advantageous in spaces with high ceilings or poor insulation, where conventional heating might struggle to maintain a uniform temperature. 

Advantages of Infrared Heating

Other key advantages of infrared heating include Its sleek, space-saving design which allows for versatile installation options, including ceiling and wall mounting, ensuring it fits seamlessly into any room. Custom image infrared panels and mirrored infrared panels provide aesthetic flexibility to match any décor. Additionally, infrared heating promotes a healthier environment by improving air quality and offers health benefits such as reducing blood pressure, easing muscle tension, and relieving joint pain. Furthermore, IR panels are compatible with renewable energy sources like solar, making it a sustainable heating option.

Disadvantages of Infrared Heating?

Infrared Heating has few disadvantages compared to alternative methods of heating. First of all, while it may not be considered a disadvantage, some people may prefer the overall ambient warmth of a convection heating system as this is the heat many of us are used to. Infrared heat is often likened to the feel of natural sunlight, many users do prefer this, however, strategic placement of the heating panels is important to ensure optimal heat distribution. A disadvantage of Near Infrared (NIR), exemplified by glowing red heaters you might find in outdoor areas such as restaurants and bars, is that these heaters warm people directly in their line of sight. If there are obstacles between the heater and the area to be warmed, this area may not receive sufficient heat, making strategic placement of the heaters crucial. However, this is not the technology harnessed by infrared heating panels which are an example of Far Infrared technology (FIR). These emit a more uniform and consistent heat that penetrates deeper into surfaces and objects.

Do infrared heaters use a lot of electricity?

Infrared Heaters are incredibly efficient and do not use much electricity compared to alternative methods of electric heating. In fact, infrared heating panels require 42% less wattage than electric convection radiators to heat an equal sized area. The direct heating method of infrared panels means that energy is used more efficiently because it targets specific areas. This means less heat is lost through ducts and ventilation. Also, unlike conventional heaters that need time to warm up the air in a room,  infrared heaters deliver heat almost instantaneously, reducing the amount of time and energy needed to achieve a comfortable temperature. Furthermore, infrared heating systems allow for zoned heating, lowering overall electricity usage by not heating unoccupied rooms in your home. 

Is infrared heating expensive to run?

Infrared heaters are inexpensive to run compared with alternative methods of heating. This is because the heat emitted by infrared panels is trapped in objects and surfaces and released over time creating a long lasting heat. These surfaces will radiate heat back into the room, long after the infrared panel has been switched off. This is a key factor in how infrared heaters keep spaces warm with minimal running costs.

Do infrared heaters raise your electric bill?

The short answer is no. If used properly, Infrared heating can in fact save users money on their energy bills. Infrared heating panels are specifically engineered to provide efficient heating while keeping electricity costs in check. Unlike conventional heating methods that warm the air, infrared heaters emit infrared radiation directly to objects and surfaces within their range. This targeted approach minimises energy wastage by bypassing the need to heat the entire volume of air in a room.

Several factors influence the impact of infrared heaters on electric bills, including usage patterns and the size and insulation of the room. Employing programmable thermostats or timers can optimize energy usage by heating spaces only when needed. Additionally, properly sizing infrared heaters to match the room's dimensions and ensuring adequate insulation further enhances their efficiency and reduces operational costs.

The most efficient ways to use Infrared Heating Panels

Using an infrared heater efficiently can maximise its effectiveness and minimise energy consumption. Here are some tips to get the most out of your infrared heater:

Placement Matters Position your infrared heater in a central location where it can directly heat the objects and people in the room. Avoid placing obstacles that can block the infrared waves. We tend to find that ceiling mounted infrared panels have the most even heat distribution however, wall mounted panels still work brilliantly.

Use Zone Heating Focus on heating specific areas or zones where you spend the most time rather than trying to heat the entire building. This targeted approach can reduce energy usage and improve comfort.

Set the Right Temperature Infrared heaters heat quickly, so you can lower the thermostat of your central heating system and supplement with the infrared heater to maintain comfort. This can lead to overall energy savings.

