4 Ways Your Front Office Can Make an Impression

front office

Modern businesses invest in various aspects of their brand presence in order to achieve image consistency, recognition, but also to impress all those that come into contact with their company. All in the aim to preserve and grow their reputation, brands now need to think above and beyond just their logo and their business card design. Most companies, however, still cling to their digital presence as if to dear life itself, often neglecting how well their actual office look and feel reflects their core identity and purpose. 

It pays to invest in your front desk and reception when you want to impress and make yourself as memorable as possible. Sometimes, a little tech, digitalization, and colour coordination can go a long way in achieving precisely these and many other goals for your brand. So, let’s take a little break from building stellar websites and imaginative social media pages and move back into the real world and utilizing your front office to impress your visitors!

 

Brand your interior design

4 Ways Your Front Office Can Make an Impression

Some companies believe that you should “go big or go home” when it comes to their front office design solutions, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Filling your space with too many elements can make your visitors feel overwhelmed, and such an approach to design also suppresses your brand into the background. 

You should actually use your interior look to push your brand to the very centre of your visitors’ attention. Start by using your brand’s colour palette to depict a similar mood as on your website. Use as much natural light as possible, but in case you need reinforcements, go with LED bulbs that are will illuminate the space naturally. Adding some potted plants or even a water feature can add to the serenity of your front office and make your visitors feel welcome, pampered, and reduce any stress before job interviews and the like. 

 

Use tech to streamline greeting visitors

At first glance, relying on tech too often can seem cold and distant, and that’s the exact opposite of what you want to achieve with your first impressions and your front office. However, when you find the right solution, you can reap the benefits of tech while you also make your visitors’ experience much more refined and comfortable.

For starters, you can implement a comprehensive visitor management system that lets you add NDA agreements if your visitors need to sign them electronically, print out visitor badges for a more personalized experience that grants them access to your facilities, and sends notifications of any visitors on the premises. You can also create surveys so that you can gather feedback and improve your operations based on what your visitors have to say. 

 

Create the perfect atmosphere

4 Ways Your Front Office Can Make an Impression

Combining the right tech and the right branded features is a great start for crafting that perfect front office look and feel. You needn’t stop there at all, since there are other creative ways to elevate the mood of your greeting area with the right amenities. 

For instance, adding a vending machine with healthy snacks or a coffee machine can make your visitors feel even more comfortable and taken care of during their brief wait. A seating area goes without saying, but you should choose something that goes well with your brand: if you’re youthful and casual, even beanbags are a go, while for a more innovative, edgy look, minimalist sofas are a great pick. 

 

Boost your team’s communication skills

Your front office will do a lot of the talking with its design and layout, but how your visitors are greeted will greatly impact their perception of your business and your brand. First impressions do matter, especially in such a professional setting, so educating your team to greet each visitor properly should actually be a part of your company culture and a great portion of your brand training. 

It will never be acceptable for your employees to just pass a visitor in a hallway, mumble something resembling a “hello” and walk away. Make sure that every employee under your roof, and not just your receptionist, is prepared to greet and introduce themselves, say something about the business if they’re asked a question, and show them where they can take a seat or enjoy a fresh cup of coffee. Such gestures coming from your marketing manager, your web developer, or your graphic designer will be equally appreciated, as your visitors will get a sense of a unified brand culture. 

 

From your business etiquette all the way to the kinds of chairs you choose and the tech you use, all of these details should come together to create a unified image of your brand. Use them to impress your visitors and instantly form a bond with them so that they will feel eager to return and appreciate the extra mile you’re going to.

Hottest Office Design Trends and How to Implement Them

Office Design Trends

More and more companies are starting to think about how office design influences the productivity and efficiency of their employees. Well-organized spaces produce a better effect and can help people be more focused on their tasks. In addition to that, they are great for boosting the work ethic and creating a better environment where everyone can feel relaxed and become more productive without even realizing it. So, if you too are trying to create more spaces where employees can spend their free time and focus on creating great business relationships, here’s what to do. These are the hottest office design trends right now. 

Office Design Trends

Smart conference rooms

Any company that organizes online meetings or holds conferences needs to have a conference room with all the necessary equipment. New technology is a must and it all needs to be organized and placed properly so meetings can be held at any time. Apart from having a projector and a laptop, there are more items like tablets for everyone to vote for new ideas, a video conference system, and a few microphones so that everyone can have their say even in a huge conference room.

 

Lounge space for employees

If you want your employees to be productive, you need to show them how much you appreciate them and want to make them feel relaxed. Start by creating a place where they can eat in peace and spend some time away from their desks. Add a coffee station that will turn into a conversation starter and help your employees get to know each other. Lastly, think about adding some comfortable seating options and let your employees choose whether they want to use lazy bags, chairs, or cozy sofas.

