Does it matter where I install my infrared heater?
Infrared heaters do need a little more forethought when it comes to choosing an installation location because they require a direct line of sight to whatever they need to heat. Always try to aim them towards the parts of your room that you use most often, like seating areas, so that you and your family receive the majority of the heat. Arguably the best way to install infrared panels is on the ceiling because all of the heat is directed downwards toward living levels and offers a completely unobstructed spread of warmth over the whole area. Where ceiling installation is not possible, you should wall mount your panels so that they can ‘see’ you easily. If they’re blocked by walls and furniture, keep in mind that it’s the objects that will be receiving most of the heat and not you! For more guidance on where to install infrared panels, please read our blog on infrared panel installation.
In larger commercial spaces, the same logic still applies, however you may find that ceiling suspended products in particular offer the better choice. Heaters like the Herschel IRP4 can be particularly effective in retail spaces because they hang from the ceiling and provide a broad spread of heat that’s directed downwards toward living levels. Ceiling mounted infrared heaters can also be used for spaces like warehouses, garages and factories.
How do you install an infrared heater?
Some infrared heaters, like radiant panels, can be installed DIY in a matter of moments. All you have to do is screw the mounting brackets to the wall, attach the heater to the brackets, then plug it into the nearest 3-pin socket. Patio heaters that are designed to be used freestanding also offer a ‘plug and play’ solution so you can start using them instantly. Installing heaters DIY is the best option if you need quick results or if you think you might change the installation location of your heater further down the line. Plug-in infrared heaters can be a convenient option if you’re only using one or two around the home, but if you’re planning to install multiple heaters, you’ll need to have them hardwired by a professional so that they don’t overload the ring main of your property. If you’re looking for infrared heaters that are suitable for a DIY fitting, look for products with the ‘plug and go’ icon on our website.
Professional hardwired fitting
Infrared heaters must be hardwired by a professional electrician in the following circumstances:
· Installing infrared heaters in a bathroom or wet room
All electric heaters for use in bathrooms must be hardwired by a professional in order to conform to UK safety standards. Before choosing a product for purchase, always ensure that it carries an IP protection rating suitable for bathroom use to ensure it is well protected against the ingress of water.
· Installing infrared patio heaters outside
Infrared patio heaters will always need to be hardwired by an electrician if they are intended for permanent fixture outside to ensure their wiring is protected against the elements. Any infrared heaters intended for outdoor use must have at least an IPX4 rating to ensure they have the minimum protection required against water ingress. A higher rating may be required for spaces that see heavy rain and other harsh weather conditions. Read more about IP ratings for patio heaters here.
· Installing multiple infrared heaters within a property
If you’re planning to use multiple infrared heaters, you will need to make sure that they’re hardwired to ensure that they don’t overload the ring main of your property. It’s always best to talk to a professional about your project if you’re planning to undertake a large installation.
How do you control an infrared heater?
Controlling infrared heaters indoors
The best way to control infrared heaters that are installed indoors is with a programmable thermostat. Digital thermostats allow you to set temperatures and create a heating schedule for each space in your home or business to ensure total comfort round the clock. This gives you complete control over your heating and also allows you to slim down your energy usage by selecting exactly when and to what extent your heaters use power. It’s important to note that infrared heaters do not come with thermostats built in; this is because they have exceptionally long lifespans which will usually outlive most thermostats. Most products require you to purchase a thermostat separately in order to control any indoor infrared heaters, otherwise the appliance will simply heat to full power whenever it’s switched on. Purchasing thermostats separately will allow you to change or upgrade your heating control whenever you see fit and ensures that it does not impact the service life of the heaters themselves.
Zoning your heating
In smaller properties, you have the following control options:
- You can use one thermostat to control all of your heaters so that it acts as a centralised system.
- Or you can use multiple thermostats to zone your heating and create separate programs for each area of the home.
Using multiple thermostats is a great way of slimming down your energy usage even further because it allows you to take into account how you use each individual space. So, if you have a spare room that is rarely used, you can set it to a lower background temperature to cut down your running costs. In commercial or industrial spaces that have large, open-plan interiors, it’s highly advisable to use multiple thermostats in order to take into account the different microclimates that can occur in these areas.
