Archive for the ‘Infrared Heating’ Category
Infrared heating is nothing new, the principle has been used for many centuries, infrared energy from the sun warms surfaces, like stone walls or the sand on the ground, these surfaces absorb infrared energy and heat up, the warm surface then radiates heat back, creating a warmed thermal mass (or very large radiator!) A sunny hot wall is perfect for growing fruit across because the stonework absorbs infrared and remains warm long after the sun has gone in. Similarly, the sand on the beach absorbs infrared to become quite hot, as the waves gently lap up the water becomes warmed, so the sea is warmer in the shallows.
We have all felt infrared energy ourselves. If we stand in the sun, even on a cold day, we can feel this infrared warmth pleasantly on us, but if half our body is in the shade that part does not receive any infrared and feels cold, the air is not any colder but we are not experiencing infrared energy on that half of our body.
So, we know we feel comfortable and cosy when sat next to warm objects, whether in front of the stone wall or on the beach (surrounded by our large radiator) and the feeling of direct infrared warmth on our body feels pleasant and comfortable, so why not recreate this principle to heat our homes?
Years ago, open fires, log burners or agas worked using a similar principle, that a very hot surface gives off infrared heat which warms stone walls, clay tiles and cast iron, these surfaces hold the warmth and radiate it back long after the fire has died down, by keeping the fire going regularly the building remained warm and cosy being heated from this large thermal mass.
Our modern lifestyles require a heating system which is far more controllable, maintenance free, clean and easy to use, with just the same principle of infrared.
Electric infrared heating comes from a simple unit on the wall which becomes very hot, this could be a mirror or picture or just a slim white panel, there are no moving parts, no fans or noise. However, the heater must reach a very specific hot temperature across the large surface area to give off an optimum wavelength of far infrared which is comfortable to people yet has good qualities for heating objects and the air too. We have all experienced near infrared, which glows orange, this is excellent for fiercely heating people in a cold outdoor environment, but is the wrong wavelength for heating the home.
The electric panel works using the same principle as sunshine, infrared rays from the panel shine across the room, warming the surfaces they touch, creating a warmed thermal mass or large radiator. The rise in temperature of the walls, floor and furnishings is only a few degrees but sufficient to make the room feel comfortable and cosy. The air will become evenly warmed too, there is no convection or rise of hot air and fall of cold air because heat is being radiated from everywhere not one single point. The heater can be placed on the ceiling allowing it to shine across the room, it is giving off infrared energy, not hot air, so high on the ceiling is the best place.
To heat the surface of the panel requires very little energy, and once the room is warm the heater only needs to maintain that surface temperature, unlike traditional radiators which are constantly reheating cold fallen air, infrared heating is energy efficient because it is not focused on heating air but only maintaining surface temperature, the heated objects warm the air!
Electric storage heaters and gas central heating were created in a time when energy was plentiful and cheap, it did not need to be energy efficient. They both work on the principle of blowing hot air into the room. Air is not a good insulator, it draws warmth or cold from objects, so if we are warm but our surroundings are cold then our body will lose heat and our surroundings will chill the air, ultimately cooling us, so the air needs to be hot and constantly reheated to compensate for this, which of course requires more and more energy.
Infrared heating feels nice on the body, just like gentle sunshine warming us directly. Our body is naturally designed to absorb and emit infrared energy so this form of home heating feels very comfortable and healthy, it works with us, allowing the body to equalise itself with the surroundings, most people feel comfortable at 19 degrees C rather than the 21 degrees required when heating the air only.
Read more about infrared here
Is infrared 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 in public buildings, offices, schools and hospitals as electricity is cheaper, and is also compatible with renewable sources increasing green credentials for a building. So, is infrared heating any good? It works in a very different manner to convection heating and understanding how it works is key. Many customers who buy infrared become hooked because they like the “feel”! The air becomes warm and the room is comfortable but you do not get the dry stuffy air, blown dust or condensation that convection heaters create.
Infrared heaters provide excellent thermal comfort
Infrared energy is the warmth we feel from the sun, the warmth that soaks into our bodies, 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 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 also works effectively in modern well insulated buildings as they hold that warmth.
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, and that warmth lasts.
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. They take time to warm the air, unlike a fan heater which instantly blows hot air although it will not stay hot for very long and is therefore not energy efficient.
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!
