Infrared space heaters are gaining popularity as one of the best options for warming up a space. This is because they offer a host of benefits and utilities that you cannot find with other types of heaters. However, popularity does not necessarily translate to efficiency. In today’s article we will look at infrared heaters and determine whether they are efficient or not.
What is Infrared Heating?
With these heaters, infrared technology is utilized in order to generate warmth. Infrared in and of itself, is similar to the sun. Sun rays cannot be detected by the human eye but we can physically register their heat. Infrared heat works the same way, in that it comprises a segment of the electromagnetic spectrum of light and we cannot see it with our eyes.
Infrared heating happens to be fairly concentrated. This means that it does not disperse heat across he space it is placed in. Instead it provides heat in the specific direction that it is facing. Infrared heat reflects light to generate warmth, so no fans are necessary. This makes them completely silent heating units.
What Makes Them Efficient?
Now that we understand how these heaters work, we will look at the favorable qualities they possess and how they add to the efficiency of infrared heaters.
Infrared heaters do not require a ‘warm-up’ period. They provide adequate warmth from the moment that they are switched on. Basically, they release a precise beam of heat that instantly helps you shake off the cold. These heaters do not concern themselves with heating the air by dispersing heat particles. Instead they provide a steady stream of warmth to the spot they are directed towards.
When compared to other heaters, infrared models are the most energy efficient. This is because no heat is wasted. 100 per cent of the heat that they generate gets used up. This is entirely because infrared heating emits infrared radiation. Infrared radiation only provides heat to that which makes direct contact with the radiation. So, there is virtually no loss in heat transfer.
Due to the logistics of infrared heating, these heaters keep the air around you completely clean. They do not add or remove anything to the environment of your room. This is largely due to the fact that they operate without creating toxic by-products, do not require open flames or fuel lines, and do not generate carbon combustion products. This quality also makes infrared heaters a lot safer than some other types of heaters.
Maintenance is fairly hassle-free with infrared heaters. They are constructed without the inclusion of motor parts. This means that you are not required to regularly replace anything to keep the unit functional. With other heaters you would have to keep an eye on the motor as it can wear out. Or the air filters which require being lubricated or replaced from time to time. Infrared heaters do require some maintenance though. All you have to do is keep the reflectors clean to keep it operational.
Better for Health
These heaters do not tamper with the amount of humidity or oxygen in a room. Thanks to this property, they do not dry out your skin and/or sinuses; a common problem with other types of heaters. With these heaters it is also possible to promote healthier blood circulation. All in all, they provide the benefits of sun exposure without having to worry about UV rays.
What are the drawbacks?
Clearly there are many different benefits of using infrared heaters. After all, there is a reason that they are becoming more popular. But this is not to say that there are no drawbacks. The efficiency of infrared space heaters is compromised due to the limitations of these units.
Heat Dispersal is Limited
While it is nice to switch on the heater and instantly feel warm, the flipside of this is that these heaters do not actually warm up the entire room. Infrared heaters are fairly limited in their reach and can only provide heat in a specific spot. The heating it provides might feel nice, but if you move around the room a lot you will not be able to appreciate it.
Heat Declines When Switched Off
Another drawback of the instant heating is that it works the other way around as well. This means that the heat in the room will completely disappear the second you switch off the heater. The reason for this is that infrared heating only reflects light. Because the air is not warmed up, it cannot maintain any heat after being switched off. By comparison oil-filled heaters are capable of providing heat for a little while after they have been switched off, since the heated oil needs time to cool down.
Due to the manner in which infrared heaters operate, they cannot be treated as the sole heating source of your household. They are only useful when used as a supplemental heating source. Which is to say that they should support other forms of heating being used in your house. They simply cannot be used as a primary source for warmth.
Are they Efficient?
Returning to the original question, we will now discuss whether or not infrared space heaters are efficient. The answer depends on the perspective taken. For example, if you are wondering whether they are energy efficient or efficient in general, then objectively the answer is yes. Other types of heaters cannot compete with infrared heaters in this department.
However in general terms the answer is not straightforward. There are a few different types of infrared heaters and they are available in different sizes with different capabilities. The benefits of using these units are definitely worthwhile but at the end of the day it depends on the needs of the individual.
If you would like to sit down after a long day and warm up, then yes, infrared heaters are efficient when assessed for that purpose. However, if you deal with extremely cold temperatures and do not stay in one place, then no. Under these circumstances infrared heaters would not be entirely efficient.
Ultimately, the efficiency of infrared heaters is dependent on your needs. So the most important course of action before buying one, would be to figure out what you want from your heater. These heating units have many benefits to offer but the extent to which you enjoy these benefits depends on what sort of heating you require.