Archive for the ‘Infrared Heating’ Category
Are there really any problems with using infrared heating?
Multiheat have been supplying infrared heaters for over ten years, so we have experience in knowing what works and what doesn’t! I do not think there are any known faults with the heaters but there are things you should look out for…
Surface size to wattage ratio. One of the things we have learnt over the years is that size matters! You must not have too higher wattage to a smaller panel. Our British voltage system varies with peaks and troughs of power, if a heating panel has 850 watts going into a surface area of just 60 x 120cm the surface needs to keep switching off to cool down and this causes internal wear and the heater will stop working. If comparing two panels of the same wattage, choose the one with the larger surface area. However, if the room has good ventilation and the heater is positioned centrally then it can be fine.
Is your own electricity supply in good order? Do your light bulbs regularly blow? We ask you to have your new heaters installed by a qualified electrician because we want you to get the best from infrared heating. Our British voltage system can spike and vary, this causes wear on all your electrical products, and maybe your wiring is quite old, or your fuse box out of date. Under these circumstances, a product designed for the European market where the voltage is much lower will struggle and stop working. Having the electrician out may add to your costs but he will make sure your wiring is up to current safety regulations.
Position your heater correctly. If a slick salesman calls to your door saying his company can save you hundreds of pounds on your heating bills, and then simply installs an infrared panel low on the wall next to a convenient plug socket, then I think you will be very disappointed with infrared heating! Your infrared panel gives off invisible light, imagine it is a torch beam, it must shine across as much of the room as possible, warming every surface which in turn will give off warmth to heat the air.
Position the heater sensibly. Again, imagining the heater as a torch beam, it should not be placed up a corner or close to another wall. In a tiny bathroom, you should not have a big heater, the torch beam effect will be very intense, warming the walls quickly which will generate warmth, and so the panel will need to switch off in order to cool down and switch back on again, over and over, this is not good, the workings will be under stress and the heater is likely to wear out and stop working after a few years.
The heater gets hot! Visitors to your home will not recognise the new mirror or white glass panel on the wall as being a radiator, it gets hot just like any other radiator, but please just be mindful that others do not touch the surface. It will not burn you, but it is very hot!
You get what you pay for. There are cheap heaters available, made in China, which give out a great amount of heat, some are a bit inconsistent and some give off no “feeling” of infrared at all – they are generally flimsy and have a nasty plastic finish. Fine for the workshop or a back office but not something you would be proud to look at everyday as part of your home decor. If a website does not say where their heaters are made then they are probably mass produced in China for the European market.
Do not choose a heater which is bigger than you really need. Your heater must be correctly sized for your building, insulation qualities and needs. If you have a heater which quickly reaches room temperature and then needs to switch off and back on again regularly, its internal workings will be under stress and wear out more quickly. Having two heaters in one room gives better flexibility.
Please give us a call, we are happy to discuss your project with you 01237 451759 or use the contact us form to send your room measurements and a few more details about your project.
Multiheat supply infrared heaters from leading British and European manufacturers with years of experience in this technology. We have been working with leaders Tansun and Ecosun for many years and are now proud to bring the Herschel brand on board too!
Herschel have made a big splash here in the UK with their excellent quality infrared panel heaters for homes and offices, as well as outdoor heaters for patios or factories, and those in between, like workshops and garden rooms that can be chilly. Herschel extends the range of styles and designs of heater we are able to offer, making sure we help you select exactly what is right for your individual needs and situation.
You might well have seen the Herschel brand whilst doing your research on infrared heating – they certainly know about infrared, and there is plenty to read on their own website too! Over the years Multiheat and Herschel have come to understand what works in the UK for our customers. Infrared heating is very different to convection heating and we want you to understand how to use the heaters effectively and to make your home more energy efficient, and hopefully to reduce your heating bills too! Choosing the right size heater for your room and positioning it correctly are crucial to a long heater life, a bigger surface area to wattage ratio is more effective and prolongs the life of your heater, so you will now see we tend to do 600watts in 60 x 120cm size rather than 60 x 90cm.
