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Should You Get an Infrared Heater?

Picking the right heating tool for your home, garage, or workplace in the winter is quite key and there are usually lots of factors to consider. One of the more popular options is infrared heaters as they do have a lot of advantages and just a few specific disadvantages. If you’re not too familiar with them and you’re wondering if infrared heaters are the right choice for you, here’s our breakdowns on their safety, efficiency, and effectiveness.

What is an infrared heater?

Infrared heaters are unique heating tools in that they don’t warm up the air around them but instead they project infrared (invisible to the eye) light around them and heat the nearest objects directly. This means that while they won’t make the entire room they’re in “warmer” they will heat up every object that’s directly in the path of their infrared rays. And, just as with the sun, objects that are behind other objects (i.e. in their “shadow”) won’t get heated up because they won’t get any infrared rays directly.

Infrared heaters can come in a lot of different varieties which is why it’s kind of hard to generalize their qualities. These heaters can be electrical, as well as powered with natural gas or propane. Some can even use oil. This means that they can have different power outputs, different power consumption, and different controls. Still, the major pros and cons are typically the same.

How much does it cost to run an infrared heater?

To answer this we’ll need to specify which type of infrared we’re talking about. For gas and propane heaters, the more BTUs (British thermal units of measurement), the more gas or propane the heater will consume but they are generally on par with non-infrared propane and gas heaters.

As for how much electricity does an infrared heater use, that depends on the model. Many electric infrared heaters will use as little as 300 watts of electricity and others – up to 750 or even 1500 watts.

Infrared heaters pros and cons

Infrared heater health benefits are often in question by a lot of people as is their safety. Here’s our quick breakdown of these heaters’ main pros and cons so that you can decide if they are right for you or not:

Pros:
  • Silence. As infrared heaters don’t need a fan or a burning flame, they are almost completely silent. This makes them ideal for noise-sensitive rooms and spaces.
  • Healthy. Infrared heaters don’t interfere with the room’s humidity or oxygen content the way other heaters do which technically makes them healthier. If you’re worried that they might have some physical effects on your body – this is a myth. And, since they use infrared light, they are as healthy for our blood circulation as sunlight without the damaging effects of UV radiation.
  • Instant operation. These heaters start radiating heat as soon as you turn them on and don’t need any time to heat up.
  • Easy maintenance. Infrared heaters have no moving parts, there are no filters to replace, no motor to wear out, and so on. All you need to do is to periodically clean the reflectors and check for problems.
  • Effectiveness. Infrared heaters are very cost-effective as they don’t waste any energy. They only heat the objects that are in front of them so there’s no unnecessary heating.
  • Environmentally-friendly. There are no toxic by-products, no carbon combustion, no air pollutants, no fuel lines, and no open flames. Infrared heaters don’t add or remove anything from the air and only use a bit of power to work.
Cons:
  • Limited warming. Infrared heaters will only heat what’s in front of them so you’ll need to strategically arrange your room’s furniture in such a way that everything receives adequate light from them. This can be a problem for bigger spaces, of course, so infrared heaters are mostly designed for small rooms or poorly-insulated garages/storage spaces.
  • Safety issues. Infrared heaters’ coils get extremely hot so if you have small kids or pets they can be a safety concern. Children and pets can not only burn themselves on the heater but knock it over and start a fire as well. Even by simply sitting there, if they are too close to drapes or some furniture, infrared heaters can heat them up so much that they start a fire that way.

Are infrared heaters right for you?

These heaters are cost-effective, healthy, environmentally-friendly, and easy to use. As long as you’re sure there’ll be no accident with your child or pet, and you need them for a small enough room, infrared heaters can be a great choice.

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