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Running costs

Infrared heating running costs.

What are the running costs of infrared heating? Infrared is a very energy efficient form of heating because it is heating people and objects, to create a warmed thermal mass, and not trying to heat the air, this will be warmed as a secondary effect, plus by using the latest technology and quality materials our panels will ensure outstanding and efficient performance.

As with any form of heating, running costs will vary depending on the construction of the building, the quality of insulation, and the natural heat retention properties of the building. Infrared heating works best when it can be on for a few hour at a time. We start with the calculation of 50 watts per square meters but will increase this to around 75 watts per square meter for a colder property or where a faster warm up time is required.

An infrared panel must become very hot to give off infrared in its optimum wavelength. Any panel you see which has a “half heat” option or “cooler surface” is simply not able to give off infrared with the same feeling of sunshine as our panel heaters, they must be very hot! Therefore, placing the panel lower on the wall is not recommended unless you are sure no one is going to touch it.

The heater will draw full power in order for the surface to become very hot, as cold air wafts around it will keep drawing full power to remain hot. When the air in the room warms up, then it is easier for the panel to maintain its surface temperature and it will only draw sufficient power to maintain its surface temperature. The running cost are then lowered.

The panel itself does not have any thermostat or programming controls. Multiheat suggest, in accordance with LOT 20,  you fit a separate thermostatic programmer in each room or a few rooms linked together if that suits your needs better, this may be a number of heating panels all running off one thermostatic programmer.

Your programmer will allow you to set up times and temperatures for your individual needs. Some rooms require a nice warmth whilst others only require background heating, some rooms achieve good thermal gain from bright sunshine, whilst north facing rooms can always feel a little chilly. By setting your room thermostats accordingly, you can save energy and reduce your winter fuel bills. You should also change the settings in Spring, Autumn and Winter as the daylight hours change and the ambient temperature alters. With infrared heating it is better to maintain some background warmth for a number of hours each day, rather than let the house become very cold.

Remember, infrared heating creates a warmed thermal mass, by warming the walls, floor and furnishings, just very slightly, but sufficient that the whole room feels cosy. You need to maintain this warmed thermal mass.

If you are surrounded by warmed things, then you feel cosy, if you are surrounded by cold things , you feel chilly, so the air temperature is less important, with infrared heating it is about how cosy you feel. Try reducing the air temperature setting and see how you feel, most people are happy with 19 degrees. The Energy Saving Trust say that by reducing the air temperature on your central heating will make huge savings on your heating bill. We know infrared heating feels different, and you must be prepared to use it differently to get the best savings!

A comparison between infrared heating with an electric convection panel heater

Example. Heating a room of 12 square metres built by modern construction, having the heater on for 120 days at 8 hours a day, this roughly covers four months of winter. Using an electricity cost of 13 pence per unit.

Comparison example Infrared heating panel Electric convection heater
Initial purchase cost £270 £120
Guarantee 5 Years 1 Year
Wear and tear in lifetime Fitted in ceiling or high on wall so will not get damaged. No moving parts to  wear out. Fitted low on wall, scratches or dents will occur in time. Moving parts wear out.
Operation Silent Quiet
Wattage of heater 600 watts 2KW or 2000 watts
Electricity units per hour 0.6 units 2 units
Thermostat savings 50% 80%
Total units used during the winter 288 1536
Electricity cost per winter £37.44 £199.18
Total cost in year one £307.44 £319.18
Running cost in year two £37.44 £199.18
Running cost in year three £37.44 £199.18
Total cost over three years £382.32 £717.54

Infrared heating running costs. In our example a kilowatt hour of electricity costs about 13 pence per unit (this will depend on your tariff) then our 600 watt heater will cost about 7.5 pence per hour to run to get the room up to temperature, and as low as 3 pence an hour to maintain the temperature. An 850 watt panel will cost about 11 pence per hour to run to get the room up to temperature, and as low as 4 pence an hour to maintain temperature.

All electrical energy is used to heat the surface of the panel, there are no lights, fans or noise, so our heaters are very economical and silent to run.

How do I achieve additional savings to my heating bill?

Zone heating.  Many conventional central heating systems have a simple timer which controls all of the heating across the whole house, it comes on at 6 in the morning goes off at 8.30, comes on again at 4 in the afternoon and goes off at bedtime. But actually do we need the living room toasty warm in the morning when nobody goes in there until the evening! A room thermostatic programmer could save you money on your electricity bill by simply only heating the rooms which need heating and when you are using them. Whilst installing infrared heating, take the opportunity to invest in thermostatic programmers for each room or zone, some can also be connected to smart apps so you can turn the heating up or down whilst you are away from home.

Only heat rooms to maximum temperature when needed. If an 850 watt living room heater is on for 8.5 hours a day at 11 pence per hour that could cost about 94 pence a day to run, however if the same heater were only on for 4 hours it would only cost 44 pence to run, saving you 50 pence per day, over 200 days that’s £100 saved per winter!  The room may be fine with just a low background warmth whilst it is not in use, the programmer will modulate the panel to only draw power to achieve this lower temperature. Programmers also allow you to set up different  temperatures with a number of set points, so the heating can be programmed to come on low during the day just to prevent the room becoming very cold in the depths of winter and warmer in the evening. With any form of heating, it will always take longer to warm a room from a very cold start and more energy efficient to maintain some background warmth to the structure of the building.

Programmers should be altered to the heating needs due to the time of year, when the weather is particularly cold it may be better to have the heating on low for longer periods, and when the weather is chilly in the Spring and Autumn it may only be necessary to have the living room and bathrooms on. The regular use of room/zone programmers will save energy and ultimately save money.

Turn the thermostat down. Infrared warms people and objects so warmth can be felt on the skin and it creates a warmed thermal mass. Room thermostats can be turned down by one or two degrees and the room still be comfortably warm. By turning the thermostat down you will be using less electricity and saving money.

Lower energy consumption. Old convection heaters are often 1500 to 3000 watts, they use considerably more electricity than modern heaters and have few if any controls. Infrared heating panels range from 300 to 850 watts and when fitted to a thermostatic programmer will give you full control of the heating for each room, this will significantly reduce the energy cost to heat your home.

Maintenance free. Infrared heating panels are maintenance free, there are no moving parts, so no servicing is required. Once installed there are no additional annual costs to be incurred other than the usual running cost.

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