All questions and answers in one place.
When purchasing infrared heating, there’re lots of things to consider. Read our comprehensive guide to questions you might have.
Principles of infrared heating
How it works
Advantages and Disadvantages
When is it worthwhile
Infrared VS Night Storage Heaters
What is infrared heating and how does it work?
Infrared heaters electric heaters use the principle of radiant heat. Infrared heaters are also referred to as thermal wave heaters or radiant heaters. They emit direct thermal radiation that feels exceptionally pleasant, similar to the heat from the sun.
The main difference from conventional heating systems is infrared heaters do not warm the air in the room. Instead, they heat up the surrounding structures, i.e. the walls, the floor and the objects in the room.
It is this principle of operation that makes infrared heating so popular: the even distribution of heat across the surfaces in the room generates an especially comfortable and healthy indoor climate. Heat does not move through the room; instead is it constantly given off by the surrounding surfaces. Infrared heaters are also distinguished by low purchasing costs (especially when compared central heating). Also with infrared there’s variety of different designs and exceptionally high efficiency. Infrared heaters are particularly beneficial when used in modern and well-insulated new buildings and rooms that are used infrequently, and can significantly lower the cost of heating.
Infrared radiation is given off by all objects and is entirely safe for humans. Infrared radiation is a natural component of sunlight and we are bathed in it every single day. So infrared heating is entirely harmless to the health. In fact, on the contrary: The exceptionally cosy and balanced climate within the room will increase your sense of well-being, particularly on cold winter days.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of infrared heating?
The key advantage of infrared heating is the cosy warmth they provide. Unlike conventional oil and gas heating systems, heat is transferred evenly to the surrounding surfaces to create a perfect indoor climate
We have created an easy-to-read table comparing the main advantages and disadvantages of infrared heating to help you make an informed and objective decision:
Wide variety of designs: infrared heaters can be elegantly integrated into accessories such as mirrors or discreetly installed on the wall or celling.
Minimum space requirements: unlike conventional radiators, infrared heaters are very slim and take up very little room.
No mould formation due to thermal effects: Even heating of the surfaces in the room effectively prevents mould from developing, even in the long term.
Low purchase and installation costs. The initial costs are much lower than other heating systems.
Wide variety of designs: infrared heaters can be elegantly integrated into accessories such as mirrors, chalkboard panels or pictures.
Minimum space requirements: unlike conventional radiators, infrared heaters are very slim and take up hardly any room.
Lower maintenance requirements: no complicated heating and control technology is needed, thus reducing the amount of maintenance.
Simple to install: infrared heaters can be installed in a matter of minutes, requiring only a power supply.
Few legal requirements: unlike oil and gas heating systems, infrared heaters are not subject to any special regulations apart from those of the Ecodesign Directive.
Higher operating costs: electricity is more expensive per unit of energy than oil or gas. Infrared heaters are not generally recommended for use in older buildings with greater heating requirements.
Not always climate neutral: although infrared heaters are powered by electricity, they can only be climate neutral if the electricity they energy they consume comes from renewable sources.
Electromagnetic fields: individuals with electromagnetic sensitivity can experience discomfort from some types of infrared heaters and should check that heating conductors are laid running in opposite directions. This almost completely eliminates these fields.
When is infrared heating worthwhile?
Infrared heaters work best when used in modern residential or office buildings with good insulation. In principle: the lower the heating requirements, the better the advantages of infrared heating. For this reason, passive house buildings, low-energy homes and KfW energy-efficient houses are ideal candidates for infrared heating.
Infrared heaters are also lend themselves well to infrequently used rooms such as guest bedrooms and party rooms. The most important factor here is the total time the heating is used during the year. As infrared heaters are comparatively affordable to buy but more costly to operate, they are most economical in rooms that are used infrequently. This also makes this form of heating popular for conservatories or summerhouses.
The question of whether infrared heating or gas heating is more economical for new buildings in the long term must be considered on a case-by-case basis. The decision depends on a range of factors such as the standard of insulation, size of the building and annual usage.
How are infrared heaters controlled?
Just like conventional heating systems, the room temperature is controlled by a thermostat. The thermostat measures the temperature in the room and compares this to the desired target temperature. If the measured temperature is below the desired temperature, the infrared heating is turned on until the desired temperature is reached. Heat is emitted until the desired temperature is reached.
Just like with any other modern heating system, the target temperature can be adjusted via a remote-control smart home app. This type of control is highly recommended for holiday homes and club houses that are not in constant use.
Infrared heating or a new night storage heating system?
Night storage heaters, just like infrared heaters, are electrically powered heating systems. Night storage heating takes advantage of the lower electricity prices offered by energy providers during the night. During periods of low electricity demand, such as during the night, the night storage heater consumes cheap electricity and stores it in the form of heat. This heat is therefore produced cheaply and can then be given off into the indoor air during the day.
Night storage heaters emit their heat using the conventional convection heating. Heat is not emitted or radiated to the surrounding surfaces. Instead, storage heaters warm the air.
The key advantage of infrared heating ( the feeling of a comfortable warmth) – cannot be enjoyed when using night storage heaters. Furthermore, night storage heaters are not available in the same limitless range of different designs offered by infrared heaters. They are heavy, bulky and have to be installed horizontally.
Also, with a storage heater the natural loss of heat that occurs during the night must be factored in.
In general, it can be said that night storage heaters were so widely installed in the latter half of the 20th century because energy providers needed to do something with the electricity produced during the night and so sold it at cheaper rates. Night storage heaters were and are an inefficient and sluggish way to use energy, even in the few places where low cost electricity tariffs still make them financially worthwhile.
And in any case, infrared heaters can still take advantage of low electricity prices. To do so, the heater must be connected to a separate circuit with its own electricity meter and your provider must allow the use of infrared heating systems on their cheaper tariffs.
Power consumption and costs of infrared heaters
How much does infrared heating cost?
The initial purchase costs of infrared heating systems are lower than those of conventional heating systems. The price of infrared heating also depends on a few other factors:
Purchasing costs vary between suppliers. This simple practical example will hopefully help you to assess the investment costs more clearly.