The Herschel Select XL range has been developed for the British market with quality components inside. Its the bit you can’t see which ensures an even surface temperature and long life!
Radiant heating has naturally been used for centuries and is far more commonplace than you might think! Radiant heat is the warmth which is given off from a body. The sun radiates infrared which travels through space and only turns to heat upon touching a surface, we know the sand on the beach becomes very hot when the sun has been shining, this too is radiant heat, the heat given off from the sun and sand is radiant heat. This general warmth in the sand also heats the surrounding air. People naturally absorb and emit infrared, so when you receive a warming hug, you are actually receiving radiant heat.
So how does radiant heating work in my home? Infrared radiant heating panels become very hot, they need to run at about 80 degrees C to give off a very specific wavelength of infrared, the panel radiates infrared energy, like invisible sunlight, this shines across the room warming surfaces, the walls, floor and furniture, these warmed objects also radiate warmth to heat the air, making our room into a large mass radiating warmth feels lovely and cosy! We also receive this radiated infrared energy, it feels just like gentle sunshine soaking into our bodies – a perfectly natural way to make ourselves warm.
Radiant heating panels use electrical energy to make themselves hot and to heat other surfaces creating a warm thermal mass, this takes very little energy. The thermal mass gives off heat to warm the air, this is a more efficient way to heat air as now it is touching warmed objects and it will stay warm. As every surface has a similar temperature then there will be no convection of warmed air or circulation.
We commonly call the heaters in our home radiators, however they do not really radiate or give off much heat at all, they warm the surrounding air which is usually trapped inside the fin arrangement, this helps guide the hot air upwards and out into the room whilst also drawing cold air from the floor back inside to be heated. These are convection heaters, they rely on the principle that hot air rises to circulate the room. Convection of warm air means the actual starting point of the air temperature is very hot and gradually it cools as it moves around the room, so your thermostat should read an average but this obviously depends upon where it is positioned! Reheating the air over and over is now deemed a wasteful use of energy.
Opening on the 30 July 2018 another individually designed health club in the Third Space chain in Central London.
The “City” branch boasts a 20-metre light-filled pool and purpose built training areas with state-of-the-art equipment – everything you would expect and more besides.
With a yoga studio – A space to focus and relax. The sculptural, curved ceiling and walls are designed to promote calmness and poise. Mirrored infrared panels provide even heat for hot yoga.
The heating panels on the ceiling are actually our black glass panels, however the surface is so polished and reflective it brings a mirror like quality! Infrared gives a nice gentle warmth to the body, promoting blood circulation and thus improving the health benefits of exercise. Here infrared is used in conjunction with warm blown air heating to give a hot temperature to the room whilst also bringing in warm fresh air and maintaining humidity levels so the studio always feels fresh and oxygen levels are not depleted.
Get the designer look with new electric heaters using modern infrared heating technology. If you are redecorating a room this spring, have you thought about changing the heater too? Old electric storage heaters or wall panel heaters are cumbersome and ugly, they become tired looking and damaged over the years, they are also expensive to run too. Modern electrical equipment is much more energy efficient – it has to meet new criteria which helps us all lower our energy use and become more eco friendly.
Whilst underfloor heating is great, as it frees up wall space, unfortunately it is just not practical for many homes due to the work involved, underfloor heating must have a good deep insulation layer underneath, so the heat rises upwards and not downwards. A cheap job will miss out the expensive insulation and the warmth from the underfloor heating will be disappointing.
Infrared heating panels fit on the wall like a picture – indeed you might choose a picture heater, or a mirror or a very stylish panel of white glass set into a brushed aluminium frame. This piece of decoration should be chosen as part of your interior design – but it is still your main heating system for the room!
Electric heaters require the cable to be hidden in the plaster of the wall and taken to an electrical socket, just like your storage heater does, this means your new canvas style picture will hang in pride of place, not looking like a electric heater at all! Your electrician can fit a thermostatic programmer discretely on the wall, so you can set the heating to come on and off, just when you need it. There are no lights, no switches, no noise from the infrared heating panels at all.
