The harm of infrared heaters: myths and real danger

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Ekaterina Shpak
Last update: March 2019

Infrared heaters are very popular today. They are positioned by manufacturers as economical, durable, super-efficient devices. It would seem that this is the ideal solution for organizing additional heating.

At the same time, many buyers are confused by the possible harm of infrared heaters, which “grandmothers on the bench” do not just talk about. We will help to understand a difficult question. The article we presented is based on the opinion of specialists who studied the effect of infrared radiation on the human body.

The concept of infrared radiation

The source of infrared radiation is any heated body. A significant part of the radiation incident on the ground is infrared rays. Are heating appliances, the principle of operation of which is borrowed from a celestial body, really represent a real threat to human health and the environment? It’s worth sorting out.

Unlike UV radiation, which triggers photochemical reactions and acts essentially only on the skin, infrared has a predominantly thermal effect and the ability to penetrate deep into tissues.

Distinguish between natural and man-made sources of infrared radiation, the first include:

  • solar radiation;
  • thermal waters;
  • Forest fires;
  • active volcanoes;
  • heat and mass transfer in the atmosphere.

All these are perfectly familiar to us processes and phenomena whose influence on the body is difficult to attribute to factors that create a real threat.

Infrared radiation in nature
Contact with infrared radiation is inevitable - we encounter it daily: at home, on the street, at work. It can have both beneficial and destructive effects.

Technogenic sources of infrared radiation are:

  • electric and coal arcs;
  • gas discharge lamps;
  • electric heaters;
  • electric stoves with a spiral;
  • generators;
  • engines
  • ovens;
  • infrared lasers;
  • Plasma installations
  • nuclear reactors, etc.

Thus, it is clear that this radiation is a factor continuously affecting the human body.

IR rays occupy the area of ​​the electromagnetic spectrum between red visible light and short-wave radiation.

The infrared radiation itself is conditionally divided into:

  • shortwave;
  • medium wave;
  • longwave.

The length of the waves emitted by the body directly depends on its temperature: the higher it is, the shorter the waves, and the heating intensity is higher.

The wavelength of infrared heaters
A person with a normal body temperature emits energy with a wavelength of 9.6 microns. And just such radiation (9.6 microns and more) is the most comfortable and safe for the body. The range of operating wavelengths of an IKO is 3-10 microns, which is considered acceptable in principle

Principle of operation and advantages of devices

In traditional heating systems using radiators or convectors, heat from heating devices is intensively removed to the surrounding space and then distributed throughout the room by mixing air.

This mechanism of heat transfer is called convective. The principle of operation of infrared heaters is radically different: the infrared flow of energy heats directly objects, and not the air in the room.

All the energy from the device reaches people and objects in its area of ​​operation with almost no loss. And the air heats up already from them. It is important to note that heating by infrared units is local in nature, i.e. Having settled out of the access of its rays, you will not feel heat. But this is by no means a minus, but rather a plus in many ways.

In particular, when infrared heaters there is no accumulation of warm air mass under the ceiling - a phenomenon very characteristic of convective heating.

Thanks to this feature, IKOs are an excellent solution to the issue of economical heating of rooms with high ceilings. Radiators are also useful in situations where only individual work areas require heating.

The efficiency of infrared heaters
Using this diagram, you can calculate the approximate heating area of ​​infrared heating devices. Practical calculations confirm the high efficiency of the equipment

When organizing additional heating using this equipment, you can allow yourself to slightly lower the temperature in the main heating system without the slightest risk to health.

The temperature felt by the person in the right areas will continue to be comfortable, despite the cooler air. Thus, the "IR additive" can reduce energy consumption and save a lot on heating.

Radiators installed under the ceiling or built into it do not create any problems when installing other equipment, furniture, or interior items. Compact floor models can be easily transported between rooms, take on the road.

Thanks to the IRF, it is possible to solve some specific tasks, for example, to create thermal curtains in front of panoramic windows, glass stained-glass windows, domes and other translucent structures, the heat-shielding properties of which may not be sufficient.

The infrared radiation directed to the window construction contributes to its trouble-free cleaning from ice and snow - precipitation simply melts, not having time to freeze. In this way, steps, porch, paths leading to the house, exit from the garage can be cleaned. With human hands, such a quality can not be done.

