Enhancing Safety and Efficiency: Benefits of Infrared Heaters

Why does it feel good to lay under the sun at the beach or warm your hands in front of a fire? The answer is infrared energy or radiation. Roughly 49% of the sun’s energy reaching the Earth is infrared, and fires emit thermal radiation, mostly infrared. Since the discovery of infrared light as a heat source in 1800, infrared heaters have become essential to our comfort and speed up industrial processes. Whether looking to heat a workplace or home, infrared heaters offer a safe, efficient, and cost-effective solution. 

We will highlight the benefits of infrared (IR) heaters and explore how they work and why they are a wise choice for heating.

How Do Infrared Heaters Work?

Infrared heaters utilize a heat source, typically an electric or gas-fired element, to generate infrared light. This light is then emitted as radiation, which travels in a straight line until it hits an object or a person. Once the radiation contacts, the object or person absorbs the heat directly. Unlike convection heaters, which heat the air to transfer heat, infrared heaters radiate instant heat without warming the surrounding air.

One of the key advantages of infrared heating is its ability to heat specific areas or objects without wasting energy on heating the entire space. The targeted heating increases efficiency, resulting in significant energy savings, especially in large areas or poorly insulated spaces.

Benefits of Infrared Heaters

Infrared heating is a good choice for home and commercial applications. Its benefits include the following.

1. Provides Efficient Heating and Saves Money on Energy Bills

Traditional heating systems waste energy by heating unused areas or losing heat through ductwork. Infrared heaters directly warm the objects and individuals in their vicinity. This targeted heating eliminates energy waste and reduces heating costs. Additionally, infrared heaters require minimal warm-up time, providing instant heat when needed, further contributing to energy savings.

2. Health Benefits and Comfort

There is no forced air circulation with IR heating systems. No blowing air means no dust, allergens, or other airborne particles circulating throughout the space. Infrared heaters benefit individuals with respiratory conditions or allergies, as they help maintain clean indoor air quality. Furthermore, the absence of forced-air circulation can help maintain a comfortable and consistent temperature, reducing the likelihood of dryness or discomfort.

3. Infrared Heaters Help Reduce Condensation

When warm air touches a cold surface, condensation causes moisture to form. This wetness can lead to mold growth, corrosion, and other issues. Infrared heaters help prevent condensation by keeping surfaces warm, reducing the temperature difference between the air and the objects in the space. 

4. Eco-Friendly Heating That Helps Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Unlike traditional heating methods, infrared heaters require less energy. They emit infrared radiation, which heats objects and surfaces in the room rather than the air.

How much CO2 does a gas heater produce? The EPA estimates burning propane emits roughly 135 pounds of carbon dioxide per million BTU. The typical patio IR heater generates about 40,000 BTU per hour, or 5.4 lbs. of carbon dioxide per hour. 

“Independent reports suggest that gas-fired infrared heating can save 20% to 50% in fuel consumption over forced air heating.” – Csemag.com.

Compared to other heating options, such as gas or oil-based systems, infrared heaters stand out for their clean operation.

Common Types of Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters emit one of three categories of infrared waves, Near-Infrared (NIR) or Shortwave, Medium Wave, and Far-Infrared (FIR) or Long-Wave Infrared. Infrared waves have a wavelength varying from 700 nm (430 THz) – 1 mm (300 GHz) and are between the visible and the microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. High frequency and short wavelengths mean more energy transmission.

Infrared heaters use a heat generator that uses either gas or electricity and a reflector that directs the thermal energy as radiant heat. Standard reflectors are aluminum, stainless steel, ceramics, and quartz.

Here are the two categories of infrared heaters.

Electric Infrared Heaters

This heating system converts electricity into heat by passing an electric current through an element with high electrical resistance. Heating elements vary and include tungsten, nichrome (an alloy of 80% nickel, 20% chromium), Kanthal® (FeCrAl), cupronickel (CuNi), and carbon fibers.

Infrared quartz heaters use a quartz tube filled with pressurized gasses like bromine, iodine, or halogens. The quartz protects the elements and can withstand high temperatures over 2,732 °F (1,500 °C). Sometimes known as short-wave infrared heating, these heaters are known for their quick heat-up time and high heat output.

