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The Energy Savings You Can Make With Infrared Heating: A Case Study

Infrared heating is a brand new technology that is set to revolutionise the way you heat your home.

The standard convection heaters that we’ve been using for so many years now work by heating the air around you and circulating it as it changes temperature – this is what is known as convection current.

Infrared heating works by heating objects rather than the air, by firing infrared beams that bounce around everywhere. This is much more efficient, as it takes less energy to heat surface area than it does to heat volume. You can read this in more detail over at our guide to how infrared heating works.

As a result, IR panel heaters use considerably less energy compared to electric convection radiators, which could save you up to 60% off your energy bills. We’re going to investigate just how much they save you in this case study.

We’re looking at a brand new apartment that has 5 rooms across a single floor as presented in the infographic below: a master bedroom, a secondary bedroom, a lounge, a kitchen, and a bathroom.

Apartment Floor Plan

We’ll compare the cost of infrared heaters, electric convection heaters, and gas powered central heating.

Calculating The Required Wattage For IR Panels

The method for working out how many infrared panels you need for any given room is much simpler than you might imagine.

Multiplying the length of a room by the width of it, and then by the height, gives you the volume in m3.

Then, the level of insulation will determine how many watts per cubic metre you need. The table below illustrates this based on the age of the building.

Level of Insulation

Watts per m3 Required

Poor insulation (home built pre-1930)

30W per m3

Moderate insulation (home built between 1930 – 1980)

25W per m3

Good insulation (home built post 1980, or has been recently reinsulated)

20W per m3

All you need to do is multiply the volume of the room by the suggested watts per m3, and this will give you the total wattage requirement for the room.

Please refer to our IR heating panel buying guide for a more detailed explanation of this process.

The Apartment

As mentioned above, the apartment has 5 rooms – 2 bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen and a bathroom. It’s also a new building, and has floors below and above it, so it’s very well insulated.

The master bedroom measures 4.4m in length, 3m in width, and 2.5m in height. This gives us a volume of 33m3.

As the whole apartment retains heat well, we only need 20W per m3. Multiplying 33m3 by 20W gives us a total wattage requirement of 660W.

The second bedroom has a length of 3.5m, a width of 2.5m, and a height of 2.5m. As a result, the volume of this room is 21.875m3.

This number multiplied by 20W gives us a total of 437.5W.

The lounge is the biggest room in the apartment, and measures 5 x 5 x 2.5m. The volume of the lounge then, is 62.5m3.

62.5m3 multiplied by 20 gives us 1250W.

The kitchen is the second smallest room in the house, and is 3m by 2.5m. It’s also 2.5m high. The volume then, is 18.75m3. The total wattage is 375W.

Lastly, we have the bathroom, which is the smallest room in the apartment. It comes in at just 2 x 2.3 x 2.5m. Given the rooms volume of 11.5m3, the total wattage comes to 230W.

This is all summarised in the table below.

Room

Volume

Required Wattage

Master Bedroom

33m3

660W

Second Bedroom

21.875m3

437.5W

Lounge

62.5m3

1250W

Kitchen

18.75m3

375W

Bathroom

11.5m3

230W

Picking The IR Panels

Let’s start with the master bedroom. The total wattage needed is 660W, so for this room, we’ve installed a single 595 x 995 580W Infrared Panel.

The second bedroom needs slightly less power, at 437.5W. We’ve installed another 595 x 995 580W IR panel here too, as the heat can be turned down using one of our separately sold thermostats.

The lounge needs 1250W, so the only viable option here was to install a single 995 x 1195 1200W IR heater.

The kitchen requires just 375W of power, and the bathroom needs even less at 230W. For both of these rooms, we’ve used a single 595 x 595 350W infrared panel.

Altogether, the total wattage of all the infrared heaters we’ve selected comes to 3060W.

The Equivalent Electric Radiators And Gas Powered Central Heating

Next, we’ll look at how much power an electric convection radiator and a conventional central heating system powered by gas would use for each of our rooms.

Please bear in mind that these are approximations, and that most central heating systems measure heat in BTUs (British Thermal Units). In order to make our case study easier to understand, we have converted BTUs into Watts.

For our master bedroom, an electric heater would use 1600W, whilst a gas powered radiator would use the equivalent of 1500W.