As for the energy consumption of infrared units, their power can range from a couple of tens of watts to several kilowatts. Despite the decent “gluttony” of the devices, they are considered highly efficient, since about 90% of the energy consumed is converted to heat.

With criteria choosing infrared heaters The following article will familiarize you with the contents of which we recommend that you familiarize yourself.

Types of units and their features

The following types of PPI are distinguished:

  • electric;
  • diesel;
  • gas;
  • devices with hot water.

Diesel and gas units optimally outdoors, for heating residential premises this is not the best option. Such equipment is as economical as possible, but to ensure its high-quality and safe operation, the removal of combustion products is required.

Outdoor infrared heater
Gas infrared heaters are used with great success for heating outdoor areas, gazebos, balconies, verandas, hallways, garages, hangars, technical rooms

The most popular and bought are electrical appliances with infrared lamps. For the simplest devices of this type, a heating coil (tungsten) is placed in a transparent glass quartz tube. Such equipment has a small warranty period (only 1-2 years) and a relatively affordable price.

Power consumption of devices - 1-2.5 kW. The main drawback is the presence of visible radiation, albeit not very intense. For people with increased eye sensitivity, regular “contemplation” of such devices can be extremely undesirable.

PPI with a carbon fiber base are more durable (capable of working without interruptions for 5 or more years), but also expensive. Visible radiation carbon heaters also present.

Ceramic appliances are the most successful choice among electric infrared heaters. Their heating coil is securely “hidden” in a ceramic shell: there is no visible glow from the devices. Manufacturers guarantee for such equipment - from 3 years. Ceramic heaters have a wide range of power consumption - this is their important advantage.

Depending on the installation method of IKO there are:

  • wall mounted;
  • floor;
  • ceiling.

Ceiling units are most in demand today - they completely exclude the effect of convection, and therefore do not tolerate dust.

Electric infrared heater
The unique infrared electric heater can become not only a reliable source of heat in the house, but also a real highlight of the interior

In the “family” of infrared devices there are newcomers who appeared on the consumer market relatively mycothermal heaters, with the features of the work and device which, as well as the guidelines for selection familiarize us with our article.

Popular emitter myths

Despite the mass of obvious advantages, the question of the harm of infrared heaters prevents many from buying. Let's try to debunk the most common prejudices regarding radiant heating equipment.

Myth No. 1. IR heaters are a priori dangerous

It is impossible to speak categorically about the dangers of infrared equipment. This is tantamount to claiming that the Sun is 100% evil. After all, their action is similar.

On a hot summer day in the sunshine, especially without a headgear, you can easily cope with heat stroke. But if you choose the right time for a walk, put on a scarf and sit in the shade, the sun's rays will bring exceptional benefits.

The same goes for infrared emitters. Sitting "in an embrace" with a device of dubious quality is clearly dangerous. A well-chosen and located device of a trusted brand will not do any harm: on the contrary, it will improve well-being, have a tonic effect on the body and save money on heating.

The effectiveness and safety of infrared radiation at a reasonable dosage has been proven by many scientific studies. A weighty argument in favor of infrared radiation is its widespread use in medicine and manufacturing (including food).

Infrared radiation in medicine
Correctly dosed infrared radiation has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, stimulating and circulatory effects. Do not take it as an absolute threat to health

Myth number 2. Devices burn oxygen

Not a single heater burns oxygen - this is a common bike. Oxygen is an oxidizing agent, and combustion is, in fact, a special case of oxidation, accompanied by heat. Oxidize the oxidizing agent? This is some kind of anti-scientific nonsense.

It is more correct to say that the heating equipment can “dry” the air (and with it all the mucous membranes) in the room. Indeed, a decrease in relative humidity is a natural process when it is heated. “Burn” the heater can only house dust.

By the way, do not believe the advertising slogans of manufacturers that there are good heaters that do not dry the air at all (read - their products), but there are bad ones (that is, of all other companies). All heating units reduce humidity in the room. IKO in this matter is no worse and no better than others.

How to deal with the "drought"? To breathe easier in the house during the heated period, the rooms need to be regularly ventilated, wet-cleaned daily, and possibly a humidifier.

Infrared heater safety
High-temperature infrared devices cannot be used in fire hazardous areas. To prevent burns, do not touch the surface of a working device.

What is the real danger?

