Page 11

Infrared heat – a growing talking point with so many applications.

When the world of science and technology pick up on an idea, the implications of that idea often go much farther than the original concept. Infrared heating is one such case, developed for heating materials in manufacture, initially a faster drying process, the idea has now been developed to apply to so many other processes. One such process is thermoforming – the moulding of plastics, so much of what we use today involves moulded plastic, but also includes paint drying times, the curing of PVC pastes, moulding of polystyrene and the setting of T shirt transfers. In difficult times where every penny counts, factories are looking at saving energy and costs, and the investment in infrared heat can provide targeted and precise heating turning on and off in an instant to avoid wasting electricity. Industry is welcoming the new energy saving technology, particularly when being encouraged to be green, and the use of infrared heat becomes more widespread. This is a worldwide trend.

With the more common use of infrared heat in industry there quickly becomes better knowledge of the subject and of course more development into other applications. The Chinese now want to be seen at the forefront of quality technology, they are no longer simply making cheap copies, and are involved in research and development into different types of infrared heaters for different situations using both long and short wave, emitted from different materials and very much depending on the application as to which is the most energy efficient and effective.

Certainly our customers are far more knowledgeable about how infrared heat works on the body and the structure of our homes, and it is a subject that is gaining discussion with those involved in creating highly energy efficient homes and renewable energy projects to larger commercial businesses wishing to lower their heating bills.

Feel the warmth from an Infrared heater.

As a customer said the other day – “you don’t notice it when it is on, but you do when you turn it off …. just like the sun going in behind a cloud!”

Although the air temperature  outside is still pretty cold when the sun does come out it really is quite warm, then when it hides behind a cloud you suddenly realise just how warm it was and how much our bodies appreciated those infrared rays.

Our panels work along the same principles as the sun, infrared rays warm the body and objects in the room, it is a very gentle warmth which creates an all round background warmth, once all items are warmed they give off warmth to heat the air, you may notice that the room thermostat can be set one or two degrees lower then with convection heating and the room still feel plenty warm enough, because you can “feel” the warmth on your skin. The heating can also be turned off a short while before leaving the room as the objects are still giving off heat to maintain warmth in the room, however, it is at this point when you realise just how much our bodies appreciate those infrared rays, just like the sun going in behind a cloud.

Most of our customers will say they do like the feeling of infrared warmth on the skin.

I am always very wary of companies who say they can save me huge amounts of money with grand claims. Because of this I am wary too of giving false claims on our own website, we try to state the facts and let the customer work out for themselves how much money they could save.

I was interested to read an article from Infrapower, the manufacturer of our heating panels, about their own trials to establish a true savings example. Infrared heating panels were compared with conventional gas central heating in two identical apartments over a five month period.

The result states “up to 50% energy savings were possible by using the infrared heating panels.”

“The average energy consumption over the five month trial period showed that the gas heaters consume almost three times more energy than electric to heat the same room.”

  1. Now depending on your gas and electric prices the savings will of course vary, but with the huge increase lately in gas prices and the slower rise in electric, along with the ability for many homes and businesses to generate their own electricity there will become a smaller cost difference. Gas prices have been going up by an average of 7% per year and electricity by 2.25% there will be a time when the prices are similar per unit.
  2. Infrared panels are heating the very body of the house, warming walls, furniture and people, therefore the house will maintain its warmth resulting in thermostats being turned down by one or two degrees again saving energy. Conventional heating systems only heat the air which is quickly chilled by cold walls or opening doors.
  3. Heating zones within the house with different programmers can ensure that only the rooms in use are fully heated, others may need background warmth only, this reduces energy consumption and avoids wasted heat. Most gas central heating systems have one programme, all radiators are either on or off wasting energy on heating rooms not in use.

All homes and situations are different, and whether you are heating a whole house or just one room there are some appliances which are more energy efficient than others, so it makes sense to buy one which will have lower running costs over a period of time and then you will save money.

