Infrared Heating Panels: Types, Principle Of Operation, Installation Procedure

The principle of operation of infrared heating devices is so simple that one can only wonder why this heating method has become widespread only now. On top of that, it is energy efficient and economical. However, many people still do not know what are infrared heating panels, what is the principle of their work.

All about the types of infrared panels, the specifics of their action and the advantages with disadvantages you will learn from the article we presented. We have described in detail the features of their installation and operation. We have given arguments to convince you to buy infrared heating equipment to equip your own home.

The contents of the article:

  • The principle of operation of infrared devices
  • Classification of infrared heating panels
  • Sphere of application and specifics of operation
  • Recommendations for installation
  • Arguments \"for\" and \"against\" infrared
  • Question-and-answer section
  • Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The principle of infrared heaters

Heating a room with infrared radiation is a revolutionary method, that treats not so much the air itself as the objects in the room. An infrared source acts on space like the sun on our planet.

All other heating methods (radiators, oil heaters, etc.) work on the principle of convection heating of air masses. That is, cold (unheated) air flows around a hot surface and receives heat from it. An increase in temperature leads to a decrease in density, so according to the law of physics air rises.

But we do not live on the ceiling. For us it is important to have a comfortable air temperature just in the central and lower thirds of the room.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

It is very easy to install infrared heaters - it is amazing that mankind did not invent them earlier! The infrared heat emitted by heaters is similar in power and structure to the sun's rays

The device that heats not the air, but the floors, furniture and even your skin is an infrared panel. Only after these surfaces are heated is the heat transferred to the surrounding air. Heating of the room starts from the bottom, thus providing a comfortable temperature in the area of human activity.

And now those people, who know at least a little bit about physics, will have a logical question - why the heat rays of infrared panels are not immediately absorbed by the air? That's the trick with these devices!

In the infrared region, there are some kind of \"black holes\" where the heat rays are weakly absorbed. The widest such \"window\" is in the range of 8-13.5 microns. If the thermal radiation has a wavelength close to it - the transmittance of the air in this case is 80-85%, so the infrared rays reach the surface unimpeded.

Classification of heating infrared panels

Depending on the criteria that is taken as a basis for division, all infrared heating devices are divided into many group classes and subgroups.

  1. In accordance with the way they are installed and their design they are divided into:
  • Built in.The base of these is gypsum cardboardon which a heater (graphite filament) and thermal insulation is placed. A decorative and protective screen is placed on top of it.
  • Hanging units. Made of metal, glass, heat resistant plastic. The heater is enclosed in anodized aluminium or ceramic.

Fitted models are \"anchored\" to the buildings or furnishings, hinged types can be used as a separate furnishing item.

  1. Fitting type (location):
  • Fronted. It is long and narrow and therefore installed at the bottom of walls (in front of the floor), under windowsills, in niches etc.
  • Wall-mounted. They have a larger heat transfer area than skirting boards. Usually installed in the middle of a wall. They can be used not only in dry, residential areas but also in farm buildings - even in humid areas. IR panels are not afraid of moisture and can be placed even in open outdoor arbours, porches etc.
  • Ceiling. Mounted, you guessed it, in a suspended ceiling system, and this is their essential advantage. Firstly, they do not spoil the design. Secondly, they do not obstruct the infrared beam so the heat is evenly distributed.

All the types listed do not differ in principle. They are chosen according to the objectives and tasks of the room renovation.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

Into the ceiling, the IR panels are not \"conspicuous\", do not take a centimeter of useful space and do not affect the interior design

  1. Wavelength:
  • Shortwave. Heats above 300ºC, so it is usually used in large-scale production facilities.
  • Longwave. More \"mild\", provide a comfortable temperature in living rooms without harming the health of others.

Depending on the type, infrared heating panels must be installed so that the infrared radiation flow does not encounter any obstacles in its path. The best place to install would be on a wall with no furniture or decorations nearby.

Application and specifics of use

The IR panels are best at spot heating a specific spot in a room or in an outdoor area. They work well in holiday areas near summer houses and private homes, in areas belonging to cafés and small restaurants.

