Infrared heaters are heating appliances that work through the transmission of infrared waves. Infrared heaters will generally employ one of two systems of operation: an emitter which is heated by fuel, or a filament that is heated electrically. This filament will be made of a strong, heat-conductive material such as tungsten wire. Carbon is also sometimes used as a filament and although carbon filaments are harder to produce, they have the added advantage of heating up at a quicker rate than their tungsten counterparts. This filament will usually be housed within a quartz glass tube for protection. The quartz tube itself is heat-resistant to prevent it from shattering as the filament heats up.
Infrared heaters operate differently from other space heating systems, in that they do not directly heat the air that is localised around the heater. Instead, they work by heating the surfaces that are struck by the infrared waves. This accounts for the even heating of an area in which the heater is located. Infrared heaters have the added benefit of producing no harmful emissions, as would be the gas in an oil burning heating system, for example.
Electric Infrared Heaters
There are numerous types of infrared heater available, with different models designed for commercial, residential or industrial purposes. For domestic purposes, small electric infrared heaters are available that provide an energy-efficient alternative to other heaters. As the heater is only heating the objects in the room, rather than all of the air in the room, the energy consumption level is generally considered to be lower than alternative heating systems. Safety features are present on most designs, such as shut-off mechanisms that turn off the device should it be tipped over, as failure to do so could present a fire hazard. Some infrared heaters also possess inbuilt humidifiers that return moisture to the air that may have been removed through the heating process. Thermostats and other temperature monitoring systems are also common to ensure the temperature can be accurately controlled.
Infrared Space Heaters
For outdoor use and use in large semi-enclosed areas, infrared space heaters can be an attractive option. The heaters can quickly and easily provide comfortable temperature levels to patios and other outdoor areas, and are sometimes fitted with mountings for affixing to walls and other surfaces. Infrared patio heaters are popular in colder climates where outdoor seating is desired all year round. An infrared patio heater is thus ideal for any commercial establishment with provisions for outdoor seating.
Industrial Infrared Heaters
Industrial infrared heaters are also available, and often take the form of what are called quartz infrared heaters. These heaters are used when a large amount of heat is required in a short time, owing to the effectiveness of the quartz heating element contained within. This type of heater has many industrial applications, such as chemical processing and use in incubators.
Infrared Panel Heaters
Infrared panel heaters can be an aesthetically pleasing choice for home or business users, as their flat design allows them to be mounted unobtrusively within a property. Custom designs on the panel allow them to be matched to the existing aesthetics of a room.