Types of Infrared Heaters
Infrared heaters are designed to work just as well outdoors as they are indoors. Because of this, infrared heaters are some of the most popular and versatile heaters on the market.
Indoor Infrared Heaters
The most common type of infrared heater designed for indoor use is an infrared space heater. Infrared space heaters are designed to be portable devices, ranging greatly in size but almost always designed to heat on specific room.
An infrared space heater works best in rooms with somewhat open layouts, as objects directly in the path of the infrared heater tend to receive the most benefit.
These objects will, in turn, emit a certain amount of heat on their own which can pass to other nearby objects, but the effectiveness of this secondary energy transfer will not be as significant.
Moving towards more commercial applications, indoor infrared heaters are also commonly seen at many restaurants. The reddish lights used to keep buffet food warm are, in fact, relying on infrared heating to do their jobs.
Likewise, many establishments use infrared heating to keep large items warm for extended periods of time, such as rotisserie meats. Infrared heating is primarily preferred in these situations as it is less likely to dry the food out the way convection heating may.
Infrared heaters are also common installations in warehouses and industrial parks. Large infrared heaters can be strategically placed throughout workplaces to ensure spot heating where needed.
Some warehouses will have smaller infrared heaters installed at individual workstations, allowing workers at each station to better control their own environments and select temperatures best suited to their own personal preferences. Similar units can also be purchased for use in residential garages or workshops.
Outdoor Infrared Heaters
Infrared patio heaters are typically the most common style of infrared heater found for outdoor use. These units can range in size from small table top units, to large towers, resembling steel umbrellas.
An infrared patio heaters is designed to help guests stay warm during outdoor social gatherings. They are also quite common at outdoor sporting venues in areas of the nation with more inclement Winter temperatures.
For commercial needs, the large tower units are also popular for outdoor events such as weddings or other parties, or outdoor catering events. The heaters allow guests to move around and socialize while still having access to strategically placed heaters that have been set up at the venue.
Some outdoor dining events may also utilize small table top infrared heaters to keep guests comfortable while they are seated at their tables.
Indoor/Outdoor Infrared Heaters
In a more hybrid version of indoor and outdoor heaters, infrared heaters are also used in loading docks and other open area segments of warehouses or industrial buildings.
Loading docks, in particular, will often have large infrared heaters, commonly resembling hanging overhead light fixtures, spanning the upper portion of the dock entrance itself.
This not only serves to protect workers from the external environment, offering a warm and comfortable working area for those charged with loading and unloading merchandise, it also makes the process much more environmentally friendly for other individuals who may be unloading and loading the trucks as well.
Smaller units can also be installed in outdoor employee break areas, creating a more comfortable area for employees to eat their lunch or just kick back and relax for a few without having to deal with inclement weather that may be present.
Another form of indoor and outdoor infrared heating comes in the form of infrared portable heaters. These can be anything from small infrared space heaters that are designed to work in either environment, to a hand held infrared portable heater designed to soothe sore or aching muscles.
Professional athletes often keep these on hand for use during off times or breaks.
Infrared heaters can be purchased at any local home improvement store, as well as most heating and cooling supply chains. Infrared heaters come in a wide range of sizes, suitable for commercial, industrial, and industrial use and are extremely cost efficient and effective methods of heating.
While larger units often require professional installation, smaller residential units can often be ready to go once removed from the box and plugged into the wall.
Like most portable heaters, the majority of infrared space heaters will come equipped with a built in safety device that will immediately cut power to the unit if the internal sensor detects the unit has potentially fallen over.
Regardless of what style of infrared heater you choose to purchase, always make sure to read and follow all directions that are included with the product. Just as it can be dangerous to over expose yourself to the sun, the use of infrared heaters comes with its own set of recommendations to ensure safe and healthy operation of the device.
Nothing warms us up more than the warm sun on a cool day. In residential, commercial, or industrial environments, however, heat from the sun is a very difficult form of heating to harness.
Advances in science and technology, on the other hand, have found a way to bring all of the heating benefits of the sun indoors in the form of infrared heaters.
What Are Infrared Heaters?
Infrared heaters, sometimes referred to as infrared radiant heaters, operate using a similar heating method to that of our own son. Traditional heaters rely on air being pushed over a heated object and then being forced into the room, slowly pulling in cooler air as warmer air is pushed out.
This convection movement slowly work to increase the overall air temperature of the room. While this heating method is effective and can work well in large areas, it is often time consuming and not recommended for outdoor use or in areas subject to drafts and external elements.
In these cases, an infrared heater is the heating method of choice.
An infrared radiant heater focuses on people and objects in the room, as opposed to the overall air temperature. This method of heating is not only more efficient, it can also provide near instant results once the unit is turned on.
Infrared heaters require no air movement, alleviating the drier air that often comes with traditional heaters.
They also begin to work instantly, eliminating the delay often associated with traditional heaters and their convection techniques.
Infrared heaters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed for both indoor and outdoor use and able to accommodate residential, commercial, and industrial applications.
How Do Infrared Heaters Work?
Unlike other methods of heating, infrared heaters work on a molecular scale to produce comfortable environments during colder times of the year. The light emitted from an infrared heater is designed for output on a particular wavelength.
The wavelength it is sent out on reacts with molecules contained in certain objects, penetrating the surface of the object to heat the molecules within and thereby causing a temperature increase within those specific objects.
While household heating is one of the common applications for infrared heaters, they can also frequently be found in kitchens and restaurants, designed to keep food warm while it is waiting to be served, or are even restricted to only being able to warm water, as in a pool or spa.
Most infrared heaters work via electrical currents. Electric infrared heaters channel their electricity though a series of coils or filaments, often contained within glass, until the heating element has reached an extremely high temperature.
Some larger infrared heaters, for example, are designed to produce temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius. The specific temperature the electric infrared heaters produces determines the wavelength the unit will output, therefore determining which surrounding objects the unit will have the greatest effect on.
Another housing option for the coils is shown by the operations of ceramic infrared heaters. A ceramic infrared heater is not only very efficient, the actual ceramic element itself is extremely effective as a heat conductor.
What Are The Benefits Of Infrared Heaters?
As mentioned earlier, one of the major benefits of infrared heaters is the speed at which they begin to have an effect on surrounding areas. While traditional heaters can take hours to get a large room to optimal temperature, infrared heaters will begin to affect nearby objects as soon as they are powered on, often reaching peak effectiveness in just a matter of minutes, not hours.
Infrared heaters are also very cost effective to operate, as well as being extremely efficient. While standard heaters are subject to energy loss from improper insulation in the room, infrared heaters lose nearly no energy effectiveness while at work, giving them a near total energy consumption to energy output ratio.
Another prime benefit of infrared heaters is their ability to be used outdoors. Unlike convection heaters, which can seriously be affected by drafts and breezes, the energy output form infrared heaters goes straight to the objects around it, not disturbed at all by airflow or weather elements.
This makes infrared heaters ideal for many commercial applications, as well as outdoor residential needs.