It’s no secret that we here at the EcoStore love infrared. It’s a different way of thinking about heat as it works by warming the surface area of a room, rather than the volume. The infrared rays travel unimpeded through the air until it hits an object, causing molecules within it to vibrate and producing heat. Infrared is super efficient, doesn’t need to be integrated to any pipework or fuel storage, has no direct associated emissions, can be placed high up on the walls or even ceilings, and is great against damp.
All of our infrared panels work on a plug-and-play basis – no fiddly controls, no complicated installation necessary, just plug in to the mains and it begins heating. For those seeking simplicity and/or mobility this works well, however most of our customers prefer to hard wire in their infrared heaters for increased control and customisation of heating levels throughout the home.
Hardwiring your infrared panels involves connecting them to the circuits that run through your home. Some people choose simply to connect their panels to existing centrally located thermostat controls, but many require zoned control – the ability to have one part/room of the house heated while in any unused parts of the house the heating remains off to conserve energy. This is by far the most energy and cost efficient way to manage household heating, dispensing with the old fashioned system and embracing smarter energy use.
When deciding how to zone and control your infrared heaters, there are a host of different options suited to differing spaces and lifestyles. We’ve put a few examples below with our suggestions on infrared heating controls to suit each.
Example 1: Small open plan flat
Our offices are located in South West London where real estate is at a premium, so a lot of the EcoStore team have found themselves living in small flats and studio apartments. In such small spaces it’s reasonably easy to heat the area and maintain the warmth, using the thermal mass of the close walls to hold the heat and re-release it back into the property. Infrared panels throughout the flat could therefore operate as part of a single zone or divided into a couple of zones – one for living and another for sleeping, for instance. To achieve this we would suggest using the Herschel IQ T1 Single Zone Control.
The T1 pack comprises of a wireless thermostat infrared controller and a one R1 receiver. The receiver is connected directly to the heating panel and more can be purchased separately, allowing you to control multiple panels to all receive the same instructions through one central control. This is what we call a ‘zone’ and the T1 has no limits to the number of panels you can add to it. To create another zone controlled by different heating settings, a secondary T1 would be needed and as many additional R1 units as you have panels or circuits, remembering that the T1 pack come with a single R1 already included.
The cost of a creating a one-zone space with a single thermostat control and two R1 receivers would be:
1 x iQ T1 Single Zone Control – £67.00
1 x iQ R1 Wireless Receiver – £35.00
Example 2: Large flat/house
Of course, depending on the size of the property, this could become quite expensive. Installing a T1 in every room of an average 3 bedroom house could cost anywhere from £400 to £750 depending on the number of heaters! In this case, there’s a better way.
The WH1 Herschel iQ WH1 Central Control Unit is an advanced control system, designed to be able to heat your home with superior customisation and ease. Let’s run with the example of the 3 bed property – 3 beds, 1 bath, 1 kitchen, 1 living/dining room. With the WH1, each of these rooms could be divided into individual zones and all controlled centrally through one high-performance touch-screen unit. Using the WH1 you can manage 6 defined zones each covering up to 6 R1 units, giving you unequaled control at a cost effective price.
The cost of a creating a six-zone space with one R1 receiver in each would be:
1 x iQ WH1 Central Control Unit – £159.99
6 x iQ R1 Wireless Receiver – £210.00
Example 4: Second Home
But what about a property that you’re not always going to be around to control? The WH1 is great but doesn’t give the option to manage your heater remotely, which is a big problem for many people. Although it is expected that Herschel will soon release an update to the WH1 system to make it compatible with wifi-enabled devices, at the moment that functionality is not available.
Enter LightwaveRF. Lightwave Link system allows you to control everything through a beautifully designed app, on your smartphone, desktop or tablet. The system comprises of 3 parts; the link (the brains of the operation), the thermostat, and the control switch. This is where it gets a bit pricey – each panel in your home must have both a thermostat and control switch to operate within the system. The combined cost makes the Lightwave Link the most expensive system covered here, but if you want the widest range of custom heating options and the ability to control it from wherever you are in the world then the Lightwave Link could be ideal for your infrared requirements.
The cost below is for the same size house aforementioned – 3 beds, 1 bath, 1 kitchen, 1 living/dining room.
The cost of a creating a smart six-zone space with one panel in each would be:
1 x LightwaveRF Link – £89.99
6 x LightwaveRF Electric Radiator Control Switch – £479.94
6 x LightwaveRF Home Thermostat – £479.94