Office Design Trends

Natural elements for wow effect

Some companies like to wow their clients, and if you’re one of them, you need to go big if you want to be noticed. Another one of the hottest office design trends, you can add different natural elements to create a modern workspace environment and wow your clients. Start with wood and stone, as you can use these to create different parts of the lobby and emphasize modern lines right from the entrance. If you have an outdoor space, think about creating a gorgeous vertical garden that will show your care for eco-friendly upgrades and make your office space feel more relaxed than ever.

 

Intriguing color scheme

Minimalism shows the professional side of your company and although lots of big companies are using this approach, new trends are giving you new options to play with different colors. One of the biggest trends is a color-blocking system which is great because you can play with as many hues as you’re comfortable with. Those who like to experiment and aren’t afraid of using different combinations can play with colors to create some sort of organization system. Different combinations can be used for certain sectors of your company, allowing your clients to find their way through your hallways more easily.

 

Open concept

This is a trend that has been around for many years and there are a few reasons for that – having all your employees at one place will allow them to be more productive and focus on their tasks. Try to group people who work in the same department so they are always close and able to solve potential problems and work on different ideas. This will also allow you to promote a great work mood between everyone at the office, eventually turning them into a more coherent unit.

 

Office space doesn’t have to look plain and simple because that won’t help you run a successful company. Instead, think about improving your work environment and let your employees help you with different office design trends and ideas on how to create the best workplace for everyone. 

 

Author Bio

Emma B. Joyce is blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

HVAC Considerations for a Contemporary Office Space

Contemporary Office Space

When building a contemporary office space, there are certainly a lot of things that will require your undivided attention. Coming up with the desired layout, deciding on the type of insulation and choosing the right type of air conditioning system are just some of the things you will need to consider.

That being said, some of these, such as choosing the right HVAC system for your future office space, will need to be decided on in the earliest stages of the building process to avoid having to make expensive adjustments later down the line. Here are some things you should consider.

Work with your HVAC, not against it

The fact is that no matter the HVAC system you choose to implement, it will definitely be one of the biggest energy spenders in your office space. However, there are certainly some design considerations you can opt for to reduce HVAC loads and make your space work with it instead of against it. Aside from making sure that your space is well-insulated, you should also ensure that your office space receives enough sunlight during the day. This is because having opulent natural light has proven to have a positive effect on employees and it will keep your office space warm naturally. However, to avoid overheating during the particularly sunny months, you should also consider going for tinted low-Ewindows.

Contemporary Office Space

Choose the right size

Furthermore, when choosing the right HVAC system for your contemporary office space, you should also think about its size. Here, it’s very important to choose the system that of the right size because going too big or too small simply won’t work. Also, in order to be able to calculate the necessary HVAC load, you should put other things into equation, such as the amount of daylight, lighting design and activity patterns in your office space, and not just the square footage.

Create different zones

Since the era of office cubicles is thankfully long behind us and open office plans are apparently here to stay, you should still consider creating different zones in your open office floor plan to boost the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Working with a commercial construction company will enable you to come up with an optimal design of the space that will guarantee maximum comfort at all times. For instance, the “zones” you should consider creating are perimeter spaces – more affected by weather than interior areas, computer room(s) – require specific control, and the meeting rooms – which will require more cooling, especially when there are a lot of people inside. All of these zones require specific air conditioning, so keep that in mind.

Think about underfloor air distribution

So far, office spaces were usually equipped with overhead heating and cooling systems, which proved to be not so energy efficient, especially in office spaces with tall ceilings. That’s why underfloor air distribution became a popular alternative. When you think about it, the warm air rises towards the ceiling and is being replaced by the cooler conditioned air which ensures consistent comfort levels.

Layer different solutions for different needs

Finally, there will always be areas in your contemporary office space that are cooler than others and there will always be people working for you that prefer warmer environments. That’s why you should consider layering different heating solutions to adhere to everyone’s needs. For instance, energy efficient infrared heater panels are an excellent way to add another dose of comfort to your office space, without having to waste a lot of energy, so consider implementing them as well.

These were just some of the considerations you should keep in mind when designing your office space and choosing the right HVAC system for it. Since this project is definitely not easy, make sure you have the right professional help working with you at all times.

 

Author Bio

Lillian Connors simply can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Modern Office Space: How to Make It More Pleasant

modern office space

A work environment plays a pivotal role in attracting, motivating, and retaining employees. Leading corporations of today are well aware of this and do not hesitate to invest a small fortune in state-of-the-art offices with amenities such as free gourmet eateries. They have demonstrated that an office can and should be much more than a sterile cubicle. But, SMBs and start-ups are catching up as well, figuring our smart ways to make a difference without breaking the bank. So, if you mean business, foster a more satisfying work experience and raise the morale of your troops.

 

Optimal layout

A suitable layout is one of the crucial aspects of a well-designed workspace. In recent years, open-concept offices seem to be all the rage. They bring down the obstacles to interaction and collaboration, such as walls and partitions. Alas, in doing so, they also undermine privacy, increase the level of noise, and face workers with more distractions. Therefore, it is highly advisable to integrate enclosed areas where one can work alone. At the same time, provide communal and relaxation zones that enable workers to socialise and recharge the batteries. Divide and then conquer the space.

