Many of the reasons infrared heating is so efficient come from the fact it is radiant heating compared to convection heating.
Radiant heating versus Convection heating
So what is the difference between these two forms of heating? Well put simply, radiant heating heats solid objects directly where as convection heating heats the air.
Since you are heating a surface area of the building rather than a volume, this infers a smaller heating capacity requirement if you go with infrared hence you can get away with a lower wattage. As a rule of thumb, we normally recommend a 600w infrared radiant heater as equivalent to a 1.5kW convection heater. Obviously this is therefore far cheaper to run if you compare infrared panel heaters with equivalent electric convection panel heaters.
Bearing in mind the price of gas is 4p / kWh and electricity is 13p / kWh, comparing infrared with gas powered convection heating (i.e. a wet central heating system with radiators), the numbers are far more even. You can read more about how Infrared stacks up against convection heating by clicking here.
Another key benefit of radiant heating (i.e. the heat produced from our infrared heating range) is that since you are heating solid objects, when you turn off the heat source, it takes far longer for the room to cool down. Imagine the infrared radiant heater is opposite a wall – the wall will absorb the infrared and warm up. This wall, especially if it is well insulated will then slowly release this heat back into the room. If you have a radiator trying to heat the equivalent space, the room will certainly warm up – but the reason an occupant would feel warm upon entering that room is the air is warm. If the door to the room is opened for example, the warm air will quickly escape and the room will feel cold again – requiring the heating to be turned on again.
As a result, less energy is required to top up the heating if you are using infrared heating – which obviously means lower energy bills.
Another benefit of infrared heating is that the thermostat can be set far lower (compared to a room heated by convection) because the walls and objects in a room get warm (including you if you are standing in front of it!). In some cases you can set the room as much as 3 degrees lower but still feel no real difference in warmth. This means the infrared radiant heater can switch off much quicker allowing you again to benefit from lower bills.
This article comes from infrared4homes edit released