In our example, we want to heat an apartment with an area of 60 square metres using infrared heaters. New buildings with good thermal insulation have a typical heating load of 50 watts per square metre. The total heating load for the apartment is therefore about 3000 watts.
This heating requirement can be met, for example, using five 600-watt infrared heaters. The cost per 600-W heater is around €600, resulting in a total purchase price of around €3000. If the apartment is a low-energy building with a heating requirement of just 30 watts per square metre, then this total comes down to about €1800. Installation costs are not usually incurred for electric heating. The only requirement is to take the existing electrical cable routing into account. Thermostats are often battery operated and connected wirelessly.
How much energy do infrared heaters consume?
Infrared heaters are very efficient, converting almost all the electricity into heat. To determine power consumption, you can therefore simply multiply the heating requirements by the electricity price and the annual number of hours of operation. To illustrate this with a practical example, we will return to our case of a 60-square-metre apartment in a low-energy building with five 600-watt infrared heaters. The annual heating requirement for a low-energy building is at most 70 kilowatt hours per square metre. In our example, this gives us an annual consumption of 4200 kilowatt hours. Assuming an electricity price of 31.47 cents per kilowatt hour (average electricity price in 2020), we get an annual heating cost of €1321.
Since electricity is somewhat more expensive than gas or oil, the expected operating costs are higher than conventional heating systems. However, bear the following in mind: The more well-insulated the building is, the lower the difference compared to a conventional heating system.
If you now also take the significantly lower acquisition costs into account, then investing in infrared heating can indeed work out to be an economical option. Particularly when compared to expensive gas and oil heating systems, you quickly save €8000 to €10,000 in one-time expenses as no complex technical work, piping throughout the building or additional plant room is required. This means that infrared heating may save you a great deal of money over an operating period of 20 or 30 years.
How do I calculate costs and consumption for infrared heaters?
In principle: infrared heating is comparatively cheap to purchase upfront and somewhat more expensive to run compared to a heat pump system, for example. A few pieces of information are needed to calculate costs and consumption. The following is an overview of the most important parameters affecting the cost of purchasing and operating infrared heaters:
The annual heating requirement is the calculated amount of energy required to heat the building. Unsure what the exact heating load and annual heating requirements are for your apartment or building? Then you can use the following values as a rough guideline:
Annual heating requirement
Heat Insulation Ordinance 82
<= 150 kWh/(m² per annum)
Heat Insulation Ordinance 95
<= 100 kWh/(m² per annum)
<= 70 kWh/(m² per annum)
KfW energy-efficient building 70
<= 45 kWh/(m² per annum)
<= 15 kWh/(m² per annum
In order to determine the required thermal radiation power for the infrared heater, simply multiply the area of the room you wish to heat by the heating load. The required radiant power can be split across multiple heaters. The following table can be used to roughly estimate costs:
Power output in watts
Cost per infrared heater
In order to calculate the annual operating costs, multiply the heating requirement by the area to be heated and the expected total hours of operation. Multiply this value by your electricity price to find out the annual cost.
Example: infrared heaters will be installed in a 60-m² home built to the KfW efficiency standard with a heating load of 20 W/m² and a heating requirement of 40 kWh/m² per year. The total heating load of 1200 W could be provided, for example, using three 400-W radiators, costing around €1050 to purchase. The annual heating costs are around €750.
Can infrared heaters be operated using cheaper off-peak electricity prices?
Yes, infrared heaters can use electricity on cheaper tariffs. These are tariffs that energy providers offer during periods where electricity demand is particularly low, such as during the night. The one requirement: the infrared heaters must be installed on a separate circuit with a dual-tariff meter.
These special meters measures power consumption based on the time of day. This means that you pay the peak tariff during the day and the cheaper off-peak tariff during the night. Using a separate meter is often worthwhile. The exact savings depend on the provider’s tariff structure as well as the amount of energy consumed during the off-peak tariff period.
Furthermore, an additional advantage of having a separate meter is that you can easily determine how much power is consumed by the infrared heaters, giving you full control over your costs.
How efficient are infrared heaters?
Infrared heaters are exceptionally efficient, converting almost all of the electrical energy into infrared radiation. This infrared radiation has the unique property of transferring pure energy without causing the air to move around. The radiation given off by the heater strikes opposite surfaces at the speed of light and heats them unobtrusively. In turn, these surfaces themselves give off infrared radiation, warming up the surfaces around them – a highly efficient and natural process.
For the sake of fairness, when looking at the efficiency of infrared heaters, we must also consider the actual source of the electricity. Inefficient coal power stations still make up a large proportion of the energy mix in Germany, thus lowering the overall efficiency of electricity production. If you exclusively use green energy in your home, then your heating is more or less climate neutral.
Areas of application for infrared heating
Bedroom – Ceiling Mounted Heaters – Wall Mounted Heaters – Underfloor Heating – Patio Heating – Caravan and Camper Van Heating – Summer House – Garage and Workshop – Conservatories – Bedrooms – Kitchen – Children’s Rooms – Halls and Warehouse
Which infrared heaters are suitable for use in the bathroom?
Infrared heaters are perfect for use in bathrooms. The emitted heat feels similar to warm rays of sun on the body. This makes infrared heaters a great choice for the bathroom, particularly to provide pleasant and comfortable warmth before bathing or after getting out of the bath or shower. A further benefit of using an infrared heater in the bathroom is the fast response time.
Conventional heaters take some time to heat up, which is certainly inefficient considering the short periods of time spent in the bathroom. In contrast, you can immediately enjoy the pleasant warmth from an infrared heater on your body. Thermal wave heaters can also be installed on ceiling and walls. If you decide to mount heaters on the wall, we recommend positioning the heater to be opposite the shower or bathtub. The advantage: heat radiation is aimed directly towards the wet area of the bathroom, quickly and pleasantly warming your body. Mirror heaters and glass heaters are particularly good options for wall-mounted heaters.
Do your feet always get cold in the winter and is underfloor heating your heart’s desire? If so, we recommend mounting an infrared heater on the ceiling. Radiation from the infrared heater is aimed directly at the floor and heats it quickly to a pleasant temperature. Tip: dark-coloured floor tiles made of natural stone store are better at storing heat.
