What’s the best solution for heating an entire house or work space.
Home heating is one our largest household expenses and yet most of us just carry on using whatever heating system we’ve inherited in our home. Generally we don’t consider efficiency, we don’t think about interior design and we don’t consider what the better options may be. However it does pay to be proactive and really take into account all the aspects which will help ensure a comfortable, healthy living and working spaces and provide the best solution for heating an entire house or work space.
In an age when people moving into a new property will often rip out the existing kitchen and bathroom (no matter how new it may be) to put their own stamp on a home this seems more than a little odd.
There are many different options for home heating, some choices will be unavailable for example if you don’t have mains gas available. In this article our focus is on infrared heat due to the efficiency of this style of heating.
Initially it’s important to understand what infrared heating is, how it works and why it is more efficient. Whereas convection heat works by heating the air (heated air rises to the top pushing the colder air to the bottom of the space creating convection circulation). infrared heat works by heating objects, surfaces and people directly. This is far more efficient for a number of reasons:
- Heat is stored in the structure of and the objects in the space
- Infrared heat is far less affected by draughts or open doors than convection heat
- Comfort levels are higher in spaces heater by infrared, just a slight change in surface temperature creates a large change in comfort perception
It’s safe to say that the minimum we should expect from our home heating is that it should heat the house and do so efficiently. And yet… more often than not people are enduring a poorly efficient heating system, whether that’s because of the boiler or distributed heat losses through the spaghetti of copper piping that many homes have.
Add into the mix the inefficiency of heating air (and the rapid heat loss) and the overall heat (and money) loss becomes huge. Insulation , necessarily, has been one of the biggest battles in this war against home heating inefficiency and this is certainly something every homeowner should ensure is taken care of satisfactorily.
If the insulation issue has been correctly addressed and the homeowner really wants to keep a convection based heating system then it is important to assess the efficiency of the boiler. An old boiler will in all likelihood be very inefficient and it is important to install the most efficient boiler that your budget can stretch to. That being said even the efficiency of a new boiler deteriorates rapidly.
Finally, your convection based heating system will require regular maintenance, from flushing out the system to regular boiler servicing.
On the other hand, infrared heating shows efficiency in a number of different ways.
- No distributed heat losses – heat is created where it is used, not in a boiler some way away
- No moving parts and minimal maintenance
- Infrared action of heating efficiency as described previously
- Control – our touchscreen infrared heaters integrate local thermostatic control meaning that each heater reacts only to the heating zone it is controlling. This adds far greater efficiency and reduces cost in your heating system.
Aside from the efficiency, aesthetics are one of the major drawbacks of a convection based heating system. Ugly white radiators slapped onto the most usable part of a wall. You can’t put your furniture where you need it, which means that often your pictures or mirrors are also in awkward places.
Infrared heating means that you can place your furniture where it works best for you. You can choose the flow of your room and make the most of the wall space you have. This creates a great flexibility and a surprising amount of usable space.
In addition to making your space more usable, you can select the colour, the shape and even personalise your infrared heater with an image of your choice.
Infrared heating offers a great deal of flexibility and not only with regard to the layout of your home. Infrared heaters can be used to heat the whole house, certain rooms (such as a conservatory) or to support existing heating systems in difficult to heat spaces. There’s no pipework, minimal installation and Funkyheat touchscreen infrared heaters come with integrated thermostat controllers for true independent control. All important aspects in a solution for heating an entire house or work space
The flexibility of an infrared heating system makes it an attractive option for buildings where a traditional convection based heating system may prove problematic. Static caravans or park homes for example where generally heating fuel can be very expensive will benefit from an efficient form of heating which costs significantly less to run day on day. In this environment, where condensation and black spot mould can be a problem, infrared heating is a very attractive heating choice. We have seen our infrared heating systems installed in both lodge and park homes and glamping pods for these very reasons.
There are many advantages to using infrared to heat your home, not least the comfort factor. Infrared is a very pleasant heat with none of the stuffiness very often associated with convection based heating systems such a water based radiators. Infrared heat does not rely on circulation to heat spaces which means that it does not stir up dust or mould particles and ensures a more even temperature throughout the room.