Controlling infrared heaters outside
Thermostatic controllers can’t be used outside because conditions fluctuate far too quickly for them to be of any use. This is why electric outdoor heaters tend to be paired with accessories such as rundown timers, motion sensors and dimmers to provide a more limited form of control that doesn’t rely on accurate temperature management. Each of these controllers can help to cut down on energy use by either limiting the amount of time the heater is running or by reducing the amount of power they use. To help you get set up more quickly, some patio heaters – such as those in Ecostrad’s range – come with basic controls already built in and are a convenient option if you’d prefer an all-in-one solution. If you are purchasing an external controller for installation in an outdoor location, always ensure that it has an IP rating high enough so that it’s protected against rain.
Which thermostat is right for me?
When choosing a digital thermostat, you need to consider the level of control you need, as well as how you want it to be installed. Should it be a plug-in thermostat or hardwired? Does it need to be wall mounted or freestanding? Is basic programming enough or does it need to have the latest WiFi control? Be aware that some products are designed to work with specific controllers (e.g. the Technotherm ISP range with the Technotherm TPF-Eco) so if you’re ever unsure whether a thermostat is suitable, give our Sales team a call on 0330 880 8383. Here are some considerations you may want to make before choosing a controller:
Levels of Control
Daily and weekly programming
Most thermostats will offer daily and weekly programming so you can set a heating schedule that conforms to your everyday routine. Having a programmable heating system is absolutely essential for day-to-day comfort and will also ensure that energy is only being used at clearly defined times, as per your schedule. 24/7 programming in every room in the house lets you create heating schedules for individual spaces to take into account exactly how they’re used. This means you can have one heating schedule for your living room, which is used daily, and a separate schedule for your home office, which may only be used a couple of times a week. If your infrared heaters are going to be your main heat source, choosing a programmable thermostat is a must.
Thermostats with WiFi heating control
WiFi control is becoming increasingly popular because it allows users to program their heating systems from anywhere in the world. It’s quick and easy to set up in most instances: just download a heating app to a smart device – like a phone or tablet – then connect it to your home router so it can communicate with your WiFi thermostat. Smart control lets you make changes to your heating more spontaneously and react to variations in your routine so you can prevent any wasted energy. For example, if you’re away from home and forget to turn the heating down, all you need to do is swipe your phone screen and lower the temperature. Or if you’re on holiday and it looks like it’s going to be particularly cold while you’re away, you can increase the temperature even while you’re abroad to make sure your home is protected from any frosty spells. An additional benefit to smart heating is that apps often come with a plethora of extra features to help slim down energy usage. Functions common in heating apps are energy-usage statistics, to help you to identify where to save money; as well as guest account functions to provide restricted access for temporary users. WiFi control can be beneficial for a range of users but can be particularly useful for landlords who need the heating system of a property to be remotely accessible.
Some thermostats are designed to offer a very basic level of control and may be the preferred option if you’re intending to use your infrared heater infrequently, e.g. as a portable top-up heater. These thermostats allow you to select a preferred temperature but offer no programming control so any further changes need to be made by hand. If your heaters are going to be part of your main heating system, we don’t recommend using basic thermostats for a variety of reasons. They won’t offer the programming you need for day-to-day convenience, they need continual manual adjustment, and most importantly, they won’t allow your heaters to run at optimal efficiency. If you’re only going to use your infrared heater now and then, a basic thermostat may suit you just fine, but if you’ll be using your heaters on a daily basis, you should always opt for a programmable thermostat.
Types of Installation
In domestic properties, plug-in thermostats can make an excellent choice, especially if you want to install your new heater quickly and without professional assistance. They simply plug into the nearest 3-pin socket and then your heater plugs into the front of the controller itself – it’s as straightforward as that. These thermostats range from the very basic all the way to programmable wireless models and if you feel like you want to change your control system later down the line, uninstalling these thermostats is just a matter of unplugging them from the wall. Opting for a plug-in model can be a good option if you’re only installing one or two infrared heaters; however, if you’re planning to fit heaters en masse, you’ll need to use a different type of controller to avoid overloading the ring main of your property. Plug-in thermostats will take up a socket and can look a little unsightly compared to hardwired or freestanding thermostats but the freedom and convenience they offer is more than enough to compensate for some users.