Furthermore, infrared heaters are usually splash-proof, making them completely safe for mounting in the bathroom. For maximum safety, a distance of 60 cm is recommended between electrical installations and wet areas.
When are ceiling-mounted heaters a good idea?
Most infrared heaters are technically suitable for mounting on the ceiling. Installing heaters on the ceiling is especially useful if you want to warm up the floor of the room. The principle is similar to a conventional underfloor heating system and is very popular in bathrooms and bedrooms.
A further advantage of mounting heaters on the ceiling is that it saves space. Thermal wave heaters are very slim to begin with. When mounted on the ceiling they do not use up any valuable space and are particularly inconspicuous as they are not immediately noticeable.
Tip: When choosing an infrared heater for mounting on the ceiling, the power rating is particularly important. The power must be sufficient for the heat radiation to reach the floor where it can be absorbed and reflected. As warmer air tends to “escape” upwards, the power rating is particularly important when mounting heaters on the ceiling. A large surface area is also advantageous, so that the floor will be heated as evenly as possible.
What are the advantages of mounting infrared heaters on the wall?
The key advantage of mounting infrared heaters on the wall is that the thermal radiation is aimed directly at the human body and therefore feels particularly pleasant. The rest of the thermal radiation is absorbed by the surrounding walls and evenly distributed throughout the room via an infrared domino effect. The result: a wonderfully comfortable and even distribution of warmth.
Another advantage is that wall-mounted thermal wave heaters can be perfectly blended in with the interior design. Infrared heaters are available in a huge range of different designs and can be used in particularly creative ways.
Furthermore, positioning an infrared heater in the bathroom directly across from the wet area allows you to enjoy its pleasant, direct warmth before and after bathing. The difference compared to a conventional heating system is immediately noticeable when drying off.
Can infrared heaters be used outdoors?
Whilst technically possible, it is not recommended. For outdoor use, you should use infrared radiant heaters with quartz tube elements that are filled with a mixture of inert gases. These produce a pleasant, direct warmth, making them the best choice for heating outdoor areas. Conventional heating technologies are extremely inefficient in open spaces, such as balconies or patios, as convection immediately carries away the air as it is heated. This is where infrared radiant heaters show their strengths: the heat they emit is directly absorbed by the body, provided an especially comfortable and cosy warm feeling.
Due to the somewhat different requirements, short-wave infrared radiation is usually used for outdoor applications. This type of radiation is also known as infrared A and is particularly efficient. Quartz radiant heaters are very popular for use in outdoor settings. They consist of a quartz tube filled with inert gas containing a heating resistor through which an electric current flows.
Can infrared heaters be positioned on the floor?
Installing conventional thermal wave heaters directly on the floor is not recommended. Infrared heaters can reach high temperatures and are mechanically sensitive, meaning that they cannot be integrated into floors.
However, some manufacturers offer special heated infrared mats that are placed on the floor and transfer heat directly to the body when walked on. This type of floor heating certainly leaves you with wonderfully warm feet, but operates at lower temperatures than conventional infrared heaters and is therefore not suitable for heating rooms.
If you would like to combine the pleasant warmth of a heated floor with energy-efficient space heating, then installing an infrared heater on the ceiling is an ideal solution. The thermal waves are aimed directly at the floor, heating it unobtrusively and evenly, just like conventional underfloor heating.
Tip: an infrared heater in the bathroom will give you wonderfully warm feet if mounted on the ceiling.
Are infrared heaters a good solution for caravans and mobile homes?
Infrared heaters are ideal for infrequently used spaces, such as caravans and mobile homes. IR heaters are not just affordable to purchase, but also extremely easy to install in your caravan. Infrared heaters can also be connected to the 220-V power supply usually available on camp sites and run using electrical power.
Dry heated air, stirred-up dust and flue gases are things of the past with infrared heaters. Not only do infrared heaters operate silently, they also have extremely low response times that are great when camping. Furthermore, infrared heaters in caravans can also be efficiently controlled via a thermostat. For example, you can set your preferred night-time temperature and it will be maintained, thanks to the intelligent control technology.
Can infrared radiant heaters be used when camping or outdoors?
Are you passionate about camping and not one to shy away from a little bit of cold? Then infrared heaters are an exceptionally efficient alternative to other heating technologies for use in the great outdoors. Infrared heaters only require electrical power and can be easily connected to the power supply usually available on camp sites. Infrared radiation penetrates the cold air without losing energy. The advantage: the thermal waves are directly absorbed by the body for a particularly pleasant and comforting warmth. Infrared heaters are therefore perfect for heating awnings when camping. As the heater is usually only turned on for relatively short periods, the electricity costs are not excessive
Can I heat my summerhouse with an infrared heater?
Generally, summerhouses are only used occasionally and only need heating for a few hours a year. Installing an infrared heater in your summerhouse is therefore a particularly attractive option that offers a range of advantages:
Can infrared heaters be used as frost protection?
When the mercury drops below zero in the winter, unused spaces can be left unprotected against the ravages of frost. Infrared heaters solve this problem by providing targeted frost protection. The advantage: thanks to the efficient control technology, the infrared heater only activates when it is actually needed. This keeps operating costs to the required minimum.
Why are infrared heaters a good idea for the garage or workshop?
Garages and workshops are rooms that are used comparatively seldom and only need occasional heating. It is rarely worth the expense of installing a conventional heating system and all the required technical infrastructure. Infrared heaters, on the other hand, can be installed in a matter of minutes, are affordable to buy, and operate very quickly and cheaply if only needed occasionally.
Are infrared heaters a good idea in conservatories?
Like summerhouses, garages and workshops, conservatories are only in use for relatively short periods and therefore do not need to be heated continuously. Installing a conventional heating system in a conservatory, along with the required technical infrastructure, is not generally worth the cost.
Unlike conventional heating systems, thermal wave heaters can be installed in a matter of minutes. For example, if you are thinking about installing heating in your conservatory, then infrared heaters are an ideal solution thanks to their low acquisition cost and easy installation. But there’s more: the pleasant direct warmth generated by thermal wave heaters provides a special feeling of comfort – perfect for cosy evenings in the conservatory with a glass of wine.