Our second bedroom continues this trend, in that an electric heater would use 1210W, and a gas powered heater would use the equivalent of 1100W.

The numbers for lounge climb considerably higher, given its large size. An electric convection heater would use 2500W, whilst a gas powered radiator would use even more, equivalent to 2900W.

The kitchen would need an electric radiator that consumes 1210W, and a gas powered radiator that uses 1100W.

The bathroom is the same, in that an electric heater that uses 1210W would be needed, but a marginally less powerful gas radiator would be required, at 1100W.

The Cost Of Each Type Of Heating

At time of writing, the UK average price for a kWh of electricity is around 12p, and gas is around 3 times cheaper than electricity, giving us an average of around 4p per unit of gas. Our units however are in W.

To get from W to kWh, we must multiply the wattage by the number of hours that the devices will be on for, and then divide that number by 1000.

We then multiply this number by 0.12 or 0.04 (the price of a kWh of electricity and gas respectively in pounds) to calculate the price.

So for example, if we use one of our 580W IR panel heaters for 150 hours in a given month, then the monthly cost will be as follows:

(580 x 150) / 1000 = 87 kWh.

87 x 0.12 = £10.44.

Applying this formula to all the heaters for each separate room, gives us the following total wattages and costs.

 

IR Heater Wattage

Electric Heater Wattage

Gas Central Heating Wattage

Master Bedroom

580

1600

1500

Second Bedroom

580

1210

1100

Lounge

1200

2500

2900

Kitchen

350

1210

1100

Bathroom

350

1210

1100

Total Wattage:

3060W

7730W

7700W

Price for 1 Month (5 hours per day average)

£55.08

£139.14

£46.20

Upon first glance, it’s easy to see that the electric convection radiators are by far the most expensive option to run. On this basis, we should discount this as an option altogether.

The numbers here would tell you that the cheapest option is to stick with gas powered central heating, however, it isn’t as simple as that.

Firstly, you’ll typically need to give your boiler anywhere between 30-60 minutes to even fire up and for you to start feeling the heat, which would add to the average usage, or take away from the average use for IR panels.

More importantly though, the numbers don’t account for one of the main advantages of infrared heating panels – in that you can choose to individually heat any given room.

Even if you’re spending your whole evening in your lounge, a central heating system would still be providing heat to your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and everywhere else, even if you’re not going to venture beyond a single room, which only decreases efficiency.

With IR heating however, each room is independent of the other. It would be a better idea to look at the cost of running each room per hour for IR heating, and the cost of running your entire central heating system for 1 hour.

Room

Infrared Cost Per Hour

Gas Central Heating Per Hour

Master Bedroom

7p

n/a

Second Bedroom

7p

n/a

Lounge

14.4p

n/a

Kitchen

4.2p

n/a

Bathroom

4.2p

n/a

Total

n/a

30.8p

As you can see, the cost of running infrared heating becomes marginally cheaper when we factor in the fact that you can operate them individually.

The effect of this would be compounded the bigger the property is. A bigger house would have more rooms that would be needlessly being heated, so this is something to bear in mind if you are a homeowner.

Do also remember that there is next to no waiting time for the heat to kick in from an IR panel heater. This may alter your average use, in that you may spend less time with your IR panels on, and more time with your central heating on.

Costs are further reduced in the longer term, as you don’t need to service IR panels – they require zero maintenance as there are no moving parts. The same cannot be said of boilers and central heating systems, which can cost a lot to repair.

The Savings Through Infrared Heating

In terms of the figures alone, the energy savings made through IR heating are huge when compared to electric convection heaters, but less so alongside conventional gas powered central heating.

The main reason for the difference in price is due to the sheer amount of energy it takes to heat up volume rather than surface area.

Gas powered convection heaters offset this difference, as gas is considerably cheaper than electricity. It still requires maintenance in the long term though, and is massively inefficient as your boiler will heat up the entire house whether you’re occupying the rooms or not.

The savings made from infrared heating only increase for homes that are bigger.

Don’t forget too, that this is purely based on the economical savings. Infrared heating is also kinder to the environment, provides a much healthier heat, and is completely discreet too.

For more information about infrared heating panels, please give us a call on 0116 321 4124, or alternatively, you can send us an email to sales@suryaheating.co.uk.

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