Frequently the IR panel heaters are used as an additional heating source when it is necessary to increase the temperature in a particular place. For example, when it is necessary to \"insulate\" a recreation area in a large house or a working space in a warehouse or industrial building somewhere.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

IC panel heaters allow to create an \"island\" of heat in rooms with a large area. Their action is focused, aimed at a certain zone, or more precisely at the objects within it

When it comes to heating commercial properties in this way, it is very economical and convenient. By means of panels it is possible to create the most comfortable conditions for a person in a certain area without spending money for heating the whole room.

Weather conditions such as humidity or wind do not influence the efficiency of radiation, so the panels are perfectly exploited even in the open air.

In offices infrared panels are quite often used as the main heat source. This solution is less expensive than building your own mini-boiler room with solid fuel or gas equipment if the office is not connected to a central heating system.

IR heaters are more economical than oil-fired devices, electric heaters, etc., as among all types of electric heatingradiant heating is the most economical. For offices, it is best to combine the floor heating with IR panels installed in the ceiling. Then the room temperature can be kept at +20⁰C even in frosty weather.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

Infra-red heaters do not only radiate heat waves. They could easily serve as light sources in entrance areas and corridors and as nightlights

Installation recommendations

You do not need any special knowledge or experience to install infra-red heating panels. The tools that are needed for the installation are available to every owner. The documents for the appliance should contain step-by-step installation instructions. If you can not find it, go to the website of the manufacturer of the panels, there is definitely such information.

Fasteners for the panels are already included with them. If you have your own vision, you can pick up the fasteners yourself. But make sure that it will hold the weight of the panel you choose to install.

There are a few more nuances that you'd better learn about before you start mounting the panel

  • Most of the manufactured panels are ceiling panels. Many of them are equipped with angular corner brackets, but not all. So pay attention to this point when buying. Swivel models are better because their working surface can rotate 30°.
  • For rooms with high ceilings, there are models that are suspended on chains. This allows you to control the intensity of the radiation and choose the area to be heated.
  • To calculate how much power a heating system should have to heat a room with infrared panels, consider 1 kW per 10 m2.
  • Mount the panels at the recommended mounting height because most of the lower wattage panels heat the room more efficiently and evenly by eliminating blind spots and areas of overheating.

Do not allow the heating surface to come into contact with flammable or combustible substances during installation.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

The ceiling mounted infrared units are supplied with a complete mounting kit. It comes with brackets, hooks and chains depending on the model

Take care to properly insulate the wiring contacts when installing the unit. Use plastic caps or duct tape for this.

Pro and cons of infrared panels

Those who plan to install infrared heating panels in their homes naturally want to know not only about their advantages, but also about moments that may cause inconvenience. Therefore, below is an objective assessment of both the positives and the disadvantages of this method of heating.

The following arguments \"for\" can be given in favor of infrared panels:

  1. Shock resistance and increased durability.Infrared panels are not afraid even of bumps and falls.
  2. Uncomplicated installation and easy to use.It is only necessary to mount it on the wall or ceiling and plug it in. No special knowledge, no welding machine etc.
  3. Low energy costs.Firstly there is no energy lossfor heating the air. Secondly, infrared radiation reduces the overall temperature of the space by 3-5ºC, which saves up to 25% energy. That is, the air temperature feels on average 5 degrees higher than what the thermometer shows when it is measured. And that's because not only the measured air is heated, but also the objects in the room and even the person himself.
  4. Silent operation.Such heaters will not \"crackle\" or \"gurgle\", so they will not disturb sleep or other vital processes.
  5. Independent on power surges. Even if the voltage changes, the heater will not be affected.
  6. Maintains normal air humidity.IR heat panels do not dry out the air like other electric convectors, which make breathing difficult and dry out the mucosa. They do not mix the air (cold/warm), so the dust caused by heated air masses does not rise.
  7. Compact size and lack of associated equipment.No need to install bulky piping, radiators, boilers.

But quite often you can find information on the internet about the harm of infrared radiation and the negative effect it has on the human body. Such myths have no scientific basis.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

Radiant heating benefits in that it warms the room evenly without creating zones of \"stagnant\" warm masses

In this sense, they are \"healthier\" than other common heating methods because:

  • does not dry the air or burn out the air;
  • does not raise dust because there is no convection;
  • keeps the body alert because of the small temperature contrast.

In addition, for people suffering from joint diseases, these heaters are even recommended, as they warm the human body well, so that inflammations and pains soon disappear.

