Radiant Heating – Radiant Infrared Heating Systems
Both natural gas and electric infrared heaters consist of fixtures, usually metal, of various sizes and shapes that are mounted on walls, ceilings or poles, affixed to wheeled or stationary stands, or suspended by chains from the ceiling. The fixtures are fitted with reflectors that direct the radiant energy to the area to be heated. Higher efficiency reflectors provide more radiant energy. Polished or anodized aluminum are common reflector finishes and deliver high reflectivity, heat, moisture and corrosion resistance, and ease of cleaning.
Typically the heaters are placed horizontally to minimize heat loss through exterior walls and to direct the radiant energy to floor level although a maximum up to a 45° angle is acceptable on natural gas low intensity models.
The area a single heater can effectively heat varies dramatically based on a number of variables including the size of the heater, efficiencies of the reflectors, mounting height and heater model, but natural gas models are available that can heat up to a 32 x 32-foot area.
For total area heating, a perimeter layout is usually recommended although many other layout configurations are possible for spot and partial area heating.
Infrared heaters are generally not recommended in hazardous areas with combustible vapors, gases or other flammables. However, certain equipment and combustion/exhaust air configurations allow the use of infrared heating in such areas. The equipment manufacturer or infrared system designer can assist with the selection of equipment appropriate to the application.
Models for outdoor use such as snow melting, patio heating and outdoor smoking areas are water, snow and dust resistant.
The heaters feature a very rapid response time, offering virtually instant on operation. They have few moving parts so maintenance is relatively easy and they are quiet in operation.
Several types of infrared heaters suited to heating applications are common. Other types than those discussed in the Electric Infrared and Gas Infrared Heater sections are available, but these are more suited to industrial process applications for plastics thermoforming, paint and paper drying, curing rubber products and a host of other industrial process needs.