 

modern office space

 

Mitigating the noise

In case noise persists as a problem, you have to make additional design changes. Noise-cancelling headphones do help a bit, but they do not address the root of the issue, do they? To make a real change, do an audit and identify the pain points. In all likelihood, you have to add sound-absorbing surfaces like carpets to high-traffic areas. While at it, try to position workstations so that they are not too close to one another or noisy office equipment. Institute mandatory quiet hours if need be— balance uninterrupted productivity with lively interaction and conversations.

 

Visual pull

Furthermore, turn your attention to the visual side of things. Strive to create a branded environment that ignites inspiration and creativity in people. There are only a few hard rules to adhere to here. For instance, pay attention to colour psychology to capture a positive, vibrant energy. Steer clear of too much visual clutter and noise. In addition, leave some room for employees to personalise and customise their work areas. You’d be best advised to work with trusted experts specialising in current office interior design solutions to make your vision a reality.

 

modern office space

 

Let there be light

Lighting is an essential component of modern office design that affects mood and productivity. To harness its power, maximise the natural gain. In other words, do away with thick curtains and other obstructions that prevent the flood of natural light and fresh air from coming inside. Once that is sorted out, you need to make a good use of artificial fittings. Just avoid those hospital-style fluorescents and stick to softer LED or CFL bulbs. These tweaks should allow you to keep everyone energised and minimise problems such as eyestrain and headaches.

 

Ensure ergonomic comfort

The comfort of employees needs to be a top priority. It has a profound effect on productivity, mood, and work satisfaction. What is more, ergonomic furniture, with its flexible features and controls, alleviates neck, back, and shoulder pain. Thus, you need to invest in quality office chairs and desks. You can utilise conventional solutions, but also look beyond them. Ponder both sitting and standing desks, as well as exercise balls and lounge, soft furniture. The chief goal is to fully accommodate workers’ preferred way of working.

 

Get the temperature right

Indoor temperature is closely linked to comfort and supports peak productivity. Science has spoken: the optimal level for the office is around 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit). Note that smart, programmable thermostats are an excellent investment that pays for itself rather quickly. These devices analyse occupancy and temperature data to optimise cooling and healing patterns. Likewise, keep an eye on the latest innovations such as touchscreen infrared heaters. They look great, are energy-efficient, and blend with any layout and style.

 

Time to make it happen

The best offices of today are not just the reflection of a brand, but spaces that are tailored to people who use them. A tight budget should be no excuse: little improvements and adjustments go a long, long way. So, come up with a plan and focus on areas that hold the greatest potential to delight workers. Feel free to think outside the box and explore other ways of making the office friendlier. Put together an inviting work environment – an empowering stage for the whole work collective to grow and flourish.

 

Author Bio:

Lillian Connors simply can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

How does an infrared heater work? We explain

how does an infrared heater work

Introduction: How does an infrared heater work?

An infrared heater is a radiant heater which uses infrared, either Far, Mid or Near, to heat a given space. The correct type of infrared heater ensures the comfortable and efficient heating of the space. Whilst the scientific principles of infrared heating are often explained is is rare to see the detail addressing the question, how does an infrared heater work. The nuts and bolts as it were. This step by step post takes you through the detail. Read on…

 

How does an Infrared heater work?

1.Scientific principles of infrared wavelengths
2.Selection of the correct component parts
3.A high quality heat exchanger (to the funkyheat secret recipe)
4.A high quality front (emitter) with excellent emissivity properties
5.Flexible, intuitive and integrated control system (which meets LOT 20 requirements)

 

The Science

There seems to be a lot of confusion about not only what infrared heat is but also how does an infrared heater work. The most important thing to understand is that infrared heating is an entirely natural process and is easily explained by science. We have written about the difference between infrared and convection heating.

So once the science is understood, the question about how does an infrared heater work is often glossed over by many infrared heating companies, we suspect because they don’t really know.

 

Every day examples of infrared heating

Considering examples of objects producing infrared heat is a good place to begin as it shows the process. In hot weather, for example, surfaces such as walls or roads are heated during the day by the sun (the largest infrared heater!). In the evening when the sun has disappeared we will feel heat from the wall or road. This is infrared heat which has been stored now being radiated back out. That’s how infrared heaters work.

 

how-does-an-infrared-heater-work

 

The Components

The construction of a high quality infrared heater takes the scientific principles and the action of heat and incorporates them into a heater which makes the most of these elements. It is important to note at this stage that there are an awful lot of poor quality heaters on the market described as infrared heaters which are really nothing of the sort. Read our guide about 7 things which ensure a high quality infrared heater.

So a quality infrared heater begins with science and continues with the right type of component to form a heater which produces at least 80% infrared heat.

 

All very well, but how is that achieved?

