How does far infrared heat actually work?
Our assumption is that you’ve heard “something” about far infrared heating, or “radiant heat”, or you wouldn’t be reading this!
However, reading about something and KNOWING about something can be a different reality!
Here’s a common way we use to describe what’s actually going on…
Far infrared heating (indoors) consists primarily of two parts:
Part 1) Is the immediate effect of feeling the infrared heat directly from the panel(s). Once the surface temperature of the panels reaches 90-95 degrees Celsius, they are then emitting their full far infrared, and will continue to do so until they are turned off (usually by a thermostat). This “immediate effect” is felt within about 10 minutes of turning the panels on by people and animals (because we’re water-based), which is about the time it takes the panel to warm up to 90-95 degrees. Again, this is immediately felt if you were to walk into a room heated with far infrared, or if you turned on panels and waited for them to warm up. Remember, far infrared invisible light does NOT heat the air at all, but you certainly feel the warmth!
Part 2) After time, the floor, walls, furniture etc. will warm up from the far infrared light, and in turn those objects will radiate heat (hence the name “Radiant Heat” or “Radiant Heating”) into the space, and THAT is what warms the air in the space.
- Part 1 – Is the immediate warmth felt (directly) from the panels themselves.
- Part 2 – Is the “radiant heat” aspect of far infrared by warming the floor, walls, objects and people and then (indirectly) the air in the space.
- Part 2 takes considerably longer to occur than Part 1.
One thing worthy of note, you will not require the air temperature in the space to be as warm as you’d normally have it with regular convection heat, or even any other electric heat. Whenever the panels are powered on, you will feel much warmer than the air temperature indicates, and why we always recommend that our hot yoga clients’ ensure their panels are “on” during classes. If they turn off, it literally feels like the sun has gone behind a cloud…it’s still warm, but not “hot”!
When you say far infrared "heats objects" to warm up a space, now hot do they get? Should I be concerned?
A common thought is that if you’re heating “objects” (floor, walls, furniture etc,) to heat up a room, they must get really hot in order to warm up the air. This is SO wrong! It takes very little warmth from the objects in the room to affect the air temperature. You needn’t worry about ruining your furnishings, or walls and flooring because of far infrared heating. This is yet another reason that far infrared heating is THE best heating method available, bar none. It LITERALLY feels like being warmed by sunshine, is healthy and good for you, AND is efficient and effective. NO other heat source can compare.
What is far infrared, and how is it related to heating?
In simple layman’s terms, it is invisible light that has heating qualities.
Infrared rays are invisible heat rays emitted by the sun, or in this specific case, by the FIR (Far InfraRed) radiant heating panels. These heat rays come in a wide spectrum, from visible heat which glows red (Near Infrared), to the invisible heat rays at the far end of the infrared spectrum (hence the name – far infrared!) which are the rays that are emitted from our indoor panels.
This form of radiant heat is unique in that it heats people, objects and walls directly without heating the air. Far infrared is completely safe in contrast to UV, X rays or Radioactive rays. Far infrared rays are absorbed by objects in the same way that we already absorb the sun’s rays. This absorbed heat is also released into the room, called radiant heat.
Think of the sand on a beach, on a hot sunny day. The warm air isn’t heating it, FIR light from the sun is. Another example might be the pavement on a road, “baking” in the sunlight. But, you cannot get a sunburn from a FIR panel!
There are many studies that show that FIR is not only not harmful to humans and animals, but is in fact therapeutic!
With FAR infrared heating panels, think of them as “mini-suns”, but without any of the harmful UV. FIR heats all the objects that are in its path. This heat is stored by the objects even after the panels are off… think of rocks around a camp fire, and how they stay warm even after the fire is out. This is essentially how FIR works to heat your home, office, or building. The objects themselves heat up, and give off heat. This is called “radiant heating”.
For people and animals, the effect is almost identical to being in the sunshine, but again, with absolutely no harmful effects. An example of this is sitting in your living room on a cold winter day, and yet you still feel the warmth of the sunshine through the window.
Wikipedia’s definition is –
“Far infrared (FIR) is a region in the infrared spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Far infrared is often defined as any radiation with a wavelength of 15 micrometers (µm) to 1 mm (corresponding to a range of about 20 THz to 300 GHz), which places far infrared radiation within the CIE IR-B and IR-C bands.”
