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8 min read

Enjoy Efficient and Sustainable Heating with Infrared Technology

8 min read

Enjoy Efficient and Sustainable Heating with Infrared Technology

Enjoy Efficient and Sustainable Heating with Infrared Technology

Currently trending, infrared heating may be the new, modern way to stay warm. It has undeniable advantages compared to some traditional heating solutions, but the question remains, under what conditions and circumstances?

So that everyone's on the same page, let's first delve into the workings of infrared heating technology, its advantages, and drawbacks, while also revealing when it makes for a worthwhile heating option.
 

What is infrared heating, and how does it work?

Source: Canva

True to its name, infrared heating is powered by heat radiation, similar to the sun. Therefore, it doesn’t heat the surrounding air but rather objects it comes into contact with, whether that be an item or person, to ensure localized and even heat distribution.

Infrared heating warms up its surroundings via radiation, meaning by transmitting its heat to nearby surfaces. Infrared heat is absorbed by walls, floors, furniture, and everything else in its vicinity. In turn, the previously mentioned items store heat (much like the heat generated from the sun would) and diffuse a part of that thermal energy into the room. 

Therefore, every object in near proximity becomes a part of the heating system. There’s no need for airflow instead, the importance lies in whether the items found around the room are capable of absorbing heat. 

What are the pros and cons of infrared heating?

This type of heating is known for its energy efficiency and its capacity to heat faster than other, traditional heating systems. However, like most heating solutions, it still has its advantages and drawbacks. 

The Advantages of Infrared Heating

The main advantage of infrared heating is its healthy, consistent, and comfortable heat. 

As expert Olivier Guy, of Technirep Marketing Inc., stated, “Infrared heating is efficient on several levels: immediacy, directivity, speed of heat transmission, cleanliness, and safety.”

He also highlighted that infrared heating:

  • doesn’t involve combustion

  • doesn’t burn fossil fuels

  • is odourless

  • doesn’t produce condensation, dust, or noise

It’s also eco-friendly, runs on electricity, and produces greater radiative output compared to other types of heaters. It’s also easy to install and use, and it doesn’t require any sort of regular maintenance. And, as a bonus, its service life, which is estimated at 25 years, is relatively long, if yet again compared to other heating systems. 

The Drawbacks of Infrared Heating

Naturally, just like no heating system is perfect, infrared heating isn’t any different and has a few drawbacks. Here they are:

  • Some heaters are energy-intensive, especially when they’re not properly used. 

  • The heat generated doesn’t seep through walls and is limited to warming up a single room unless you benefit from a more or less open-concept home.

  • The electrical wires can be difficult to hide, which can distract from its aesthetic aspect.

  • The device can become very warm, which poses risks of burns or fires (its use is advised against around young kids). 

  • It doesn’t perform as well in glazed-over areas (sunrooms or greenhouses) or in a room with a lot of reflective surfaces.

  • The heated surface area must be near the device; long or big rooms may be harder to heat. 

Which infrared heater is best?

Source: Technirep

From a thermal point of view, an infrared heater is remarkably efficient. However, to benefit from a decent yield, you have to select the right device. 

Our Technirep Marketing Inc. expert explained that “there are three types of infrared heating: halogen lamp [short wave, Ed.], quartz element [medium wave, Ed.], and radiant tube heater [long wave, Ed.].” 

Since only infrared devices that generate more than 60% radiance allow for a 3-metre heating distance, power is crucial. Note that it’s best to have a heating capacity that’s too strong as opposed to not enough.

As Olivier Guy stated, there’s a bunch of helpful tips out there to help you choose the right infrared heating system for your needs. Use the services of a professional consultant and, above all else, avoid comparing an infrared system’s yield to that of an electric baseboard.  

Indoor Use

 

Long-wave infrared heating system

Long-wave models emit a comfortable and softer heat. These devices are perfect for indoor spaces. Its range is stronger, therefore making it suitable for big living spaces.

Though it’s most often reserved for industrial use, it’s nonetheless less energy-intensive than a traditional radiator. 

Medium-wave infrared heating

This one is used to heat large rooms and is often used as a space heater paired with a traditional system. We especially like that it warms up the room in question in no time!

It emits an orange-tinted light and a comfortable, continuous heat. It comes in various forms (heated mirror, area rug, glass panel, panel) and can mounted on a pedestal or wall. 

PRO TIP: All devices used indoors must be fitted with an overheat protection function that shuts the device off in case of danger.

