Comfortable warmth makes us in the cold months of the year, the stay in living rooms, offices, bathrooms, assembly halls much more pleasant. Heating options are many; most are based on the heating of the ambient air (convection heat). By contrast, with an infrared heater, you can produce enjoyable radiant heat. But how does such a device work? In this article, we have put together everything worth knowing about these special heaters.
The triple energy principle
The principle behind every electrically powered infrared radiator is simple. The device is supplied with electrical energy (conventional or generated). This energy is converted by the radiant heater again into infrared radiation. As soon as these rays strike solids, heat is created. How much the material heats up depends on its nature and the intensity of the infrared radiation.
The big difference to conventional radiators is the heated shape that is generated with infrared radiant heaters. It is mainly radiant heat, which provides contactless heat over the path of the IR waves, so it does not directly heat the ambient air. For this reason, the height of the room air temperature does not play a significant role with infrared radiant heaters to feel the heat effect of the spotlights. If the air is heated with IR heating systems, then only indirectly, because heated solids release heat energy into the room air.
About infrared rays
The generated infrared radiation is electromagnetic radiation, similar to light rays. However, the infrared wavelength is invisible to humans while we can see the light. However, the frequency range of IR rays directly adjoins the visible spectrum of light with even shorter waves and in the lower range of microwaves with a higher wavelength.
Infrared rays are harmless to the human body. The sun also sends infrared radiation to the earth, which is heated by it. In this case, UV rays, which are not emitted to the same extent by conventional infrared radiators, have a damaging effect.
What happens in the radiant heater?
An infrared radiant heater is standardly designed so that a heating element is mounted under the front. The front is oriented so that it can give the maximum amount of radiation to the room or the surfaces. A reflector on the backside also directs the warming IR rays forward. As a heating element, usually a heating coil or a heating tube is set close to the front. In the heating rod, a metallic heating coil is heated using electricity, whereby radiation is generated.
On the back (or depending on the orientation of the top), IR radiant heaters usually have a heat-insulating layer, which ensures that the radiant heat is absorbed mainly to the front. These are traditionally mineral wool or special rigid foam. Since the glow elements can reach temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius during operation, a protective grid is mounted in front of them.
Additional info: Modern IR emitters often have a quartz heating element. The highly transparent quartz surface ensures very high radiation emissions, which can significantly increase the power and efficiency of the lamps.
Special case dark radiator
A particular variant of the conventional infrared heaters is so-called dark radiators. These are IR radiant heaters, which have an additional ceramic or metal panel. With this veneering, not only is the light generated by the heating element but also the surface temperature of the radiator is reduced. Thanks to this construction, it is possible, for example, to use dark radiators in the form of mirror heaters or image heaters, without impairing the thermal output.
Gas infrared heaters are often preferable to more conventional heating systems as they are considered to be more direct and efficient than energy. Infrared heaters heat objects and people at ground level instead of heating the air, which results in heat loss and wasted energy.
The infrared heat
Infrared heat is produced by infrared light, which is invisible to the eye. The infrared heat is absorbed by the skin and clothes, which generates the heat of the body.
Infrared gas heaters use gas combustion, which uses natural gas or propane. This transmits heat directly to a steel tube or ceramic surface, which consequently produces infrared heat. In essence, infrared gas heaters employ two elements to create heat: infrared light bulbs, and a heat exchanger. Infrared light bulbs emit infrared light, and a heat exchanger generates heat.
Infrared heaters produce two types of heat: radiant heat and convection heat. Infrared radiant heat heats people, as well as objects within reach. The heat of convection increases, and the hot air is lost will gather under the roof and offer little benefit to keeping a person warm. This is why infrared radiant heaters are heated faster and cheaper than conventional heating systems.
The instant heat
Infrared gas heaters release heat instantly, producing direct heat to the skin, as long as the individual remains within the range of the heating lamps. Fan-forced infrared heaters will increase the temperature of the room in general, but this also means that it takes more time to feel the heat.
Infrared heaters fall into the “medium temperature energy” source category. This means that there is no danger of exposure to harmful UV rays, and this makes them safer to use.