Use Programmable Thermostats Consider using a programmable thermostat or timer to control when your infrared heater operates. This allows you to heat rooms only when they are in use, reducing unnecessary energy consumption.

Ensure Proper Insulation Good insulation in your home or office helps retain heat, allowing the infrared heater to work more efficiently. Check windows, doors, and walls for drafts and seal any gaps. Our team will assess the level of insulation in your property in order to specify the correct wattage of infrared panel to heat your room effectively.
By following these tips, you can make sure your infrared heater operates efficiently, providing comfortable warmth while keeping energy costs down.

Common issues with Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters are renowned for their efficiency and effectiveness in heating spaces, but like any appliance, they can encounter occasional issues. Thankfully, unlike other heating systems, it is incredibly easy to replace Infrared heating panels with minimal or no invasive work on your home. Here are some problems than rarely occur with infrared heaters and how to address them:

Uneven Heating Sometimes, infrared heaters may not distribute heat evenly across a room. This can be due to obstacles blocking the infrared waves or improper placement. Ensure the heater is positioned centrally and without obstructions for optimal heat distribution.

Faulty Heating Elements If your infrared heater is not producing heat or is emitting insufficient warmth, it may indicate a problem with the heating elements. This could be due to wear and tear over time. 

Overheating or Shutting Off  Infrared heaters have built-in safety features to prevent overheating. If your heater shuts off unexpectedly, it may be due to overheating. Check for blocked vents or excessive dust accumulation, which can restrict airflow. Ensure the heater is placed in a well-ventilated area.

Electrical Issues Problems with the power supply, such as a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, can prevent the infrared heater from operating. Verify the power source and connections to rule out electrical issues.

Remote Control Malfunctions  If your infrared heater comes with a remote control and it stops working, check the batteries first. Replace them if necessary. If the issue persists, ensure there are no obstructions between the remote and the heater's receiver.

Understanding common issues with infrared heaters allows for timely troubleshooting and maintenance, ensuring your heating system operates efficiently. These issues are incredibly rare and can be rectified easily with a simple panel replacement. All Infrared Group panels have a 40 year+ life expectancy and come with a 10 year warranty.

Cost of Infrared Heating Panels

When considering infrared heating panels, it's essential to weigh the costs involved, including purchase, installation, and ongoing running expenses. 
Infrared heating panels vary in price depending on size, brand, and features. At Infrared Group, our panels start from as little as £89.99, making them a cost-effective option for heating your home or business. Installation of infrared heating panels is generally straightforward and can often be completed by a qualified electrician in a short amount of time. This simplicity helps keep installation costs lower compared to more complex heating systems such as Gas Boilers or Air Source Heat Pumps that require extensive ductwork or plumbing adjustments. Infrared heating panels are known for their energy efficiency.

Infrared panel heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and people in the room, rather than heating the air. This targeted heating approach can result in lower running costs because less energy is wasted on heating unused spaces or circulating air. They are also unaffected by external climate unlike an ASHP which has to work harder to heat your home when the temperature outside is colder.

Reassuring You: The Health Impacts of Infrared Heating

Many people have concerns about new technologies, especially when it comes to something as essential as heating our homes. If you’re curious about whether infrared heating is healthy, rest assured that infrared heating is not only safe, but also offers several health benefits. Infrared heaters emit infrared radiation, which is naturally emitted by the sun and even our own bodies. This is totally safe and isn’t to be confused with UltraViolet (UV) radiation, which can be harmful. All objects with a temperature above absolute zero will emit a degree of infrared radiation, so this is nothing to worry about. 

As for the health benefits of infrared heaters, infrared doesn’t rely on heating and circulating air like forced air systems do, this means there is less spread of dust and germs and fewer allergens being stirred up. Infrared can also help to reduce damp and moisture in walls preventing mould. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with Asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions. In addition, infrared heat has been used in various therapeutic settings to promote better blood circulation and reduce muscle and joint pain. Furthermore, infrared heaters offer an efficient heating option that can help reduce your carbon footprint. By using less energy to provide the same level of warmth, they contribute to a greener, cleaner, healthier environment.