How are the panels maintaining their temperature? Can they overheat and cause a fire?
Our Si Series panels generate far infrared from a proprietary design, and generate their heat from what’s called a “thin film heating element”.
The thin film heating element is integrated with a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient). In layman’s terms, once the panel temperature reaches a certain point, the PTC limits the amount of current going through the panel, thus lowering the temperature. In this way the panels will never overheat or have the potential of causing a fire due to overheating.
This is unlike virtually every other infrared panel in the world. Many (most?) infrared panel manufacturers use copper wire that creates resistance, and that creates the far infrared radiation.
A considerable “side” benefit of the thin film heating elements is that they can work in much lower temperatures than traditional copper based heaters.
Mysa thermostats - You recommend them, Is there anything I need to know before installing them?
Mysa thermostats are great. We DO recommend them. However there is something all our customers need to know, and it’s VERY important!
Despite being called “Mysa for Baseboards” they are very well suite for far infrared radiant panels! Within the Mysa app are settings for what kind of heaters the stat will be controlling. The choices are “Baseboard Mode”, “Forced Fan Mode”, and “Radiant Mode”.
IT IS IMPERATIVE (AND WE CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!) THAT YOU ENSURE YOU HAVE THE MYSA THERMOSTAT SET TO “RADIANT MODE”. This has to be done in the Mysa app on your smart phone. You cannot manually change this on the thermostat.
Baseboard mode cycles the power to the heater on and off over very short durations. We’re talking about sometimes on for 10 seconds and off for 4.5 seconds as an example. Both Ducoterra’s far infrared panels as well as our Si Series panels are NOT designed to have these short power cycles, and if you have your thermostat set for “Baseboard Mode”, you run the risk of ruining your panel(s) and THEY WILL NOT BE COVERED UNDER THE WARRANTY IF YOUR THERMOSTAT RUINS THEM!
“Radiant Mode” turns the panels on when warmth is required (typically .5 C lower than your setpoint), and turns the panels off when the setpoint is reached. That could be a few minutes, it could be a few hours. Having the panels “on” for long durations is not a problem for the panels.
The warranty of both products covers defects in the panels themselves and does not cover any external causes like power failures, improper wiring, faulty thermostat etc.
What is the best setting for my thermostat?
We all learned that we should turn the thermostat down at night to save energy costs (who wants a warm bedroom anyway!?!) and then turn it back up in the morning with a forced air heating system. Makes some sense until you put some thought into it…
The reality is that the costs to warm up your whole home even just 1 degree on your thermostat, (let alone 3 or 4 degrees likely installed in a hallway in the middle of your home) are much higher than you likely think they are. Enough so that the energy “savings” you think you’re getting by letting the house cool down are eaten up by warming it back up again!
This is the exact opposite of what we should do with a thermostat controlling far infrared heating panels. We “get” it…we’re using a device that measures the temperature of the air – to control devices that don’t heat the air!! Seems stupidly counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? BUT…there is a sensible explanation that also speaks to why we don’t want to be constantly adjusting the temperature setting up and down. Simply put, it is WAY more efficient and effective to “set it and forget it” when it comes to infrared heating.
Here’s why…if we look back to the FAQ talking about how exactly far infrared works (the Part 1 and Part 2 bit), we know that the objects in the room (floors, walls, furniture etc.) need to warm up sufficiently themselves first, in order to affect the air temperature. If we are turning down the thermostat rather than leaving it to cycle power to the panels naturally, all the objects cool down to the extent we’re having to start from scratch to warm them up enough to increase the air temperature.
If we experiment a bit and find the “right” temperature setting that helps make us comfortable, it is WAY more efficient and cost-effective to set a temperature and forget it. Let the thermostat cycle the power to the panels. Even when the panels cycle power off, the objects still retain some heat, and when the temperature drops a bit the thermostat will turn the panels back on. Hope this makes sense… (It did in my head!!)
Why would I need your hot yoga thermostat?