Get the designer look with new electric heaters, a simple square panel painted to match the decor and back lit with LED’s, or have a story of photos around a larger room highlighted by picture lights. The heaters become part of the decor.
Our polished white and black glass panels look stunning as modern art on the wall, polished glass is highly reflective and brings light and movement, similar to a mirror, the hidden fixings allow the panel of glass to float away from the wall allowing you to get the designer look with your new electric heaters.
Visit our shop to see the range of pre chosen modern pictures in frames, or send us a jpeg file of your favourite photo to be printed onto a canvas style heating panel. Give us a call and we can give you more information about what is or isn’t possible! 01237 451759
Infrared heating panels do not have any controls fitted. You will control your heating via an independent thermostatic programmer. Adding a programmer gives you greater control of your energy use. Infrared heating is very different to warm air heating and it is important you use it differently too, by playing around and finding what works best for you will enable the new heating system to be most effective and energy efficient. Switching infrared heaters on and off via a separate wall switch is great to add flexibility used in conjunction with the thermostat.
To give off infrared the front surface must become very hot, when first switched on it takes just a few minutes to reach this optimum temperature and on switching off it takes a little while to cool down, during these times the panel is only giving off convection of warm air – just like a radiator might, it is only when it is really hot that it gives off infrared. Infrared warms the walls, floor and furnishings, these then give off warmth and create that cosy all round feeling, so you want your heaters to stay “on” as much as possible.
We try to calculate the size of heating panel you require for your individual needs hoping the panel will stay “on” rather than over calculating which will mean the panel will switch itself “off” regularly because it has reached room temperature, this is not very effective or efficient. However, in most cases there is an easy solution. Your electrician will have fitted a switch on the wall for each individual heater, just the same as you have a switch for your extractor fan outside the bathroom door, in Spring and Autumn or on a milder day you can switch one heater off to make the other work harder and thus stay “on”.
For example. A large open plan living/ dining/ kitchen area with four heaters.
In winter with a starting temperature of 12 degrees all four heaters are required to keep the room at 19 degrees.
In Spring with a starting temperature of 15 degrees and some weak sunshine the thermostat soon reaches 19 degrees and will switch the heaters off. The thermostat will then continue to turn the heaters on and off to maintain an air temperature of 19 degrees. However, if you are sat quietly at home you may want the comfort of having a heater” on”, all our customers will say they love the feel of infrared as it is like sitting in gentle sunshine, so by physically switching one or two heaters “off” and just leaving the heaters above the seating area on, you will ensure they do all the hard work of maintaining 19 degrees and will remain “on”.
If you have a number of bedrooms all connected together onto one thermostat then it is also possible to switch the spare bedroom off whilst still controlling the main bedrooms.
Switching infrared heaters on and off can help you lower your energy use whilst being sure those heaters you enjoy sitting under are “on”.
In extremely cold weather it is not possible to turn the heaters up! You must extend the times they are “on” so that the fabric of the room becomes warmed and the room feels cosy, keeping a room gently warmed is better than allowing it to become cold and hoping to get it feeling warm again. Cold walls make us perceive a feeling of coldness regardless of the actual air temperature. In very cold countries they maintain a set temperature 24 hours a day as once warmed it is easy for the heating system to just maintain this, provided the building is well insulated of course!
Infrared heating comes in different forms for different situations, some only warm people whereas others warm the air too. It is important to choose the right type of heater for your situation.
Outdoor infrared heaters. Many people have experienced infrared heating in the form of the orange glow heaters outside the cafe or pub, these give off infrared wavelengths from the end of the spectrum closest to red light, remember infrared is invisible light beyond the light spectrum, this form of infrared warms people directly and is fantastic in an outdoors situation because it has no effect on the air, all energy is used to heat people. It is also great for churches and industrial units where the air is never going to get warm and it would be wasteful of energy to even try! These heaters give an instant and very powerful feeling of warmth, great for a quick warm up, however they are not suitable for sitting under all day long as the feeling on the body is just too intense. The ceramic plate of these heaters reaches around 700 degrees C to be able to give off the optimum wavelength of near infrared.
