Electric heating is considered an expensive option when it comes to choosing heating solutions. However, infrared heating panels are now becoming a popular alternative to traditional radiators.

What are infrared heating systems?

Whereas conventional heating systems use convection to heat rooms, an infrared panel heating system uses radiation.

This means that rather than warming an entire area, radiation heats people and furnishings for a more economical option.

About infrared light

Infrared light waves are produced by the sun and warm any object they meet, even when the weather is cold.

Radiation is often associated with being unsafe, but it is simply a process of energy emission. Infrared radiation is safe, just like visible light radiation – even the human body emits infrared radiation.

How does an infrared heating panel work

They work by releasing radiation from the panel which moves through the air until it reaches an object. As the radiation is absorbed by the object, the molecules inside it begin to vibrate and this action produces heat.

The radiation will travel approximately an inch into the body when coming into contact with humans and this produces the sensation of deep heat.

Infrared heating and traditional heating

Infrared panels are available in solid fuel, gas and oil options. However, electric infrared panels do not require any pipe work for installation, or fuel storage facilities.

This means that electric infrared heating panels can be placed wherever you wish – either high on the wall or even on the ceiling.

Infrared panels vs storage heaters

While the initial cost of an electric storage heater may seem like an attractive option in comparison to infrared panels, they are considered more expensive to operate and much less efficient.

Infrared panels take up considerably less space and are a more effective heating solution, consuming less energy and requiring little maintenance.

Infrared heating panels pros & cons

There are numerous advantages to choosing infrared heating panels, and also a few disadvantages to be aware of:

Pros:

  • Compact panels can also be used for other purposes, such as a bathroom mirror, saving further space
  • Rooms can be heated more quickly with infrared panels as they warm the objects and the air around them and do not rely on convection to heat the air in the room
  • Infrared heating panels require very little maintenance, benefitting from fit and forget technology
  • No fuel is burned to operate infrared heating panels. You can produce 100% clean heat when using them in conjunction with other renewable energy sources, such as solar panels
  • Infrared heating panels are more cost effective than conventional convection heaters because of the method of heating a room
  • Infrared heating is ideal for draughty rooms as the solid objects retain the heat

Cons:

  • Infrared heating panels are approximately twice the price of convection space heaters. However, they do cost less to operate so will save money on fuel bills and could be a more cost-effective option in the long term
  • To get the most out of an infrared heating panel, the space between you and the heating panel should be obstacle-free. This isn’t always possible

Benefits for your home

  • Damp and mould
    Because infrared panels heat solid objects, rather than just the air, this means that the panels can be directed towards damp walls which dry the area. This also means that that the spread of mould is greatly reduced by infrared heating.
  • Dust allergies and asthma
    Also, infrared heating doesn’t circulate dust particles around the home on a continuous basis like conventional convection heating does. So infrared panels are an ideal solution for people who suffer from dust allergies or asthma.
  • Bedroom
    Because infrared panels don’t contain any moving parts, they are practically silent. This makes them perfect for bedrooms to encourage undisturbed sleep.
  • Reach temperature
    Infrared panels can reach maximum temperature in as little as 30 seconds, providing heat quickly when needed.

Cost of an IR system for your home

It costs approximately £230 for a 600Watt infrared heating panel, which is big enough to provide the necessary heat for a smaller room.

Running costs 

Because of the variations between the range of available products and suppliers, it can be hard to estimate the precise running costs of an infrared heating system.

Based on usage of 11 hours per day, Red Hot Green estimates that a 500W panel will cost approximately £50 per year to run. In comparison, a gas supplied heater would cost more than twice that amount, while an oil filled radiator would be around £300. *1

Green Age estimates that a regular convection heater running over a year, excluding the summer, would cost £160. This compares to £40 for a 600W infrared panel. *2

Savings of using infrared heating

Infrared heating panels use less energy than traditional convection heaters, because they heat the surface of a room rather than the volume.

Another savings benefit of infrared heating panels is that they can be utilised to provide a home with a fully-zoned system.

Infrared panels can be switched on or off in individual rooms as required, meaning that you won’t be wasting money by warming rooms that are not being used.

Buying an infrared heating system

It’s important that you choose a reputable installer for your infrared heating system.

Using an accredited installer

All HIES Accredited Installers are continually vetted in many areas in order to give consumers trust, confidence and peace of mind. 

Find your nearest HIES installer

Associated health risks

Because infrared panels use radiation to generate heat, this can often lead to questions over safety and potential health risks.

There are two types of infrared; near and far. The heat from near infrared can be intense and penetrating, which means it can be unsafe. Near-infrared is not used for heating.

However, infrared heating panels use far infrared. This means that the infrared has to travel in order to target an area to warm and is a safe method of heating.

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