What’s Infrared Heating?

Reasons why you should switch to infrared heating.

The natural warming effect of infrared heating

What’s Infrared Heating?

Imagine standing outside in the middle of winter, the sun is shining, but the air temperature is near to zero. You still feel the warmth of the sun on your face – this is infrared.

Unlike convection heating (imagine a radiator) that heats the air, an infrared heater warm solid objects directly. The infrared travels unimpeded out from the heater until it hits a solid object, which then absorbs it and warms up.

Infrared is radiation that is beyond the visible spectrum. Importantly it is the opposite side to harmful Ultraviolet and Gamma rays, so it poses no threat to human health at all. In fact, we ourselves produce Infrared rays in small quantities and it has been proven to have many health benefits.


It is incredibly wasteful heating a room, just so the air gets warm enough for you to feel warm. You have to heat many cubic metres worth of ‘unused’ air in the room and even when you do this, much of this warm air heads up towards the ceiling so you miss out.

With infrared heating systems, you don’t need to heat all the air in the room to feel warm, infact, you turn the panel on and as soon as it gets up to temperature (normally just a couple of minutes) you will begin to feel the warmth.

This makes infrared heating far more reactive than traditional convection heating, allowing you to more accurately heat the room as required. In addition, since you are being heated directly via the heater rather than the warm air it means that room thermostats can be set far lower, so you will see huge energy savings on your electricity bill


On the face of it gas is far cheaper than electricity (which power our infrared heaters). Gas is about 3.5p/kWh while electricity is 14p/kWh, so yes in very simple terms a gas system is cheaper to run.

It is worth pointing out a couple of things though, firstly as we have mentioned, with a gas central heating system the radiators need to get warm to heat the rooms. That takes far longer than with one of our panels, so more gas is used comparatively.

Another important thing to consider is when you want to heat a single room with a boiler, the boiler still needs to fire up – yes not very much hot water will be needed, but the whole system needs to come online.

If you have infrared heating in different rooms (and this is an advantage of other electrical heating systems too), you can simply turn the heater on in the room required.

The final point is that infrared heating is actually pretty simple technology; there is no pipework to run, no annual boiler checks needed. Therefore the cost of maintaining your infrared heating system is far lower. This is backed up by the fact all of our panels comes with a minimum 5 year warranty, and our Inspire range come with a 10-year warranty.


We have been working in the infrared heating market for many years now and have tried and tested many different infrared-heating products. Our expertise in second to none and we pride ourselves on our efficient and speedy customer service.

We appreciate that you have a huge choice when it comes to choosing your heating system, but call us today and see what we can do for you!

How to apply the carbon reduction hierarchy to reducing your heating costs

“How can I cut my heating bill without becoming cold?”

How do I cut my heating bill?

In summary, take some or all of the following steps:

  • Reduce your need for energy in the first place
    • Improve Insulation
    • Estimate your heating requirements using modern heaters
    • Use modern smart thermostats
  • Use the energy you do use, more efficiently
    •  Consider using radiant heaters (Infrared), not convection. They require less capacity and run for less time.
    • Avoid “Big Ons and “Big Offs”. Keep the temperature constant. Big on/off cycles use more energy.
  • Use Renewables
    • A Solar installation on your roof can go a long way to providing free heating during the day.


You don’t have to go cold to reduce your heating bills. All of the following measures can be adopted in whole or in part, depending on your budget and your house.  We find the Carbon Reduction Energy Hierarchy diagram (see above image) useful to show what steps can be taken in what order to cut heating bills in a home.

Whilst all of these steps imply expense, the prize, over a period of years is attractive. With more than 50% of household energy use in the UK coming from heating, the savings from a lot of these steps below are permanent and annual and make a compelling investment case.

Reduce the need for energy in the first place

Actions taken at this level – to reduce your energy requirements in the first place – have the biggest impact on your heating expenditure and should therefore be considered first. Any of the following will fall into this category:

Improve your insulation.

Money spent on improving your home insulation will reduce your heating bills. If you have to prioritise, then the key items to improve are the insulation levels in your ceiling, on any outside walls and your glazing (windows and doors). Everything else can follow. Just consider: a building insulated to the old pre 1985 standards could imply up to 2 pence per m2 per hour to heat electrically. A building insulated to modern passive house standards would require only up to 0.5p per m2 per hour to heat electrically. Imagine saving 1.5p for every metre of floorspace every hour over a winter period.

Improved insulation can also significantly reduce the cost of your next heating system. Modern heat pumps for example undeniably run at low cost relative to other types of heater. But why spend on the very high purchase and installation costs for a system that will run very little? Charlie Luxton, TV architect and designer made exactly this distinction when putting Infrared heaters into his own low energy renovation project in Cornwall. With the high levels of insulation and other sources of heat (like stoves, PCs etc) he did not need to go to an expense he would never recoup by buying a heat pump: instead he used Infrared panels just to top-up the heat he required to keep the cottage comfortable.

