Infrared Heaters Heat Quality Vs Standard Space Heaters
The average electric space heater bears much resemblance to a large, single-side toaster with a fan. This is because almost all electric appliances that produce heat, such as coffeemakers and hair dryers, employ basically the same principle: running electricity through a shorted-out piece of wire to produce heat. The quality of heat that you get from an electric heater is therefore going to be very similar to what you might feel standing in front of an open oven. “So what’s wrong with that?” you might ask, and the answer is nothing at all – until you’ve tried the alternative, the infrared heater.
Anyone who has ever used an infrared heater knows that the quality of the heat it produces is noticeably different from what they’ve experienced with standard electric heaters. Owners and reviewers have described the heat produced by an infrared heater as soft, moist, even, and comfortable.
Solution For Cold Spots
Many central heating systems leave one or more “cold spots” in your home, forcing you to run the whole system hotter. While a central heating system should theoretically keep your entire house the same temperature throughout, this is often not the case in practice. Many houses have chronic “cold spots,” particularly those with multiple floors or finished basements. If one of these cold spots is in a frequented area of the house, you may find yourself having to overheat the rest of the house in order to warm that spot. This is one application where an infrared heater really shines. By keeping that cold spot warm, the infrared heater enables your central heating system to run less and ultimately saves you money on your heating bill.
Allows you to heat only the part of the house that you’re using.
Many people spend most of their time in just one or two areas of the home. In such cases, it makes no sense to pay for toasty temperatures in the empty parts of the house. A more economical approach is to turn down your whole-house thermostat to a comfortably cool level – say, 65 degrees – then heat the most-used areas of your house with an alternative heating system such as an infrared heater. Instead of having a 5000 watt heat pump – or a gas furnace, or whatever – constantly running to heat an empty house, you can keep frequented areas warm with a heater that pulls only 1500 watts. If done properly, zone heating can have a substantial effect on your energy bill. While you can use many different kinds of heaters to accomplish the goals of zone heating, an infrared heater is a better option than most. Particularly, it beats out its most common rival – the standard space heater – so completely that there is no contest.
Standard space heaters are fast, furious, & straight up – Infrared are steady, soft, and even.
A garden-variety space heater works by sucking air through the back of the heater, roasting it with red-hot coils, and then ejecting it forcefully through the grille using a high-speed fan. This strategy works fine if you’re standing right in front of the heater. Apart from that position, the only place in the room that’s going to get warm quickly is the ceiling. Why does this happen?
Well, first of all, the coils inside a space heater actually overheat the air, making it rise quickly, away from the people and toward the ceiling. Essentially, the room heats top to bottom, reaching the floor in the corners – typically the coldest part of a room – last of all.
In addition to being superheated, the air from a regular space heater is introduced to the room’s atmosphere too quickly and violently. Imagine trying to heat a large pot of soup with a blowtorch and you’ll get the idea. This excess turbulence severely exacerbates the problem of rising heat, leaving a blanket of cold air over most of the floor. The average temperature in the room may quickly reach levels that are theoretically comfortable, but humans aren’t thermometers. If your feet are cold, you won’t feel warm, and you’ll eventually turn up your central heating to compensate.
When you first turn on an infrared heater, there’s nothing particularly impressive to see. The fan doesn’t run while the elements are heating up, so it’s silent and doesn’t seem to be putting out much heat. After a minute or two the fan does come on, and an orange glow is visible through the front grille. A few minutes later, people in the immediate vicinity begin unconsciously removing outer layers and discarding lap blankets. They may not even realize it, but the moderate-feeling stream of heat from that infrared heater is beginning to warm the room. The key is that it’s doing so evenly, floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. Once again, the average temperature rises, but now it’s rising all around you, and you still feel warm no matter where in the room you go. This is the “magic” of the infrared heater – it simply takes the 5,119 BTU’s of an ordinary space heater, and instead of giving you one hot spot, it leaves you with a warm room, even if that room is larger than 1500 watts of electricity are “supposed” to be able to heat.
Infrared heater keeps you safe – no exposed elements.
Space heaters and safety don’t usually mix, as they are typically fire starters. This fact is borne out by the NFPA, plus mounds of anecdotal evidence. Some fires start when people plug a space heater into an overloaded outlet or an extension cord, causing the wiring to overheat. There’s not much that any heater design can do to address this error; any appliance drawing similar wattage has the same vulnerability. The more common scenario, however, is when combustible items are placed too close to the front of the heater and those items are directly ignited by heat from the coils. A well-designed infrared heater can not only mitigate, but eliminate, this risk.
Standard space heaters can be easy to knock over so that their hot grilles press against the carpet. For this reason, they usually come with some kind of tip-over protection device, in the form of a switch that cuts the power if the heater goes horizontal. Infrared heaters need no such tip-over protection device, because a heater like this tipping over is almost a non-issue.
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