Why Infra Red Heating is Better Than Convection

Although you may never have heard of Infra Red heating it’s something that, if you’re lucky, you’ll have experienced every day of your life.

A little sunshine anyone? Infrared radiation is a type of radiant energy that’s invisible to human eyes but that we can feel as heat. All objects in the universe emit some level of infrared radiation, but two of the most obvious sources are the sun and fire. Because most heat generates light in the infrared, scientists often refer to infrared light as heat.

You therefore might not be surprised to learn that humans don’t emit infrared light, to the naked eye anyway (you need an infrared camera to see that feat), but we all emit infra red radiation which can be felt when you’re in close proximity to someone else.

One of the major advantages of infrared heat is that unlike ultraviolet light (UV) – which has damaging effects upon the tissues and cells of the body – infrared light does just the opposite and helps cells regenerate or repair themselves. This is one of the reasons why the skin naturally radiates infrared heat every day. It’s the UV light in sunshine that is damaging to us.

Infrared radiation is also non-ionizing and cannot give you cancer. It’s a good thing, because the rocks, trees, chairs, tables, and walls around us are constantly flooding us with a barrage of the stuff but not enough so that you’d notice or suffer adverse effects. For the most part, humans do not emit other forms of radiation besides thermal (relating to heat). Thermal radiation consists of electromagnetic waves (mostly infrared waves and visible light) emitted by an object due to its temperature.

In fact, people often eat trace amounts of radioactive minerals that occur naturally, and we therefore give off tiny amounts of other types of radiation. For instance, Brazil nuts and bananas contain higher amounts of radioactive elements. But the amounts are too small to be noticeable or have an effect on our health.

All of this gives infrared heating many advantages over other forms of heating. The most popular form of which is convection where a system e.g. radiators heat the air which then circulates around the chosen space.

This is not very efficient as it means the temperature in different areas of a room can be noticeably different. Let’s be honest, who cares how hot the air under the ceiling is? And what a waste of the energy that you’re paying for! This is even true of an open fire which uses convection and conduction as well as thermal energy to transfer heat. That’s why people huddle around a radiator or camp fire when they’re cold, it’s warmer there.

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Infrared heat on the other hand doesn’t heat the air, it carries energy that is only converted to heat when it hits an object and is absorbed. In other words, no waste and lower heating bills. So you, your floor, and any solid objects in a room up to a height of three metres (using infrared underfloor heating) will get warm very quickly but the air will not.

This is great news for anyone suffering with respiratory ailments or allergies. No moving air, spores and viruses to heighten indoor pollution.  Damp spots suffer a massive blow too and continued use of infrared heating also resolves damp issues.