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Is Infrared Electric Home Heating any Good?

Many of us living rurally are restricted to electric heating. Traditionally this has meant large bulky storage heaters, tatty metal wall panels and massive running costs, however over the past ten years infrared heating has come onto the market in the UK and has really taken off, it has been widely used in Europe for many years. The heaters are very slim in design, with the option of glass and mirror finishes or even having a photo printed onto the surface, they are energy efficient, plus the gentle warmth is very comfortable, which all sounds very good.

Infrared heaters provide better thermal comfort

Infrared energy is the warmth we feel from the sun, the warmth that soaks into our bodies and warms us directly, it also warms objects like stone walls and sandy beaches these objects stay warm and radiate heat long after the sun has gone down. This principle has been developed into electric infrared home heating, working along exactly the same idea, if we can very gently raise the surface temperature of the objects within the room they will then radiate warmth back and keep the air warm for longer. Creating this warmed thermal mass is key to infrared heating. Upon first using infrared heaters in a building which has been allowed to get really cold and damp, it may take a couple of days to actually warm the walls and floor and to build that thermal mass, but after that a few hours every morning and evening is sufficient. Old cottages which are made of cob and stone were designed to have a fire going which again would have radiated heat to build a warm thermal mass, so an infrared heating panel left on all the time will replicate this.

Infrared heating produces that all round cosy feeling you might get from having the aga or log burner on all winter. The air temperature might not be particularly hot but people “feel” comfortable because the whole room is radiating warmth.

Infrared heating panels are not suitable for just switching on for half an hour here and there, it will not have chance to create the warmed thermal mass which is what makes infrared home heating so energy efficient.

Our bodies naturally absorb and emit infrared, it is totally harmless. Infrared is the warmth we absorb from the sun.  As we emit infrared heat, thermal imaging cameras can detect this heat to be used in a variety of ways-  cameras can show up excessive heat from an injury to help a physio treat the correct area or can be used in search and rescue to identify heat under rubble after a disaster.

Heating that is affordable to run.

Many electric heaters use 2000 or 3000 watts because they warm air and blow it into the room, this is an endless cycle. However, infrared heating works very differently, by only having to heat its own surface and maintain that high surface temperature the panel uses far less energy, heaters range from 300 watts for a small bathroom to 800 watts for a bedroom. However, once the thermal mass of a room  is warmed the room feels comfortable.

Heating that is easy to install.

Electric heating is very easy to install either at the time of rewiring or retro fitting. Ideally, to be most energy efficient, each room should have a thermostatic programmer, there are a choice of controllers available from the simple digital read out to wifi enabled smart controls, all to suit your individual needs.

Heaters that are creative in design

Gone are the days of ugly storage heaters. Infrared panels can be positioned on the ceiling to be very discrete, or used as a creative design element of the room, mirrors, large white glass panels and even pictures in a frame or canvas style are all available!

This Blog was provided by Multiheat Energy Systems