First of All, What IS an Infrared heater?
An infrared heater is like a little piece of the sun inside your home or building. Like the infrared portions of sunlight, operating on a light spectrum you CAN'T see, infrared heaters deliver a condensed "beam" of heat to rooms or objects (cold legs at the office?) that are in front of the device.
For a demonstration go outside and stand in the sun, feel the warmth on your skin, etc. Now go stand in the shade- you will immediately feel the difference because a lot of the sun's heat, specifically the infrared portion of that heat, is transferred alongside the visible light spectrum. So an infrared heater basically delivers the "heat" energy you feel in direct sunlight- without the entire light spectrum tagging along.
The "invisible beam" of light energy that is given off by the infrared heater is directly absorbed by your skin, clothes, and other objects- meaning you get warmer, quicker. Infrared heaters can be powered by natural gas, electricity, and propane.
Different manufacturers and models will have different output levels, be used for different functions from heating small rooms to large shops. So now we know (generally) how infrared heat works- is this the option that's right for you?
So, that's a WHAT infrared heater is- why should (or shouldn't) you buy one? Let's find out below.
Infrared Heaters Versus Traditional Heaters: Zone Warming Comparison
Wave heating versus convection heating that's the real difference we are looking at when comparing heat sources.
Traditional convectional sources heat your living space by utilizing a well-known phenomenon: heat rises, cold air falls. So, when you set a convectional space heater up in your living room, the warmest place will be up by the ceiling and the air will circulate across the entire space, starting from the heat source and radiating outwards.
What's wave heating? Wave heating is how an infrared heater works by emitting a directed beam of infrared heat waves. This means that the air doesn't have to heat up at the ceiling to start to heat the living space where you are that's is why, generally speaking, using an infrared heater is faster and more cost-efficient than a traditional convectional space heater.
You don't have to wait for the room to heat up when using a wave heater, and if you're looking to stay warm in the office, or on the couch then using an infrared heater gives you the control to heat that space first and faster than a traditional space heater which would need to heat the air on the ceiling first to get the temperature in general to rise.
Infrared Heaters are Quiet and don't Dry Out the Air
Unlike convection space heaters, infrared heaters don need a fan to circulate the air temperature around them because their energy is emitted in waves. This means they are quieter than convectional heaters and are great for placing in areas where you'd want the noise to be at a minimum- say in the living room where you talk and watch shows.
Infrared heaters also disperse heat evenly thanks to the coils that are wrapped around the heat source meaning inside that "beam" of energy, you will feel warm evenly whereas having most the heat being on your ceiling. This is also called "Zone Heating."
Another benefit of an infrared heater? Because there is no air circulated over a heater source, the air doesn't become dry as it does with a convectional space heater. You don't need to run a humidifier in the winter to make up for the moisture that is stripped by the heater. No more dry sinuses, dry skin and coughing because your air is like a desert.
Infrared Heating: Costs Benefit Analysis
Let's recap infrared heaters heat spaces faster, they are quieter and don't dry out the air. So- they are probably more expensive than traditional heaters, right? Wrong.
Infrared heaters are cheaper than most convection heaters specifically because they heat smaller areas rather than the entire room. That means you need less energy than you would with a conventional heat source.
Some models only operate on 300 watts of electricity and the energy transfer is almost 1:1 meaning that rather than having to run a fan while running the heat source, because the heat is delivered in waves directly to where you want it, the infrared heater doesn't need to operate a "delivery" mechanism like convectional heaters.
You can pair an infrared heater with your current heating set up in fact that's a great way to immediately reduce your heating bill. Try this lower your thermostat 10-15 degrees and add a small infrared heater to the rooms where you spend most of your time- doing this could lower your heating bill by up to 10%!
What are the Cons of an Infrared Heater?
Is there any drawback to having an infrared heater? Well- it depends. For the same reasons that infrared heaters are a great option that could also be a drawback. Let's look at some reasons you may not want to buy an infrared heater.
Limited warming: Because the wave heating system operates in a "zone heating" way, meaning it quickly heats specific areas where it is positioned, if you're looking for a more pervasive heat source, a more "general" heating set up where all the rooms in your house are around the same temperature, then you may not want to opt for an infrared heater because you would need one in every room you want to heat.
Heat Stops Quick: As we said above, infrared heaters work faster for heating the objects they are positioned to heat, almost immediately, but this can also be a drawback. How? When you turn the heater off, the heat is also gone almost immediately. With a convectional heater, or the traditional set up because the air in the room is warmed up (at the ceiling level), once you cut the heat off, the warm will get cooler more slowly.
So, given the pros and cons of infrared heaters, are they the right option for you?
On Deciding Whether or Not to Buy an Infrared Heater
When looking at whether to choose an infrared heater, consider the space you want to heat. Is it a smaller room? They make infrared heaters to heat large spaces, but they will cost more upfront. Are you going to run your furnace/central heating and the infrared heater at the same time? Do you want to heat a specific place? Are you trying to cut costs on your heating bill?
If you want to reduce your heating bill, if you want to heat a specific area of your home/workspace then an infrared heater might be right for you. You can check out the options we stock online right here.
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