The days of clunky, sharp edged, boxy infrared heaters should be long past, or at least restricted to the commercial installation to suspended ceilings. Sadly however that’s still not the case. Infrared heaters can and should be a properly designed piece of technology, there’s really not an excuse for throwing cheap components into a box and calling it an infrared heater.

Our touchscreen infrared heaters began with an assessment of aesthetics and a careful study of the visual / emotional impact that certain shapes have on us and the environment in which they are installed.

Using only Venetian glass of the highest quality, tempered to reach the highest safety standards and integrated coloured glass rather than back painting ensures stability, superior emissivity (read on later) and no fading, cracking or flaking.

 

NASA quality

Our heating elements are manufactured only for us, to our own secret recipe and by a factory producing heating elements for NASA – now that’s quality.

We build our infrared heaters by hand, every heater is tested as if comes of the production line and every heater is tested for 24 hours. We don’t batch test. Our manufacturing process and the design of our heaters means minimal hidden surfaces and a high IP rating (IP45) making an infrared heater suitable for wet-rooms, bathrooms and areas requiring high levels of hygiene such as hospitals or nursing homes.

Smart design ensures efficient and quick response to temperature changes and we have also integrated the ability to limit and lock heater surface temperature.

The construction of our infrared heaters feature both high technical and aesthetic resistance properties, thus ensuring a long product life, which is fully recyclable at the end of life.

 

How does an infrared heater work? We explain

 

What is emissivity? Read on:

Simply, emissivity in this context is the efficiency of a material to radiate infrared (emitting energy as thermal radiation). Some materials are more effective than others, Glass for example has a higher emissivity rating that anodized aluminium meaning that it is fantastic for infrared heaters. Here’s the full emissivity techie explanation.

This means that the best infrared heaters should be integrating material with high emissivity properties, such as glass.

 

The Controls

The control system used with an infrared heater should have some basic functionality to ensure that the heater is working to its full potential. Infrared heating is best set up to work within a temperature band, so the controls should allow you to set a minimum and a maximum temperature.

There should be an open window function, whereby the controller senses a sudden, large drop in temperature and switches the heater(s) off, monitoring until the temperature stabilises and then allows the heater(s) to be turned back on again.

The controller should be programmable for a full 7 days allowing you to fine tune to your unique requirements.

Ideally there should be a holiday / frost protection setting included to protect your property when you’re not there.

Finally the control system should include a boost button which would allow the heating system to work at full temperature for a limited period of time prior to reverting back to the programmed settings.

 

infrared heater controller

 

Zoning

Our touchscreen infrared heaters include all of these functions in the controller, and also have a touchscreen pad integrated into the heater itself allowing touch control for the most commonly required functions. Additionally one of our controllers can be set up as a master controller to control any number of heaters. The allows you to zone the heating as you like very simply and easily.

 

Summary

How does an infrared heater work? An efficient infrared heater is essentially a simple piece of technology and will provide you with years of efficient heating provided that it is manufactured with quality components which work as they need to, thus ensuring good emissivity. Fine tuning control is essential to ensure ease of use and flexibility of heating and zoning.

We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have and you can learn more about our infrared heaters here. We also look at the question, are infrared heaters worth it?

What size infrared heater do I need?

what size infrared heater do i need

A 5 step guide to answering the question: What size infrared heater do I need?

You’ve done your research, you understand the benefits and efficiency of infrared heating. Now it’s time to answer the question: What size infrared heater do I need? You’ll need to consider both the space you’re heating but also the style of heater that you’re planning to use.

We have two step by step guides below outlining the steps you need to take in order to specify the correct size of heater for your requirements.

There’s a process you need to follow in order to ensure you have chosen the right size of infrared heater for the space you want to heat:

 

What size infrared heater do I need? Heating Indoors

  1. Measure the length, width and height of the room in metres
  2. Multiply the 3 measurements together to calculate the volume in m3
  3. If the room is well insulated, double glazed and with only 1 external wall, multiply the m3 x 25 = total wattage required
  4. As point 3 but with 2 external walls, multiply the m3 x 35 = total wattage required
  5. As point 3 but with 2 external walls and less well insulated or without double glazing, multiply the m3 x 45 = total wattage required

What size infrared heater do I need

 

What size infrared heater do I need? Heating Outdoors

The requirement will vary according to manufacturer. For our own high quality patio heaters, these are the steps to take:

  1. What height will you be mounting the infrared patio heater? Between 2m and 3m is ideal
  2. What is the surface area (footprint) of space you want to heat?
  3. Use the guide below to decide which size patio heater you need.

What size patio heater doI need?

 

Alternatively you can use the funkyheat infrared heater sizing calculator to determine what size of infrared heater you need.

 

 

Other considerations

There are different types of infrared heating, it important to choose the right type of heater for your requirements. We have a short guide explaining the differences between the different types of infrared heater if you do have any questions.

 

Indoor infrared heater, which is the best?

indoor infrared heater - which is best?

For any efficient heating system it’s important that you have the right heating solution for the job. If you’ve recently become aware of infrared heaters, this can be a little confusing. There are near, mid and far infrared heaters. How do you know which is the best indoor infrared heater and which is the best form of heating for you?

