Infrared Heaters: Efficient or Wasteful?

Homeowners are always looking for ways to slow down the spin of the power meter and save a little cash. So today we’re taking a look at infrared space heaters. Are they efficient? How do they stack up against oil-filled radiator type space heaters? Let’s find out!

 

Infrared Space Heater

 

How do Infrared Space Heaters Work?

 

We all know that Infrared is an invisible spectrum of light. What you probably didn’t know is that infrared waves can get absorbed into your skin and heat your body from the inside out…rapidly! Before you start donning your tin foil hat and Googling articles on cancer though, you need to remember that the sun emits infrared and it’s a very natural heat source. Ever enjoy the warm, radiating waves of heat off a bonfire on a cool winter night? That’s infrared energy!

 

Need more technical details? Check out this primer on infrared heat by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute:

 

http://www.ahrinet.org/App_Content/ahri/files/Product%20Section/INFRARED%20BROsinglePGS.pdf

 

Infrared space heaters work by producing a radiating heat that can warm you up fast, and that’s part of the reason they are so popular. If you ever shop at Costco, you’ve probably walked by one of their infrared heaters on display. They absolutely blast you with heat that you can feel immediately. It feels great, but are they efficient?

 

 

Are Infrared Space Heaters Energy Efficient?

 

Yes and no. Compared to older style space heaters, the answer is a resounding yes. Electric heat space heaters are notoriously inefficient compared to central units. That is, if you’re actually needing to heat the entire home. If you only use 2-3 rooms, it might make more sense to only heat those spaces and turn the furnace off.

 

And if you’re using electric heat, infrared is one of the most efficient options for heating a single room, and that’s where the real energy savings come into play. If you don’t need to heat an unoccupied spare bedroom, why bother? You can save some money in the winter by closing off parts of your home you rarely or never visit and only heat the rooms you do live in with infrared heaters. And if you’re trying to decide between infrared and some other electric heat source, don’t bother. The only portable electric heater that’s more efficient is the oil-filled radiator type. However, they’re more expensive and it takes hours to heat up a room. Infrared heat is near-instant and directional.

 

Energy Savings from Directional Heat

 

That directional heat and rapid warm-up put infrared above oil-filled heaters in my opinion. Most of us are gone during the daytime and only need to heat a room after work. In that case, you can come home, have a seat, and point a small infrared space heaterthe infrared heater directly at you. It will keep just you and the immediate area around you warm at first, but this beats having to run an oil-filled heater all day for no good reason in my opinion.

 

Health Benefits?

 

Believe it or not, there might be some health benefits to far infrared light. Popular infrared saunas are thought to improve circulation, reduce muscle pain, and increase flexibility. They use the same heating technology available in most ceramic infrared space heaters.

 

In addition to the direct benefits, these heaters don’t produce condensation and may help reduce mold or mildew problems in the home.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about these energy-saving heating options, we’ve got it covered for you! Check out this round-up of the ten best infrared heaters on the market from our friends at Just Best 10, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Cheers!

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