Infrared heating or traditional electric heating: What is the difference between electric heaters?

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There are two dominant opinions about electric heaters: they are expensive in consumption and they are 100% efficient, as electricity is converted directly into heat. Infrared heaters are also classified as electric heaters as they are also powered by electricity. This, however, is all they have in common. Most electric heaters work with convection and infrared heaters with radiant heat. Using real examples, we will show you how the various electric heaters compare. Do you opt for an infrared heater or traditional electric heater?

Electric heating: convection vs radiation

Most electric heaters do not convert 100% of the energy consumed into heat, an obvious example being the fan heater where a part of the electricity is used to power the propeller. Most electric heaters use convection heat or a combination of radiant heat and convection. One kW of convection heat does not correspond to one kW of radiant heat. Convection heaters heat the air and air circulation can cause a significant loss of heat. As soon as doors are opened or briefly ventilated, the room temperature sinks. Radiant heat instead heats matter, ie the furniture, walls etc. in the room. These act as storage core and release heat back into the room over time. In addition, you do not have to heat the entire room like with convection heaters, but can create heated zones where you spend most of your time and zones that are not used are not being heated. The temperature of infrared heaters is efficiently controlled via thermostats. Accordingly, you have to heat less with a radiant heater.

Advantages of radiant heating

  • Storing heat in objects
  • Zone heating
  • Optimized control options
  • No air and dust circulation

Comparison of different electric heaters

Let’s compare the different electric heaters in their effect and their consumption using a real example. We are basing our example on a space of 60m3 and an electricity tariff of €0.25.

1. Fan heater

The classic fan heater uses medium-wave infrared rays, but is actually a convection heater, as it uses a propeller to release the heat. This results in high energy losses on the one hand due to the energy required to drive the propeller and on the other hand because only the air is being heated. The feeling of warmth of the fan heater is quite unpleasant especially if you are too close to the heater, as hot air blows in your face, on the other hand, the heating range is not particularly vast, so you only feel the heat in the immediate vicinity. Objects in the room are hardly heated, so that the heat is not stored and you are freezing again shortly after switching off the heating. That’s why daily running times for this heater are quite long.

2. Electric convection heater

This radiator normally produces heat in the lower far infrared wave range, but the surface temperature is very low, so the majority of the heat is given off in the form of convection. Therefore, objects are hardly heated in the long term, which is why they do not store the heat and the energy consumption is quite high. However, the warmth feeling in the immediate vicinity of the heating is usually pleasant.

3. Infrared radiator

Infrared radiators with their typical red glow emit medium-wave infrared rays and use a reflector, which directs the heat in one direction. So this is an actual radiant heater. The infrared heater produces very high temperatures of several hundred degrees, so it is almost unbearable to be near the heater. There is a certain distance necessary to achieve a comfortable feeling. That is why these heaters are used more in large halls, churches and outdoor areas. Another disadvantage is that the heater only reflects in one direction to cover a wide area, several heaters are needed. Due to the radiant heat, the required running time is nevertheless quite short, which is why we recommend this heating for outdoor use only.

4. Sundirect infrared heating panels

Sundirect’s infrared heaters emit far-infrared radiation, making them real radiant heaters. As a result, mainly objects that serve as storage are heated with a very low heat loss due to convection. The wide angle that the infrared rays are emitted to and the option to place models of different sizes throughout the room allow the heating of the objects in the entire room over a certain period of time. The low wattage density allows a comfortable feeling of warmth in the immediate vicinity of the heater. The easy to use control system allows for an optimized feeling of warmth as well as energy savings.

Infrared heating panels or traditional electric heating?

Hopefully, we were able to pint out that not all electric heaters are the same, but also that one kW does not equal one kW and therefore has very little value in describing how much energy is actually needed to heat to a degree of comfort. Also not all electric heaters are 100% efficient, in fact there is no heating which is converting 100% of energy into warmth. However, there are heaters that use the energy supplied more efficiently and with over 90% efficiency. Sundirect infrared heaters are among the most efficient electric heaters on the market.

Contact us today for a consultation and offer for an infrared panel heater system.

SundirectInfrared heating or traditional electric heating: What is the difference between electric heaters?

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