Estimate your energy requirements more accurately.

Energy-saving heaters of all types challenge us to make more accurate heating requirement assessments. The old rules of thumb much in use in the industry really fail to take into account the characteristics of the building, levels of glazing, the size and type of different rooms etc. The new generation of heat loss calculations as put forward by Herschel Infrared for example – really point the way forward for estimating heating requirements from new generation heaters. Even EDF told us that historical over-estimation in the UK heating industry has required the equivalent of at least one power station just to cover the excess.

Use modern smart controls (you now have to)

On 1st January 2018, the European Union required all heater manufacturers (of whatever sort) to comply with new eco-design regulation to reduce energy consumption at the consumer-side (i.e. the heaters) without reducing comfort.  Each type of heater had its own targets to achieve by adopting these controls, but for fixed electric heaters, the target was set at 8% and had to be achieved by a combination of:

  • Thermostatic control allowing setting of a number of periods during the day to match heating to occupancy;
  • The ability to set a different schedule (if required) each day over 7 days;
  • The ability to detect if energy was draining out of a room (e.g. if a window had been opened) and shut the heating off until the issue had been corrected;

All heaters manufactured since January 2018 have to state what control solution will achieve this for their heaters (if the controls are not built in). But the prize is an 8% efficiency. It is worth noting as yet energy assessment regulations which were last updated in 2012 have not yet recognised this improvement and we await SAP2018 to see if this has been changed.

Use the energy you do use, more efficiently

This set of activities concerns the choice of your heating system itself and the nature of the materials you are trying to heat.

The key to maximising the use of the energy you do consume is in storage of that heat in the fabric of the building. You don’t want to store heat in the bricks of a storage heater and then let that out into the building. This is the wrong way ’round.  The building should become a storage heater in its own right.  This way it keeps radiating background warmth even when the heating turns off.  This is what is called the “thermal mass” model of heating. Treating the building a bit like a battery, you need to put energy in to prime it, but once primed, you need very little energy to keep the temperature topped-up.

Only radiant heating (infrared) is really capable of priming thermal mass because only radiant heat has sufficient “transmissiveness” to drive energy into the fabric of the building. Heaters that warm the air fail significantly to warm the materials in the building (the thermal mass). But because our sense of comfort in enclosed spaces like houses and offices is based on the average of the air temperature and radiant temperature and not just one or the other, we have to compensate for the lack of radiance from central heating systems, by boosting up the air temperature to compensate.  This is why it is common to have stuffy air temperatures with central heating to overcome the cold materials around you: but as soon as you turn the heating off, you feel basically cold again – because you are still losing your body heat to the colder materials and walls of the building which haven’t warmed up. This is also the classic condition creating damp and condensation in a building (warm air over cold surfaces).

Radiant heating reverses this condition by heating the materials and walls of a building which then continue to radiate back even after the heating has turned off. Air temperature also warms up too, (all objects convect as well as radiate), so you end up with this correct “average” that our bodies naturally seek. And it is an energy-saving model, because the thermostat can just allow the heaters to “tick over” and not have “big on” and “big off” cycles so typical of convection-based heating that are so wasteful of energy.

Supply energy from renewable sources

Non PV properties can only use oil, gas or electric grid energy for heating. With PV on your roof, you can offset a large proportion of your heating costs with free energy. Here’s some feedback from customers running this mixed solar + IR combination:

“We have a smart meter and it’s satisfying on a sunny winter day to feel the heating panels working with little or no cost registered on the smart meter. We’re really happy with the PV + IR heating combo.”

“We experienced a range of challenges during the project, but Infrared + Solar was the simplest system to integrate with the programme.”

“Interestingly so far this winter We’re hardly using any more energy than we do in the summer. The panels have not yet been used upstairs at all and are very rarely on downstairs. My house meter is telling me I’m only using about 10kwh extra a day compared to the summer. Proving the high capital cost of installing ground source/underfloor heating is totally unnecessary.”

A typical domestic solar installation in the UK generates from 2.8 to 4.4 kWh and while the typical heater installation capacity for a 3 bedroom house insulated to 1996-2002 standards is typically from 6-10kWh, the actual average operating capacity will be somewhere below this (not all heaters on at the same time and not all rooms set to the same temperature).  A modern Passive House will require even less heating than this.

So, whilst total heating consumption will likely exceed PV generation, the beauty of Infrared is that you can prioritise some or all of your heaters to make use of this free energy. Spring and Autumn days where the sun is shining and the heat demand is low, it is genuinely possible for this heating to be free. As construction standards and building regulations improve, overall heat load requirements (first topic above) can only come down.

As a side note, Solar PV and Infrared make use of similar skills and trades, which is not true for other low energy heat solutions such as heat pumps, so installation efficiencies and overall costs can be kept lower.



