Are infrared heaters safe?

by Ellen Evans

Are infrared heaters safe?

Is infrared heating safe for your health?

Far infrared is a gentle and 100% natural form of radiation – our bodies both accept and emit this type of heat. It is the wavelength of heat that a sandy beach or rocks or even your home patio will be radiating back at you after a day in the sun and one of the reasons summer evenings still feel warm long after the sun has set. In fact, it’s so safe, it’s even used to heat babies’ incubators.

Some people even make the argument that the panels are beneficial to health, as they increase blood circulation and prevent damp and the potential respiratory problems it can bring. Whilst the hype is somewhat in advance of the science, there is certainly no evidence to indicate far infrared is harmful to health. The International Commission for Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is the body the UK Health & Safety Executive refers to when determining safe limits for technologies. The ICNIRP states that for known artificial sources of Far Infrared, the “contribution made by the IR-C spectral region 3-1000µ is normally of no practical concern from a health hazard standpoint”.

Are infrared heaters safe to leave on overnight?

Infrared heaters are safe to leave on overnight. Like all heaters, from a comfort point of view you should have them properly controlled and the temperature lowered enough to be comfortable. All the heaters we recommend on this site are tested for construction and electrical safety, free from the use of hazardous substances and are classified low electrosmog devices.

Can infrared heating panels burn you?

As with any heater above 40°C, Infrared panels must be positioned so nobody can fall against them and become incapacitated. It is true Far Infrared panels reach 85 – 95°C, but there are a few things to understand about this:

  • Whilst anything with a temperature of 95°C sounds high, its how much energy is behind it that causes the damage. An infrared panel at 95°C has just under 0.1 watts per cm2 of surface area. This is enough to tell you the item is hot and move your hand away. But it is not enough to scald you: your skin is well able to absorb and dissipate that level of energy.  One of those old metal kettles on the other hand also at 95°C has about 30 watts per cm2 of energy behind it and this would cause an instant scald if you touched it. This is because your skin is unable to absorb and dissipate that level of energy.
  • Infrared panels should be mounted at shoulder height and above, or on the ceiling.  This not only ensures they are out of the way of being generally touched (or touchable) but from a pragmatic viewpoint this is the best positioning to maximise the radiant effect of the heater.

Can infrared heaters cause headaches?

Not in normal use, no. Headaches can be a symptom of hyperthermia (overheating) and can occur with any type of heater when set up and used improperly. You must use a temperature control with your Infrared heater and set it to a sensible level of around 18 – 20°C for the daytime and 16 – 17°C overnight.

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