Geo Answers: “How is Infrared Radiant Heat Different?”

Geo Answers: “How is Infrared Radiant Heat Different?”

We have all experienced infrared radiant heat when basking in sunshine. We just don’t associate this feeling with how we heat our buildings, since, in most cases when it’s cold out, we stay warm indoors by heating the air around us. The air around us is what our thermostats measure, too.

The sun shines a full spectrum of colors and we can see most of them. But at either end of that spectrum are invisible light rays: ultraviolet and infrared. Although ultraviolet light does many things, some vital to life, it can cause sunburn, skin discoloration, skin cancer, and some loss of eyesight. Infrared rays on the other hand, do not have those negative drawbacks. All of our heaters shine only infrared light at end of the spectrum that warms people, pets, furniture, and the surfaces in the room it shines on – just like the sun heats the land and the water. The air barely blocks this direct radiance, so it doesn’t heat up this way. Instead, the warmed surfaces that do block the light, like the floor, walls, and other surfaces, shed their warmth into the air and the warm air rises into the room. Also, since surfaces are warmed, it takes the edge off bare feet on a cold floor, and a warm couch is cozy. So, unlike other forms of interior heat, infrared provides heat we can feel three ways.

A kitchen with infrared radiant heat.

This is a big part of why infrared radiant heat is so efficient. Most types of installed furnaces and heaters use a noisy fan, (with moving parts that can fail,) to blow air across a hot element and into the living spaces. This means the very first stage of energy use is taken up just heating and blowing air around. This has the added effect of stirring up dust, allergens, and other particulates. And, as soon as this warmed, turbulent air enters the room (since it is lighter than the cooler air around it) it begins to rise toward the ceiling. This means the air in the room must be heated up enough to keep some of the warmth down where it is wanted. And, since all the air in the building is connected, the heat diffuses to every space even as it leaks out of the smallest cracks in the outside walls where the drafts get in.

While you feel it as warmth instead of seeing it, infrared radiance is, in fact, light. It may be useful to think of our heaters as light fixtures. You turn them on, and they shine. You can feel the warmth within minutes. There is no boom of expanding vents or white noise of rushing, dusty air – just warm radiance. The air temperature comes up and the thermostat registers it, but you will be warm even before that happens. And, just like you don’t need to turn on all the lights in the house to get the light you need, all the infrared radiant heaters in your home don’t have to be turned on just so you can get warm in the room you are actually in.

Warm family

Just as you will be warmer in the sunlight on a clear, chilly day than in the shade, even though the air temperature is the same. With infrared heat, the thermostat on the wall might read slightly lower than you used to think was comfortable, yet you will feel toasty and warm. In the sunlight on a clear, chilly day you will be warmer than you would be in the shade, even though the air temperature is the same. It is similar with infrared heat; the thermostat on the wall might read slightly lower than you used to think was comfortable, yet you will feel toasty, cozy, silent, direct heat where and when you need it – like a light coming on. You may find yourself giving your extra blankets to Goodwill, and spending less money staying cozy in your home. Mighty Energy Solutions carries several different models of infrared radiant heaters. Whether you need to heat your front porch, veranda, bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, please give Geo a call at 610.585.8851 to discuss which of our products keep you toasty.

Mighty Energy to Host a Site on the 2015 NW Green Home Tour

Mighty Energy to Host a Site on the 2015 NW Green Home Tour

Mighty Energy is proud to announce that we are co-hosting a site on the NW Green Home Tour! The Westside Remodel + Heat Conversion (April 25, 11-5, 3443 49th Ave SW, Seattle) is a simple and sweet, 2-story, energy efficient addition designed by Young Architecture to give this family a little breathing room. Mighty Energy supplied SolaRay infrared radiant ceiling panels to partner with a new ductless heat pump for a total heat conversion from their forced air furnace system.

Even with adding square footage, this family hadn’t seen an increase in their electrical bills thanks in large part to their new heat system as well as smart, efficient building techniques. Stop by the site any time between 11-5 to experience the difference radiant heat can make in a Pacific Northwest home.

Learn more about this and other sites on the NW Green Home Tour.