As a starting point it’s important to understand how each form of heating works. Infrared is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and each form of infrared heat has a different place on the spectrum. Please see diagram below.

Optimum Infrared Spectrum

 

Near Infrared

This is visible light infrared (to simplify things) and the heaters operate at a high temperature (often over 300ºC) and is therefore suited to spot heating outside or is sometimes used for medical treatment. Most often you will see this type of heater in smoking areas or al-fresco dining areas. Due to the red glow produced by these heaters together with the very high operating temperature these near infrared heaters are generally not a good idea as an indoor infrared heater in a domestic situation.

near infrared heater
An example of a near infrared heater

 

Mid (medium) Infrared

Think of this as a combination between Near and Far infrared heaters. High operating temperatures but no visible light. This makes this style of infrared heating more flexible and less intrusive and lends itself ideally to al-fresco dining or patio heating. Often this type of heater will be used in conservatories. It is best used as on demand heater, so for spaces where you don’t necessarily want a consistent heat which is perhaps infrequently used.

conservatory heating
An example of a mid (medium) infrared heater

 

FAR Infrared

Producing no visible light and operating at lower temperatures, Far infrared heaters are best used in situations where a constant and consistent heat is required. The heat produced is gentle and comfortable and importantly very efficient. Perfectly suited as a indoor infrared heater, high quality far infrared heaters have integrated programmable controls and the ability to limit surface temperatures. They are manufactured in a number of different wattages with finishes available in different colours, mirror or unique images. Programming an infrared heater should be simple and set up to operate within a temperature band. This means that the infrared central heating system can be set up, programmed and forgotten about ensuring a consistent and comfortable temperature throughout the home. Far infrared heating is the perfect solution for central heating in the home.

indoor infrared heater
An example of a Far infrared heater

 

Efficiency and comfort depends on a number of things:

Ensuring that you tick off all of these elements will mean you have the ideal heating solution for your unique circumstances.

How Do Infrared Heaters Save Money?

How Do Infrared Heaters Save Money

Perhaps you’ve seen some advertising for infrared heaters, or been on a couple of websites where the explanation leads you to ask the question, How Do Infrared Heaters Save Money?

 

Mis-leading ‘know it alls’

There’s a lot of mis-information out there and unfortunately some of the best intentioned forum members (AKA know it alls) are providing really misleading and factually incorrect information. Rather than argue with them one by one we felt it important to explain clearly why infrared heaters are more efficient. Read in more detail the scientific basis for “how do infrared heaters save money?”.

The biggest misunderstanding is about the action of heat and the assumption made that infrared heating and convection heating work in the same way and that heat rises.

Heat does not rise! Warm air rises. Warm air rises because cold air is more dense. This is convection heating and heats a space from the ceiling down. This results in an uneven temperature from floor to ceiling and the necessity that the whole volume of space is heated before you feel the benefit.

 

uneven temperature floor to ceiling

 

Warm air, because of the action of convection heat, is more prone to be lost through open doors, draughty windows etc. etc. and the cold air floods in to displace the warmed air. This is science.

So why is infrared heating more efficient? The action of heating by infrared is different and more efficient. It is not necessary to heat the whole volume of space before the benefit is felt. Used correctly, infrared heating will bring the space to the desired air temperature and maintain this temperature consistently. When the warmed air is lost then one of the advantages with infrared heating is that you are not beginning again (as with convection heating) since infrared heat is stored in the surface and objects in the space.

 

Specification differences

Energy input requirements to heat a space are lower with infrared heaters than they are with traditional convection based central heating. This is again science and independent scientific studies have demonstrated that less power is required to heat a space when using infrared heating. With convection based heating, the heating load requirement would be calculated at around 60W per m3 (or the BTU equivalent) for a well insulated space. Infrared heating, because it doesn’t suffer the same inefficiencies as convection heat can be specified at 25W per m3 (or the BTU equivalent) for a well insulated space.

 

sizing an infrared heater

 

Many of the forums giving out incorrect advice will see a % cost saving quoted and then say something like, ‘that’s ridiculous, 1000W is 1000W whether it’s convection or infrared’. This is true, a 1000W infrared heater will use more or less the same electricity as a 1000W convection heater. However they do not understand that less watts (and therefore less electricity) is required with an infrared heated space.

Their assumption has been made often because of their confusion over different technologies, many negative answers are because they are assuming the % efficiency claimed is related to COP which is often used to describe the efficiency of air source heat pumps.

Typically a simple electric heater with no moving parts may convert 1 kW of electricity into 1 kW of heat, giving it a COP of 1. Whereas, a heat pump may convert 1 kW of electricity in 3 or 4 kW of heat, giving it a CoP of 3 or 4.

This is the basis of most forum misunderstandings. Infrared heaters will not have a COP of more than one, in the same way that an electrical convection heater will not have a COP of more than 1.

