Infrared heaters have been with us for a while, many of us have seen them in warehouses or outdoors as spot heaters in bars. They come in a variety of forms with emissions in two broad categories – Near Infrared, which is more direct, and Far Infrared which is more even and less intense.
Both types work by emitting infrared light energy, which is invisible to humans. This light comes in the form of waves and carries heat. Infrared heaters heat bodies which absorb and re-emit the warmth to their surroundings, so heating the air indirectly, just like the sun. The high amount of radiant heat makes them more efficient in most situations than other forms of heating.
The infrared light waves work the same as sunlight, which also heats us with infrared light, which is according to science good for our health (2). To get the most out of infrared heating, install infrared panels high on the wall or on the ceiling, thinking of them as a light source rather than a convective heat source which is typically installed low down. Infrared light waves penetrate the skin deeper than other forms of heating, which has been shown in several medical research studies to be beneficial.
Near-Infrared heaters have a shorter wavelength than far-infrared. Near-infrared emit heat that you likely feel on your skin. Feeling the temperature on your body makes them ideally suited for outdoor areas or rooms where you only spent a small amount of time in, but want heat instantly. Many outdoor or warehouse heaters are near-infrared heaters. Other common uses are spaces with high ceilings.
Far Infrared Heaters
Far Infrared Heating is used actively in saunas by sports teams and recommended by health professionals because of its health benefits. It is also gaining favour in schools, elder care facilities and residences due to the even warmth, low whole of life costs and penetration to floor level.
Far infrared rays come at a longer wavelength compared to Near Infrared. The main difference is that with far-infrared you do not feel the heat emitted by the heater, unless you are very close to the panel. The advantage of far infrared heaters is that because they only heat to a very minimal part the air, the vast majority of heat is delivered to bodies and objects, which re-emit the heat into the atmosphere. This does make them the most efficient type of radiant heating at present.
Far-infrared heaters come in multiple versions: they can come with a picture in front chosen by you, as a mirror or just white panels that goes onto the wall or ceiling. Far infrared heaters will heat space very fast, and although the air may take longer to warm up than with other forms of heating, it feels comfortable and warm from the outset.
We did buy a few far infrared heaters many years ago, and without any maintenance, a 600W heater heats our 12sqm uninsulated bedroom with large windows without trouble. According to the official government calculator, we would need a 1.58kW heater for this room if we were to use an air heater.
Advantages of infrared heaters
Infrared heaters create the most radiant heat of any heating device
Far-infrared is a healthy type of warmth and used in the medical for recovering patients
Far-infrared heat requires in the vast majority of applications the lowest wattage of any heating system
Far Infrared heaters create warmth within the room very fast as it does heat surfaces and bodies, that re-emit heat into the air
Far Infrared heaters warm and dry out surfaces, eliminating mould growth within the space being heated
Far Infrared heaters are maintenance-free
Far-infrared heaters have tested lifespans of 30,000 to 40,000 plus hours, lasting in some instances above 40 years
minimal heat loss when you open the window to ventilate as heat is embodied in the surfaces and objects
Each room can be individually controlled, avoiding energy wastage at times when heating is not required
Disadvantages of infrared heaters
Electricity requirement is potentially at the peak hour time
Infrared heaters only heat the space they are in
(2) International Medicine, Leg Heating Using Far Infra-red Radiation in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure Acutely Improves the Hemodynamics, Vascular Endothelial Function, and Oxidative Stress,Shujiro Inoue1, Masao Takemoto1, Akiko Chishaki2, Tomomi Ide1, Mari Nishizaka1, Mami Miyazono2, Hiroyuki Sawatari2 and Kenji Sunagawa, 2012