Infrared Heaters: Pros and Cons
What Are Infrared Heaters?
Infrared heaters create a heat that is very similar to the sun. Infrared light isn't visible because it's beyond the spectrum we see. That invisible light gets absorbed by our skin, clothes and other objects, which is how things around an infrared heater warm up.
It is warmer in direct sunlight than in the shade because the shade blocks out a lot of the light, and like our natural big outside heater, infrared heaters in your home will only warm areas directly in front of it.
It's hard to make generalizations about infrared heaters since there are so many different specifications. Infrared heaters can be powered by electricity, natural gas, or propane. Different heaters will have different maximum output levels, different controls, and different designs.
However there are a few benefits, and drawbacks, that generally apply to all infrared heaters, and reading through our guide will help you decide if one is right for you. They are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to heat up their homes and workplaces during the cold winter months, and it's definitely a heating option worth considering.
How Do Infrared Heaters Compare to Other Heaters?
Infrared space heaters emit rays that are absorbed by other items, which gently increases the temperature of the heaters' surroundings. They work differently than the other types of heaters you may be considering for your home or office.
An electric portable space heater is a popular type of heater that works well for small areas or specific rooms. They're usually very safe to use, and the most popular types are fan-forced or oil-filled.
Garage heaters are meant for places that aren't well insulated. They provide high blasts of warm air to cover large areas.
Baseboard heaters are perfect for bedrooms and hallways. Low profile, safe, and easy to install, baseboard heaters remain a popular pick.
Oil-filled heaters warm up a special heat-conserving oil, and heat is radiated out into the room. They are safe, efficient and economical.
A fireplace heater adds heat and a decorative element to the room. More expensive models looks very similar to an actual fireplace. They use electricity so they're safer and cleaner than traditional wood-burning fireplaces.
Every heater has its own pros and cons, so read on for more specifics on why infrared heaters may just be the best choice.
The Pros of Infrared Heaters
Infrared Heaters Work Instantly
Whereas other heaters warm things up by warming up the air around an object or person, infrared heaters warm directly. Infrared heaters produce heat very rapidly, and the heat is easily directed to an object in a very precise beam. They are very useful when you're stepping in from the cold and want to warm up quickly. Infrared heaters are also great for heating you if you're sitting stationary on your couch, since they heat right onto you.
Silent, Gentle & Healthy
Infrared space heaters work silently since they don't use a fan - they just radiate light! They're great for noise-sensitive environments such as bedrooms.
Hot coils are wrapped over the heat source so heat is transferred evenly. The heat is reflected by a polished metal so it extends out for several yards, creating a gentle, comfortable source of warmth.
Infrared heaters are also actually "healthier" than other heaters since they do not reduce humidity or oxygen content in the room. Other heaters can dry out your sinuses and skin, as well as cause static electricity.
Since these heaters produce the same type of heat as the sun, you can enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight without the dangerous effects of UV radiation. The infrared heat will even promote healthier blood circulation.
Cost-Effective & Environmentally Friendly
Infrared heaters won't add any pollutants in your room. They operate without any carbon combustion, no toxic-by-products, no open flames and no fuel lines. Essentially, infrared heaters don't add anything to the air, and they don't take anything from the air.
Since they warm only specific areas and objects, you don't waste energy heating an entire room. There's also no need to preheat a room since these heaters work instantly. Some use only 300 watts of electricity and almost 100 percent of the heat created is transferred out, so you can get super efficient heating for a very low cost.
The maintenance for infrared heaters is extremely minimal. Since there are no moving parts, there's no motor to wear out, air filters to replace or lubrication required. All you have to do is periodically clean the reflectors to keep your unit working perfectly.
Some models of infrared space heaters are actually quite stylish too! Air & Water offers many infrared heaters with a furniture-like wood finish that compliments most decor. Heaters are usually an eyesore, but it's possible to find an infrared heater that you can proudly display. Many are also very compact and portable.
The Cons of Infrared Heaters
The coils of infrared heaters get extremely hot so they can be dangerous to use around children and pets. Since the home use of infrared heaters is increasing, however, companies are beginning to manufacturer much safer units. Some infrared heaters are encased in cool-to-the-touch cabinets and disperse the heat using a fan. More traditional models often now also have an automatic shut-off and emergency tip-over switch for added safety.
Unfortunately, infrared heaters still always give off that threatening orangey-red glow!
For some, zone warming may not be ideal, and it could feel very limited if you're moving around a room a lot. Radiant heat only travels in a direct line, so multiple people may not benefit from one heater at the same time. While some are powerful enough to warm an entire room, but they always work best on objects in their immediate vicinity.
Stops Heating When Off
Infrared heaters work the instant they turn on, but they also stop radiating heat the instant they are turned off. Since the air in the room is not actually warmed, the room will lose heat very quickly. In comparison, an oil-filled heater will continue to warm even after the unit is off because it takes time for the heated oil to cool down.
Infrared heaters do use less energy, so it still might be a more cost-effective and energy-efficient option, especially if you don't need to heat an entire room for long periods of time.
Are Infrared Heaters For You?
Infrared heaters have many cost and health benefits. It provides more comfortable warmth since it does not heat the air, and is cheap and efficient to use. New safety features also make many models safe to use in homes with children or pets.
For a more wide-ranging, constant heat source, other types of heaters work best. If, however, you want to heat a very specific area quickly, infrared space heaters are for you!
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