The efficiency difference is because the number of watts required to heat a space using infrared heat is less than the number of watts required to heat the same space using a convection based heating system.

 

Whole house central heating

Another common area of error on the forums is whether infrared heaters can used to provide whole house central heating. The correct answer is of course, yes. In fact there are many compelling reasons why using infrared heaters for full central heating makes absolute sense.

 

The infrared heating spectrum

The next common misinformation we see on the forums relates to the different types of infrared heat. many assume there is only 1 form, the kind that gives of a red glow, i.e. NEAR infrared. On this basis we often see people on these forums told that infrared heat is only good for spot heating in large spaces or outside and should not be used anywhere else. This is absolute nonsense.

Infrared heaters come in 3 forms, NEAR, MID and FAR. The graphic below explains where on the spectrum each of these sit.

 

Optimum Infrared Spectrum

 

How each of these heater works and in which situation they are best used is dependent whether they are near, mid or far infrared.

 

Near IR Heaters

These are typically used in large spaces such as warehousing, or outdoors such as smoking areas. The heat generated by near infrared heaters is high and there is a red or orange glow from the heater. This means there are some locations where it is less desirable (churches for example) or intimate outdoor dining areas and patios. These heaters are normally used on an on-demand basis and turned on and off only when required.

 

Mid IR heaters

Sitting in between Near and Far IR heaters this part of the spectrum means heaters can be manufactured offering a combination of advantages from both. A higher radiant temperature but no visible light mean these mid IR heaters are best suited to spaces that are infrequently used, or very large and where a visible light would be a distraction. We generally specify these for patios, conservatories and some types of office heating. A great example of a mid infrared heater.

 

Far IR Heaters

These have had various names, from infrared heaters, to radiant panel heaters. They give off no visible light, cover a larger surface area and work at lower temperatures. Ideally suited to spaces where a consistent heat within a temperature band is required. This type of IR heater is perfectly suited to the household environment and is produced in various different shapes and finishes to suit most people’s tastes and requirements, from simple white, to mirror, to bespoke images. With the right control system they should be a set up and forget. Funkyheat infrared panel heaters come with some nifty features, such as integrated and programmable controls, a touchscreen control pad on the heat allowing additional functionality and the ability to limit surface temperature.

 

We hope we’ve answered the question, how do infrared heaters save money. If there’s still something you’re confused about or need an answer to please let us know.

 

 

7 things that ensure a high quality infrared heater 2019

7 things that ensure a high quality infrared heater 2018

Infrared heating has grown in popularity over the last 4 or 5 years and with it the number of companies trying to sell you their infrared heater. In fact, although they present them slightly differently or give them a different name, a huge number of companies are selling exactly the same heater as each other and often making different and exaggerated claims for them. Some companies even claim that a heater manufactured in China and landed for a couple of weeks in Germany is somehow German manufactured! In short, it’s a minefield.

 

So what constitutes a high quality infrared heater 2019?

There’s a number of points worth considering before you make your purchase. Initially considering the science, but then looking at various elements which will ensure that you get an infrared heater that actually is an infrared heater, works as you’d expect it and is of a quality that you should expect. Click here if you’re interested in how an infrared heater works. Here’s how to ensure you’re getting a high quality infrared heater 2019…

 

The Science and independent study – a review

Knowledge of infrared heating has grown and many people understand the difference between and infrared heater and a convection heat. If not, simply a convection heater heats the air and has to heat the whole volume of space before it is effective. An infrared heater heats people and objects directly and heats the air secondarily. Infrared heating is more efficient and less prone to heat loss.

It’s important to know that this is science, not a marketing claim and that there is plenty of independent scientific study to back this up. The headline findings of some of the relevant studies are:

  • 1/3 more energy is required to heat a room using convection heat
  • Convection heating is subject to higher heat loss caused by draughts than infrared heating
  • Infrared heaters can provide the same comfort levels at lower temperatures than convection heat
  • Convection heat is a far less efficient source of heat transfer than infrared heating
  • When compared to infrared heating, it takes 6% more energy to raise the temperature by 1C

Without getting too techie, it’s a good idea to briefly review some of the studies that have been done into the efficiency of infrared heating:

 

  1. Zmeureanu, R., Fazio, P.P., and Haghighat, F. 1988. Thermal Performance of Radiant Heating Panels. T ASHRAE 94(2): 13-27 This study, undertaken in 1988 makes a comparison of the thermal performance of a warm air heating system and a radiant (infrared) heating system. Various parameters were considered and measured:
  • Heat transfer through the building components
  • Shortwave solar radiation
  • Longwave radiation (FAR infrared) exchange between interior surfaces
  • Heat gains from people, lights and equipment
  • Air Infiltration

Modelling was based on a space of 6m x 6m x 3.6m with one external wall on a cold and cloudy day. The heating load was estimated at 46kWh/day for the warm air heating system and 38kWh/day for the radiant heating system (which was found to be an overestimate of the radiant heating requirement by over 20%).