Where is the best place to install an infrared heater in the bedroom?
Thanks to the pleasant and even thermal radiation, infrared heaters are also popular in bedrooms. The best place to install the heater in the bedroom is, however, a matter of great discussion. Opinion is divided on whether the wall or the ceiling is the better location. We will take a closer look at both options in order to give you an overview of their pros and cons.
When installed on the ceiling, the heater can be placed above the bed or the floor. IR heaters do in a matter of minutes what conventional systems are unable to do. The floor is warmed to a pleasant temperature and the bed is cosily warmed up by the infrared heater before you get in – a wonderful effect during the winter months.
Caution: direct infrared radiation can sometimes be uncomfortable when sleeping, similar to how it feels if you fall asleep while sunbathing on the beach. Therefore, consider carefully when the infrared heater will be turned on.
Wall-mounting If you would like to visually integrate your IR heater into the decor of your room, then wall-mounting is the ideal solution. Heaters can provide a visual accent as a mirror heater, picture heater or glass heater and evenly heat up the surfaces of the room unobtrusively and without setting the air in motion. Wall-mounting is a good option for sensitive people, as the heat is not directed at the body during the night.
What types of infrared heater are suitable for use in the kitchen?
Infrared heaters are ideal as supplementary heaters in the kitchen, providing comfortable warmth on demand. Thanks to their slim construction, infrared heaters do not take up valuable space in the kitchen and can be perfectly integrated into your interior design.
Alongside traditional, decorative infrared heaters such as mirror heaters or glass heaters, chalkboard panel heaters are also a great idea in the kitchen. You can write quick notes or shopping lists on them, or leave messages for others.
Are special infrared heaters available for children’s bedrooms?
You can use the same infrared heaters in children’s bedrooms that you would use in any other room. Children are generally more sensitive to air quality than adults and very much appreciate the even and pleasant warmth given off by infrared heaters. Unlike conventional heating systems, infrared heaters do not cause the air to move around the room or stir up dust. Children therefore often feel very comfortable with infrared heaters.
The surfaces of infrared heaters can often reach temperatures of more than 100°C. Therefore, it is advisable to install infrared heaters out of reach, e.g. on the ceiling, when installing them in children’s bedrooms.
Furthermore, infrared heaters are equipped with overheat protection and will automatically switch off if they get too hot. Infrared heaters are therefore completely safe for use in children’s bedrooms.
Can infrared heaters effectively heat large halls and warehouses?
Heating large halls and warehouses is a technically difficult and energy-intensive task due to the huge amount of air that needs to be heated. Infrared heaters can be installed on the ceiling at intervals in halls. Unlike conventional heating systems, they have the key advantage that they do not heat up the surrounding air, but rather heat up certain areas efficiently and as needed. While conventional heating systems create a buffer of warm air below the ceiling, which is not energy efficient, infrared heaters only provide heat where it is needed.
Warehouse workers particularly appreciate infrared heaters. Using infrared heaters on demand means that there is no need to continuously heat the entire hall. The result: heating costs can be significantly reduced.
Where else can infrared heaters be used?
Infrared heaters can be used almost anywhere. The advantages of thermal wave heaters are most apparent in situations where a reliable and efficient heat source is needed. Such areas include infrequently used spaces such as conservatories, garages, workshops, summerhouses and caravans. In outdoor areas, such as on balconies and patios, infrared radiant heaters are particularly advantageous due to their pleasant direct warmth.
In new buildings with good thermal insulation, infrared heaters can be more economical than a conventional heating system. If heating requirements are suitably low, you can take full advantage of the benefits of infrared heaters to enjoy an energy-efficient and wonderfully pleasant indoor climate within your home – while still keeping energy costs down.
The benefits of infrared heaters are not just for your home, they can also be enjoyed in the office. If the basic prerequisites are met and your office is located in a well-insulated building, then infrared heating is an ideal solution. Weekends mean that the hours of use are even considerably lower than in the home, thus increasing efficiency.
Different Types of Infrared Heating
Infrared Mirrors -Picture Heaters – Portable vs Fixed Heaters – Glass Infrared Heaters – Infrared Chalkboard Heaters – Celling Mounted Heaters vs Wall Mounted Heaters – Hybrid Infrared Heaters – Flush Mounted Heaters – Infrared Surface Heaters – Quartz Radiant Heaters – Other Type of Radiant Heaters
How do infrared mirror heaters work?
Infrared mirror heaters are particularly popular in bathrooms. In this variant, the thermal wave heater is integrated into a mirror and emits its pleasant warmth directly onto your face. Infrared mirror heaters have several advantages:
Infrared mirror heaters are available in several versions, such as frameless mirrors or mirrors with LED lighting. Attractive thermal wave heaters are not just a great option for the bathroom, they are also suitable for other rooms in your house such as the bedroom.
What are the advantages of infrared picture heaters?
Infrared heaters have one key advantage over conventional heating systems: they can be elegantly integrated into interior decor in an appealing way. Alongside infrared mirror heaters, picture heaters are also very popular.
Picture heaters produce delightful direct warmth in your home and also add a dash of interest. There are no limits to your creativity. You can either select your own favourite design or photos to be printed on your picture heater, or select from a wide range of great-looking standard designs. Integrating electric heating into artworks combines highly efficient heating technology with expressive, individual designs, whether in the bedroom, lounge or kitchen.
The benefits of picture heaters at a glance:
A mobile infrared heater on wheels or a stationary unit?
If you want to take the wonderful direct warmth of an infrared heater with you wherever you go in the world, then the mobile variant of this electric heater is the perfect option for you. Mobile infrared heaters are perfect for infrequently used spaces and can be flexibly employed wherever a temporary heat source is needed. For example, if your home has a few basement rooms that are only infrequently used, then a mobile infrared heater is an ideal choice.
Mobile IR heaters are available with and without wheels. Variants with wheels are ideal if the unit will usually be used in different rooms on the same floor. IR heaters with bases are better for seasonal use on the patio or in the summerhouse and remain stable even on windy days.