Get your heating ready for winter with Herschel Infrared

Get ready for winter with infrared heating

Thinking about winter while it’s still warm outside might seem a bit mad – but hear us out! Now is the best time to plan your heating system for when the weather changes. If you’re fed up of feeling cold in your home, or your bills were higher than they should have been last winter, why not try something new? More and more people are turning to infrared for more effective, efficient heating.

How does infrared heating work?

Infrared heating runs off mains electricity, but is far cheaper than any other form of electric heating- and in some cases even cheaper than gas. What makes infrared different is that it works through radiation, not convection. Infrared heating is completely safe – it’s warms you in the same way as the sun!

With convection heating, such as that given off by radiators or storage heaters, the air that is heated can be lost easily through draughts. You heat up a room, open the door, and then suddenly it’s cold again. This isn’t an issue with infrared, because it doesn’t heat the air. It targets heat at solid objects, meaning it heats you directly – as well as the furnishings and the walls, floors and ceilings. This ‘thermal mass’ then continues to give off heat once the panels are switched off.

Popular infrared heater panels

What are the benefits of infrared heating?

It is efficient and cheap to run. It will keep you warm and can be controlled as part of a smart heating system for optimal results. The panels also look great – they take up less space than radiators, can even be hidden on the ceiling, and come in a range of finishes, including mirror and glass.

Infrared heating also helps discourage damp and mould, because it penetrates walls and helps keep them at a moderate temperature. Condensation occurs when a surface is a considerably different temperature than the air surrounding it, so by warming the walls, you will stop water vapour settling.

Infrared heating panels do not include fans, nor do they circulate hot water, so they are very low-maintenance. This means no hidden costs or DIY bleeding, balancing or replacing parts!

Infrared heating panels do not circulate dust or pollen around the room, so they are great or those who suffer with allergies.

Infrared radiation keeps you warm by increasing your blood circulation, which can also have benefits for your health.

Popular infrared outdoor heaters

Is infrared a good option for me?

If you have access to electricity, you have the budget for the initial installation costs, and you’re unhappy with your current heating system, then it could well be! The low running costs and aesthetics of infrared heating panels make them a great option for many homes. Give us a call at any time to talk through your requirements.

Herschel IQ infrared heating controls

Until now, while infrared heating has led the way in terms of efficiency and performance, it has lacked the option of remote control, while other heating technologies can be controlled by ‘smart’ heating systems.

Currently, infrared panels can only be controlled with switches on walls (if wired into the mains) or on the heaters themselves – or with a Salus wireless thermostat. These do not give particularly sophisticated control over your heating, unlike Herschel’s new tailor-made system.

New Herschel IQ heating controls are the easiest, most effective way to control your infrared heating panels. The smart thermostat, coupled with receivers in as many rooms as you like, allows for optimal thermal comfort and energy savings.

The units are discreet and easy to use. Units can be added depending on your budget or the level of control you require.

The Herschel IQ system consists of:

T1 Thermostat

The Herschel T1 Thermostat controls the temperature of your heaters, and when they come on. Heaters will turn on automatically at the time you choose so you never have to return to a cold home.

R1 Receiver

The R1 Receiver links to the thermostat and controls your individual panels. You’ll need one in each room that has panels in it. If you’re fed up of having to leave the room to fiddle with your heating, the R1’s ‘Boost’ button gives you an extra burst of heat, whenever you need it.

Zone your home for full heating control

By splitting your home into ‘zones’ and heating it with infrared, you can just pinpoint one room to heat. This is useful if you know you’ll be spending a few hours in the same room and you don’t want to spend money heating rooms you’re not using.

You can create zones with a closed circuit heating system by using a smart thermostat or thermostatic radiator valves. However, with these systems, hot water (heated by a gas boiler) has to travel around the whole house’s pipes before it reaches the room you want to heat. It loses heat along the way. Infrared means more efficient, quicker heating.

With Herschel IQ, you have the option of setting your heating to different temperatures and times in different rooms, just by adding more sensors. Control everything from one point and tailor your heating system to your individual needs. If you like your heating to be warmer in the day than at nighttime, or you want more heating at the weekends when you’re at home more, Herschel IQ makes this possible.

You might choose to install an R1 in each room with heaters in it, and one T1 for the whole house, or (if you’d like to set your rooms at different temperatures), you could add a T1 to every room. Or you can go even further with the WH1 Central Control Unit.

WH1 Central Control Unit

The WH1 Central Control Unit is the (soon-to-be-launched) hub of the IQ system. It controls both your T1 thermostat and R1 receivers and allows you to change the heating from your phone. If your plans for the day don’t fit your pre-programmed heating schedule, you can avoid heating an empty house with the tap of a finger.

The WH1 can control up to 6 zones, with up to 6 R1s in each (You’ll only need one R1 receiver per room if the panels in that room are all on the same circuit). This allows for maximum control over your heating. Being able to heat only where and when you want, Herschel IQ can save you money on your bills as well as keeping you comfortable.

5 reasons to buy your infrared heating panels from Infrared4Homes


The best products around.

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