Infrared heat, used in radiant heaters, is probably the most basic heating form known to man. We experience infrared heat every day without even knowing it! But here is the question homeowners are asking – are radiant heaters safe?
When choosing the right heating solution for your home, we always recommend diving deep into each option. You want to find out what these systems are, how they work and whether they are safe, affordable and efficient. All the components of a high-performing home heating system!
In this article, we explore the ins and outs of infrared heat, how infrared heat works in a radiant heater and whether radiant heaters are safe to use.
The Ins And Outs Of Infrared Heat
Have you ever felt the warmth of a campfire as you roast marshmallows? Walked on hot sand in bare feet? Or felt the heat of a grill as you barbeque?
These are all examples of radiant heat!
In basic terms, radiant heat is anything that gives off radiant energy. And it comes in many different forms!
Naturally Occurring Forms of Radiant Energy:
- Ultraviolet light
- The heat caused by friction
- Radio waves
- Gamma rays
- Infrared radiation…etc.
Infrared radiation travels through the air, unseen. But instead of warming the surrounding air, it warms the objects it touches.
Humans rely on infrared technology to warm up and cool down. Without it, our bodies would have difficulty maintaining a comfortable temperature.
Here’s how that works:
If objects are warmer than you in your environment, you will warm up from absorbing that heat. But if your body holds more heat than the environment, you will start to radiate heat instead – cooling your body down in the process.
How Does Infrared Technology Work in a Radiant Heater?
Radiant heaters use infrared technology to transfer heat directly to the objects in your home – including you and the room around you!
While central heating systems heat the air between objects, infrared technology directly heats those objects.
3 Main Types of Radiant Heating Systems
- Gas-fired (radiant tube heaters or gas infrared heaters)
Gas-fired radiant heaters are usually used in commercial applications – like retail stores, churches or conference centres.
- Hydronic (water-based)
Hydronic radiant heaters are a popular heating choice for residential applications. But they can work in commercial or industrial locations too.
Electric radiant heaters are usually installed in smaller, individual home areas- like kitchen floors, bathrooms, offices etc…
Once you choose the fuel type, you can decide which radiant heater model works best for your home. We have listed a few of these energy-efficient models below.
Radiant Heater Models
- Wall-mounted heaters
- Free-standing space heaters
- Ceiling Panels
- In-Floor Heating
Although each model uses the same heating method (radiant heat), each offers a unique advantage.
Are Radiant Heaters Safe?
Have you been following along with our blogs for a while? If so, you will know that a radiant heater is an energy-efficient and affordable heating option.
You probably even know how to keep your radiant heater in good condition!
Well, in this article, we take that research a step further! We find out whether these radiant heaters are safe and healthy for your home and family.
Below are three frequently asked questions about radiant heaters:
Are the infrared rays from your radiant heater safe?
As we mentioned earlier, absorbing and radiating infrared heat is a natural and necessary process of the human body. In fact, our bodies naturally accept and emit infrared heat daily.
We feel this heat all the time! In fact, it occurs naturally in the warm radiation from the sun!
But there is a catch…
Infrared comes in two different wavelengths – near and far-infrared.
Far infrared waves are 100% safe. They are gentle and non-intrusive to our delicate bodies.
Near-infrared waves are not safe. They produce an intense, penetrative wavelength that can actually cause harm!
Prolonged exposure to near-infrared can cause:
- Premature skin ageing and
- Damage to the eye corneas.
Thankfully, near-infrared is not a great heating solution. And radiant heaters only use far-infrared. So you have nothing to worry about!
Do radiant heaters emit ultraviolet rays?
Although the warmth from infrared feels very much like the sun’s, radiant heaters do not emit ultraviolet rays.
Ultraviolet releases UV radiation, which can be very harmful to humans. That is why we are always told to wear sunglasses, sunscreen and hats before going outside. Even during the winter months, ultraviolet rays can be intense.
Potential Health Effects of UV Radiation:
- Skin Cancer
- Premature Ageing
- Skin Damage
- Eye Damage
- Immune System Suppression
Infrared is on the opposite end of the electromagnetic spectrum. And it does not have any of the harmful effects that ultraviolet does.
Do radiant heaters cause fire hazards?
If you install your radiant heating system correctly, you shouldn’t have to worry about it becoming a fire hazard. The heating elements generally don’t get hot enough to cause a fire.
However, ensure you have a seasoned HVAC professional install your heater for you! If your radiant heater is not installed correctly, a tiny spark from a short circuit in the system can become a fire risk.
Is a radiant heater safe to touch?
As mentioned above, the elements of a radiant heater generally don’t get too hot. In fact, if you’re using a portable heater, it should have built-in,
- Over-heating protection,
- Tip-over protection and
- Protective casing.
But like anything else that radiates heat, you should always be careful.
Wall and ceiling-mounted heaters are usually not high enough to reach – increasing their safety.
In-floor heating is also considered relatively safe. However, it’s always recommended that you not put anything on the floor that could restrict airflow and cause hot spots. This includes animal beds, mattresses or even flat-bottomed furniture.
Portable heaters are also safe, as long you use them correctly.
How To Use Your Portable Radiant Heater Safely
- Do not block the heat output.
- Keep a radius of about 3 feet clear of any potential obstructions.
- Keep heaters away from flammable liquids and materials.
Contact Shipton’s Radiant Heating Experts To Learn More!
At Shipton’s Heating and Cooling in Hamilton, Ontario, we supply a large selection of Superior Radiant Products. Including infrared heaters for industrial, agricultural, residential and commercial applications!
Our energy-efficient infrared heating solutions also offer superior technology and performance. So you can trust your radiant heater to keep you comfortable and safe!