The vast majority of thermostats only have a high set point of 30C. If you intend to have hot yoga temperatures that feel like 35C – 40C, a thermostat that only goes to 30C isn’t the best solution as the thermostat will turn off the panels once the air temperature in your space reaches 30C. The effect of the panels turning off is similar to the feeling of when the sun goes behind a cloud. You’re not getting “cold” of course, but it certainly isn’t the desired effect, either. Our thermostat has a high set point of 50C. While no one would desire a temperature of 50C, this ensures that once you do go above 30C, the panels will remain “on”, and that IS the desired effect in hot yoga sessions. We want the panels to remain “on” throughout the duration of your classes or sessions.
We often hear “I need the temperature in the space to be 35C” or “We need the temperature in the space to be 40C.” Our answer is the same, “No, you want the temperature in your space to FEEL like it’s 35C or 40C…it doesn’t need to actually BE 35C or 40C to FEEL like it’s 35C or 40C. Typically you can reduce the actual air temperature by 3 to 4 degrees to feel like it’s that air temperature. In other words, if your thermostat shows 20C, it will feel like 23C – 24C. The same holds true in a hot yoga environment. If the thermostat is showing 31C, it will feel like 34C to 35C.
How do I mount the glass panels horizontally? It appears they only mount vertically.
Our Si Series glass infrared panels can be mounted both horizontally OR vertically using the same included mounting bracket system.
For horizontal orientation, there’s a specific direction the heater has to slide in:
1) The wall mount should be mounted so that the “open hooks” are open toward the left side.
2) The heater itself has to slide in with the electrical box on the right side.
Note – It’s possible that the electrical box won’t be at the exact same location (same side) on your heater. Please keep this in mind when installing an outlet, or hard-wiring!
Here are some pics demonstrating –
What information do you need to determine which panels (and how many) I need for my space(s)?
These are standard questions we ask every customer, with a view to determining how many watts per sq. ft. are required for your space(s).
1) Room dimensions (length and width in feet, please)
2) Ceiling height from the floor (in feet)
3) What is the ceiling made out of? (Drywall etc.)
4) Please speak to the insulation in the space. A simple “great, good, fair or poor” will do.
5) What is your specific geographical location? (Climate matters!)
6) A note about doors / windows to the exterior if “beyond the norm”.
7) Is the floor insulated?
8) Voltage available in the space? (Commercial spaces may be 208 volts but most homes can have 240 volts or 120 volts)
Can you explain why there is an effective range of just 10′ with far infrared panels?
The Inverse Square Law is the mathematical description for how the brightness or intensity of radiated energy (such as light) varies with distance. In other words, it describes, mathematically, why and how lights appear brighter when you are close and dimmer when you are far away. This also applies to the far infrared light from all our panels, as far infrared IS indeed light, it’s just invisible light.
If the panel is 5 feet away and you measure the “Infrared intensity” you will get a reading… let’s call it 8 units. If the panel is then placed 10 feet away (or twice as far) and you measure the Infrared intensity, you will get a reading of only 2. So the intensity is ¼ as much at 10 feet as compared to 5 feet. No IR energy has been lost, it just is dispersed over a larger area as illustrated in the graphic below.
The inverse-square law describes the light received from most sources. If the distance between an object and the light source is doubled, a given area receives only one-fourth as much light; if the distance is tripled, then only one-ninth as much light.
In simpler terms, the light energy when twice as far from the source is spread over 4 times the area, and why 1/4th the intensity. If three times as far, then only 1/9th the intensity.
Are 240 volt far infrared panels better than using 120 volt far infrared panels?
The short answer is “no”, but the longer answer bears some consideration.
240 volt far infrared panels are not more efficient, nor are they more effective than 120 volt far infrared panels…despite rumours abounding that they are. A watt is a watt, regardless whether it is being delivered by 240 volts or 120 volts.
In other words, a 1000 watt panel at 240 volts will use almost exactly the same amount of power (1000 watts), as a 120 volt panel.
Where the voltage DOES come into play is with respect to the amperage, and this can matter for a few reasons.
Let’s walk through the power being delivered to your home. Most modern homes have 200 amp service, or perhaps only 100 amp service available at the breaker panel. That means that you have a total capacity (in theory) of 200 amps available, or perhaps only 100 amps.
Inside the breaker panel are (wait for it) breakers! These breakers control lights, outlets, appliances…all things electric in other words. Most single breakers in the home are 15 amp breakers. The general rule of thumb for breakers is to not utilize more than 80% of capacity, so despite having a 15 amp breaker on a circuit, you should aim for actually only using no more than 12 amps of the 15 amps “available”. Not a good thing to utilize the full breaker capacity!
