Imagine it is the month of December. The weather is freezing outside. You do not feel like stepping out of your house, so you decide to stay in that cozy bed. But the weather is too harsh to keep you any warm. Here, a heater comes to the rescue. Now imagine the cold weather outside, you are sitting comfortably in your bed with your heater on, sipping a warm cup of coffee. A perfect day, isn’t it?
Setting up a heater is the first thing that comes to your mind during the cold harsh winters. But the traditional heaters take up a lot of electricity and cause a lot of heat loss. Moreover, they cause the accumulation of heat in the ceiling, leaving the walls cold and damp. This might be an unpleasant experience for you.
You might be thinking of switching to infrared heaters but might be hesitant about them because you have no idea what they are. Some question like ‘what are infrared heaters actually?’, ‘how do they work?’ or ‘are infrared heaters safe for our health?’ can make you take a step back.
Here, we will take you on a quick tour, and enlighten you about the working and features of an infrared heater.
How Do Infrared Heaters Work?
Let us just start with what are infrared radiations. Infrared waves are the waves situated next to the visible light in the electromagnetic spectrum. Lots of physics, right? And maybe you are not a big fan of science. Do not worry, we will explain it to you in simpler terms. It will help you know whether infrared heaters are safe or not.
During your school times, you might have heard something or other about electric and magnetic fields. These fields interfere with each other forming electromagnetic waves. Now, these electromagnetic waves consist of different waves of different wavelengths, forming an electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared waves are one of them. They are just beside the visible light which we can see. The other electromagnetic waves are gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet rays, microwaves, and radio waves.
Now the second theory that an infrared heater uses is the different methods of heat transmission. Heat is transmitted via different ways like absorption, conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction of heat takes place when the two objects are in direct contact with each other. Convection occurs in liquids and gases when the heat transfers through a medium like air.
Radiation occurs when thermal energy is transferred without any medium. The energy is radiated directly to the other object, preventing the surrounding air from heating. Even though all the three ways are used by the infrared heaters, they mostly transmit the heat energy via radiation. It is the most effective way of heating and thus provides even heating. Heat energy is radiated as electromagnetic waves in the infrared band.
In infrared heaters, the heating starts from the floor and not the ceiling, unlike conventional heaters. This technique does not cause any problems further due to vast differences in climatic conditions in different corners of the globe. Sometimes, there are minute changes in temperatures of different rooms in a single house. So, not only in different countries, but it works efficiently in different rooms of the same house too!
Now what an infrared heater does is that it converts electrical energy supplied to it into thermal energy. The apparatus of infrared heaters includes a burner, a reflector and a long tube that exchanges heat. The burner lights a flame that goes down the tube to the reflector with the help of a uniquely designed fan. The reflector is designed such that it emits these radiations directly in the direction of the person.
This emitted heat is absorbed by the floor, walls, and other objects in the space around. They reradiate this energy slowly and gradually. This causes even distribution of the heat into the room. The emitted heat does not reach the ceiling, preventing the escape of these radiations. This provides the comfort and warm feel you are looking for.
Are Infrared Heaters Safe?
Did you ever take a warm sunbath on a hot sunny day? It gives a pleasant and warm feel, right? That is exactly what infrared heaters do. They emit thermal radiations like sun rays which are our saviour in harsh winters.
Infrared heaters are completely safe for our body. Our skin is already prepared for the absorption of infrared radiations. The reason being that these are emitted by our own sun too!
Sun emits all the waves in the electromagnetic spectrum i.e., electromagnetic waves. As infrared waves are one of them, the sun emits them too in small quantities. Our body is designed in such a way that the moisture present in our skin accepts and absorbs these radiations, giving a feeling of warmth to our body.
We often misunderstand that all the waves in the electromagnetic spectrum are harmful to our body. There are two types of radiations in an EM spectrum- ionizing and non-ionizing. The ionizing waves are harmful to our skin while non-ionizing waves do no harm to our body. We often think that infrared radiations are like U.V. radiations. But it is U.V. rays that are harmful and not the infrared waves. The reason being that the infrared radiations are non-ionizing while U.V. radiations are ionizing.
The other reason is that infrared waves are located on the left side of the EM spectrum while U.V. on the right side. The waves on the right side are considered harmful because they are high in energy and they are the ones responsible for causing diseases like cancer. The waves on the left side and which are considered as low energy frequencies cause no harm to mankind.
Even though infrared heaters are safe to use, there are some preventive measures to be taken to ensure no harm.
Preventive Measures to Be Taken While Using Infrared Heaters
- Avoid touching the heater directly. It can do similar damage that is caused by any other kind of heaters. Touching infrared heaters may cause burns.
- To avoid any injury, set the heaters higher up where any direct contact is not possible.
- Avoid prolonged contact and exposure from a very little distance. Just like prolonged exposure to sun rays can cause burns, infrared heaters can do the same thing. Not only infrared but long-term exposure to any waves can cause a little damage.
- Handle your heater properly and get it checked periodically for any leakage or any other safety issue.
Pros and Cons of Infrared Heaters
- They act faster than the conventional heaters. As soon as you turn the switch on, your room becomes warm instantly.
- Even though your room gets warm, you will not feel suffocated or any alteration in the humidity of the surrounding environment. This heater makes the room cozy rather than dry and unpleasant.
- Unlike conventional heaters, they do not cause any pollution to the environment.
- They do not cause any problem of dust and uneasiness bAecause of it. Dust and other pollutants are the main problem of conventional heaters which the infrared heaters overcome successfully.
- They are easily affordable. Infrared heaters do not cost much and are effectively durable.
- Infrared heaters are very cost-effective. Once installed, they require a bare minimum amount of maintenance.
- Infrared heaters take up a minimal amount of electricity. You can save up to 30 percent of your electricity bills by installing infrared heaters.
- Infrared heaters are easy to install.
- Their slim design does not take up much space in the room.
- Infrared heaters do not make any sound while heating. They maintain peace in your room.
- Infrared heaters are safe to use.
- Prolonged exposure in front of infrared heaters may cause some skin issues like burns.
- As soon as you turn the switch off, the heat goes off instantly. You must keep the heater on as long as you need the warmth.
- You must stay within the reach of the infrared radiations just to get the right amount of warmth.
- They emit intense light which might be disturbing if you are looking for a dark room.
- Any direct contact like touch is not safe.
In conclusion, infrared heaters are safe to use but they have few negative aspects as well. By undertaking some safety measure, infrared heaters are the best alternative for traditional air warmers. Infrared heaters are safe, affordable, cost-effective easy to install, and environment friendly. We hope this quick tour helped with your decision about installing infrared heaters. Happy winters!