One of the most likely harmful effects of PPI is the drying of the skin. The surface of the skin, under the influence of an infrared source, heats up and moisture evaporates from its surface. But since the subcutaneous layers do not have time to heat up, sweat does not occur by the body. Because of this, the skin “dries”, sometimes burns are obtained.

If you believe the feedback from consumers about infrared units, then the effect of "baking" during their operation is quite common, especially the skin in infrared saunas. The effect of intense infrared radiation on people has been studied for a long time - both by physiotherapists and specialists in charge of labor protection.

With prolonged or non-dosed exposure, infrared rays are considered a highly harmful factor. In physiotherapy, the effect of the use of radiant heat is considered beneficial with strictly regulated "portions" and a short duration of exposure.

Norms of infrared radiation
The permissible intensity of infrared irradiation of the surface of the human body (for a long stay in a room with an IR source) is regulated by SanPiN–96

IR heaters are also dangerous for the eyes - thermal damage to the lens and retina can provoke the development of cataracts, as well as contribute to the progression of existing problems with the organs of vision.

Directly directed to the head, infrared rays cause migraine, nausea, and general well-being. Such complaints are especially frequent from owners of ceiling emitters.

Whether an infrared heater will do real harm depends in each case on such moments:

  • Wavelength of equipment. The most favorable for the human body are long heat waves; short, penetrating through the skin and even the bones of the skull do not work well;
  • Radiation intensity. The body reacts positively to IR rays with an intensity of up to 100 W / m2: the activity of biochemical processes increases, vitality appears, and appetite improves. But the radiation intensity above 150 W / m2 can be dangerous: it inhibits the immune system, leads to irreversible cell damage;
  • Individual susceptibility. Some people respond well to the effects of infrared rays, while others instantly feel unwell. You should always listen to your feelings.

It is also worth remembering that there are a number of diseases in which infrared heating is contraindicated regardless of wishes (tumors, cardiovascular diseases).

Ways to Avoid Negative Impact

To reduce the possible harmful effects of heaters, follow a series of simple rules when choosing and installing them:

  1. No need to strive to purchase an ultra-powerful device, it is better to buy several units of less power. This will provide a more comfortable heating. Several devices will evenly warm the body from all sides.
  2. The attracted specimen should be carefully studied. Read reviews on the Internet, carefully examine its appearance in the store, find out from the sales assistant all the nuances of operation.
  3. It is better to refuse the cheapest devices of unknown brands. As a rule, they are made of materials of dubious quality and, when heated, emit hazardous (and even toxic) substances.
  4. The selection of equipment power should be made taking into account the type of room, the height of the ceilings, the quality of thermal insulation.
  5. Do not install IKO in the bedroom and nursery. But if it is really necessary, it should be positioned so that the rays are not aimed at the bed and other areas of permanent residence of people.

A perfectly placed heater gives heat to walls, floors, furniture and does not cause discomfort to a person.

Installation height of IR heaters
Using this table, you can determine the optimal suspension height of infrared units based on their power. But these data are averaged, each specific case requires a more accurate heat engineering calculation

Now widely used heating schemes of country houses, made on the basis of infrared heating systems. Features of their device and operation in detail described here. In the presented article, the specifics of the effective version of the PLEN are analyzed.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Video # 1. A short answer by an expert about the dangers of infrared units:

Video # 2. Reviews and impressions of real users of infrared devices:

High-quality PPI, selected and placed in accordance with the basic safety rules, will not do any harm. They will provide high thermal comfort and good energy savings.

Modern infrared units are efficient, hygienic, and do not require much maintenance - therefore, in many ways, this is a really good choice. The main thing is to approach the purchase wisely, and not be tempted by any advertising "odes".

We are interested in your opinion on the use of infrared heaters. Please write comments in the block below. Ask questions, share useful information and photos on the topic of the article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. I concluded for myself that infrared heaters need to be properly positioned and correctly used. Those. it will not work just to put in a room and forget about its existence. You also need to choose it, and this is not the easiest process, but the fact that you can get a burn, it makes you seriously think. The only thing I liked was the idea of ​​putting it away from people and heating any objects if necessary.

  2. Darya

    When they were looking for heating options for April-May and September-October, they settled on the infrared type due to its small gluttony. We are lucky, and the portable unit taken for testing has been serving for the fourth year. I like that when working does not smell like burnt dust. But you need, of course, to keep track of where he is directed, a couple of times his legs are sopped, and the beginning of this process is difficult to control, because at first it’s just warm.