A 120 volt breaker is a single pole breaker that fits only into a single slot in your breaker panel, and that can only deliver 120 volts.
A 120 volt far infrared panel uses double the amps that a 240 volt far infrared panel does, however.
This matters, particularly when using more than one infrared panel in a space. As an example – A single 120 volt far infrared panel at 1000 watts from Ducoterra will draw 8.4 amps, as opposed to a single 240 volt far infrared 1000 watt Ducoterra panel that will draw only 4.2 amps.
Why do we care? As noted above, most 120 volt house circuits utilize a 15 amp “single pole” breaker. On the other hand, you MAY have 20 amp breakers in your panel. If you wished to use two of these 120 volt panels in a room, they would HAVE to be on separate circuits (using two separate single pole breakers) because the total amps being drawn for the two 120 volt panels is 16.8 amps…well beyond the 15 amp circuit capacity, and even more beyond the suggested limit of 80% of capacity at 12 amps, and the breaker would therefore be tripping constantly….not good! If you have a 20 amp breaker however, then you indeed have the ability to put two infrared panels on the same 120 volt circuit.
The solution is to use 240 volt far infrared panels. You can deliver 240 volts to any circuit by using “double pole” breakers in the breaker panel, instead of single pole breakers. As you’ve likely concluded, a double pole breaker uses two breaker panel slots, rather than only a single breaker slot. You’ve still used two slots vs. just one, but now you have far more amp capacity! Double pole breakers are typically 20 – 60 amps, so you’ve now gained the ability to place far more panels on a single circuit (vs. 15 or 20 amps at 120 volts), with only having to place a solitary double pole breaker in your panel!
That is the ONLY difference between using 240 volt far infrared panels vs. 120 volt far infrared panels…the capacity of your electrical system and breaker panel, meaning the total amount of heating panels that can be wired in.
There is only a very negligible difference in performance, effectiveness, efficiency or even costs between the two voltages… certainly not enough of a difference to make a decision towards choosing one over the other.
The “mis-information” likely stems from electric motors running on 240 volts vs. 120 volts. In the case of an electric motor, 240 volts DOES make a difference, but not so with far infrared electric heating panels.
How much do infrared panels weigh?
Ducoterra SolaRay Panel Weight (JUST the panel)
xxxAIP2 ( 2′ x 2′ ) – 5.4 lbs (Actual Dimensions – 22.50” x 23.75” )
xxxAIP3 ( 2′ x 3′ ) – 7.7 lbs (Actual Dimensions – 22.50” x 35.75” )
xxxAIP4 ( 2′ x 4′ ) – 11.0 lbs (Actual Dimensions – 22.50” x 47.75” )
xxxAIP6 ( 2′ x 6′ ) – 15.4 lbs (Actual Dimensions – 22.50” x 71.75” )
Spectrum Infrared Si Series Aluminum Panel Weight (JUST the panel)
SI-120-2424 ( 24″ x 24″ ) – 9 lbs
SI-120-2448 ( 24″ x 48″ ) – 17 lbs
SI-120-4141 ( 41″ x 41″ ) – 20 lbs
Spectrum Infrared Si Series Glass Panel Weight (JUST the panel)
SI-120500 ( 16″ x 48″ ) – 23.4 lbs
SI-120750 ( 16″ x 72″ ) – 28.7 lbs
SI-120750 ( 24″ x 48″ ) – 34.4 lbs
SI-1201100 ( 24″ x 72″ ) – 50.7 lbs
Who does the infrared panel installations?
We believe the best choice for our clients’ infrared panel installation is to hire their own installers.
The advantages of this to you are –
- Gives you the opportunity to use any local electrician or contractor you choose.
- You can “shop around” and compare estimates, and then choose the most appropriate one.
- The actual physical installation of the panels is quite simple, though the wiring can be a challenge. Any electrician that has installed baseboards likely already knows what to do as it’s the same math and the world they live in – Watts, Amps and Volts. We HIGHLY recommend and STRONGLY suggest always using a professional to do your installations. This ensures your installation follows building code, and eliminates the chance for “errors”.