Why use a glass infrared heater
Infrared heaters made of glass are popular largely due to their stylish and unobtrusive appearance. A wide range of options are available depending on your personal tastes and interior decor.
Coloured glass heaters are available in addition to classic mirror heaters. They can be easily combined with additional accessories to create attractive focal points. When used in the living room, bedroom, child’s bedroom or office, glass heaters reliably deliver comfortable direct warmth and are a visual highlight in any room.
The front of glass infrared heaters is usually made of tempered safety glass that has proven to be extremely tough and robust in practical use. Despite their elegant appearance, glass heaters don’t just look the part, they are also durable and resilient.
Furthermore, glass heaters can be easily cleaned using a damp cloth or duster, just like any other infrared heater. So regular cleaning of glass heaters is not at all difficult, unlike conventional heating systems.
What are infrared chalkboard heathers good for?
Infrared chalkboard heaters are an original and practical thermal wave heater variant. Chalkboard heaters usually have a surface made of frosted glass and can therefore be written on using chalk, just like a real blackboard.
Write shopping lists, leave notes for your loved-ones or jot down your thoughts in the office – chalkboard heaters combine comfortable warmth with practicality, making them the perfect accessory for your home or office. After writing on the infrared chalkboard heater, you can easily clean it off to write something new.
Which is better: ceiling-mounted heaters or wall-mounted heaters?
Most infrared heaters are suitable for both wall installation and ceiling installation. Both options have their own specific advantages and applications. We have compiled a summary here to help you make your decision:
Integrates perfectly into the decor of the room as a mirror or picture heater
Visually discreet as not immediately noticeable when entering the room
Emits pleasant warmth directly onto the body
Can be used to warm the floor in the bathroom
Can be used in the bathroom facing the shower for pleasant warmth when drying off
Emits pleasant warmth directly onto the bed in the bedroom
How does a hybrid infrared heater work?
Hybrid infrared heaters combine the benefits of conventional heating systems with those of infrared heaters. How this works: the casing of the infrared heater has special openings on the top and bottom. These openings allow air in the room to pass through the casing and heat up, similar to the process used in conventional heating systems. At the same time, the front surface of the heater emits infrared waves that warm up surfaces and objects in the room.
Hybrid infrared heaters combine the pleasant direct warmth of infrared radiation while also quickly warming up the air via convection. This innovate approach can improve both the heating efficiency and comfort in the room compared to conventional heating systems. The temperature can be precisely set using a thermostat control dial.
Furthermore, despite the openings in the casing, hybrid infrared heaters are still very slim and take up minimal space within the room.
Can infrared heating be flush-mounted?
In addition to standard wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted infrared heaters, electric infrared heating mats are also available. These mats are installed under the plaster for maximum space savings and are hidden from view. Infrared heating mats are sheets of fabric with heating conductors fastened at uniform intervals. They are sold on rolls by the metre or as ready-cut lengths.
There are several advantages to using infrared heating mats of this type: alongside their discreet appearance, in-wall infrared heating is particularly good at heating walls evenly. This means they not only keep the room warm, but also reduce problems with damp. It is thanks to these properties that in-wall infrared heating is also great as underfloor heating.
A further advantage of these infrared heating mats is that their carbon-fibre weave makes them extremely resistant to external influences. So there is no need to worry about the infrared heating when hammering a nail into the wall.
What are infrared surface heaters?
The principle of surface heaters is that they increase thermal comfort by heating the surrounding surfaces. In this context, the surrounding surfaces are those surfaces that are in direct contact with the surface heater. These are directly heated by the surface heater and then in turn give off heat into the room. Heating technicians differentiate between underfloor heating, wall heating and ceiling heating. In the context of IR heating, the term “surface heater” refers to electric heating mats installed under the wall plaster that directly heat the wall.
What exactly is a quartz radiant heater?
Quartz radiant heaters are a technical variant of the infrared heater. They have a special structure that differentiates them from conventional infrared heaters: a heating resistor is contained in a quartz tube filled with an inert gas. An electric current flows through and heats the resistor. Quartz radiant heaters using quartz tubes filled with inert gas can reach a much higher temperature than conventional infrared heaters.
Quartz radiant heaters are divided into short-wave and medium-wave radiators. Short-wave radiant heaters have a very high radiation intensity and are therefore perfect for applications with very high heating requirements. Medium-wave radiant heaters are comparable with conventional thermal wave heaters in terms of their heating performance.
What is the difference between infrared dark radiators and bright radiators?
Infrared radiant heaters are often differentiated into dark and bright radiators. Dark radiators are the new generation of heaters that give off significantly less visible light. Thanks to the special tubes used, dark radiators are some of the most powerful and energy-saving devices available for outdoor heating. The spectrum of colours emitted, generally in the yellow/orange/red range, is typical of dark radiators.
Bright radiators, on the other hand, emit a large proportion of the electrical energy consumed as visible light. These radiant heaters are also used primarily in outdoor areas. Bright radiators have been almost entirely replaced by dark radiator technology these days and are therefore of little significance.
Are other types of radiant heaters available other than infrared?
The term “radiant heater” is often difficult to define as all objects emit electromagnetic radiation. Even conventional convection heaters emit a certain amount of heat in the form of radiation.
In practice, however, radiant heaters are usually considered to be heaters that mainly emit heat in the form of thermal radiation. A distinction is made between high-temperature and low-temperature radiant heaters. Low-temperature radiant heaters include surface heaters through which hot water flows, e.g. underfloor heating.
Infrared surface heaters installed under plaster are classed as low-temperature heaters, while conventional infrared heaters, such as mirror and picture heaters, are high-temperature heaters.
Test reports and experiences with infrared heating
Infrared Heaters – User Experiences – Best Infrared Mirror Heaters
Which infrared heaters are the best?
How can I determine if an infrared heater is good or not? Many readers are faced with this very question when looking to purchase an efficient infrared heater and trying to find the right model for them. However, before thinking about going in search of a specific model, there are some basic conditions you will need to know. These include:
Once you have clarified these points, you can start looking for a suitable model. The following main factors must be considered:
Heating efficiency: the efficiency of an infrared heater directly influences your heating costs. For example, if an infrared heater has sufficiently good insulation on the back, the wall behind it will not be unnecessarily heated, thus increasing efficiency.
