What is infrared?
Infrared is electromagnetic wave energy. Like light, infrared (radiant) energy travels at the speed of light in a straight line until it strikes an object.
How Does Infrared Heating Work?
A gas fired infrared tube heater or high intensity heater (normally ceiling suspended) emulates the warmth of the sun by generating radiant energy that converts to useable heat when absorbed by objects in its path. In buildings, objects such as floors, tools and machinery absorb the infrared radiant energy. This creates a "heat sink" where warmth is stored and re-radiated to warm the surrounding air.
Can infrared cut my fuel costs?
Yes. It is not unusual to generate fuel savings of 32% or more compared to forced air heating methods such as unit heaters. In high bay structures, forced air heaters are impractical because warm convective air rises to the ceiling, leaving floors relatively cold. In fact, warm air must stratify from the ceiling downward to keep people warm at the floor level. Consequently, building owners find that their forced air heaters run almost continually, only to find an outrageous monthly fuel bill.
By contrast, infrared heaters emit quiet radiant energy to the floors, which absorb and re-radiate heat from the ground up. This translates to warm, comfortable conditions at the people zone and less wasted convective heat at the ceiling. In immense structures such as warehouses and aircraft hangars, infrared heat is the only practical choice for creature comfort and energy savings.
Are there any negative side effects from standing under an infrared heater?
Infrared heaters do get hot, so proper mounting distances and clearance requirements must be met. However, there are no harmful effects from the radiant heat energy. Unlike the sun, infrared heaters do not produce ultra-violet rays, only comfortable radiant warmth, like standing by a fireplace or stove.
Do some infrared heaters perform better than others?
Yes. Every infrared heater manufacturer will say different things about why they feel their product is the best. You may need to sift through the jargon to find out for yourself what makes one appliance brand better than another. Click Why Choose Superior Radiant and discover why our distributors prefer the "Superior Technology and Superior Performance" of SRP's heaters.
So what criteria should I use to select an infrared tube heater brand?
We suggest looking at the criteria specifiers use to determine performance and reliability. These criteria are:
Is maintenance required?
- Reflector design (the most important factor in radiant efficiency)
- Control box design (controls should be isolated out of the air stream)
- Serviceability (easy control access and easy to diagnose problems)
- Burner design (affects heat uniformity)
- Emitter tubing (hot rolled? Aluminized? Heat-treated aluminized?)
- Couplings (connects the radiant tubes together - how good are they?)
Yes, for best performance, annual maintenance should be performed prior to the heating season. Recommendations for specific heater models can be found in the Installation/Operation Manual or click here for a pdf file. For general interest, Mechanical Business published a "Seasonal Start-up Guide" in October 2007 for infrared heaters.