The infrared heating panels heated the walls directly, which became warmer than the air temperature. The final calculations revealed that the required heating load for the radiant system was in fact only 10kWh/day whilst the warm air system was correct at 46kWh/day, this is a reduction with the infrared heating system on the heating load of 77%.

The conclusion of the study was that for a given level of thermal comfort the infrared heating system is more economical than a warm air (convection) system.

 

Infrared Heater Efficiency

 

  1. Leuven University, Germany. Literature Study on radiant heating in a thermally comfortable indoor environment. This study summarises many other studies undertaken in the comparison of radiant (infrared) and convection heat.
  • Radiant heaters vs. convective heaters – In general the majority of studies have shown that radiant heating systems offer the advantages of reduced heating demand, reduced energy consumption, operation at a lower air temperature whilst maintaining thermal comfort, lower heat loss and a more even temperature throughout the heated space. It is noted that best savings are found with surface mounted radiant panels – infrared heater panels.
  • Thermal Comfort – defined as the condition of the mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment. Dissatisfaction will generally be as a result of one of the following aspects (i) a large difference between the radiant temperatures on different sides (ii) Draught (iii) Vertical air temperature differences (a big issue with convection heating) (iv) Floor surface temperature. It is noted that correctly installed and specified infrared heating addresses these issues of thermal comfort.
  • Conclusion of this study of studies was that radiant heating systems offer the best potential to integrate all the elements required for best indoor environmental quality.

 

Advantages of an Infrared Heater

 

Is your electric heater really an infrared heater?

What’s the difference between an electric heater and an infrared heater? Do you know, does your supplier know? Does your supplier care or are they just interested in knocking out the cheapest electric heater they can, a la eBay without worrying about it.

The majority of cheap heaters sold as infrared heaters have minimal levels of infrared heat output. Shocking isn’t it. We believe that in order to be called an infrared heater the heater should produce, as a bare minimum, at least 50% output as infrared. The majority struggle to get above 20%. This means that they’re inefficient and work primarily as a convection heater and with the inefficiencies of convection heaters that you were trying to replace or avoid.

Our heaters with their unique infrared heating conductors generate extremely high efficiency rates, above 90%, and produce only a small amount of convection heat, less than 10%. Meaning maximum infrared benefits and true infrared heating.

 

What is an infrared heater

 

Known quality of manufacture and not just a CE Mark

Were you aware the CE mark is self certified by the manufacturer and is not an independent test of quality?

Makes you wonder about how robust the quality of the heater is if the only certification is a CE mark. All the manufacturer has to do is sign a statement confirming that the heater is being manufactured to certain standards. There are no checks, no inspections, no independent testing….

A quality manufactured infrared heater will have undergone rigorous independent testing at a respected and recognised test house to certain applicable EU standards. If they’ve not been tested in Europe then you should ensure that the testing done and the certification provided is transferable to the appropriate EU norms.

To give you an example for the sort of testing and certification you should be looking for, these are some of the certification awarded to our heaters by a UK certification test centre in 2019 (not a test centre buried in the Chinese countryside somewhere):

  • EN 60335-1:2012 / EN60335-2-30 (Safety of Electrical Appliances)
  • EN55014 1 + 2 / EN61003-2 / EN61003-3 (EMC)
  • EN50366:2003+A1 (EMF)
  • EN60529-1992 + A2 (IP44 rating)
  • RoHS
  • CE Certified

If the heater you are thinking of purchasing does not have this relevant certification then it’s best to steer clear since you are unable to verify either the quality or the performance. If the company you are thinking of purchasing from cannot provide this certification it’s a good idea to ask yourself why that may be.

Are you able to actually see the detail of the factory, or a demonstration of the robustness of the heater, or the quality of the manufacture?

 

Known brand of heater

One of the big giveaways of a low quality heater is the packaging it comes in. Plain box, no branding and generic instructions? You can be pretty certain that this has been churned out of a Chinese factory somewhere. The question is who has ownership of this heater and deals with the warranty issues when it fails or doesn’t perform as expected? Is it the manufacturer? Hmmm, who is the manufacturer? If the company you purchased the infrared heater from won’t give you that information then the chances are that they don’t know themselves and they bought it from some unknown middle man.

 

Manufacturer backed warranty of at least 5 years

Ideally you want a manufacturer’s warranty on any infrared heater you purchase and it should be a minimum of 5 years for all the components. 5 years is a reasonable warranty.

 

Is the price too low to ensure quality

Think about it. A quality item is only as good as the component quality and the manufacturing quality. If cheap components have been used then this obviously has an impact on the quality of the heater. If it have been manufactured cheaply then it’s probably lacking manufacturing skill and a decent QC process.

A good example of this is the electronic components of the heater, below you’ll see an example of a cheaply manufactured heater, the type you’ll find all over the internet and eBay.

cheap infrared heater
Cheaply manufactured infrared heater

Like everything, you really do get what you pay for. A cheap heater will be made using the cheapest components possible and churned out of the factory as cheaply as possible. Is it worth it? We know that the cheap heaters claiming a wattage output rarely meet their claims. They don’t have to prove it because generally they’re only self-certified. Heaters we’ve tested claiming an output of 600W didn’t actually get over 400W.