Building Regulations 2010. Part P Electrical Safety in Dwellings. Updated 6th April 2013

Please read the full PDF here.

If you are planning on having your infrared heating panels installed after 6th April 2013 there are new electrical regulations you need to know about. Which state that any electrical equipment fitted into the home must comply with strictest safety measures and must be fitted by a Part P qualified electrician who will complete a BS7671 electrical installation certificate.

It states “Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installation from fire and injury,” so that “they do not present electric shock and fire hazards to people.” The regulations identify bathrooms or whole new electrical circuits in particular.

We know many of you are having other electrical work done at the same time as installing our panels but occasionally we do get asked if you can install it yourself, so our official answer is no, a registered competent person should complete the work and issue a BS7671 electrical installation certificate for every job undertaken. These regulations apply to heating panels which are fully installed to programmers and the mains wiring. The regulations do not cover items which are merely plugged in.

We have again got some near infrared patio type heaters available, these are of good quality and durable design, ideal for those who are working outside in a workshop, garage or unheated garden room and need to keep their fingers warm in this very cold weather. Once fitted high on the wall the efficient heater is ready for whenever the weather turns chilly and is splash proof for leaving in the workshop all year round.

These near infrared heaters have a powerful 1400 watts that can really be felt through the cold air and have a simple bracket on the back for fixing to the wall which can be angled to suit; it can effectively radiate warmth across a good area for working in.

Multiheat have been asked for a more powerful heater by craftsmen working from unheated and poorly insulated workshops or sheds where our standard panels just would not be sufficient in this cold weather, these near infrared heaters provide a powerful and affordable solution and will certainly radiate plenty of warmth that can be felt on the face and hands to make work time more pleasurable. And now at a great price too! Only available from the special offers section of our website shop.

We already have our standard heating panels in some very special glorified sheds used for model making, a music studio and a rabbit hotel, I wonder where these outdoor heaters will go?

Our electrician will tell us that watts = volts x amps. This is important when we choose switches, timers or thermostats to control our Multiheat Infrared Panels.

It is easy to fall into the trap that are thermostats are created equal. This is not the case. At Multiheat we take care with this issue and only recommend thermostats that are capable of performing safely with our panels. It is an easy mistake to assume that the simple wall mounted thermostat often use to control central heating will work with our panels. These thermostats are generally only rated at about 1.5 amps so using the above formula and assuming mains voltage to be 230 volts these will only safely switch a load of 345 watts so would only safely work with our 250 watt panel.

What we need to do is add together all the wattages of the panels we wish to control from a single thermostat or timer and divide by 230 to give us the require current rating in amps.

Therefore 3 of our 850 watt panels connected together will equal 2550 watts, divided by 230 equals about 11 amps so we need to choose a thermostat with at least that rating.

Please get in touch if you need more details.

Positive effect of infrared heat on the body.

Customers like the feeling of warmth from their infrared heating panels, it has a positive effect, but why does infrared warmth feel good? I have been doing some research into why!

Our bodies are designed to absorb and use infrared energy.  We naturally receive the suns infrared energy and we generate infrared energy. Infrared rays penetrate deep into the skin promoting blood circulation, it is claimed by health experts that our bodies can control the use of infrared energy to where needed, the infrared energy helps in a variety of tasks, from simply moving warmth around our body, in tissue repair or moving unwanted toxins away in the blood. Infrared heat therapy is widely available from lamps, saunas and body wraps. Relaxation and pampering may also contribute towards the feel good factor but natural infrared warmth does feel good too. Domestic heating panels are only providing gentle warmth but do have a positive effect in making us feel comfortably warm.

Our bodies also generate infrared energy. Our bodies radiate warmth from a warm surface to a cooler one, you will notice this when receiving a loving warm hug, or the reason why a mother’s arms are the best place to keep a new born baby warm, or why a quick rub from warm hands can ease a twinge. Heat therapy has been used for centuries in Chinese healing hands and Reiki. Again, infrared warmth has a positive effect, it makes us feel good!

