Radiant Panel Sizing in Four Easy Steps

Radiant Panel Sizing in Four Easy Steps

For any heating system, proper sizing is critical to performance – and infrared radiant ceiling panels are no different. One of the most frequently asked questions we get is how to size our infrared ceiling panels correctly. When we help someone size a system, we typically perform a heat loss calculation to determine system sizing. The following are some guidelines you can use to size panels for smaller projects, or when you don’t have all the information necessary for a heat loss calculation.

 

Step 1 – Measure the space

The size of the space is one piece of information you simply must have. Measure the length and width of the room and calculate the square footage by multiplying the two together. For example, if your room is 12 feet wide by 15 feet long, then the room size is 12 feet x 15 feet = 180 square feet (sf).

Step 2 – Estimate the necessary wattage

Next you need to estimate the amount of heating you’ll need. This is where a heat loss calculation comes in handy. However, there are some general guidelines we use that will get you pretty close.

  • Supplemental System (i.e. a ductless or forced air system is doing most of the work): 2 Watts/square foot (W/sf)
  • Super Insulated Room (meets US EPA Energy Star standards or above): 4.5 W/sf
  • Normally Insulated Room (meets current code): 6 W/sf
  • Low Insulation/Drafty Room: 7-9 W/sf

Step 3 – Determine the watt density (intensity)

Now you need to look at the mounting height (this is usually the ceiling height) of the panel to determine appropriate watt density. The higher the watt density, the more intense the maximum output of the panels.

  • 50w/sf – eg a 120AIP4-400 is 400 watts over 8 square feet of panel – 50w/sf. This watt density is best suited for lower intensity applications, like ceilings under 8′ in height.
  • 62.5w/sf – eg a 120AIP4-500 is 500 watts over 8 square feet of panel – 62.5w/sf. This watt density is the most versatile – readily used from 8′ ceilings up to 9’6″.
  • 93.75w/sf – eg a 120AIP4-750 @ 750 watts over 8 square feet of panel = 93.75w/sf. This watt density is best used in places where higher intensity is desired, such as high draft areas or ceilings over 10′.

Step 4 – Determine # of panels

We have a rule of thumb for coverage to get started here – take the square footage of the room and divide it by 20. Then, divide that number by either 6, 4, 3, or 2, depending on what panel size you think will work best in the room. Finally, round that number off and you have the number of panels you should use!

Let’s use these steps in an example. Let’s say our example room is 12’x12′, with 8′ ceilings. It has normal insulation.

Step 1 : 12 * 12 = 144 sf

Step 2 : Normal insulation = 6 W/sf – 6 W/sf * 144 sf = 864W

Step 3 : Watt density should be at least 62.5 W/sf (eg a 6′ 750W panel, or a 3′ 375W panel)

So, we should use either a single 6′ 1000W panel, or two 4′ 500W panels for this room!

Ceiling panels in a backyard cottage by Model Remodel + Live, Work, Play

After this step, you’ll have to make a few judgement calls on the system. First, you need to make sure your wattage requirement determined in Step 2 is met by the panels you picked in Step 3 & 4 – if not, you’ll need to adjust your selection. Second, do you want more, but smaller panels, to achieve more even coverage in the space? You can use a single 6′ 750W to achieve the same heating as two 3′ 375W units. You could even use three 2′ 250W!  Some people like the symmetry and distributed coverage provided by smaller units; others prefer to simply install a single larger unit – the choice is up to you.

Fall Infrared Heating Open Houses

Fall Infrared Heating Open Houses

Join us for an open house! Mighty Energy Solutions will be opening our home showroom to building professionals and homeowners on the following Tuesdays this fall: September 25, October 16, and November 6. This is an opportunity to see Infrared Radiant Ceiling PanelsRadiant Cove Heaters and our BioSmart Wall Heaters in action. Heating season is almost upon us and now is a great time to think about how to efficiently heat your home. Pacific Northwest rainy seasons can be tough, but not with Infrared Radiant Heat! These products provide a warm, cozy, and healthy heat all year long. Come experience this comforting heat for yourself!

September 25 | October 16 | November 6

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3108 SW Webster St

RSVP’s welcomed but not necessary. Drop in anytime, no formal presentation.

Infrared Heat in 4-Star Built Green DADU

Infrared Heat in 4-Star Built Green DADU

This 2+ story DADU (detached auxiliary dwelling unit), by Living Shelter Design Architects, is heated solely with infrared radiant ceiling panels. Certified Built Green 4-Star, the project features an extremely tight building envelope and healthy finishes for superior indoor air quality. Total living space is under 650 square feet, so the expense of installing ductwork or a heat pump system just didn’t make sense.

heat panels in DADU interior

Instead of forced air, the owners chose cozy and efficient infrared radiant ceiling panels. Heated by an electric infrared coil, these heaters radiate energy downwards. They heat the people and objects in the room directly, much like the sun. Spaces warm up faster & stay warm longer with very little electricity and zero maintenance. By choosing electric infrared heat, these homeowners also eliminate the added costs of installing ductwork.