Quality and workmanship: high-quality infrared heaters can be identified by the length of the guarantee offered by the manufacturer. IR heaters offering a guarantee that is longer than the legally required two years are usually of a much higher quality. Certification marks are also signs of quality.
Assembly and installation: most infrared heaters can be easily mounted on the wall or ceiling. But there are differences: some manufacturers include the required mounting materials (screws, wall plugs and fitting templates), which simplifies installation.
Control: most infrared heaters are equipped with a thermostat to control the room temperature. These thermostats have a built-in temperature sensor as standard. A few models also have an external temperature sensor for increased precision.
You can’t really go wrong if you choose an infrared heater from a well-known manufacturer. Infrared specialists such as Welltherm, Redwell and Knebel have many years of experience and produce innovative products and high-quality IR heaters.
Can I read about others’ experiences with infrared heating?
Compared to conventional heating systems, infrared heaters cost much less to purchase. That said, any investment in a new heating technology should be given careful consideration. If you are thinking about purchasing an IR heating system and are looking for first hand experiences of using them, there are many such reports available online.
An architect reported his experience of testing an infrared heater in his office in an article published on Solwerk.net. He tested a 1100-watt infrared heater made by Welltherm. The architect not only described his subjective impressions, but also carried out comprehensive measurements to record wall temperatures and reported his experiences of the electric heater turning on and off periodically.
Martin Lembke, a home-owner from Schleswig-Holstein, also uses infrared heating and has posted his experiences online for all to read. In his post, he highlights the main advantages, such as low initial investment costs, simple installation, minimum space requirements and the pleasant indoor climate. Martin Lembke goes on further to look at objective facts and provides an example calculation of investment and operating costs.
Which infrared mirror heaters are the best?
If you are considering an infrared heater integrated into a mirror, then the design of the heater is a top priority for you. And no wonder – mirror heaters can be beautifully integrated into modern interiors and look great. When it comes to design, you should rely on your personal taste and just see what you like best. A wide range of attractive mirror heaters are available that will look impressive in bathrooms and bedrooms.
When it comes to the quality of the heater, you need to look closely at the technical specifications. Generally, you can’t really go wrong by choosing products from renowned manufacturers such as Redwell, Welltherm or Knebel. Many companies will even offer a guarantee that goes beyond the legally required two year period – a reliable sign of quality. Certification marks will also indicate whether the mirror heater is of good quality: test marks such as CS, GS, DVE and certifications such as ISO 9001 indicate a high level of safety and good quality.
Finally, you should always take a look at the efficiency of the heater. The efficiency ultimately determines the operating costs and therefore how much you could save by using an infrared heater.
Infrared heating technology
How do infrared heaters work exactly?
The technical principle of infrared heaters is based on the physical law that bodies at a certain temperature emit electromagnetic radiation. The higher the temperature, the more intensive the radiant heat. The sun is the best of example of radiant heat emission: In just three hours, the sun emits enough energy in the direction of the Earth to cover our total energy requirements for a year.
The design of a standard infrared panel heating element is incredibly simple: the core of the infrared heater consists of a heating conductor through which electrical energy flows. This electrical energy is converted into heat. The heating conductors are mostly made of carbon fibres or films. They are strengthened with glass fibres and embedded into plastic.
To ensure that most of the heat is emitted in the right direction, the back of the heater is covered with a non-flammable insulation panel. Behind this insulation layer is a rear panel made of galvanized and powder-coated steel. This also lends additional stiffness to the construction.
The front has a cover that is heated from behind by the heating layer and gives off heat into the room. Depending on the type of infrared heater, this cover is often made of powder-coated aluminium, glass, ceramic or a natural stone such as granite. A conventional electrical plug is used for the power supply. Thanks to the extremely simple structure, infrared heaters are practically maintenance-free.
How many watts of power are needed per square metre?
We previously said that the power of a thermal wave heater depends on various aspects, such as characteristics of the room and the location of the building. Factors such as ceiling height, material of the external walls, thickness of the walls, type of insulation and condition of the windows all have a significant influence on the power needed per square metre.
One of the advantages of infrared heating is efficient thermostat control. If the power of the heating panel is greater than actually needed, this does not negatively affect overall power consumption. In fact, on the contrary: a powerful electric heater warms up the room faster and automatically switches itself off sooner. The electricity costs remain the same, but you benefit from the room warming up in a significantly shorter amount of time.
Whilst we do recommend consulting an expert in order to determine the heating power per square metre that you require, we have provided the following table with some guideline values to help you. You can use these values to roughly estimate the heating power needed for your home:
Very good insulation
One external wall
Two external walls
Three external walls
Four external walls
What kind of electrical connection is required for an infrared heater?
Normal infrared heaters for use indoors are fitted with a standard plug and can be operated from a nearby socket. Infrared heaters do not need a high-voltage current – a standard 230-V plug socket is entirely sufficient. If you would like to install the heater on the ceiling and there are no nearby power sockets, you can simply run an extension cable. This can be integrated into the wall unobtrusively and will barely affect the aesthetics of the room.
Normal infrared heaters usually have a rated power between 500 and 1000 watts, meaning that you don’t need to worry about blowing fuses. Commonly used fuses can withstand currents up to 16 amps and can therefore be safely used with a powerful infrared heater.
Can infrared heaters be used with a night storage connection?
Infrared heaters can be used with a night storage connection if you would like to benefit from a lower energy tariff. The one requirement: the infrared heater must be connected to a separate circuit with its own dual-tariff meter. If an old night storage connection is already available, then you can simply use it and save on the cost of having a new meter installed.
How far away should the infrared heater be from other objects?
The heater should be installed with a certain clearance to other objects to ensure that the radiant heat of the infrared waves can spread out into the room unhindered and efficiently warm the surfaces. A distance of around 10 cm above, below and on either side of the heater is sufficient. A clearance of at least 30 cm must be ensured immediately in front of the heater, from where most of the radiant energy is emitted.
What is the range of an infrared heater?
