We’ve been conditioned over the years and with the advent cheap and plentiful gas to view ALL electric heating as expensive and bad. Is that actually the case though?
It is true to say that infrared heaters are powered by electricity, however it is important to understand that the vast majority of electric heaters are not infrared heaters.
Efficient electric heating = infrared heating.
Inefficient electric heating = electric convection or storage heaters or oil filled radiators.
Electric heater or infrared heating?
How do you know whether you just have an electric heater or infrared heating?
There are two things to consider:
- If you have an electric convector heater, why is this less efficient than an infrared heater?
(i) 1/3 more energy is required to heat a room using convection heat
(ii) Convection heating is subject to higher heat loss caused by draughts than infrared heating
(iii) Infrared heaters can provide the same comfort levels at lower temperatures than convection heat
(iv) Convection heat is a far less efficient source of heat transfer than infrared heating.
You can read more about this and other inefficiencies of electric convection heating here.
- If your electric heater claims to be an infrared heater, is it? Really? Many electric panel heaters are now claiming to be far infrared radiant heaters. Most of the the time they’re not! The general giveaway is price. Is it really cheap? Odds on that it’s not actually an infrared heater at all.
What makes a good infrared heater?
The best far infrared panel heater is the one which produces the maximum amount of infrared rays. Only then a panel does an infrared panel heater work to the highest efficiency, however, as infrared heating has gown in popularity more and more electric heaters call themselves “infrared heaters”, even they have an output rate of infrared which is below 25%.
There are no national or international regulations, above which percentage a heater can be called “infrared heater”, but our view is that the limit should be at least above 50%.
Another important factor for reaching the optimum IR spectrum is that the heater panel performs within a certain temperature range.
The less input power (W) used to achieve this certain surface temperature the better the panel (e.g. a panel of same size with same surface temperature which use less power is better than a panel which needs more power to achieve the same surface temperature).
Furthermore, it is essential that the heat distribution on the surface is equal. Only an equal heat distribution (surface temperature) guarantees that the total input power (W) is used for working at best performance.
So, for the most efficient electric heating you need a true far infrared radiant heater, only then can you be sure that it is an efficient electric heater.
Electric heater or infrared heating? We think you know the answer.
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