Flexibility

Living Shelter designed this DADU as a multi-use space to add square footage to the owners’ already full home. They can use it as a space for guests, furniture storage and staging, and living space for future college age kids or renters. Because they are on the ceiling, the infrared radiant panels allow maximum flexibility for space use and layout.

Longevity –

The design/build team selected materials and finishes with the aim of creating an extremely durable structure that will provide this family with the space they need for decades. And the infrared heating system is no exception. The manufacturer provides a 20-year warranty and the heaters have an expected lifetime of over 40 years. This makes the radiant ceiling panels are the longest lasting heaters on the market. They will continue keep the space cozy for many years to come.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) –

Zero ductwork means that the homeowners also eliminated the risk of dust or allergens being blown around their space. With infrared heat they will also avoid the dreaded feeling of dry blown air in the winters.

Read more about infrared ceiling panels here. 

Top 3 Most Effective Uses of Infrared Heat in Green Building

Top 3 Most Effective Uses of Infrared Heat in Green Building

Infrared radiant heat systems provide versatile warmth that is both cozy and efficient. Powered by electricity, radiant heaters directly warm humans and objects without noisy fans, bad smells, or dry air and dust blowing around your house. Imagine the immediate all-encompassing warmth that feels like stepping into the sun, when you walk into your bedroom. Radiant heating systems are flexible and can be customized for any room layout. They complement any décor by mounting on the ceiling or upper wall and become almost invisible. Below are the best solutions for heating our buildings and homes more sustainably with radiant heat:

1) Hybrid System with Ductless Heat Pump

ductless heat pump headinfrared radiant ceiling panel surface mounted in bedroom

A ductless mini-split heat pump (DHP) is a great energy-saving solution for heating larger open spaces like an open concept great room. A single unit installed high on the wall can output 12,000 BTUs and save you more than 50% on your energy bills. However, DHPs struggle to spread heat down hallways and around corners. Unless you leave the doors open all the time, DHP’s can’t effectively heat bedrooms or bathrooms. Installing a second or third DHP head means running extra piping which quickly becomes messy and costly. This is where infrared radiant heat comes to the rescue! Instead of additional DHP heads, electric radiant heaters can be installed in rooms that the DHP fails to reach. As a supplemental system, radiant heaters will provide enhanced comfort, and zone control, while complementing the unbeatable efficiency of a ductless heat pump. Radiant heat also offers much faster heating response times than a DHP (approximately 5-10 mins) because it is warming humans and objects directly.

2) Zone Control for the Whole House

Infrared radiant heat can effectively and efficiently heat your entire home, with 1-2 units per room. By placing a thermostat in each room, you can heat only the rooms you are using. With an average 30% energy savings over cadet or baseboard heaters1 , infrared radiant heat warms objects and surfaces in a room directly. This means everything in your space will be an even temperature and furniture will become part of the thermal mass that will continue to provide soft warmth. Thus, occupants feel warmer faster and stay warm longer, lower air temperatures, adding even more energy savings. Additionally, with no need to dry the air out to an uncomfortable heat with noisy fans, ductwork, or moving parts, radiant heaters provide superior indoor air quality for your family.

3) Avoid Extending the Furnace for an Addition

infrared radiant ceiling panel flush mountedWhen planning an addition to your home, the question often arises of whether to extend an existing furnace system. Adding ductwork can be quite costly, involve a complicated install, and may end up being less comfortable and efficient due to heat loss from the extra ductwork. Any time you want to heat any part of the system, the entire furnace has to fire up. You also run the risk of overworking your furnace or finding out that you need to install an entirely new one. Zoned infrared radiant heat is a great alternative to a furnace extension. There is no need to install more duct work and radiant heaters are as simple to install as a ceiling light. Affordable, comfortable and efficient heat makes radiant the ideal alternative to locations that an existing furnace can’t reach. Unlike vents and ductwork, radiant heaters are completely silent, require zero maintenance, and have the longest expected lifetime of any other products on the heating market. Talk about a great long-term investment! For more information, email info@mightyenergy.net

Radiant Ceiling Panels are a smart choice – wireless thermostats make them smarter!

Radiant Ceiling Panels are a smart choice – wireless thermostats make them smarter!

by Steve Abercrombie, Connected Buildings

Wireless thermostats are a perfect way to improve comfort, make your home smarter, and save money and energy. Radiant Ceiling Panels supplied by Mighty Energy Solutions are a perfect complement to wireless thermostats. Since they offer precise heat on a per-room basis, you can fine tune your comfort while keeping your energy bills low for the rooms that are not in use. Radiant heat makes you start feeling warm in seconds, so you don’t have to worry about a long lag between turning up the heat and feeling comfortable.

“Wireless” thermostats are a bit of a misnomer. While they can be controlled from anywhere you have an internet connection, they still need power to run, and need to be connected to your home heating system. In some projects, you don’t have to run wire to mount a controller on the wall, which saves a lot of hassle and allows for a cleaner look. However, code requirements vary so make sure you get approval from your local building department. Wireless thermostats often allow control of your heating system from not only the next room, but from across the globe.

