How to Choose the Perfect Infrared Space Heater: A Comprehensive Guide

Infrared space heaters have become a popular choice for efficient and targeted heating in homes, offices, and workshops. However, selecting the right infrared heater can be a daunting task, given the wide range of options available. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing the perfect infrared space heater for your needs.

Temperature Considerations

The temperature range of an infrared heater is a crucial factor to consider. Quartz lamps can reach up to 4000°F, providing the highest temperatures and shortest wavelengths. If your application requires heating materials that respond better to longer wavelengths, a gas catalytic heater, which can reach up to 800°F, may be a better choice. Ceramic, panels, quartz tubes, and metal sheath heaters can achieve temperatures in the 1300 – 1600°F range, making them suitable for a wide variety of applications.

Response Time

how to choose Infrared Space Heater

The response time of an infrared heater is another important consideration. If your application requires achieving the process temperature within fractions of a second, quartz lamps would be the most appropriate choice. For applications where you have a few seconds to reach the desired temperature, quartz tubes could be a viable option. For applications with more time, such as in an oven, flat panels and ceramic heaters may be the better choice.

Environmental Factors

The environment in which the infrared heater will be used can also influence the selection process. Consider factors such as dust levels, the presence of falling objects, and the specific application (e.g., paint drying or computer chip manufacturing). These environmental factors can help determine the appropriate emitter surface for your infrared heater.

Control and Measurement

A well-designed infrared heating application often utilizes a PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) controller for precise temperature control. When choosing an infrared heater, consider whether you will be using contact temperature measurement (thermocouples or RTDs) or non-contact methods (infrared pyrometers). Additionally, if you are using quartz lamps or heating air, you should consider incorporating a SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier) to switch the power.

Heater Types

There are three main types of electric infrared heaters:

  1. Portable Wheeled Units: These infrared heaters are designed for easy mobility and feature infrared heating technology.
  2. Compact Heaters: These units combine infrared heating capabilities with other forms of heating, such as convection or radiant heating.
  3. Freestanding Electric Infrared Fireplaces: These heaters are designed to provide both aesthetic appeal and efficient infrared heating.

Use and Care Tips

When using infrared space heaters, it’s important to follow certain guidelines:

  • Larger units (1500 watts or more) should be connected to a 20-amp outlet, or, if connected to a 15-amp circuit, they should be dedicated to the heater only.
  • Most infrared heaters have cool-to-touch exteriors, making them safe to use around young children and pets.
  • While clearances are not as critical as with hot-coil heaters, it’s still important to remove any clutter in the heater’s area to ensure proper heat dispersion.

Essential Features

When selecting an infrared space heater, look for the following essential features:

  • Built-in thermostat and easy-to-use controls
  • Integrated fan for improved heat distribution
  • Quartz bulb with a long lifespan for better value

Room Size and Wattage

Determining the appropriate wattage for your infrared heater is crucial to ensure efficient and effective heating. If you’re looking for infrared panels, use an infrared calculator to determine the right wattage for each space in your property. Always round up to the next size to ensure your heater can comfortably heat the space, as underpowered heaters may struggle to maintain the desired temperature.

Installation Location

Infrared heaters require a direct line of sight to the area or objects they need to heat. The best way to install infrared panels is on the ceiling, as this allows the heat to be directed downwards towards the living levels, providing an unobstructed spread of warmth. If ceiling installation is not possible, wall-mounting the panels is the next best option, ensuring they can “see” the intended heating targets.

DIY Fitting

If you’re planning to install the infrared heater yourself, look for products with a “plug and go” feature, which simplifies the installation process and makes it more accessible for DIY enthusiasts.

By considering these key factors, you can confidently choose the perfect infrared space heater that meets your specific heating needs, whether it’s for your home, office, or workshop.

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