It is usually very cold during the winter months. Also, during rainy springs and some portions of the summer, it is cold. To effectively address the cold weather conditions, you will need to find an appropriate heating appliance. You have the option to choose between an electric heater and an infrared heater.
Although both appliances will provide efficient heat to your living space, they are very different. In this article, I will discuss the main differences between these two heating appliances. I will delve into the subject matter by looking at the various aspects such as design, cost, etc.
Difference between infrared heater and electric fireplace
- Working mechanism
The working mechanism applied in electric fireplaces is very different from infrared heaters. For instance, the electric fireplace utilizes a heating element that looks similar to the traditional gas or firewood fireplaces. However, it does not require any professional installation or venting. You will just need to connect to a power source to start heating.
An electric fireplace draws in cool air which is heated internally by a hot coil. The heated air is then forced into the room using a fan. This mechanism is smokeless and therefore does not cause respiratory problems to the occupants. It is also easy to use as you will only require to switch it on or off using a button.
Unlike the electric fireplace, the infrared heater emits infrared radiation to heat a room. Infrared is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and has been used as a source of heat for a long time. The sun is the biggest source of infrared heating.
Most infrared heating devices are also very easy to operate. You only need to connect it to a power source and switch it on. The infrared heater generates heat that is distributed throughout the room.
The reason why we get warm is that the infrared heat is absorbed by our skins, clothes and other surfaces in the room.
An infrared heater is more efficient compared to the electric fireplace. This is because infrared heat is channeled to specific objects in the room instead of wide dispersal. As a result, less energy is wasted.
Types of electric fireplaces
- Electric fireplace mantels
This kind of fireplace consists of a mantel and a firebox. All the components and constituents parts are housed in the mantel while the firebox generates heat. This fireplace is powered by a standard 120V wall outlet.
- Wall-mount fireplaces
This kind of fireplaces is mounted on the wall as its name suggest. It is a great choice for long term use and can complement well with other elements of living space. Also, it is not affected by the interferences from the other occupants.
- Fireplace inserts
In most cases, inserts are small and compact in size which enables them to virtually fit in almost every space. They conserve space and reduces interferences with the occupants of the living space.
Types of infrared heaters
These infrared heaters emit radiation with a wavelength of 0.75 to 1.4 microns. They also produce a lot of heat that reaches up to 1300OC. Near-infrared heaters are also called shortwave or bright and IRAs
- Medium infrared
These are less effective as compared to the near infrared with a wavelength of between 1.4 to 3 microns and a maximum heat of 800OC. They are also referred to as medium wave or IRBs.
- Far infrared
These heaters produce heat waves that only measures 3 microns. Also, the temperature is very low at only 100OC. They are also referred to as long wave or IRCs.
Electric fireplaces come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and forms. They include traditional, wall-mounted, freestanding, and others. As a result, they can be fitted in various kind of open spaces making them more convenient to use. Even if you live in a small apartment or squeezed condominium, you will find an electric fireplace that suit your needs.
Even though infrared heaters also exists in different shapes, sizes and forms, they are not as compact as electric fireplaces. In fact, they are larger and bulkier in size. As a result, they might not be suitable for small or squeezed spaces.
- Health issues
As mentioned earlier, electric fireplaces use a fan to distribute heat into a room. This method has certain impacts on the living space. For instance, it may reduce humidity levels or even the quantity of oxygen. There is also the risk of static electricity.
Infrared heaters are considered to be safer than electric fireplaces because they emit heat inform of infrared radiation. Therefore, they do not interfere with the humidity and oxygen levels of a room. In addition, they do not expose you to risks of static electricity.
Research has shown that infrared heaters are 40% more efficient than an electric heater. Therefore, an infrared heater with 500wats can produce an equal amount of heat and comfort as a 1200wats electric fireplace. The table below shows a comparison of running a 500watt infrared heater and 1200-watt electric heater.
|Total units used per hour (kWh)||0.5kWh||1.2kWh|
|Cost of running unit for 1hr||£0.06 ($0.68)||£0.15 ($0.17)|
|Cost of running 5 hrs each day||£0.30 ($0.34)||£0.75 ($0.85)|
|Total running cost in a winter period||£36.00 ($40.82)||£90.00 ($102.06)|
From the above information, an infrared heater will help you save on electricity utility.
- Heating capacity
Under normal circumstances, an electric fireplace takes some time before it starts generating heat. This is because it has to first heat sucked air to higher temperatures. It is the hot air that provides warmth.
Since infrared heaters direct their heat energy to specific locations, they take less time to heat the room.
The above information will help you make a better decision when choosing between an infrared heater and an electric fireplace. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages but it will depend on your taste and preference.