- We have a technical library that includes everything any electrician or contractor needs to know to complete your installation.
We’ll gladly consult with your electrician or contractor to ensure she/he fully understands what they need to consider for your specific install, and we do this often. We want to ensure you’re more than just satisfied, we make the effort to ensure you’re happy, not just “satisfied”.
Why are far infrared heating panels better than in-floor radiant heat?
Regardless whether the in-floor heating system is electric or hydronic, the heating system must warm the floor enough so that there is then radiant heat rising from the floor to warm the air in the entire space. This does provide a uniform heat within the space, over time. Radiant in-floor systems are great for warming the floor, there is no doubt about that, but they take significant time to actually warm the space in the room thereafter. Electric radiant in-floor heating requires more electricity (costs more) than far infrared ceiling panels, both in total amount of watts required and in duration of time being “on” or drawing power in other words.
An in-floor electric radiant heating system requires an average of 12 watts per sq. ft. Conversely, for most applications in Canada you’d require only 8 watts per sq. ft. with far infrared radiant ceiling panels. For example, a 100 sq.ft. bathroom will require 1200 watts to heat the space with electric in-floor heating, but only a single 750 watt far infrared panel will warm the same space. So for every hour the panel is running, you save an average of 450 watts. Doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up!
Next is the duration of time that the heating system is running. Some websites seem to suggest that their in-floor systems run 8-10 hours per 24 hour period to keep their space warm. This may or may not be true for you, as it is really room specific (It certainly isn’t true for us). We know from our own experience that we often need to keep the thermostat set over 32C (90F) to keep the floor toasty AND the space warm enough, and the floor is calling for power much longer than 8 hours in a day. But let’s just assume that the infrared panels require the same amount of time running to keep the space comfortable. This is giving the benefit of the doubt, because we do already know that they don’t run as often as in-floor heating does.
1200 watts x 8 hours = 9.6 kWh
750 watts x 8 hours = 6.0 kWh
9.6 x .12 (average cost per kWh) = $1.15 per day or $34.50 per month (based on 30 days)
6.0 x .12 (average cost per kWh) = $.72 per day or $21.60 per month (based on 30 days)
A savings of about 13.00 a month with all things being equal… but they aren’t equal!
Here’s where the biggest difference lies – What far infrared heating panels provide that an in-floor radiant floor does not provide, is the direct effect of the far infrared light on your body. We feel warmer than the air temperature indicates with far infrared. The air temperature in a room heated with far infrared may indicate it’s 19C, but you’ll likely FEEL like it’s 22C or 23C. That means we can turn the thermostat down much lower than with in-floor heat, therefore using less power consumption to heat the space. This is why we know that far infrared ceiling panels are using less power over time…they just don’t have to be “on” for as long a period of time in order to provide the same feeling of comfort.
Let’s talk about initial up front costs. Plainly and simply, far infrared heating panels are less to purchase and install than a radiant in-floor heating system…hydronic or electric, but particularly if you’re installing a boiler, or after the floor has already been installed. Doing a tile floor renovation to include in-floor radiant heat can easily cost $40 / sq. ft. for labour alone. With a 100 sq. ft. bathroom, you’re looking at $4,300 for labour, plus tiles and $300 for the electric heating mat. A 2′ x 4′ 750 watt aluminum panel is between $570 and $664 currently.
Lastly, let’s briefly touch on “the elephant in the room”. Imagine you have a lovely marble or travertine tile floor in your bathroom and your in-floor radiant system fails. Imagine being told that you will have to rip up your floor in order to fix it!
In fairness, this doesn’t happen often, but it does indeed happen. We’ve had more than one customer tell us that this exact scenario happened (likely not marble or travertine, but tiles of some sort) to them. In two cases, it happened less than two years after their brand new house build!! Is it worth the risk to you to spend more up front, pay more while it’s running AND risk having to rip up your beautiful floor if a repair is required?
Our panels all have a life expectancy of over 30 years, and carry warranties between 20 years and lifetime. Your in-floor warranty may be up to 25 years, but it likely only covers the heating equipment portion, and not your actual floor to get at it!