 

Ideal Applications

Smart, wi-fi enabled thermostats and radiant ceiling panels are an intelligent home-heating solution. Have a heat-pump serving the main part of your house, except for that cold guest bedroom or basement? You need to consider supplemental radiant ceiling panels controlled by a smart thermostat. If you replace your heat pump thermostat and use a home automation system you will be the envy of all your neighbors while also saving money on your heating bills! The radiant panel / smart thermostat combo is also ideal for vacation homes or Airbnb rentals where you can warm things up for maximum comfort just prior to arrival.

Have you ever wanted to say “Alexa, turn on the heat in the bedroom” so that it is warm and toasty when it’s time to go to sleep? A wireless thermostat integrated with your home automation system or controlled by your smart phone is just the ticket. Including such other conveniences as: turning off your heat from the airport before you depart for vacation, automatically setting your house to a lower temperature whenever you leave home, or warming up the house when you leave the office.

 

Wireless Thermostat Basics

Wireless or “wi-fi enabled” thermostats connect to your wireless network to allow you to control them via the internet. This control then allows you to use Amazon Echo, Apple Home, Google Home, IFTTT, or a variety of other Internet of Things (IoT) services to automate your home.

There are too many wireless thermostats on the market to review them all, but below are a couple of the most popular ones. Almost any wi-fi enabled thermostat can be paired with radiant panels!

 

Nest Learning Thermostat

The original ‘smart’ thermostat, the Nest is a great choice if you are looking for style and simplicity that you can control with your smartphone. If you want a minimalist look to accompany the low-profile radiant ceiling panels, and just want to save energy, consider the Nest. It works best when you are controlling a large room, say a great room or integrated kitchen / living room. This is because its learning algorithm works best in places that get regular activity, as compared to a sparsely-used spare bedroom. The Nest costs about $250. It also has a built-in occupancy sensor to detect room usage without other home automation components.

 

Ecobee 3 Lite thermostat

Ecobee produces a popular wi-fi enabled thermostat that can be controlled via a tablet, smart phone, or home automation system. The “lite” version of this thermostat is about $150. It is a good choice for folks looking for multiple room thermostats, while still getting a modern look, or for people with an established home automation system. To get a built-in occupancy sensor function or to be able to add native room temperature sensors, you have to upgrade to the non-lite version, the Ecobee 3.

 

Honeywell RTH6580WF

Although they don’t have the sleek design of the Nest or the Ecobee, Honeywell is a trusted name in thermostats. They have a line of wi-fi enabled and smart thermostats, with features rivaling their upstart competitors. After some evaluation, I chose the Honeywell RTH6580WF for my home. At less than $100 apiece, installing two of these was a snap to heat my office and guest bedroom!

 By reading online reviews and doing a little shopping it isn’t hard to find the thermostat that is right for you. Don’t forget, security is always important with any internet-connected device you get. Make sure to buy from a reliable manufacturer and change the default password immediately upon installation.

Bring it all Together with Relays

The key to making a smart thermostat work with radiant ceiling panels is a relay with a built-in transformer. The relay acts a switch that turns the heating panel on and off when commanded by the thermostat.

The Aube 840T is the relay that I used to connect my Honeywell wi-fi thermostats to the radiant ceiling panels in my office and guest bedroom. Besides allowing the thermostat to cycle the power on the radiant panels, it also provides power for the thermostats via 3 small wires that are run from the ceiling to the wall-mounted thermostats. The Aube relays cost about $40.

I almost never use the thermostat controls on the walls, although I notice when guests stay over on cold nights, they love bumping up the temperature a few degrees to bask in the heat from the panels. Of course, I can check the temperature on my cell phone after they depart to set things back to normal.

You’ll want to consult with an expert to help you with the design of your control system and make sure everything meets code – Mighty Energy Solutions can help direct you. There are a lot of possibilities depending on the number of zones that you set up and how many thermostats and panels you want to install. They will also make sure that the relay you select matches the voltage of your heating panels.

Here is a diagram that I used to work with my electricians on the installation in my house. They took it from there and made everything look easy!

 

I found setting up an efficient, comfortable, and smart home with a couple of wireless thermostats and Radiant Ceiling Panels from Mighty Energy Solutions wasn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds and was made even more simple with assistance from Mighty Energy.

Winter Radiant Heat Open Houses

Winter Radiant Heat Open Houses

Join us for one of our radiant heating open houses! Mighty Energy Solutions opens our home showroom to building professionals and homeowners regularly on Wednesdays. Our open house sessions this winter are: December 13, January 24, and February 21. 

Attending an open house is an opportunity to see our Ducoterra SolaRay Radiant Ceiling Panels in action. Winter in the Pacific Northwest can be tough, but not with Infrared Radiant Heat Panels! These panels provide cozy, healthy, and efficient heat all year long. You’ve got to see it to believe it! Come experience this comforting heat yourself at our open house.

December 13 | January 24 | February 21

3108 SW Webster St, Seattle, WA 98126

Morning Session 8:00-10:30 AM
Afternoon Session 3:00-6:00PM
[or mid day by appointment]

RSVP‘s appreciated, but not required.