Radiant Gas Heaters

When ignited, gas-fired infrared heaters convert the chemical energy of natural gas, propane, or petroleum into heat. The combustion chambers and the heating elements are metal, ceramic, or encased in glass. Two types of radiant gas heaters are: 

  1. Radiant Tube Infrared Heaters – The gas-air mixture burns in a long steel tube, creating heat up to 800-1,472 °F (500-800 °C). It directs heat to a specific location, such as a work area or entrance.
  2. Luminous Infrared Heaters – The gas-air mixture fires directly through a porous matrix of refractory material, heating the surface above 1350 °F (732 °C). Refractory materials are physically stable at high temperatures, like ceramics. Luminous infrared heaters are unvented, requiring proper ventilation for safe operation.

Applications for radiant gas heaters include:

  • Infrared space heaters – Used in buildings with high ceilings.
  • Infrared patio heaters – Provides outdoor spot heating.
  • Portable construction heaters – Mount on top of 20-lb. propane tanks.

Luminous infrared heaters are excellent choices for warehouse heating, patios, construction, and other decentralized heating applications.

Choosing the Right Infrared Heater for Your Business Needs 

Consider these factors when choosing an infrared heater:

  • Heating Capacity: Check the heater’s specifications to ensure it can heat the area effectively.
  • Type of Heater: Choose electrical or gas, depending on your location.
  • Energy Efficiency: Look for energy-saving features like programmable timers or automatic shut-offs, as they can help reduce energy consumption.
  • Durability: If you require a portable infrared heater, ensure it can withstand outdoor elements like rain, wind, and dust.
  • Price: Find one that fits your budget while meeting your heating needs.
  • Safety Features: Safety features like overheat protection, tip-over protection, and cool-to-touch exteriors prevent accidents or injuries.

With so many options available, it’s important to understand the different types of infrared heaters and their features to make an informed decision.

Commonly Asked Questions About Infrared Heaters

Q: Are infrared heaters good for health? 

A: Most infrared heaters don’t use forced air which can circulate dust and allergens. There is no ductwork to collect dust and mold spores, so the air stays cleaner.

Q: Do infrared heaters consume a lot of electricity? 

A: No, electric infrared heaters use less energy than traditional electric heaters. Infrared panel heaters convert almost 100% of the electricity to heat, making them more cost-effective and energy efficient.

Q: Will an infrared heater heat a room? 

A: Yes, infrared heaters can heat rooms effectively. They work by emitting infrared radiation, which heats objects and surfaces in the room rather than the air, resulting in minimal heat loss from drafts or open doors.

We have discussed infrared heaters for general use but how about fire hazards, high-temperature, or hazardous locations?

Explosion-Proof Infrared Heaters: A Safe Heating Solution

We find infrared heaters in all types of industrial process heating, including high-temperature, corrosive, and explosive environments. Explosion-proof infrared heaters are the answer to preventing any potential explosion or fire in hazardous environments. They isolate any spark or flame-producing components from the outside while producing heat.

Infrared Heaters Versatility and Benefits for Commercial or Residential Use

Infrared heaters are versatile and efficient heating solutions that you can use in residential and commercial settings. Their benefits include energy efficiency, cost savings, and improved safety. Whether you purchase electric or gas heaters, each type has its unique function, pros, and cons. An infrared heater can enhance your space’s comfort and safety while reducing energy costs and carbon footprint. 

Keep your equipment and process running smoothly. Prevent damage with Powerblanket’s advanced hazardous location heating systems. Explore Hazardous Locations.

Keep your equipment running smoothly and prevent damage with Powerblanket's advanced hazardous location heating systems.


Alex Pacanowsky

Meet Alex, one of our experts in freeze protection and the head of the custom team at Powerblanket! For the past several years, Alex has worked closely with oil & gas pros, medical device startups, and pharmaceutical suppliers (just to name a few) to create weatherproof operations. No matter how cold the weather, or what needs to be heated, Alex knows just what to do! He also loves mountain biking and spending time with his two boys, 5 and 9, and two Labrador Retrievers.

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