So, is infrared heating any good? Yes, it is brilliant, as long as, like anything, you understand how it works and use it correctly. A heating panel on the wall down behind the sofa will not heat the room, convection heating would be OK but not infrared heating, and similarly, an infrared panel switched on for half an hour whilst you are in the bathroom each morning will just not heat the room, it needs time beforehand to warm the thermal mass then hopefully you will have a dryer bathroom and less condensation and black mould, if you had a mirror infrared heater then this would be mist free, which is brilliant!
Have you looked in our shop recently? We are adding new ranges of white heating panel ready for Autumn 2017
Cassette panels are made from durable steel with a matt white powder coated finish. Specifically designed for suspended ceilings in 60 x 60 and 60 x 120cm sizes. This panel has a hotter surface temperature and textured finish which increases the surface area by 2.5 times to make this design really effective even from ceilings as high as 4 meters.
Universal panels are made from tough stove enamelled steel for a robust finish. Specifically designed for wall mounting in busy offices, workplaces and homes, the surface is wipeable and easy to keep clean. Also suitable for ceiling mounting. This panel is also available in extra small sizes for tiny bathrooms, or under the office desk, church pew or even in a dog kennel, just to provide some targeted warmth in a larger place. This panel also has slightly textured finish for great effectiveness.
Eco panels are a modern design with a smooth white surface and aluminium frame, made from powder coated steel for strength with an attractive surface. Made in the Ukraine. An excellent quality product with a much nicer finish than some on the market.
New to our range of infrared heaters is a very large mirror. The new large mirror glass electric heater measures a stunning 60 x 120cm which will make a real feature in the bathroom, or bedroom, living room or even an office! At 600 watts it will heat a room of up to 12 square meters.
Our new range of infrared heaters have a warm surface temperature rather than a hot surface which is more suitable for family homes with smaller children who may not recognise the dangers of touching a hot surface. These new heaters combine infrared with some convection of warmed air to quickly create a warm and comfortable environment.
Our infrared heaters are made from bright clear 6mm mirrored toughened safety glass set on a metal backing box for durability. The mounting bracket is screw fixed to the wall and the mirror hangs from this which means it is easy to mount and far less fiddly than other manufacturers designs!
A mirror can be functional and practical, leaving your lower wall space free for furniture, and your heating solution discretely hidden!
Hot yoga using infrared heating panels.
Over the past few years we have supplied infrared heating panels to a number of fitness studios wanting to create a “hot” room. Yoga is performed in a room of about 36 – 42 degrees C. Due to the popularity we are finding a number of those original studios coming back to us for more heaters to be able to convert another studio ready for hot classes. If you are in London look up Yoga Centric or Triyoga, Soho. Bristol’s newest Hot yoga studio is Pacific Yoga near the city centre which also offers a lovely relaxing café too.
The reason for doing hot yoga using infrared heating is the warmth from the infrared panels feels just like warm sunshine on your body, soaking into the skin and promoting blood circulation. So, firstly you get the feel good factor of lovely warmth on the body rather than in the air alone. The movement of blood around the body helps to carry oxygen which then aides with deeper stretching and helps prevent tissue damage. The extreme heat also makes you sweat which releases toxins from the body. For the clients, the use of infrared heaters over warm blown heating is marvellous, as the air conditions are far more pleasant to breathe and the class becomes a more pleasurable experience and not a sufferance!
To get a room suitable for hot yoga using infrared heating requires an amount of planning, the ceiling must be around 2.5meters high to increase the infrared heating intensity, the room must be very well insulated to hold the warmth and an air ventilation unit is required, to extract stale air and bring in warm fresh air. The humidity also needs to be regulated to extract all that hot sweatiness and keep the room fresh. Surfaces need to be washable to keep the room hygienically clean. Fresh air is vitally important for those doing exercise! Most studios maintain the hot temperature all day for all their classes, so these might be yoga, or dance, pilates, spin.
When the weather is freezing cold outside, the dilemma facing many households is where do I set the thermostat to? Is 20 OK for every situation or do some homes feel the cold more than others? What can I do to feel more comfortable? The key is the thermal comfort of the building
We all know that by lowering the thermostat we save energy and therefore reduce our winter fuel bills. But how do we alter our thermal comfort?
What is thermal comfort? Well, if we sit next to cold objects we feel chilly and if we sit next to warm things we feel more comfortable. The lovely solid stone walls of an old house feel cold to the touch and the rooms are often cold, but if we can warm the stone up by a real fire then the room seems to stay warm and cosy, stone holds warmth and radiates it back for a long time afterwards. (imagine, sitting outside next to a warm stone wall in the sunshine even on a winters day we feel comfortable because of the radiating effect of warmth from the objects around us.) That is thermal comfort. A large window of cold glass makes us feel chilly but if we draw heavy curtains across we feel much better and more comfortable. Test your glass by putting your hand on it, older glass will be freezing cold but new double glazing is remarkably not that cold, so new windows can really make a difference to the thermal comfort of the room.