The choice is quite clear. Everyone seems to be aware of in-floor radiant heating systems and many folks are convinced it’s the best manner of heating their space. It is a “good” method undoubtedly…if you don’t mind paying more than necessary both upfront AND ongoing to get an inferior result. It just isn’t “the” best method…far infrared radiant heating panels are.
Far infrared radiant heating “checks all the boxes” and provides unequaled warmth and comfort with outstanding effectiveness and efficiency.
No other heat source available provides the comfort that far infrared heating provides. It truly feels like the warmth provided by sunshine.
What does it actually cost to run infrared heating panels?
Please have a look at our Infrared Operating Costs page. In the middle of the page you’ll find an easy to use infrared operating cost calculator.
I have an existing heating system, how do I know how many panels I need for supplemental heat?
This is by far the most difficult question for us to answer! There are so many factors involved, that “knowing” what is required is difficult, at best. If you just need a smaller area heated within a larger area (for example a sitting area within a large rec room), that is easy for us to determine.
To further explain, one would think that if you have an existing heating system that is capable of heating your space to a comfortable temperature, then you likely don’t need to provide as many watts of far infrared heating to give it a boost. This is partly true, and also partly incorrect. Because far infrared panels don’t heat the air directly, the starting temperature in the space is somewhat irrelevant. Far infrared needs to warm the objects and surfaces in the space in order to ultimately radiate the heat that DOES warm the air. It is very likely that if you’re heating a room with typical convection heat (forced air gas furnace or baseboards etc.) the objects (and walls and floor) in the space are still cool! So, that is why “spot-heating” is the best solution for spaces with existing heat sources. That, or we have to spec the space as if the panels ARE the primary or sole source of heat.
Factors that complicate the equation are: where are the existing ducts blowing air (if gas based furnace system), or how many radiators are there, what size, and the list goes on.
The best solution for supplemental heating is to spec specific areas that you require additional heat, rather than the whole space in its entirety. If we know the size of the space where you’d require more “spot” heating (like a sitting area, or work area within a larger space)…THAT we can easily do, and with confidence!
Our biggest fear is under-spec’ing a space…because if it doesn’t get warm enough you won’t be happy, and nor will we! Our second biggest fear is over-spec’ing a space….we absolutely don’t want anyone buying more panels (or more watts) than they require.
Why are your panels priced higher than some others’?
The short answer is that they cost more to manufacture and import than “cheap” panels. You can buy a car for $15,000 or you can buy a car for $45,000. They’re both still cars, but clearly a $15,000 car is not built with the same quality materials, design and workmanship as that of a $45,000 car. Infrared panels are no different. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll get anywhere near the same value and quality from a product that costs $250 vs. one that costs $650. It just isn’t possible! And then there’s our included warranty… Lifetime on SolaRay panels, and 30 Years on our Si Series. Most of our competitor warranties are only 3 – 5 years (and for good reason!)
Beyond the obvious quality differences, worthy of note is the Canada/US exchange rate. Unfortunately, when the Canadian dollar performs poorly against the US dollar, our prices have to be adjusted accordingly.
Carbon and quartz heaters are very cheap to manufacture, and that is presumably why they’re made. These companies care more about selling you “anything” they can, than they do about what they’re actually selling you. The majority of these are made in Asia, with some even being produced by Canadian and US manufacturers.
If you read things on-line similar to “the panels should have a break every few hours and should be turned off for a few minutes”, or “the panels are not suitable for being the primary (or sole) source of heat”, ask yourself why that might be? Our panels have no such limitations.
Our panels are more than capable of being the sole source of heat in hot yoga studio’s, homes, offices etc. etc. If the panels you’re considering can’t do that, then they are clearly an inferior product, even if just based on that single difference alone.
Please have a look at our “far infrared vs. fake infrared” page for detailed information.
In short, carbon and quartz infrared heating is NOT a superior far infrared heat source, despite claims that they are. They are much cheaper to manufacture, and you will get what you pay for.
We’re 100% Canadian, so we’d obviously love to sell Canadian-made infrared products, and in fact we’d prefer to! Unfortunately, we haven’t (yet) found a single Canadian infrared manufacturer that can compete with the quality, design and workmanship already offered by our own Si Series of Glass Infrared Panels, or Ducoterra LLC and Infratech. It’s really just that simple.
We believe our products are competitively priced, particularly considering the low Total Cost of Ownership, and higher quality of our products.
