Old Buildings Love Infrared Heaters

Old Houses Love Infrared

There was a problem in 2012 when the National Trust in Scotland wanted to refurbish and upgrade a Victorian home after the long-term tenant left. The issue was how to install an efficient heating system without detracting from the historic and aesthetic value of the property. This is a question that many old and listed buildings are having to face in the green age.

The answer for the National Trust came from infrared heating. Not only does it provide good levels of warmth for properties that suffer from draughts and poorer insulation, it also has one distinct advantage:

It can be hidden from view.

One of the benefits of installing infrared heating is that it doesn’t have to look like a standard radiator. Historic Scotland invested about £5,000 to upgrade the building, hiding nine infrared panels behind objects such as mirrors. That means the property didn’t lose any of its charm and that was a big plus for an organisation like the National Trust.

Scotstarvit Cottage is in Fife and had an old oil-fired heater. The owners were looking for a more efficient and low carbon approach to heating the old building up. According to the company that installed the heaters:

“Now that we are able to properly insulate most homes, these convection heating systems are shown up as costly and inefficient. Infranomic heaters are the next generation, offering a far more efficient and controllable ­heating. I believe these heaters can make a difference in both modern and historical properties.”

The success of the upgrade for Scotstarvit Cottage didn’t just include installing infrared heating. The insulation had to be improved as well. There are hundreds of listed buildings all over the UK that are badly in need of the same type of upgrade to make them more habitable. Infrared heating could be top of the list for may simply because it is so flexible from an aesthetic point of view. Panels can be fitted to walls and ceilings and they can either be disguised as works of art or mirrors.

The other benefit is that infrared is also considered one of the healthier heating options. It works by heating objects directly rather than the air around it, making it suitable for old buildings where issues such as damp are perennial problems. For old buildings, there has always been an inherent problem when attempting to change to newer, greener technologies. There is, understandably, a desire to retain the look and feel of these properties and maintain the protected aspect.

Introducing infrared heating could be the solution that organisations such as the National Trust are looking for. It’s relatively cheap and easy to install and maintenance over the lifetime of a panel is minimal. Heating can also be tightly controlled, and costs kept down compared to old gas and oil fired technologies that have outlived their usefulness.

The good news is that infrared heating is beginning to gain popularity in the UK, as it has already done in other parts of the world.

Some of the best heaters in the world are made by Burda, a German manufacturer of reliable high-tech infrared heaters. Find some of their products here.

Cost and Efficiency of Infrared Heaters

Infrared Heaters

How much do infrared heaters cost?

There are many different types of heaters, most of which can be categorised as either indoor, outdoor or both. You can acquire anything from a single heater to setups that heat your whole home or business.

The cost of a single heater could be anywhere between £125 and £1000+ depending on wattage, size and design. If you are looking for something a little more customized, this could cost more – anything from around £300 upwards, with all kinds of colours and prints to fit your home or business. The cost of fitting the heaters isn’t usually anything to write home about and shouldn’t put you off purchasing a heater as they are easily fitted either yourself or by hiring an electrician at a small charge.

Do infrared heaters save you money?

The simple answer is yes, they will save you money, although it’s hard to give an exact figure as that will really depend on which heater you get and for what purpose you use it. Firstly, they are cheaper than central heating or electric heaters to run: the cost of running one for 5 hours a day would be £0.25, and the cost of electric heating would be £0.75. The infrared heaters heat objects rather than the air, keeping your room warmer for longer and they retain and reradiate the heat therefore saving you money. It may surprise you that you may need fewer heaters than you thought to heat the surface area of your room. The maintenance cost is very small they don’t need to be serviced as a boiler would. Compared to normal heating systems you could save hundreds on maintenance costs. It is thought that the costs of infrared heating could be half that of gas supplied heating. Using a convection heater in winter you could expect to pay around £90 – infrared heaters would cost you a fraction of the price at £30.

Can Infrared heating technology save your business money?

Infrared heaters are not just for residential purpose – many commercial businesses find they are very beneficial as they are quick and easy to install with no pipesand no weeks of installation work –  just fit them quickly and easily and you have instant warmth. As with residential use the panels will save you money on energy bills. The heaters are effective at heating large and small areas such as warehouses and offices, with drafts and air circulation not affecting their efficiency. They keep the area warmer for longer and save you money. You can focus the heaters on specific areas, if necessary, so you do not need to heat the whole space. If your business has solar panels, you could run your heaters from these and lower your energy bills further.

Burda IR Heating Panels

Are infrared heaters efficient?

Infrared heaters heat objects rather than the air, making them effective at keeping the space warmer for longer than your average electric heater. This makes them more efficient as you are not having to re heat air every time a door is opened or a draft is created. These heaters are 85% efficient at producing infrared heat and use very little energy, making them super-efficient and as they heat objects rather than the air, there’s no hanging around for them to warm up as they provide instant heat and almost all the heat produced is transferred out.