There are a number of disadvantages with convection heating:
- Uneven heating. The action of convection heat means that air particles are heated, as they warm up the rise, pushing colder air particles to the floor. This creates a very uneven temperature from floor to ceiling and is often why people in convection heated spaces have cold feet.
- The convection action of heat means that the whole volume of space must be heated before the benefit of heating the space can be enjoyed.
- Heat is lost very quickly in convection heated spaces because of the action of convection heat. If the is a draught or an open door the warm air finds the spaces via convection air flow and cold air displaces the previously warmed air.
Infrared heat heats the objects in a space, the structure of the space and the people in the space first, with the air heated secondarily. The end result is the same air temperature as a convection heated space, however the temperature is more stable and more easily maintained.
The management of infrared heating and convection heating systems is also different. Convection based heating systems are regularly turned on and off due to their inherent inefficiency and cost of running. Infrared heating on the other hand is best managed by maintaining a temperature band, generally 15ºC when the space is not being used and 21ºC or 22ºC when the space is in use. With a well designed infrared heater which has an integrated control system it will be a proper set and forget heating system which will simply maintain the desired temperatures.
The infrared spectrum covers near, mid and far (see diagram below) and whilst FAR infrared heat is the best heating for insulated, indoor spaces, NEAR or MID infrared heat is the best for outdoor and wind sheltered patio heating.
Outdoor and patio heaters need to operate at a higher temperature and provide shorter periods of more intense heat, which are the parameters that NEAR and MID infrared heat works at. The area that they heat is smaller than FAR infrared heaters but in common with FAR infrared heaters they heat people directly. This is far more efficient that the likes of the gas patio heaters where a good proportion of the heat just evaporates into the sky.
Outdoor patio heaters should have a relevant weatherproof (IP) rating, of at least IP55 meaning that they will be able to be installed and used outdoors all year round and unaffected by the weather conditions. The heaters can be set up with a remote controller, a timer or a simple on / off switch.
These heaters do not need to be switched on all the time and are designed to be turned on and off when required. This really helps the usability of your patio or outdoor space and a really well designed patio incorporating efficient heating is like creating a whole new room to your property.
Heating A Home – Considerations
When heating a home there are a number of aspects which should be considered, not just the style of heating used.
Initially it is important to make sure that the spaces which are being heated are as well insulated as is practical. Generally it is cheaper to insulate than it is for the additional energy required to heat a badly insulated space. Insulation in the lost space (or above a suspended ceiling) is the first place to begin. If there isn’t any insulation this needs to be rectified as soon as possible. If there is insulation check the depth. Ideally the depth of insulation you should be aim for is 270mm and whatever you put in should be good for at least 40 years, paying for itself many times over.
If the loft is already well insulated then it’s worth considering insulation of the walls, either cavity wall insulation or external or internal cladding based insulation if you have solid walls.
A healthy building should have ventilation which provides a healthy air flow, this is not the same as draughts! A healthy air flow can be achieved without making the building inefficient as far as the heating is concerned.
When thinking about reducing heat loss from draughts in the building the areas to consider generally are windows, doors, unused chimneys and if you have them, floorboards. There are various ways to draught proof and you should also consider renewing old (particularly single glazed) windows with energy efficient double glazing which incorporate a trickle feed for good ventilation.
Infrared heating provides a comfortable, pleasant heat in a cost efficient way and we believe the best solution for heating an entire house or work space. Infrared heat is the same heat produced by the sun and is the heat we feel from walls or roads after a hot day. If does not have the stuffiness that we feel from convection heat.
Infrared heat can be used in a wide range of applications, both indoor and outdoor, and can be used to heat the whole of a house or office (or warehouse) or used to support existing heating systems.
Choosing the right infrared heater for the purpose is important, as is setting it up and using correctly. We have a further guide on how to use your infrared heater.
Infrared heating is a cost efficient form of heating which has been independently studied showing the following results:
- 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
Infrared heat has a number of advantages for heating homes, work spaces and outdoor spaces, it’s important to consider heating holistically and not to just rely on an efficient form of heat. Taking into account other aspects such as insulation and draughts in conjunction with heating will mean that you have the most comfortable and efficient spaces in which to live or work and the right solution for heating an entire house or work space.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.