Electric infrared heaters like any other heaters are designed to warm up the given space. Unlike the traditional heating systems, which heat up the air, these heaters transfer the heat directly to the objects. The design of these infrared heaters is very flexible and can add up many additional features. This led to evolution of various types. And if you are thinking of installing an electric infrared heating system, knowing the various types available would make your choice better, fulfilling the actual purpose.
While considering an infrared heater, it is very much necessary to know of what material it is made up of. The materials used in the production of heaters, exhibit a vital property called ‘Emissivity’, which is actually the measure of quality of radiations emitted by the heaters. Different materials have different emissivities. Therefore, by knowing the basic materials used and the extent of requirement, one can take well informed and right purchasing decision. The basic materials used in the production of electric infrared heaters are:
Quartz infrared heaters consist of an electric filament (usually made up of tungsten), which is enclosed in a clear quartz tube or bulb. This electric filament on passing the electricity gets heated gradually and is stored inside the quartz tube. On reaching the right temperature, these quartz tubes start emitting the infrared radiations. These radiations when emitted are absorbed directly by the object without heating the air.
Quartz tubes or bulbs are characterized by instant on and off heating, i.e., they have fast response time. These heaters provide uniform and uni-directional heating. They produce gentle and even heating and hence are mostly used for space heating in homes and offices. They are also used in chemical processing, paint drying, food processing and thawing of frozen materials, sterilizing, radiant heat processes and high speed production processes.
Ceramic is the most efficient heating source in terms of emissivity when compared to all the other metals. It means that high amount of infrared radiations are emitted through these heaters, resulting in effective heating. The ceramic heaters produce heat when the electricity is passed through the ceramic plates in the heater. This heat is distributed all throughout the space with the help of fans present in front of the plates within the heater. Unlike the quartz heaters, these heaters produce heat slowly. The ceramic heaters are equipped with thermostats which do not allow overheating, thus avoiding safety risks.
Apart from homes, they are also used in processes such as, curing, saunas, drying, cooking, thermoforming, shrink wrapping and so on.
Metal sheaths are specially designed for low space heating. They have a heating element covered by various materials like aluminum, copper, iron, stainless steel and brass. They are specifically used in rugged environments. The metal sheathed electric heaters are mostly seen in a house hold electric oven. Heavy duty metal sheath infrared heaters are used in factories, warehouses, machine shops and maintenance areas. They are highly safe, have high longevity and are highly durable.
All the above three materials have their own advantages. Based on the intensity of heating required, one should choose the infrared heater. But irrespective of the material used, all the infrared heaters are good sources of heating systems, which are highly productive, cost efficient and eco-friendly.