What are the different types of infrared heaters?
Broadly speaking there are two different types of infrared heater that we see on the market today. Far infrared is the one furthest over on the spectrum, has a lower convection heat output and is used in appliances such as the infrared panels that you are increasingly seeing in homes and offices across the UK. Near infrared is the more visible option, characterised by the orange glow, and is found in things like patio heaters and heat lamps on both a domestic and commercial scale.
Whilst near infrared has been around for some time, it’s the beneficial properties of far infrared heating that seems to be gaining ground with those who want a greener and cheaper way to heat a home.
Far infrared heaters
Essentially infrared works by warming the surface of an object (a desk, floor, wall or even a human body) and this is then radiated back into the room as heat. The process is the complete opposite to convection systems which work purely by warming the air around them. Today’s heaters are designed to work in conjunction with thermostats and are thought to be a cost effective way of providing heat to a building.
Particularly in the UK, the new kid on the block is the infrared heating panel which can now be purchased in a range of designs that can add style and sophistication as well as an effective solution for warming up homes and offices. Various manufacturers claim that infrared panels cut the cost of heating a home by up to 70% if installed in the right location. That is why many people are now starting to consider this technology over and above conventional boiler and radiator systems.
Infrared heating panels can be used in both a domestic and commercial environment and are considered more flexible than other systems. For instance, you don’t have a large pipe network and you don’t need to be hooked up to a boiler. You can opt for different styles, disguising the panel as a decorative picture or mirror or even part of the furniture.
Many new builds are beginning to incorporate infrared heating panels rather than older forms of heating but it is also just as easy to retrofit a building. People are turning to them because unlike radiators they can be less obtrusive – you can even mount the panels on the ceiling to increase the area of room coverage. They are used in a variety of situations including saunas, care homes, shops and now more and more in domestic properties and offices.
All in all, far infrared panels have a number of advantages and you can discover more of them here.
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Near infrared heaters
Because they operate closer to the red end of the spectrum, near infrared heaters are less efficient and are often characterised by the orange glow of their filament when they are switched on. Whilst many people will be familiar with the bar fires of old they are perhaps not aware that they are infrared. They generally emit a much higher temperature than far infrared heaters and the problem is that if you get too close they can cause burning and, on occasion, irritation and headaches.
Uses of near infrared heaters include: patio heaters, health lamps, factory processes such as drying paint and a variety of other both domestic and commercial uses.
Suppliers of Far Infrared Panels
The infrared panel industry is beginning to grow quickly in the UK now that we are all a little greener in our outlook and willing to spend some money on it. Infrared panels are seen as a cheaper option for many home and office owners who want to move away from the traditional kind of heating that has less robust green credentials.
There is one thing that you need to keep an eye on if you are looking to incorporate this kind of technology into your home or office and that is there are a number of ‘fake’ panels which are actually simple halogen bulbs where the heat created is blown into a room with a fan. As with any new installation in your home and office it pays to get the right advice and to get a number of quotes from different installers.
You can search for an infrared panel installer on our comprehensive database here.
The future of infrared heaters
As with most green technologies there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in creating more efficient and more sustainable ways of heating and lighting our homes and infrared heating is no exception. For a while now there have been several reputable sources that have suggested infrared is the future of heating and that all our homes and offices, even our factory floors, should be moving to this low cost system, perhaps backed up with local solar panel installations that not only reduce carbon foot prints but greatly reduces the amount we all have to pay.
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