It’s important to be energy conscious in this day and age. The average home is filled to the brim with tech, awash in a sea of TVs, computers, games consoles, tablets and phones, all consuming power or locked in an endless cycle of recharging. There are lots of ways to cut down on energy usage, even if it’s only a small gesture such as switching the lights off as we leave the room, but what about changing your heating system? Though replacing your system will have a high initial outlay, it can make a world of difference both to your bills and the environment in the long term. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient solution, infrared panels are among the very best low energy heaters for the home because of the unique way they heat the surrounding environment.
Convection Heaters vs Radiant Heaters
For years, home heating systems have relied on convection to provide us with warmth. These traditional methods remain in use because they heat the surrounding air reasonably quickly, and in fairly confined spaces – such as the average living room or bedroom – they can be very effective. The key issue with convection-based systems is heat loss through air movement. Rooms easily lose heat through draughts, or via foot traffic during the course of the day as we repeatedly open and close interior and exterior doors. In homes with uninsulated lofts, warm air can also be lost as it naturally rises upwards, leaving loft spaces cosy and warm at the expense of regularly used living spaces below. Though there are ways to minimise this heat loss, nothing can alter the fact that convection is an inherently inefficient means of heating. This is especially obvious when you examine how convection works: warmth is created by heating elements in the appliance, then transferred to the surrounding air before we finally feel the effects. This means that the air in your home will always be acting as the middleman in this transfer of heat.
Infrared appliances, in comparison, provide a far more efficient heating method. Where convection heaters need a medium (i.e. the air) to transfer heat, infrared products project heat out from the appliance, directly to the end user. This is because they use radiant heat, which is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, just like natural light. Radiant heat doesn’t transfer warmth to the surrounding air – it travels through the air until it’s absorbed by a person, object or surface. As infrared is unaffected by air movement, rooms maintain an even temperature and retain more heat as warmth is absorbed by the interior surfaces. If you want to compare the efficiency of a radiant heater with a convection heater, simply compare one of our infrared panels with another electrical system. For example, if you were looking to heat an 18m² room, a storage heater would require around 2.5kW to comfortably warm the space, whereas an infrared panel could do the same job with just 750w. That’s less than a third of the wattage required to heat the same area with a storage heater – infrared panels really are low energy heaters in the truest sense!
Infrared Panels – Saving You Money and Energy
Radiant heating systems are concerned with surfaces rather than air volume, which provides many advantages. As the walls, floor and ceiling absorb the warmth created by infrared panels, they in turn re-radiate this heat around the room which creates a complete uniformity of warmth. There’s no ‘hot ceiling, cold floor’ effect with these systems so users of infrared panels can normally run their heaters 3 °C lower than they would with a convection-based heating system. As an added bonus, infrared heaters can also prevent and reduce the formation of damp within the home as surfaces are kept warm, which discourages condensation from settling.
Precision Thermostat Control
To augment the efficiency of these low energy heaters even further, infrared panels should be used with thermostatic controls. Digital thermostats are far more accurate than old bimetal models and prevent instances of rooms being either overheated or cooling too much. Another excellent energy-saving feature of infrared controllers is that they offer 24/7 programming options so you can schedule your heating to come on at times that fit around your weekly routine. By setting a heating schedule, energy usage is minimised by ensuring heaters switch on at the right time to the right temperature. Like any other heating product, infrared panels won’t need to be on constantly in order to keep rooms at a set temperature. Once room surfaces are heated, the panels will simply switch on and off to top up heat levels and only ever be using power a fraction of the time. This, combined with precision thermostat control, makes infrared panels a worthy upgrade if you’re using an older form of electric heating.
The Perfect Low Energy Heater
It’s hard for other heating systems to match the efficiency of infrared panels, with their low energy consumption, direct heat and versatile control systems. Still not convinced? Read our Case Studies page to see how infrared products have benefitted a wide range of properties, from commercial to domestic. Infrared panels aren’t just practical, they’re also wonderfully stylish and can be installed just about anywhere. As some of our premium panels come with 10-year manufacturer’s warranties, you can purchase with absolute confidence and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your heating system will last for years and years to come without any costly or time-consuming maintenance.