If you’re buying infrared heating products based primarily on the price, we are clearly not the supplier for you. We wish you the best of luck with whatever products you choose.
If your search is based on seeking the highest quality infrared heating products, combined with some of the longest warranty available anywhere (30 Years and LIFETIME!) with a low total cost of ownership, then you’ve absolutely come to the right “place”. We care about our clients and we won’t sell you crap just to make a few dollars from selling “something” to you.
Can you walk me through the process of determining how many and which panels I need?
Here is an excellent resource to make the process as easy as possible!
The first step is determining how many total watts of power are required to heat your space. There is a general rule of thumb we use to calculate this, but the calculation varies depending on your particular environment and geographical location. We will absolutely need to know the ceiling height from the floor, and what it’s made out of will also help. Next we need the length and width of the room(s). Without the ceiling height, and length and width of the room as well as what you’re heating the space for (home, office, hot yoga, etc.), we cannot possibly determine your needs.
The next step is discussing your geographical location (climate matters!), your insulation, and any doors and windows to the exterior in the space. The better insulated the space (particularly the floor) the less total amount of watts are required.
Once we determine how many total watts of heating are required for your space, we need to determine how many and of which specific panels will fill that need. Panel wattage varies (as does physical size of panels), so this is a very important part of the equation.
For example, let’s say we determine you require 3000 watts of total power. Would three – 41″ x 41″ 1100 watt panels make more sense than four – 2′ x 4′ 750 watt panels? Or should we consider using six – 24″ x 24″ 500 watt panels instead? Ceiling height matters for these decisions, but so also do aesthetics… and it may simply come down to what is going to look better but still provide the same heating. Generally speaking (with some exceptions), we don’t care so much what the panel configuration is, as long as you are providing the total watts necessary.
So, let’s say we’ve decided on four – 750 watt 2′ x 4′ panels to reach our 3000 watt goal. Next in the process is the electrical part of the equation. We need to determine what voltage of panels we’re going to use. Please look at the question in our FAQ section ” Are 240 volt panels better than using 120 volt panels?”, for an explanation of voltage and why it matters.
Lastly, you’ll need to decide on a control mechanism, or thermostat in other words. There are so many choices, that we now only carry two. One for residential applications designed by a Canadian company based in Newfoundland called Mysa, and our own Si Series thermostat for hot yoga studios.
So yes, there actually IS a lot to it…but we’re here to help and to make it as easy as possible! We’ll gladly speak with your electrician or contractor on your behalf to ensure they understand the technology, if that’s necessary.
The bottom line is that any electrician that has installed baseboards likely already knows what to do, they may just not know that they already do! After all, it’s just watts, amps and volts…something every electrician is already familiar with. You may not be interested in the minutia of every detail, and that’s fine too. We’re happy to explain it in layman’s terms (hence this Q & A), or in greater detail too. As long as we get the spec’s correct, you can have confidence in the process, and look forward to having a cost-effective “green” heating solution.
How do I order panels?
Once we’ve consulted with you to determine your specific wattage & panel requirements, we’ll send you a formal quote. If you agree that the quote reflects your needs and you wish to proceed with the order, we’ll convert the quote to an invoice and send that out to you via email. You’ll then have the option of paying for the order directly from the “Review and Pay” link in the invoice email itself (We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discovery), or you can send us an eTransfer (or multiple eTransfers if required or desired) or an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) for larger amounts… we’ll provide you with our banking information for that, of course.
I can't find where to order online on your website. Do you not have eCommerce set up?
There is no online ordering on our website, and this is intentional of course. We want to ensure that you are ordering exactly what you require, not what you think you need. For an extreme example, let’s say you were able to buy a panel online from us, and you think a 500 watt panel will do the job. You order, and you install it, and it’s not heating your space to the extent you were expecting. Your first thought is likely that the panel doesn’t work properly, or there is something wrong with it etc. etc. But turns out that you actually required 1000 watts to heat your space, not 500 watts, but you of course aren’t aware of that!
We may be giving up some “convenience” for our customers by not having online ordering (and perhaps even ourselves!), but we’d rather sacrifice a bit of that convenience to ensure you are ordering what you require, not what you think you may. We’re happy to consult with you on the phone, via email, smoke signals…whatever method works best for you to ensure we spec your space(s) correctly.