Outdoor Use

An outdoor infrared heater produces heat by thermal radiation too, which means it can swiftly warm up all items found in its proximity on a patio, balcony, or porch. It’s best to opt for fixed or movable short-wave devices that project a much more intense and radiant red light, but one with a more limited range. Beware of standing too close to the heater as you could easily burn yourself.

These devices are very durable. Therefore, you can definitely allow yourself to spend a little more to purchase a quality patio heater. 

Panel heater

An infrared radiant heating panel combines both thermal radiant heat and convection heat. 

Although it’s most often recognized for its casing-like shape with a tube passing through to generate light, it can also be made of carbon panels with no visible light. In either case, the lamp itself will produce and emit heat. It can be mounted on a pedestal or wall, or installed beneath the flooring (radiant floor). 

Electric or gas

Infrared heating units need to be connected to a power source to function. They often run on electricity, while some models are gas-fueled. 

Where can you use infrared heating?

Source: Technirep

Infrared heaters used inside are ideal for large buildings like residential garages. As for outdoors, it can be installed on patios or gazebos. 

On your patio

You don’t have a sunroom? Infrared heating allows you to benefit from a comfortable warmth on your patio, thereby prolonging your evenings spent out in your backyard well after you’ve already bid goodbye to summertime.  

Opt for a short-wave (orange light) device that emits intense heat, while ensuring a safe distance to prevent the risk of burns.

Wall-mounted, indoors

Either horizontally or vertically hung, it can be safely mounted to a wall or ceiling, and produce delicate heat. To benefit from it, make sure nothing’s standing between you and the heater. It’s easy to install, and mostly aesthetically pleasing!
 

How to Install Home Infrared Technology

Source: Technirep

Infrared heaters are equipped with a mounting system and benefit from an easy installation process since there’s no need for any handling or settings input. Typically, one can install it themselves, except if it’s a floor heating system that requires the skill set of an expert. 

Step 1- Find the ideal location

As mentioned by Olivier Guy, “There are several standards that must be adhered to [other than the CSA standard, Ed.] such as the device type and quantity, as well as client-specific features.” 

Finding the right spot to benefit from an even temperature is always easier in small rooms than in large areas, especially if the zone is irregularly shaped or particularly long. Think strategically to prevent creating cold zones. 

The goal here is to ensure that the radiant heat reaches all surfaces, including walls, floor, and ceiling. If optimal comfort can’t be achieved using one highly effective heater, consider installing two less powerful heaters to achieve a balanced heat. 

PRO TIP: Don’t point your infrared heater toward a window or glass door, as the radiation heat obtained will be lost.

Step 2- Install device

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly install the device. If you’re installing wall-mounted panels, make sure they’re hung at least 20 cm off the ground. Use the mounting screws supplied and make sure they extend beyond the panel's surface by at least one centimetre to securely hang the equipment. 

SAFETY TIP: Never position an infrared heater above an outlet. The heater and installation cables should never come into contact. 

Step 3- Wire electrical components

Connecting an infrared heating system is easy, but the installation guidelines must be followed to a T. Pair up to connect the device; one person holds the device while the other actually connects it. 

Step 4- Install thermostat

With an infrared heater, thermostats are optional. If your device has one, make sure it’s affixed to a wall inside that’s not too far from the device to ensure accurate readings.

Olivier Guy specified that it’s super important to follow the right safety practices during installation. Abide by the recommended clearances, avoid having any flammables nearby, ensure the device is mounted at the right height, and use the appropriate control setting mechanism (thermostat). 

Should you choose not to install the device yourself, note that a professional can do so in the blink of an eye, and you’ll then be able to bask in the comfort of your new system.

How much does an infrared heater cost?

Source: Technirep

How much should you plan on spending on an infrared heating system? Now that’s a good question.

Prices are rather varied and depend on several factors. Prior to choosing a device, take some time to really consider the options available on the market.

One can easily purchase a small patio heater for as little as $125, but most models retailed in big box hardware stores cost around $500. Naturally, more powerful systems are available at a much steeper price. For example’s sake, a gas-fueled, wall-mounted device can cost $1,600, while a natural gas infrared tube heater will cost $3,500. 

And that’s not it! According to Olivier Guy, of Technirep Marketing Inc., “Installation costs may vary based on three things: the chosen transmitter, the surface area to heat, and project-specific factors.” 

However, our expert mentioned that people can benefit from financial assistance. “To obtain a grant, you have to go through Hydro-Québec’s Efficient Solutions Program and use the OSE tool.”

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Last modified 2023-11-23

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