So, if we look at the thermal comfort of our own homes we can judge whether 20 degrees will feel ok or regardless of the air temperature our house will feel chilly, and if our house is chilly then we need to find ways of surrounding ourselves with warm objects rather than cold ones! To increase the thermal comfort, we can block up draughts, close the curtains, or even add internal wall insulation, however, another simple solution is to add infrared heating panels to those rooms which are particularly cold. Working along the same principles as the sun warming the earth to heat the air, the panel becomes hot and emits infrared, an invisible form of light wavelength, which warms people and objects directly, and thus warms your surroundings and creates better thermal comfort. Infrared heaters look neat and are unobtrusive simple white panels, they can be fitted to the wall or ceiling by four screws and just plug in or can be fitted to thermostatic programmers.
Infrared panels can be fitted alongside your current heating system to boost a room which still doesn’t feel comfortable at 20 degrees, or it can be used as the only heating source. Plus, when you experience that lovely infrared feeling of warmth directly on the body, you do not worry about the air being any set temperature, so to get the maximum benefit of infrared heating you should position the panel close to where you sit, so you get the feel of warmth directly on your body and it will very gently warm the objects around you, so you feel cosy and in great thermal comfort.
Introducing the Cosy Curve our plug in portable infrared heater.
Rated at just 300 watts the Cosy Curve gives off an incredible amount of warmth to your legs and body, warming you directly, creating a lovely feeling of warmth, especially good for those who suffer from cold feet when sitting for long periods. This heater is very cheap to run, costing just a few pence per hour.
Many fan heaters and cheap electric heaters consume huge amounts of electricity and are very expensive to run as they are rated at 2000 watts! These types of heater use electricity to warm air which is then cooled by cold objects in the room and is drawn back into the heater to be rewarmed again. These heaters often make the room feel dry and stuffy.
The Cosy Curve – plug in portable infrared heater is suitable for topping up the warmth in a room or specific area within a room. This heater is very effective at warming people close by and will also help warm the air, as a stand alone heater it will warm a room of about 5 square meters, box room or study, and can also be used to top up warmth in a larger room.
A modern and bright image set behind glass and in a chunky anodised aluminium frame.
See all six designs in the shop
300 watts for gentle warmth in a small room, or as additional warmth in a larger room to supplement the existing heaters.
60 x 60cm square and sitting just 4cm in total from the wall.
Picture panel heaters – using far infrared heating technology
Ideal for the home office when warmth is required to one room and not the rest of the house. A picture heater does not take up valuable floor or wall space when required for shelving and furniture. Energy efficient to reduce your heating bills.
Perfect in the living kitchen above the seating for gentle warmth when relaxing. Infrared feels like gentle sunshine to directly warm the body.
Our heaters come with a bare flex for your electrician to hard wire to a wireless programmable thermostat or switch. The cable can be chased in to the wall for a cable free look.
Ask us for a quote for having your own picture printed behind the glass.
Well today the sun is shining and it really feels quite warm in the sun, despite the frost this morning! and so many of us want to make the most of it, whether that is sitting outside the local cafe just for coffee or an impromptu lunch with friends. Despite the cold, an outdoors infrared heater makes this possible!
Businesses can expand their seating area and times the outdoors area can be used by adding a good umbrella and some far infrared heating, a small cost for the added income potential. Infrared heaters provide comfortable warmth from a small amount of energy, in fact the energy could be generated by your solar panels!
More and more of us are enjoying the outdoors, from sitting with a coffee watching the world go by outside a cafe, to eating a meal outside a restaurant or in a tranquil pub garden. These are now possible all year round thanks to infrared heating.
Elegant heaters are slim and unobtrusive, they provide plenty of comfortable warmth without being overpowering. Heaters can be operated by a simple timer switch and are cheap to run.
A black terrace heater using 1000 watts costing £220 will heat a table of four people in a protected undercover area. Running costs are one unit of electricity per hour so around 15p depending on your tariff . The return on investment will be fairly fast as customers enjoy the warmth whilst sitting outdoors. There are of course many summer evenings too when the added benefit of outside heating will draw customers to extend their time relaxing and drinking outside as the sun goes down.