With energy prices rising, everyone is becoming more mindful of how they use energy. One of the first cuts people make is turning the heating off. While this will look good on a smart meter, it can create cold, damp spaces and lead to black mould developing. Infrared heating panels are a highly efficient alternative to traditional radiators for keeping your home warm through the colder months.
The best way to keep your heating bills low with infrared heating panels is to know where they should be placed. Infrared heating works differently from traditional radiators, so it’s not as simple as a direct replacement. Luckily, infrared panels take up far less room, so they will not take away valuable space from your lounge or bedroom. Once you understand how infrared heating works, you will be able to find the optimum position for the panels in your home.
How infrared heat works
Traditional convection heating creates dry, hot air. This rises to the top of the room and then disperses throughout to bring up the whole temperature. This can be a slow process, which is why it can take a while to feel the benefit of switching your radiator on.
Infrared is a direct heating method which feels similar to the warmth you get from sitting out in the sun. It is not affected by the air or draughts and instead emits heat that travels from the panel to the nearest solid object. The object absorbs the heat, helping you to feel the benefit almost immediately. This has the added perk of being better for people with allergies or breathing difficulties.
So, in order to get the most out of your infrared panels, you need to think about their line of sight.
Understanding line of sight
Ideally, you need an unimpeded line of sight from your infrared panels to the area they are going to heat. The average panel has a heating range of around 3m, so always consider what is in this range. Corners, walls and large furniture items can all be obstacles to effective heating. For example, a panel should not be placed behind a large piece of furniture, as the heat will only be absorbed by that piece of furniture.
If you want infrared heating panels in your living room, you will want to make sure the panels can reach the seating area so that they can heat up the sofas and the people sitting on them. Objects or surfaces that are in the direct line of sight should be good conductors. Plastic and glass are poor conductors, so avoid placing your infrared panels within a direct line of sight to plastic furniture or glass decor.
Mistakes to avoid
Hiding a panel in an alcove
While we like to put traditional radiators in alcoves or niches to maximise space, this will have a detrimental effect on infrared panels. The average infrared panel has a radiation angle of around 120 degrees, giving it a wide reach when placed correctly. With surrounding walls on both sides, this drastically reduces the reach of its warm wavelengths. Instead of heating your living space, that heat will be absorbed by the walls of the alcove, with only a small part of the radiation angle reaching the rest of the room.
The good news is that the modern design of an infrared panel is streamlined and will take up less space than a radiator. So instead of hiding it away, you can keep the living space of your room and still heat your home effectively.
Panels facing windows
As we’ve said, glass is not a great conductor of heat. Ideally, an infrared panel would face another wall that is capable of absorbing and re-emitting the heat. While longer infrared wavelengths cannot pass through the glass, there is another disadvantage to placing a panel that faces your window.
The glass in a window can absorb the heat from far infrared radiation. This heat can then be conducted through the glazing so that all that lovely warmth is actually being emitted outside of your home. Having infrared panels that face your window is therefore like putting on a radiator while having your windows open. It is going to waste your energy and will not effectively heat your home. This is especially true of older or period homes that have single-glazed windows.
Best practice for installation
Wall mounted panels
Infrared panels that are wall mounted are best positioned at body height. This will ensure that the people in your home will be able to absorb far infrared waves and warm up quickly on cold days. Usually, putting them in a central position, such as mounted on a chimney breast, allows the spread of heat to be at its optimum. If you can make space, 2 heating panels on opposite walls will guarantee that your room stays warm and can mitigate any large pieces of furniture or obstacles.
You can also be strategic when mounting panels on walls. For example, if you have particular walls in your property that are always cold and more likely to become damp, a panel on the opposing wall will keep it warm and stop any dampness or mould from developing.
Mounting on the ceiling
Without a doubt, the most effective way to heat your home with infrared panels is to mount them on the ceiling. This ensures that all levels are comfortably heated and will not be hindered by obstacles in the same way a wall-mounted panel can. Even better, the panel will reach the floor, furniture and walls, all of which can absorb and re-emit the heat back into the room.
With panels on the ceiling, you also make sure no one accidentally makes contact with the panel. The only possible hindrance is your light fittings. Most ceiling lights are placed in the centre of the room to make sure it is well-lit. To make sure heat is also dispersed equally, you can place heating panels next to the fitting or opt for 2 small panels on either side of the fixture.
Installing your panels
Following the line of sight rule is the best way to ensure you heat your property effectively. Once you have a grasp on this, you can make the most of the benefits infrared heating has to offer. Installing panels is an investment that will pay off in the long run because of the savings you will make on your energy bills. There are also numerous health benefits that have been found in medical studies where infrared heat has been used to ease stiffness and pain and boost the immune system. Infrared heating is 100% safe to use in your home and will keep you and your home warm through the winter.