Infrared energy is measured in microns, the suns rays vary in wavelength but the infrared range is between 0.72 and 10 microns, infrared heating panels replicate this at about 8 microns, our bodies radiate warmth in the range of 5 to 10 microns, as can be seen on a thermal imaging camera. So, we like the feeling of infrared warmth simply because it is very natural to our body, we are designed to be able to use this form of heating.

Wind turbines are falling over!

I live very close to Bradworthy in North Devon where a wind turbine recently fell over!

In fact I used to be able to see it from my back garden!

You can find out more about the original story here on the BBC website!

I still stand by my earlier blog that North Devon (including Torridge) are in danger of allowing far too many of these turbines to be dotted around the countryside & therefore ruining the whole county/area.

Despite being a very rural part of the world it is very difficult to find a spot where the wind turbines are more than a kilometre away from a residential house, and the more that go up the more there is a statistical chance that something awful could go wrong.

This latest article from the BBC – here – tells us that wind turbines are safe despite two of them collapsing in the South West in the space of a week, a representative of the industry has insisted. We are told that incidents like this are rare, but as more and more turbines go up, the incidents will become more & more common – statistically!

Let’s be sensible and have fewer large ones, particularly ones that don’t fall over!


Looking for something to inspire my blog writing today, I came across this article on the BBC website – Energy efficiency’ Green Deal launched by government – and the bit that caught my eye was this excerpt:-

The costs

Consumers taking out Green Deal loans will have to repay them at a maximum rate of 6.92%, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Compared to a standard home loan rate, that is relatively high.

On top of the loan, householders will have to pay a £63 set-up charge, and a £20 a year annual fee.

On a loan of £5,000, the overall rate that is repayable is just under 8% over 10 years, or 7.7% over 25 years.

The government argues that such rates are comparable to the best High Street rates for long-term unsecured loans.

The amount that anyone can borrow will be capped at £10,000.

Later on in the article it said :- But he acknowledges that in some cases, the cost of the loan could be more expensive than the savings gained.

So, would you want to take the risk?

At least with solar PV systems the pay back is still around 8 years – that is when you invest in a PV system the money that you use to install is paid back with 8 years. If you can afford to install such a system you can get a better rate than leaving your money in the bank and it carries on for 25 years so you can make some reasonable money.

Not so with this deal, you may make money but you may not, you pay a high rate of interest (remember that the Bank of England rate is still 0.5% at the time of writing) and when you come to sell your house, what happens then – you sell the house with debt attached – not a good solution methinks – what do you think?

One good reason to buy from your local butcher or farm shop!

I was not surprised to hear on the news this week that horse meat has been found in beefburgers. Beef is expensive, horse meat is not.

Consumers demand cheap food, so the producer is forced to find ways to reduce costs. The supermarkets are in a price war to sell more value products. Those who buy value products must realise that it can’t possibly be top quality.

Horses are indiscriminately bred, both by breeders on the moors and in private homes, (no wild ponies are truly wild in the UK, they all belong to someone) they are then sold at market often for just a few pounds, many go for zoo meat and many more are illegally transported live to Europe for human consumption. Once in Europe the rules are very lapse on welfare and transportation and horse meat is quite commonplace.

Is it any wonder large producers get the meats mixed up and it comes back into the UK food chain?

So, the only way to ensure we buy good quality and traceable meat is to buy from a local butcher. In our small village we are lucky enough to have an excellent butcher and farm shop both of whom farm all of their meat on their own land here in North Devon. Cows, sheep and pigs roam freely around the fields, they live happy lives and when their time comes are transported only a few miles to the abattoir. Local butcher’s prices are similar to better quality supermarket products however the virtues are far superior.

I would much rather buy good quality flavoursome meat, knowing I am supporting my local business owners and community.

Langs Traditional Meats – North Devon

G.E Honey Butchers – North Devon