The electromagnetic radiation from the infrared heater spreads out in a semi-circular shape through the room. Therefore, the intensity of the radiation reduces the further it travels. Conventional heating panels have a range of three to four metres, allowing them to easily heat up small to medium-sized rooms.
If one side of a room is longer than four metres, it is advisable to position several infrared heaters strategically. This will ensure that warmth is distributed as evenly as possible, providing pleasant comfort throughout the room. Temperatures in the immediate vicinity of a thermal wave heater can be uncomfortably high, so they should not be placed directly beside seating areas.
How fast do infrared heaters warm up?
Thanks to their efficient and effective heating principle, infrared heaters can generally reach their maximum surface temperature within 30 minutes. At the same time, the thermostat monitors the room temperature and ensures that no electrical energy is wasted.
How do I adjust the temperature of the infrared heater?
The temperature of an infrared heater is controlled using a thermostat. For example, this could be a digital controller that is directly attached to the heating panel’s power supply and is extremely easy to operate. Modern thermostats even feature timer controls, allowing you to set a lower temperature for during the night.
This temperature controller is extremely simple: the thermostat continuously compares the current room temperature with the desired temperature and turns off the infrared heater as soon as the desired temperature is reached. This ensures a high degree of efficiency and keeps heating costs as low as possible.
What do I need to consider when installing an infrared heater?
Installation of an thermal wave heater is easy compared to conventional heating systems: once mounted on the wall or ceiling, you simply plug the heater into a standard power outlet and can start using it straight away. The mounting materials are usually included, meaning that installation takes just a matter of minutes.
We have put together a few practical installation tips and tricks to allow you to take full advantage of the benefits of infrared heaters:
Why is the radiation angle so important?
The radiation angle of an infrared heater greatly influences how the radiated heat is distributed throughout the room. If the radiation angle is too low, the emitted heat is concentrated in one direction and only heats the wall directly opposite. On the other hand, a wide radiation angle means that heat is radiated evenly in all directions, providing a pleasant warmth throughout the room.
Modern thermal wave heaters are equipped with thermal insulation on the back so that heat is only emitted from the front. For efficient operation, the radiation angle of an infrared heater is normally between 120 and 160 degrees. When buying an infrared heater, you should pay close attention to the radiation angle specified in the product data sheet.
How efficient are infrared heaters?
Infrared heaters convert almost all of the input electrical energy into heat energy. The efficiency of an infrared heater is therefore almost 100%. Most of this heat is discharged into the room as radiation that contributes to evenly and efficiently heating the room.
A small amount of the energy generated is emitted into the room through convection, as with conventional heaters. However, this proportion is certainly not wasted energy – it also contributes to heating the room. Infrared heaters are highly efficient when compared to conventional gas and oil heating systems, in which a significant amount of energy is lost to the environment in the form of flue gases.
What is the surface temperature of an infrared heater?
The surface temperature of a typical dark radiator infrared heater for indoor use is in the range of 80 to 110°C, similar to that of a Finish sauna. A comparison shows: there is no risk of burns from direct contact with an infrared heater. Our natural reflexes ensure that we quickly remove our hand if we touch an infrared heater, thus avoiding burn injuries.
Can infrared heaters be dimmed?
It is not usually necessary to dim an infrared heater. When the heater is operating, the thermostat controls the room temperature by activating and deactivating the heater. This efficient control system makes adjusting the heating power unnecessary. The only requirement is that the heating power of the panel is properly selected for the size of the room.
What needs to be considered when mounting an infrared heater on the ceiling?
Most infrared heaters can be easily mounted on the ceiling using the fastening materials supplied. It is important to select the heater’s position carefully to make full use of the benefits of the electric heater and ensure an even distribution of heat.
Mounting on the ceiling is easy:
Buying infrared heating and getting advice
Where can I get a quote?
Are you interested in installing infrared heating in your new building? Or are you looking at replacing an existing heating system with infrared heating? You can get a suitable quote from our partners by taking just 2 minutes to answer the following questions.
Where can I get a quote?
Investing in a new heating system is a big decision. If you would like information from sources other than the Internet and would prefer to speak directly with an expert, please feel free to contact us by emailing [email protected]
They will be able to provide you with first-hand information and you can take a look at the various types of infrared heating yourself.
Materials & accessories for infrared heaters
Which thermostat is best suited for controlling an infrared heater?
The thermostat is the key to the efficiency of an infrared heater: it allows the user to set a desired room temperature and maintains it by constantly comparing the measured room temperature with the desired temperature. If the room temperature is higher than the desired temperature, the thermostat turns off the electric heater. If, however, the temperature drops below the desired value, then the heater is automatically turned on.
Plug-in thermostats that are integrated directly into the mains plug of the infrared heater are widely available. This ensures that the thermostat is positioned a sufficient distance away from the heating panel to prevent the readings from being affected by the heater’s output. Alternatively, a wireless receiver can be placed between the plug socket and power supply unit. This wireless receiver is controlled by a separate wireless thermostat that measures the temperature at a specific point in the room.
Thermostat technology is divided into analogue and digital variants. Analogue systems have an adjustable dial that is used to control the temperature as on a conventional radiator. Modern thermostats are equipped with digital displays. They enable features such as timed temperature control to be used or can be controlled via smart home systems and or smartphones.
Can infrared heaters be controlled by a wireless thermostat?
Yes, infrared heaters can be easily equipped with a wireless thermostat. A receiver unit is usually connected between the plug and plug socket. This receives a signal from the wireless thermostat, which indicates whether the thermal wave heater should be turned on or off depending on the room temperature.
Controlling infrared heaters via a wireless thermostat has the great advantage of being able to place the temperature sensor at any point within the room. This ensures that a representative temperature is used for controlling the heater. A further advantage is that the thermostat can be programmed from any location instead of directly at the plug socket.
Are infrared heaters with towel rails a good idea for the bathroom?
Infrared heaters give off a pleasant direct warmth and are therefore popular in the bathroom. If you want to combine comfort with modern design and practicality, then an infrared heater with a towel rail is a great option. Enjoy drying off with a snuggly warm towel after bathing or showering. But that’s not all: the infrared heater will also dry the wet towel after use.
