Are Infrared Heaters Really Safe? Here is All You Need to Know
Winter is coming and with its arrival, the time has come to prepare ourselves well. This statement could remind you of the long winter portrayed in our most-favorite Game of Thrones series! Already feeling a bit nostalgic? Well, you could be, but the fact is that you can never really appreciate the weight of this statement unless you live in Alaska, North Dakota, Minnesota or other coldest regions in the world. The shivering cold of the winter can freeze you within a couple of seconds if you don’t take protective measures.
In recent past, all the protective measures we took to warm up our homes were very costly since a lot of energy was required to increase room temperatures. However, when infrared heaters became available after World War 2, we stopped worrying about the expenses because they were very energy efficient compared to other contemporary solutions. The technology of infrared heaters seemed so obscure that for some time, it seemed like something that had arrived from the distant future! But with that obscurity raised many doubts and questions, especially concerning the safety of this technology. We, here at The Soothing Air, have come forward to confront a question that comes in anyone’s mind whenever buying an infrared heater – are infrared heaters safe?
How Does an Infrared Heater Work?
Infrared heaters fundamentally work in a different way than other conventional heaters. They don’t increase room temperatures by heating the air. Instead, they emit or radiate energy or light that is invisible to human eyes. This light comes from the electromagnetic radiation process from the infrared heat panels. The wavelength of this radiated ray is longer than normal which makes it invisible.
But one interesting thing is that our skin is designed to absorb this type of radiant heat since our natural heat source – the Sun – functions in a very similar way. This infrared ray can be seen by thermal vision, which detects bodies or objects that absorb this radiant heat.
Types of Infrared Heaters
There are three types of infrared heaters available on the market – near-infrared heaters, medium wave infrared heaters and far infrared heaters.
1. Near Infrared Heaters:
A near-infrared heater emits a very high level of heat that is very intense and penetrating. They are used for special purposes, like in hospitals for treating special cases. They operate between 0.75 to 1.5 microns. Near-infrared heaters are used for cooking, welding, and activities which require intense heat. These heaters can cause thermal burns if exposed for a long time. More importantly, they are not used as an effective heating solution for home uses and we are not discussing the near infrared heaters in this article for this very reason.
2. Medium wave Infrared Heaters:
Medium infrared heaters work between 1.4 to 3 microns and they can generate temperatures between 500°C to 800°C. These types of infrared heaters are commonly used in industrial settings. Industrial drying, glues curing and coating are the sectors where medium infrared heaters are commonly used.
3. Far Infrared Heaters:
Far infrared heaters are the most common and popular infrared heater types on the market. They can effectively warm your body, clothes, and the objects around with an ideal temperature that is not uncomfortable. Infrared heaters are effective because they follow a very unique and efficient strategy named “bio-mimicry.” It allows our body to gradually soak up the heat in accordance with its need. Far infrared heaters are revolutionary and user-friendly in comparison to other conventional heaters since they do not pollute or alter the air molecules in any way. No smoke, fume or harmful substances, like the greenhouse gas is produced in the heating process.
Benefits of Infrared Heaters
The infrared heating technology is so advanced that when it first came into the market, many people were cynical about whether they were really safe and effective to use. This occurred because it was hard to believe that a heater could produce so much heat without requiring much electricity. Well, they actually have many more benefits to offer, including the following:
1. No Air alternation: Unlike the other heater types, infrared heaters don’t alter air molecules in any way. They emit energy through a radiation process, which does not increase the heat in the air. As a result, the air doesn’t feel uncomfortable to breathe in. This is one of the main reasons infrared heaters became so popular in a very short span of time.
2. No mono-oxide gas emission: Since the infrared heating process involves heating up the space with a radiation process they don’t produce any carbon monoxide or the greenhouse gas in the heating process. This is a great thing considering our global environment in this century. Many businesses and consumers are encouraging solutions that are addressing this issue.
3. No Odor: Unlike the conventional heaters, infrared heaters don’t produce any toxin, gas, smokes or fume as by-products. As a result, you will never notice any odor, which makes them more user-friendly and suitable for household uses.
4. Minimized movement of harmful particles: As infrared heaters don’t heat the air to increase the room temperatures, the reduction in air circulation helps lower the chances of airborne diseases.
5. Quick Heat Recovery: Infrared heaters are way more swift in producing heat than the typical space heaters. The main reason behind this advantage is that they don’t require heating up the surrounding air to generate heat.
6. Minimal Maintenance: Infrared heaters don’t have any moving parts like other conventional heaters that require regular maintenance. They come in one piece without any filter or motor that needs to be changed every once in a while. Periodic cleaning of the reflectors is sufficient to ensure optimal performance.
7. Cost-effective: Infrared heaters are the most cost-effective heating solution available on the market. They don’t need that much fuel to generate heat in comparison to other types of heaters you would find today.
So, Are Infrared Heaters Safe?
Since the working of the infrared heater technology is based on the electromagnetic radiation process to increase room temperatures, there are few concerns regarding their safety. We usually link the word “radiation” with something that is harmful to our health. But what we often ignore is the fact is that the sun also works in the same electromagnetic radiation process and we are used to this. However, there are various levels of radiation and not all radiation is harmful to our health. There is a defined limit where radiation is considered hazardous to health. It can be better understood after watching this image.
The level of radiation considered harmful to our health is called ionizing radiation that could even cause cancer in human bodies. It has also been found that the radiation level of infrared heaters is just below the ionizing radiation level. However, no proof has yet been found regarding if there really is any infrared heater health risks.
Safety Measures to Take
Now the question arises, are infrared heaters safe? Although infrared heaters are considered safe for household or industrial settings, certain safety measures should be taken to ensure the maximum level of safety. These safety measures might differ according to the type of heaters are being used. Here are a few things to consider to ensure infrared heater safety.
1. Keeping a safe distance: It is very important to keep a safe distance from infrared heaters when they are functioning. This is especially true for near-infrared heaters to limit the chances of any kind of biohazards.
2. Limit a long exposure: Infrared heaters function the way the sun works. Like sunlight, a long time exposure to the infrared light could lead to burns. Since they are able to produce heat from distance, it should be ensured that the heater is at least 18 inches away from the closest object.
3. Proper maintenance: Like all other heater types, infrared heaters should also be maintained regularly. All kinds of flammable objects should be kept away from the heater and routine check-up should be done.
4. Protective measures for eyes and skin: Burns are very unlikely from the heat generated by infrared heaters. But if your skin is already tanned then you should be more careful and take protective measures for your eyes and skin. In industrial settings, it is a must to use eye protection near infrared heaters.
Finally, the infrared heating technology is much more superior than the conventional heaters. They offer many positive environmental impacts with their green and energy efficient technology. However, they must be dealt with caution to ensure infrared heater safety in home and industrial settings.
Categorised in: Heaters