Hardwired & wall-mounted thermostats
The main draw of hardwired thermostats is that they have a neat appearance that looks in keeping with rest the room, like a light switch or plug socket. These thermostats need to be installed by a professional electrician but if you’re having your heaters hardwired at the same time, fitting a hardwired thermostat can simply be absorbed into the larger overall project. Hardwired thermostats can be the better choice if you only need one or two points of control but if you feel you may want to expand your system at a later date, a wireless control method may be the better option as they often scale up more easily.
Though all hardwired thermostats are wall mounted, not all wall-mounted thermostats are hardwired. Some freestanding thermostats come with a cradle for wall mounting if you prefer your controller to be neatly tucked out of the way or kept out of reach of young children.
Freestanding wireless thermostats
Freestanding thermostats are able to communicate wirelessly with heaters that are fitted with compatible RF receivers. Depending on the heater brand, some products may come with receivers already built into the back of the appliance, whereas others may require you to purchase a receiver separately. Wireless thermostats are sometimes the most convenient option because they can be placed anywhere and repositioned at leisure if you find that there’s a better place to take temperature readings. Like a plug-in thermostat, they’re designed for easy set up without a professional – just insert the batteries and you’re ready to start. Freestanding thermostats do require the user to keep a close eye on battery levels, otherwise you could find yourself without heating control until your next trip to the shop. If a freestanding thermostat loses power, it could lose your saved settings so be sure to keep an eye out for any low power warning indicators to let you know when the battery needs changing. Movable thermostats may also not be the best choice for homes with young children. Though many offer lockable control screens, curious hands could move the thermostat to another room or hide it entirely. In this instance, a secure, wall-mounted option may be preferable.
Freestanding thermostats are designed for easy DIY setup but any receivers you purchase separately will need to be hardwired to your heaters by a professional.
Do I need an electric patio heater with a remote?
Some infrared patio heaters are available with or without remotes to suit the type of control you need.
Electric outdoor heaters with remotes are exceptionally useful if you want an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution with all of the necessary controls built in. They allow you to select different heat levels so you can use less energy on days when full warmth isn’t required and may also come with additional features, such as a rundown timer.
Non-remote versions of our outdoor heaters are designed so that you have the option to fit the control system of your choice, whether it’s a motion sensor, timer or dimmer switch. Without a controller, these heaters will simply heat at their maximum output whenever they’re switched on. Some of our infrared patio heaters are also suitable for indoor use, and when used as such, the non-remote versions can be used with thermostats.
Are your infrared heaters Lot 20 compliant?
As of January 2018, all fixed electric space heaters for indoor use must be compliant with new EU energy efficiency directives known as Lot 20. All of our infrared heaters are compliant with Lot 20 when used with a thermostat that comes with weekly programming, as well as at least one of the following extra features:
- Adaptive start
- Open window detection
- WiFi distance control
Lot 20 brings electric heaters up to a higher standard of efficiency by incorporating simple energy-saving measures to minimise power consumption. It applies to any electric product used for all-day heating, like storage heaters, electric radiators, panel heaters, and of course, infrared panels. This means that whenever you buy an infrared heater with a Lot 20 compliant thermostat, you’re investing in the most efficient solution for your home or business. What makes infrared different is that it’s already a low energy option because radiant heat is more easily retained by the brickwork of your property. Pairing it with one of the latest thermostats enhances this efficiency even further, trimming down running costs to minimum, and with weekly programming you can enjoy set and forget heating that takes care of itself.
Electric outdoor heaters – like our infrared patio heaters – are Lot 20 exempt and don’t have to be paired with any extra controllers. However, we still highly recommend fitting some form of control to outdoor heaters to minimise energy usage and running costs.