What Is Infrared
Infrared is light that we cannot see, but our bodies can feel as heat. Infrared is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. All of these forms of energy have a specific frequency, as seen in the diagram below.
Unlike Ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause severe sunburn, even on cloudy days, without us even realising we are being affected.
Infrared is not only safe but it is very healthy for us and has a great deal of benefits. Infrared Health Benefits
There are three ways energy can be transferred, conduction, convection and radiation.
Conduction needs direct contact between two or more mediums to transfer the heat whereas convection is transferred via a liquid or a gas. The molecules of air or water once heated by the source bump into each other and transfer some of the energy. Every time you transfer energy you lose some in this process. This is not the case with radiated heat.
Radiation is unique in that it does not require another body or mass to transfer heat. It releases it’s energy directly onto the mass in it’s path making it highly efficient and effective way to heat us and our homes.
Infrared Heating is therefore different to conventional convection heating in that it heats the actual fabric of the building not just the air.
Traditional radiators like radiators or fan heaters use convection to heat the surrounding air, which, when heated, expands and rises, circulating around the room and forcing the colder air to move downwards and as the warm air also cools it also drops, cycling around. This is why you can feel warm overall but your feet are always cold.
Convection heat requires a medium to transfer the heat like air for example. Infrared heat energy does not require any medium and will transfer the heat once is hits mass.
Natural Heat From The Sun
Infrared heating can travel and transfer it’s energy without a medium. This is how the sun heats the Earth. Infrared are wavelengths from the electromagnetic spectrum. They are found between the visible light and the microwaves, beyond the red colours and outside of our spectrum of sight.
Around about half the heat we feel during the day, is directly from the Sun’s rays. The rest comes from Infrared rays absorbed by the Earth, and other solid objects around us, being emitted as heat. As they do AFTER sunset. The more infrared rays absorbed during the day, the warmer the night.
On a cold day when you stand in the shade, you will feel the cold air. Yet, when you stand in the sunshine, you feel warm. The air temperature is exactly the same. You feel warm because the infrared rays are warming your body. The same effect is felt when it is cloudy. You can suddenly feel a drop in how warm you feel when the clouds block the sunlight. This is because clouds contain water and the infrared waves are absorbed by the clouds unlike the ultraviolet waves which will pass through and can still burn you on a cloudy day.
The infrared rays travel through space unhindered until it hits the Earth. The heat is transferred into the ground and all objects warming them to varying degree. The heat is then stored and released over time, which is dependent on the material that is absorbing the heat.
This stored heat energy is why, in the summer, once the sun goes down, it is still warm enough to sit outside without wrapping up. In fact infrared heat from the sun drives all weather pattern and events, the currents on the sea, and, of course, heats the planet during the day and at night.
Infrared Panel To Heat Your Home
When used in the home, Infrared Heat Panels work the same way. They do not use the air in the room for heat transference.
Instead the mass of the room – the walls, floor, ceiling and furniture, absorb the rays and emit the heat at a steady, even and consistent level, ensuring an equal spread of heat around the room.
When we are in the room then we will feel warmer, faster. This due to the fact that the healthy infrared rays heat us directly before heating the room. As infrared panels heat the room and not the actual air, this reduces air movement in the room which reduces problems with dust. allergins and bacteria, making it an ideal solution for allergy suffers.
To generate the infrared waves you need less energy than traditional electric heaters which makes them very economical to run. Also once the room has heated up then the panels only have to maintain the temperature and therefore only draw power for about one third of the time that they are switched on.
As they are not reliant on the air temperature the thermostat can be turned down a few degrees and you will still feel comfortably warm in your home.
Less Heat Loss
With convection heating if you open a door or window then you can lose heat very fast from a room. A draughty room can be very difficult to heat because it is losing the warm air very quickly.
The infrared heater is not reliant on the air to transfer the heat energy so is not so affected by air change. This means that if a door is left open and the air temperature drops, the room will not feel as cold as it will with a room that uses traditional convection heating.
Even if the room does get cold, it will have stored heat in the walls, floors and other objects in the room which will make the room feel warmer, faster.