Then you have to consider if there are hidden costs. Often the low price will only be available because you have to purchase mounting brackets or a control system or delivery and VAT is extra and suddenly what on the face of it seemed cheap is actually expensive and you don’t have the quality of product either.

 

Are the sales claims exaggerated?

Exaggerated sales claims are a sign of 2 things. Firstly the company either doesn’t fully understand what it is they’re selling or secondly they’re just trying to make a sale and will claim whatever they need to in order to make a sale. Either way they’re probably not a company you want to be dealing with.

Sales claims should be reasonable and based on the actual science, they shouldn’t claim things like 80% savings or ridiculous health benefits if they do, this is a warning sign.

Does the company properly specify the size of heater that you require for heating the space? Is there the option on site to help you do this? Do they actually have technical knowledge when you speak to them, do they really understand the technology and the action of heating. Can they explain to you in the detail the benefits and the drawbacks. Do they even talk about the situations where infrared heating may not be appropriate or as efficient or are they just trying to make a sale.

 

Summary – the best infrared heater 2018

There’s a number of points to consider so that you can be sure that you’re getting a good quality infrared heater 2018 at a fair price. There are a lot of poorly manufactured, unrealistically cheap electric heaters on the market claiming to be infrared heaters when they are actually nothing of the sort.

There are also a lot of reseller companies buying from a middleman neither of whom really understand the technology. We’ve seen, and been asked to rectify, works by these types of company where the infrared heating demand has been incorrectly specified and the heaters badly installed positionally resulting in a heating system not functioning as it should and the customer often significantly out of pocket. Ensuring the correct type of infrared heater for each situation is essential.

It’s important not to get sucked into buying a really cheap infrared heater, they are always cheap for a reason and generally for one or a number of the reasons that we have outlined above.

If you’re unsure, have technical or specification or installation questions and you can’t get sensible answers from the companies you’re dealing with then we’re here to help. You can contact us here

 

Infrared Heating Panels - Answers to your questions

Commercial Patio Heaters – Al Fresco Heating – Infrared

commercial patio heaters

As a restaurant or a cafe with outdoor dining or drinking spaces, how do you attract and retain customers? Commercial patio heaters will help. Here’s how…

Ensuring your guest’s comfort increases the amount of time they’ll spend with you, which increase their spend. They’re comfortable, you have customers staying longer. It’s win win. Well yes to a certain extent, but what if you install the wrong type of commercial patio heater? One that costs too much to run or one that interrupts the ambience you want to create with an irritating red glow.

What’s the solution, what are we proposing?

Developed in collaboration with the University of Modena, who also collaborate with Ferrari on heat dispersion research. Designed in Italy by PINOSPAGNOLO DESIGN with the objective of matching the aesthetics desired by Architects, Construction Professionals, Interior Designers and End Users (commercial or domestic) wanting an aesthetically desirable heater rather than the cheap, red-glow commercial patio heaters currently in the market…

This is definitely not a chunk of heating metal… Read on…

We are able to offer solutions for the vast majority of patio, al fresco and outdoor heating requirements. We can offer four different powers and range of action: 1500W / 1800W / 2400W & 3200W – four models are set with dimmer and remote control and four without. Additionally we have a number of 3 phase units available.

What’s a dimmer, I hear you ask… Well, this provides the facility for you to dim the intensity of heating in much the same way you would dim a light. The remote control dimmer means that you can turn the heating intensity down by 1/3 or 2/3 so providing additional efficiency for you and additional comfort for your guests.

What’s the range of heating? Please see image below showing the heating capability of the 2400W commercial patio heaters in an outdoor installation.

2400W commercial patio heaters

The performance of these type of commercial patio heaters is achieved with the following specific principles:

1 – The emissivity of the unit linked to generated temperature
2 – The emissivity of the unit linked to colour of the radiating surface.

Constructed using high quality extruded 6060 aluminium 6060 and with an anodised casing and radiant surface, the smart technology and design maximises its warming capacity.

All models are constructed with a weather resistant extruded & anodised aluminium casing with an IP55 rating making it suitable for indoor or year round exposed outdoor use.

The anodisation is black because this colour emits more than any other colour: a black body is a perfect radiation emitter / absorber emitting the maximum radiation at each temperature and wavelength. Anodisation at the right thickness boosts heating emissivity because it is manufactured at a thickness of over 20 μm micrometers  – an attribute certainly not available in any cheap commercial patio heaters. This means a well thought-out choice with substantial advantages for both: heat radiation performance, beautiful surfaces and long lasting useful life.

All a bit techie?

These heaters work efficiently in all weathers and heat your guests comfortably without emptying your pockets. Read more about commercial patio heaters Don’t forget to ask for your trade discount.

Efficient heating in a number of different situations and locations. Take a look…