How Electric Infrared Heaters Work

Perhaps you have decided to build an infrared sauna in your own home or office, and you are now wondering about the different electric infrared heaters available to you. Or maybe you are just curious about how infrared heaters work. Whatever your reason for wanting to know more, this article is the perfect source for infrared heating element information.

Infrared heaters are composed of thin, flat sheets or plates. It is imperative with infrared radiation that a large surface area is covered. The widest, tallest infrared heaters will generally be the best at doing their jobs and effectively emitting the infrared radiation the sauna needs. Some infrared heater manufacturers make infrared heaters that come in the form of incoloy rods, but these will not be effective or efficient because of the small surface area that they cover.

The vast majority of infrared heaters are made out of carbon fiber, but there are ceramic and steel heaters as well. There are various claims out there about what material is best for a heater, but one sure way to know how one heater stacks up against another is researching its emissivity. Emissivity is the measure of an object’s ability to emit far infrared radiation. It ranges from 0 to a perfect blackbody 1.0. Ceramic heaters have the highest emissivity value, meaning that they are best able to emit far infrared radiation. Taking a look at the light spectrum will show that there is both infrared radiation and far infrared radiation. Though any of the standard materials will heat the sauna, the health benefits of infrared will be most pronounced with ceramic heaters.

Placement of the heating elements in an infrared sauna is also an influential factor in how well they work. Infrared saunas require multiple heaters so that they are emitting radiation evenly all throughout the sauna. One drawback of infrared radiation is that it doesn’t travel very far, so the heaters need to be placed relatively close to users. At the very least, the sauna room needs to have an appropriate number of heaters for its area. Sauna users should be absorbing the light from all around them, including the back and the front.

One important thing to understand is that infrared heaters work differently than traditional saunas. Traditional saunas are heated by means of a box filled with hot coals or rocks that heat up the sauna room. Heating elements reach surface temperatures of up to 180 to 220 degrees F. They generally require 30 to 90 minutes of warm-up before they are fully hot and working at peak efficiency. Infrared heaters, however, are a revolutionary way to power a sauna. They emit infrared radiation, which is an invisible form of light on the light spectrum. It directly heats objects, not requiring the air to get hot in order to work.

By eliminating the need to heat the air and just directly warming the people in the sauna, infrared heaters are able to work quicker, more efficiently, and at lower surface temperatures than traditional heating elements. Infrared heaters usually measure between 110 and 140 degrees F while operating, and only require an average of 20 minutes of warm-up before they are ready to use. Their low surface temperature makes them more energy efficient (and therefore, cost-effective) to use by 30% to 50%.

There are some major differences between traditional sauna heating elements and electric infrared heaters. Infrared saunas work in an entirely different way, so it stands to reason that the heaters do too. Their construction, surface area, and placement in the sauna all make a difference in their ability to function well.