One of the greatest difficulties when choosing heating products for your home is understanding the complex and sometimes contradictory terminology used in the heating industry. Nowhere is this predicament more pressing than in the world of patio heaters. Go searching for a source of warmth for those cooler summer evenings and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by a wilderness of technical jargon – patio heaters, infrared heaters, tungsten lamps, halogen heaters, quartz lamps, outdoor heaters, ceramic heaters, shortwave heaters, long wave heaters… What’s the difference? Are they all the same? What do they mean? Which to choose? We’re here to help you bust the industry jargon – starting with the ubiquitous misnomer “halogen heater”.
What is halogen?
The halogens are a group of elements in the periodic table that includes fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine. With an outer shell of seven electrons, the halogens are highly reactive, and have many industrial uses in their singular or compound forms. They are commonly encountered as disinfectants in large or small-scale applications – think of using iodine to sterilise wounds or chlorine to clean swimming pools. Combined with hydrogen, they form some of the most powerful industrial acids such as hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid. The reactivity of the halogens makes them bond very strongly with other elements, so even though fluorine is a toxic gas in its pure form, it combines with carbon to form Teflon – used in clothing and frying pans because of its non-reactivity and low co-efficient of friction.
How is halogen used in heating?
What is most misleading about the term “halogen lamps” is that halogen is not, in fact, used as a heating element. Halogen is an essential component in heat lamps and halogen bulbs but is not itself the source of heat. Halogen lamps are so named because halogen gases are used to extend the lifespan and increase the brightness of light bulbs. In a conventional light bulb, the burning tungsten wire filaments which emit light gradually deposit evaporated tungsten on the bulb glass. This causes the bulb to blacken and the filament, eventually, to break. In halogen lamps, a small amount of halogen gas is enclosed within the bulb. The halogen reacts with the evaporating tungsten and redeposits the tungsten back onto the filament. This prevents bulb blackening and extends the lifespan of the tungsten filament. This allows halogen lamps to operate at much higher temperatures – which is why, on a larger scale, they can be used as sources of heat.
So what’s the difference between infrared heaters, quartz heaters, tungsten heaters and halogen heaters?
In many applications, they all mean the same thing! Tungsten is the name of the burning filament used in halogen bulbs and near infrared heaters. Tungsten is the metal with the highest melting point of all the elements in the periodic table – that’s why it’s used so commonly in bulbs and heaters. Halogen, as discussed above, is the name of the gases used to increase the light and temperature output of a tungsten lamp. The higher temperatures generated by halogen lamps are too strong for conventional glass bulbs – which is why Quartz bulbs are used instead. Quartz, often found in the UK countryside in impure form mixed with other rocks, is formed industrially by melting silicon sand. Quartz is transparent, strong and has a higher melting point than ordinary glass. Tungsten, Halogen and Quartz are all materials used inside orange glowing patio heaters – so the names tungsten heater, halogen heater and quartz heater generally refer to the same thing.
Infrared, however, is not a material: it is the name given to the form of heat given off by a wide range of different heating products. Tungsten heaters, halogen heaters and quartz heaters all give off near infrared radiation. This is a shortwave form of infrared which produces a bight glow and an intense heat. So tungsten heaters, quartz heaters and halogen heaters are all infrared heaters.
However, not all infrared heaters are halogen heaters! No glare infrared heaters with ceramic plates produce far infrared radiation – a highly efficient longwave form of infrared which warms gently and thoroughly. Ceramic elements are found in our no glare outdoor heaters and designer infrared panels. These are all infrared heaters, but they are not halogen heaters.
So, in a nutshell: what are halogen heaters and do you sell them?
In a nutshell – if your patio heater glows, it’s probably a halogen heater! Halogen heaters produce a burning glow and intense, directed near infrared heat. You’ll find plenty of halogen heaters at Infrared Heaters Direct: including our budget La Hacienda Patio Heater range, our free standing Tansun restaurant heaters and our wall mounted, weatherproof Burda patio heaters.
Don’t be put off by confusing terminology. If you have any questions about the technology used in our extensive range of infrared heaters, speak to our expert sales advisors today. They’re always happy to discuss and compare our products and will put together a personalised quote for your property free of charge. Call us today on 0330 880 8383.
Eco Stores Direct are here to bring you the very latest energy news, views and opinions from across the UK. They are also suppliers of energy efficient electric heating solutions and are constantly assessing the market for the best products and the latest ground-breaking technology which they think will make a real difference to their customer's homes. Eco Stores Direct are devoted to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and bring down your energy bills and they work hard to raise awareness of energy efficient products that can make all the difference. If you're interested in outdoor patio heaters or slimline infrared panels, call Infrared Heaters Direct today on 0330 300 8383 for a free assessment.