Can infrared heaters heat a house? Infrared heating systems are often overlooked as an effective alternative to traditional gas or electric heaters.
Homeowners are constantly looking for ways to both save money and conserve energy. While they may install energy efficient lighting and kitchen appliances, these items only account for a small portion of the average utility bill. The primary source of energy consumption in the typical home is the heater.
Infrared heaters may offer a more affordable way to heat areas of a house. They are easy to install and running costs are minimal. However, the real question is whether they can heat an entire house.
What Is an Infrared Heater?
An infrared heater is a type of space heater in the sense that it is easy to set up and designed to heat an enclosed space. It is not connected to your air ducts, it simply needs to be connected to an electrical outlet.
The fact that these heaters are intended for use in a single room makes people question their ability to heat an entire home. You wouldn’t use a typical electric or ceramic space heater to heat an entire house.
While an infrared heater can be used for heating a whole house, it may also offer a more efficient and affordable heating solution. To understand how these advantages are possible, you need to know how infrared heaters work and what makes them different from a typical home heating system.
Infrared Heating vs. Convection-Based Heating
Infrared heating is a type of radiated heating while traditional gas and electric heaters use convection heating. The main difference between these two options is that infrared heating warms objects and people while convection heating warms the air.
A standard convection-based heater heats the air, which is then blown through the air ducts in your home. Once the air reaches the rooms, the warm air begins to rise toward the ceiling, pushing cooler air toward the floors. The gas or electric heater than reheats the cooler air in a continuous cycle.
With infrared heaters, you place individual heating panels in each room or area of your home that you want to heat. Instead of blowing warm air through the ducts, it directly heats the room.
The human body is a great example of infrared heating. If your body temperature is colder than your surroundings, you absorb the heat. If you’re warmer than your surroundings, you radiate heat. For example, when you’re cold and you cuddle with someone that is warm, you absorb some of his or her heat.
Infrared heaters work in a similar manner. They radiate direct infrared heat that warms the objects and people that it touches. These objects and people in turn radiate heat to continue distributing warmth throughout the room. This is a much more efficient process compared to convection heating and requires less energy.
Using Infrared Heaters for Whole-House Heating
As infrared heaters are designed for zone heating, you need more than one heater to heat your entire house. In fact, you may need quite a few, depending on the size of your house.
The amount of heat produced by the infrared heater is measured in watts. Manufacturers typically list a recommended square footage based on the wattage of the unit.
To produce optimal results, the heaters should be selected based on the size of the room. You may use an infrared heater with lower wattage for a smaller room and a more powerful heater for a large room or open floor plan.
Each unit features its own temperature control. However, some infrared heating systems feature a centralized master control for adjusting the temperature from a single control panel.
Along with providing an efficient heating solution for your home, this setup provides a few additional advantages over standard heaters and furnaces, including more control.
Custom Temperature for Each Room in Your House
By placing an infrared heater in all main areas of your house, you have more control over the temperatures in each room. You can maintain a lower temperature in your bedroom while keeping your living room warm.
A typical furnace is controlled via a single thermostat placed in a central location of the home. For example, you may have a thermostat in your living room or the main hallway. However, this may not provide an accurate reading for the temperature in your basement or the bedrooms.
Most homes have cooler spots and warmer spots. You may have a room that tends to always feel a little cooler or warmer than the other rooms. With infrared heaters, you can address this issue. The additional control provided by zone heating lets you set the temperature individually for each room.
Infrared Heaters Offer Cost-Effective Heating
Infrared heating panels provide a more cost-effective option to a gas or electric heater, thanks to lower running costs and maintenance costs.
When you install individual heating panels, the zone heating options allow you to keep the temperature lower in certain rooms, which reduces the amount of energy used to heat your home. Infrared heating is also a more efficient heating process. These advantages result in lower running costs to keep your home warm.
Infrared heaters are also less prone to wear and tear. There are no moving parts within the heating panel, reducing the need for costly repairs and extending the service life of the heater.
You also get to avoid annual service checks and the natural reduction to heating efficiency that occurs with standard heaters over time. Less maintenance and lower running costs give you a more cost-effective way to avoid the cold.
Infrared heaters are much easier to install. Installing a standard heater requires the assistance of a qualified technician. They need to connect the heater to the ventilation system in your home and may need to perform some light construction work to complete the installation process. Infrared heaters are simply hung on your walls and plugged into an electrical outlet.
Infrared May Help Maintain a Healthy Environment
A standard heater creates a few potential dangers and health risks. The most life-threatening issue is a gas leak, which may result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Regular service checks are needed to inspect your heater for signs of leaks or damaged parts to reduce the risk. However, there are additional health concerns with a gas or electric heater.
The air ducts that deliver warm air throughout your home also deliver harmful particles that may be present in certain areas of your home. Dust, pollen, pet dander, and even mold spores can pass through the vents and expose you and your family to pollutants.
Another potential risk is an accidental fire. If paper objects, solvents, or other flammable items are left near the furnace, they may combust and trigger a fire or an explosion.
Most of these risks are either eliminated or reduced when you switch to infrared heating for your entire house. You do not need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning or accidental fires and there is less of a risk of spreading mold spores through your home.
Along with not facilitating the spread of mold spores, an infrared heater may help prevent mold from developing in the first place. The objects in your house, including furniture, retain heat from the infrared heating panels, helping to keep them dry and prevent mold growth.
Infrared Heating Works Quickly and Efficiently
Infrared heaters also help heat your home faster than other heating systems. In fact, it may only take 30 seconds to heat a medium-sized room to the desired temperature.
You are not heating the air throughout the room; you are heating the objects and people. These individual objects do not take long to heat up. As mentioned, they also retain heat and begin to radiate heat to warm up cooler objects in the room.
A standard heater first needs to heat the cool air and then distribute it through the air ducts and vents and into your rooms. This process takes longer and it’s less efficient.
Conclusion: Can You Heat an Entire House with Infrared?
In the end, infrared heaters are more than capable of heating your entire home. They also offer a wide range of advantages over standard furnaces and central heating systems.
Infrared heat is an efficient heating solution. It requires less energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, resulting in lower running costs. These appliances are also less likely to break down as there are fewer mechanical parts used in the heating process.
You also eliminate some of the health risks associated with traditional heating systems, such as gas leaks or the distribution of harmful particles through your air ducts.
With infrared heaters, you also get more control over the temperature of each room. You can maintain lower temperatures in the rooms you do not use while keeping the main areas of your house perfectly warm.
These heaters also work quickly. The instant you turn on an infrared heater, you can begin to feel the warmth on your skin. Within minutes, you can raise the temperature of a cold room.
If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional heater, remember these benefits and consider installing an infrared heating system to heat your entire house.