Infrared heaters “Made in Germany” – it is worth it?
Infrared heaters are a mature technology and have proven to be a reliable heating method. However, there are significant differences in quality. The main components in an infrared heater (e.g. the heating conductors, cables, front cover, insulation and thermostat) must meet high quality requirements if they are to achieve a long service life and maintain a high rate of efficiency.
For this reason, investing in “Made in Germany” infrared heaters is usually very worthwhile. Companies such as manufacturers Vitramo and Welltherm supply infrared heaters that are produced in Germany. These are much more efficient and, therefore, cheaper to run than products from foreign competitors. As the upfront investment costs of a infrared heater are lower than the operating costs, the efficiency of the heater is a key factor influencing the overall cost. Furthermore, experience shows that “Made in Germany” heaters generally last much longer.
Is it worth having an infrared heater with a timer switch?
Infrared heaters with timers allow you to take advantage of automatic time-based operation that can save both energy and money in many cases. The way they work is relatively simple: the timer is placed between the heater’s power supply and the plug socket. The user can then set fixed times of day when the heater should be turned on and off.
This is particularly useful in rooms that are only in use at certain times. For example, offices are empty during the night and therefore need only minimal or no heating. If infrared heaters are used as supplementary heating in offices, a timer is the perfect accessory.
You can even go one step further if you like and easily integrate your infrared heater into your smart home system. This enables you to adapt system operation even better to your requirements and reduce energy costs still further.
Infrared heaters: Repairs, health and related topics
Is there a risk of burns or fire associated with infrared heaters?
Typical wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted infrared heaters generally have a surface temperature of around 80 to 110°C. This is about the temperature of a Finnish sauna. It is indeed perceived as hot by humans, but does not cause burns. This is mainly because it is a dry heat, unlike the heat from hot water. If you touch an infrared heater with your hand, your reflexes will kick in and you will immediately pull your hand away. This effectively prevents burn injuries.
There is also no risk of fire: infrared heaters feature modern safety systems to prevent any components from overheating. These safety systems ensure that components only draw the amount of current needed to achieve the desired temperature.
How quickly do infrared heaters break?
Infrared heater technology is mature, reliable and almost entirely maintenance-free. Thanks to their uncomplicated technological design, infrared heaters can operate reliably for several decades without any trouble and incur hardly any maintenance and repair costs. Conventional systems use sensitive assemblies such as burners, a pump and complex piping that all need regular maintenance. In contrast, infrared heaters have no moving parts and are extremely robust and long-lasting.
High-quality components must be used in infrared heaters to ensure a long service life. Components such as heating conductors, insulation, covers and power supply units greatly affect the service life and must, therefore, meet tough technical requirements. When purchasing an infrared heater, look out for well-known test marks and certifications as well as the “Made in Germany” seal of quality.
How quickly do infrared heaters break?
Infrared heaters are extremely reliable and rarely stop working. Unlike convention heating systems, thermal wave heaters have no moving parts, meaning they have a much longer service life.
Should an infrared heater nevertheless malfunction, this can usually be resolved quickly and cheaply. When searching for the source of the problem, first check the basic functions of the heater. If the heater is warm, but the desired room temperature is not achieved, the problem may be that the thermostat is poorly positioned. The thermostat should not be positioned right next to the heater to ensure it detects the correct temperature in the room.
It is also possible that the heating power of the panel is insufficient for the size of the room. If the heater is not powerful enough, this is easily resolved by installing a second heater in a strategic position.
If the infrared heater remains cold and shows no signs of heating up at all, this could be due to a defective electrical component (heating conductor, power supply unit). In cases such as these, we recommend making use of the manufacturer’s guarantee.
It is worthwhile getting an infrared heater repaired?
Infrared heaters rarely develop faults that require repair. In many cases, problems of insufficient heating can be resolved by simply moving the heater to a better position or optimising heating regulation.
If an electrical component becomes faulty, then repair is often the best way forward. Components such as the thermostat can be cheaply replaced. Always start by consulting your manufacturer’s guarantee to see what it covers. We would always recommend paying close attention to the manufacturer’s guarantee when purchasing an infrared heater. Many companies selling products that are “Made in Germany” offer a guarantee that goes beyond the legally required two-year period.
Infrared heaters and health: are infrared heaters hazardous to the health?
The radiant heat of an infrared heater is not harmful or hazardous to the health in any way. Infrared radiation is part of the natural light spectrum and is emitted by the sun every day. Compared to high-energy UV radiation, which can be hazardous in the long term, infrared radiation has a longer wavelength and is thus low in energy. People even find the direct warmth from infrared radiation to be very pleasant, feeling similar to the natural heat of the sun.
Electrosmog is barely a problem when using infrared heating: the power lines within an infrared heater do indeed create an electromagnetic field, as in all electrical devices. However, in modern devices, this field is extremely weak and has no ill effects on your health.
Are infrared heaters good for babies, e.g. on changing tables?
Babies are very sensitive to heat and cold and so it is important to ensure that their surroundings are kept at a comfortable temperature. Babies can feel cold when being changed, being taken out of the bath or out of their cot during the night. Infrared heaters are a suitable option for keeping your baby pleasantly warm when changing them.
Do infrared heaters help with mould?
Mould usually appears on external walls. This is because external walls are usually cooler than the room temperature in winter, causing them to get damp. For this reason, infrared heaters are good at preventing mould. They do not heat the air in the room, instead heating up the wall directly. The walls are therefore always slightly warmer than the air in the room, thus protecting against mould formation.
Infrared heaters as supplementary heating or main heating?
Infrared heaters can be used as both supplementary heater as well as main heaters. Infrared heating is ideal for use as a main heating system in modern new buildings with good insulation standards. The operating costs are kept low thanks to the minimal heating requirements. Infrared heaters are also a good idea as the main heating system in buildings that are infrequently used, such as summerhouses.
However, infrared heaters should only be used as a supplementary source of heat in older buildings with poor or average insulation quality. Infrared heating provides pleasant, direct warmth in bathrooms, children’s bedrooms, master bedrooms, kitchens or offices.