How Energy Efficient are Infrared Heaters?
The question we are asked most often is always “Does Infrared Heating Save Money?”
Every home owner would like to save money on their heating. We are happy to report that in most cases, infrared heating can save you money.
However, it is important to be realistic and to understand that they will not save money in every situation.
First of all we need to consider how infrared heat works. Infrared heating is scientifically proven to be more efficient than traditional heating.
The total life cost of an infrared heating solution is considerably lower than a traditional convection based heating system. Savings are year on year. Over a 10, 15 or 20 year period these savings are quite large.
See the illustrative example below.
Potential Heat Losses
It is also important to consider potential heat loss (see the infographic) within a commercial or domestic heating system.
A convection based heating system relies generally on a boiler to heat water, which will then be pumped around a heating circuit losing heat.
Radiators may be located a considerable distance from the boiler causing a number of inefficiencies.
Heat will be lost simply due to the length of the circuit, also through the distribution pipework and finally the efficiency of the boiler.
It has been estimated that a boiler degrades quite quickly. It is not uncommon to find a 5 year old boiler working at only 85% efficiency. Radiators can also get clogged with material and air. Due to this, a radiator will not heat efficiently.
By contrast, infrared heaters deliver heat at the point of energy consumption. There are no distributed heat losses and they do not suffer the same loss of efficiency. In addition, no annual maintenance or servicing is required to keep the system operating at maximum efficiency.
When all of these elements are correctly considered and included in an operating cost calculation, good quality and well designed infrared heating panels will be the cheapest option to run. They also provide many benefits over conventional boiler run households.
Is infrared heat better than convection heat?
Convection heats from the ceiling down and can produce a stuffy and dusty atmosphere when the air throughout the space is up to temperature.
There can also be other associated problems, such as condensation caused when warm air touches cold surfaces – the most obvious place to see this is in bathrooms as black spot mould.
Heat loss from convection heating is significantly higher than heat loss in infrared heating.
Finally, it is important to consider how we use the space we have in our homes or offices. Infrared panel heaters free up wall space, can enhance the interior decoration and the flow of your living and working spaces.
Does Infrared Heating Save Money?
The way infrared heat works has an impact this has on the wattage required to heat a space.
The comparison below shows a house heated with Infrared in green. Compared to other heating sources, in red.
When specifying a convection based heating system for a well insulated space, the rule of thumb is to allow 55 – 65W per m3.
Heating the same space using infrared heating we can drop that wattage requirement down to 25 – 35W per m3. This figure drops to as low as 10W per m3 with a passivhaus.
Why? Because of the action of heating mentioned earlier.
Infrared heaters are an efficient heating option and use energy exactly where heat is required . Not by inefficiently heating the air.