Best Practices for Using Infrared Heaters:

How long can you leave an infrared heater on?

Infrared heaters are becoming increasingly popular for their efficiency and targeted heating capabilities. One common question among users is how long these heaters can safely be left on. Understanding the best practices for using infrared heating can help you maximise energy efficiency and enjoy the benefits of radiant warmth in your home or workspace. While infrared heaters are safe to leave on for extended periods, it's essential to follow manufacturer guidelines for optimal usage and cost effectiveness. Most infrared heaters are equipped with built-in safety features such as overheating protection and automatic shut-off mechanisms for added peace of mind.

Cost Effectiveness:

To maximise cost-effectiveness, consider using programmable thermostats or timers with your infrared heaters. Our infrared Group panels all come with a built-in thermostat. This allows you to control when the heaters are in operation, ensuring they are only used when needed and avoiding unnecessary energy expenditure.

Set Thermostat Temperatures:  

Adjust the thermostat settings to maintain a comfortable temperature without over-heating the space. Infrared heaters provide rapid warmth, so you may find you need to set the thermostat lower than with traditional heating systems.

Zone Heating

Take advantage of infrared heaters’ ability to provide targeted heating. Focus on heating the areas you use most frequently rather than trying to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the entire property. This can lead to significant energy savings.

Easy Maintenance: 

Once in a while wipe down your infrared panel heater with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dust build up to ensure optimal performance. 

How Infrared Heating Saves Space in Your Home

Infrared heating panels can save you space in your property due to a number of factors.  Infrared panels can be mounted on ceilings or higher up on walls due to their ability to emit heat in a directional manner. This flexibility in placement allows you to maximise floor space and position furniture where you like without worrying about blocking radiators or compromising on heating efficiency. Convection radiators typically need to be positioned close to the ground to effectively warm the air, which can occupy valuable floor space and limit furniture placement. In contrast, infrared panels do not require such proximity to the floor, freeing up space for other uses.

By installing infrared panels higher up, you can achieve more even distribution of heat throughout the room. This eliminates cold spots and ensures a comfortable environment without the need for multiple heating units. Furthermore, Infrared panels come in various styles and finishes such as personalised image designs and mirrors, blending seamlessly into modern interiors. At just 22mm thick, the sleek and slim profiles contribute to a minimalist aesthetic, enhancing the overall design of your space.

Infrared Heating Panel Installation

Installing infrared heating panels is a straightforward process, designed to offer convenience whether you're upgrading your home or outfitting a commercial space. These panels are lightweight and versatile, allowing for installation on walls or ceilings with minimal effort. All Infrared Group panels come equipped with a 3 pin plug and a corded power supply, enabling them to be plugged directly into a standard wall socket or hardwired by a qualified electrician as per your preference.

The installation typically involves mounting the panels using provided brackets, ensuring they are securely positioned for optimal heating efficiency. Electrical connection is crucial, and we recommend hiring our team of fully qualified electricians who are adept at handling the wiring safely and in compliance with regulations. This approach not only guarantees the panels operate safely but also ensures they perform at their best.

On average, our qualified electricians can install infrared heating panels in a full three-bedroom house in just one day, minimizing disruption and ensuring you can enjoy the benefits of efficient heating quickly.

Final Thoughts

Infrared heaters offer a practical and energy-efficient solution for heating spaces effectively. By understanding how to use them correctly and efficiently, you can enjoy the benefits of radiant heat while minimizing energy costs. Whether you're heating your home, office, or commercial space, incorporating infrared heating into your heating strategy can lead to enhanced comfort and savings over time.

If you’re considering infrared heating for your property or have more questions about their usage and benefits, our team is here to provide expert advice and solutions tailored to your needs. Contact us today to discover how infrared heating can transform your indoor environment. 

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