If exposed to the long wave IR rays, the skin receptors are irritated and the hypothalamus responds, relaxing the vascular smooth muscles, causing them to dilate.

In this way the IR rays help stimulate and improve the blood circulation. Note that they are absolutely harmless to the skin, unlike UV rays, which can even cause pigmentation changes. If you approach the use of IR radiation rationally, it will be difficult to find disadvantages.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

Infrared heating panels are not harmful to health. Even on the contrary - they help to cure joint diseases, not for nothing are they used in medicine

In cases of poor maintenance and negligence of the devices the following not very pleasant consequences are possible:

  1. If installed incorrectly - the space will be heated in the wrong area to be treated in the first place. Infrared radiation is characterized by a clearly limited action segment.
  2. The infrared heating system does not always fit harmoniously into the surrounding space.
  3. Excessive radiation can have a negative effect on electronics (TV, computer and other electrical appliances). However, it depends on whether the operating standards are met and the size of the room.

Infrared panels are a new generation heating system. It provides safe and efficient heating of the dwelling with minimum financial costs. You will not encounter any major disadvantages when installing or using the panels, because there simply are none.

Question-answer section

There are a lot of identical questions online about infrared panels, the first thing a person who decides to install them in their home would come across. We have consolidated the most common ones and prepared a kind of TOP-questionnaire with detailed answers.

- How long will the infrared panels last for me?

- Their average lifetime is 25 years. Whether it lasts longer or shorter depends on how you use it and whether you follow the care instructions.

- What is sold with the infrared panel? Do you need any other materials, components to install and operate it?

- The standard configuration of the unit includes the heater itself and a wire with a plug. For subsequent installation and wiring, electrical wires, a thermostat in the socket, if not designed, switches on the automatics, magnetic starters and possibly other automatic devices (depends on the features of the heating system) are also required.

You will also need brackets, dowels, screws, self-tapping screws for mounting, but these in most cases also come as a set.

- Do the panels of different manufacturers have different dimensions or are the standardized dimensions uniform for all?

- Length may differ - 1 m and 1.5 m. The first is on 0.6 kW models, the second is for 1 and 1.3 kW. The width and thickness are the same for all appliances - 16.5 cm and 4 cm respectively.

- What acts as the heating element in the panel?

- This is a low temperature CHP unit built into an aluminium plate which acts as the emitter.

- How much does the thermal ceiling panel weigh?

- It depends on the power model. For the 0,6kW configurations it is 3,5 Kg, for 1 and 1,3 Kw it is 4,5 Kg.

- My ceiling is covered with plastic. Won't the panel catch fire? Does it get very hot?

- It gets very little heat as it is insulated334>. Therefore installation is possible on all kinds of surfaces. You have no fear of fire.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

Infrared heating devices can be installed on all surfaces. They are excellent companions for all building and decorating materials without any risk of fire

- Can the plates be left on unattended?

- Yes if they are equipped with a thermostat. If not, leave them on for a long time to avoid overheating the room.

- How many thermostats do you need?

- One thermostat for one room.

- How much electricity is used with this heating? If a 1kW model it will \"crank up\" 1 kW/hr?

- If you approach the operation wisely, of course not. The whole secret is that to maintain a comfortable temperature it is enough for the panel to work 20-30 minutes an hour.

Infrared heating panels: types, principle of operation, installation procedure

It is not necessary to control the infrared heating panel equipped with a built-in thermostat or a similar device in the socket. It will switch off automatically when it reaches the temperature chosen by the owner

If you install a thermostat, the heater will not run continuously. It will turn on as needed. If the heating will run for 20-30 minutes per hour - the electricity consumption will be 1/3 to 1/2 of the appliance power.

Conclusions and useful video on the subject

The principle of operation of the infrared heating panels will be shown in the following video:

A video presentation of the Italian-made ceramic IR panels:

The advantages of the infrared panel heaters will be shown in the following video:

Operating the unit according to the instructions will ensure that the room warms up quickly to a high temperature and creates comfortable climatic conditions that are controlled by built-in or optional automation.

Would you like to tell us how you chose an IR heating panel for your own house/office/apartment? Share your criteria that determined your choice of appliance. Please comment in the box below, ask questions, and post photos about the topic of the article.

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