High output infrared heaters are slightly different, the wavelength is further away from red light so there is no light glare, they look the same whether switched on or off, the surface temperature is around 300 degrees C to give off a powerful yet more comfortable feeling of infrared which warms people and objects. These heaters are great in places where it is possible to heat the air, but they are not very well insulated to retain the warmed air, powerful warmth is still needed on the people to compensate for the fact the room loses warmth quickly. These heaters take a few minutes to warm up, the feeling of warmth on the body is really nice, powerful to cut through chilly air, but comfortable enough to sit under all day long, they do warm objects around the room which makes the surroundings less cold and more bearable. Ideal for the office in an industrial unit, a workshop or garage, an old building with really high ceilings and original single glazed windows. These heaters are available in 1000 watts up to 3600 watts, the higher wattage is suitable for ceilings up to 5 meters high.
Infrared heating panels have a lower surface temperature, around 90 degrees C -which is still hot to the touch, the feeling of warmth is very gentle, in fact it may take you a minute to register the heater is on! However, this very gentle infrared wavelength warms people and objects comfortably, you do not notice where the heat is coming from in the room, but that the whole room feels nice and cosy. Infrared energy is absorbed by every object, walls, floor, furnishings, all increase in surface temperature, just very slightly, but sufficient to make the whole room feel warm around you, as the air passes around it absorbs warmth from these objects, making the whole room an even temperature. No hot point, no hot air rising with a hot ceiling area and cold floor, no circulation or draw of cold air across the floor or blow of hot air from the radiator. When the heating is on for a few hours, just like central heating, it warms the air too, so you can set a room thermostat and controls for the heating to come on and off as you wish. Many customers say they are happy with the thermostat set to 19 degrees because the surfaces around them are warm and therefore the room feels cosy. When we are surrounded by cold surfaces we feel cold, we shiver and give off body heat, but when our surroundings are warm we equalise ourselves and feel comfortable.
Radiant panels which do not specify a surface temperature or wavelength of infrared may combine infrared with convection of warmed air. Running at around 40 degrees C is much safer to the touch if the heater must be wall mounted low down like a traditional radiator. However, the ability to increase surface temperatures is reduced and the feeling of infrared on the body is minimal, but they are very effective and much cheaper to run than an old style electric heater!
Sometimes we have some very cold weather and our central heating just can’t get the room warm enough! Top up electric heating in a cold room is often the answer, something you can just switch on and off as need be, but something that does not take up space, leave cables across the floor or need storing when not in use!
Our picture heaters are the answer.
A picture which is also a heater! These panels are made and printed in the UK so the quality is excellent.
In either 320 or 640 watts depending on how much additional warmth you need. The running costs of the smaller heater are about 5 pence per hour which is very cheap to run, we suggest you leave it on for a few hours at a time so that it creates a gentle background warmth. Fan heaters or oil filled radiators are often 1500 watts so although the heat is instant they are very expensive to run for any length of time.
Choose your own image to have printed onto the heater. This must be of very good quality to blow up to a large size, photographers are often happy to sell a JPEG image rather than the printed version, so the picture could be a family portrait or local scene.
320 watts available in 60cm x 60cm size or 30cm x 120cm size. As the only heater, this will warm a room of up to 6 square meters, a box room or study size for example. £325 including vat and delivery
However as top up electric heating in a chilly but centrally heated room, the size heater you choose will very much depend on how cold or how big the room is!
These panel heaters are just 2.5cm deep from the wall to the front of the heater, they are very similar to a modern canvas style picture in depth. The cable should be pushed into the plaster work of the wall so it is hidden. Then the heater will sit nice and neat close to the wall. The heater can then be plugged in, fitted with a timer switch or wired to a thermostatic programmer what ever suits your needs.
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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!