As we’ve said before, our biggest “fear” is under-spec’ing a space. Our second biggest is over-spec’ing a space. We don’t want anyone purchasing less panels than they require, and we certainly don’t want anyone purchasing more than they require, either!
What is the difference between Ducoterra’s SolaRay aluminum panels and Spectrum Infrared’s Si Series aluminum panels?
There are many similarities, and just a few differences. Let’s look at the similarities first. Both SolaRay and Si Series panels are entirely made from 100% recyclable aluminum. Both are very high quality professional grade far infrared heating panels, and you can expect decades of use from them both. Both products are only 1/2″ thick.
There are some notable design differences, however. Si Series panels come with a 3′ attached cord regardless of the panel voltage. In fact they can come with outlet plugs on the end of the cords as well, so they may simply be plugged in to use. Ducoterra’s SolaRay panels are designed to be hard-wired. There is no cord attached, and therefore cannot be used as a “portable” device.
The next major difference is that the panels are mounted differently. SolaRay panels are designed to be mounted flush onto the ceiling surface, with no mounting brackets required. SolaRay panels are only 1/2″ thick, so if screwed right onto the ceiling, are very attractive and not obtrusive at all, and offer clean lines. They are very aesthetically pleasing because of the ability to be mounted “flush” onto the surface. Conversely, Si Series panels come with included mounting brackets. While they too are only a 1/2″ thick, they do not mount flush (by design), and will sit 1 1/2″ to 1 3/4″ below the surface of the ceiling, or away from a wall. They are certainly not obtrusive either, but they don’t lie flat against the surface, by design.
The next biggest difference is in the sizing of the panels. ALL SolaRay panels regardless of the length are 22.5″ wide with the exception of their “D” panels. The “D” series are designed for dropped ceilings and are therefore exactly 23.75″ wide. The other Ducoterra panels don’t fit neatly into a 24″ x 48″ drop ceiling grid. Our 24″ x 48″ Si Series are exactly 23.75″ x 47.75″, meaning they DO fit into a T-Bar ceiling.
There are also internal design and component differences that are not visual. Our Si Series utilize a proprietary “thin film heating element” to generate far infrared energy within the panels. There is no wire coil inside, in other words. Ducoterra’s SolaRay panels are made with a wire coil spanning the whole area of the panel.
Please have a look in our gallery for the notable visual differences.
The last difference is the Warranty. Both brand of panels have a life expectancy of decades. SolaRay panels state a life expectancy of 40 years, and we advertise our Si Series with a life expectancy of 30+ years…so it’s pretty close!
Both are superior products, and we proudly stand behind both.
Can I lease your infrared heating panels?
Absolutely, you can lease infrared heating panels if you are a Canadian business. Sorry, there is no lease option for personal accounts, or American companies. As long as you and/or your company have a solid credit history, it shouldn’t be a problem. Your lease application will go to either Dominion Lending Centres or Prime Capital (our leasing partners), and they’ll make the lease approval decision based on your credit report. We recommend 2+ years of business history, but in the absence of that, your strong personal credit report may suffice.
We will gladly tell you how much the lease payments will be, based on the total price (pre-tax), and the desired length of your lease. Three year and four year lease options are the most common, and are available with a 10.00 buyout at the conclusion of the lease term.
That means when you finish your lease term it only costs 10.00 and you own the equipment, with no more payments!
Some advantages of leasing –
Leasing Protects Cash Flow:
With leasing infrared heating panels, you can spread out the acquisition cost of your equipment over time, freeing up valuable capital to expand the business.
In most cases with leasing, your first payment is all that is required at the time of signing. You can lease 100% of the cost (including shipping charges!), not including taxes.
Leasing infrared heating panels may be 100% tax deductible as an operating expense. Consult your accountant regarding the deductions for your specific situation.
Leasing is Flexible:
A variety of lease options are available, the term and frequency of payments can be tailored to fit your unique situation.
Are the far infrared panels available in any other solid colours?
Yes! Our Si Series Glass infrared panels are also available in solid black, Solid White, Solid Grey, Solid Orange and even Solid Green! Quantities are limited, however. We will manufacture solid colour panels to order, but you should expect an additional delay in delivery time. Ducoterra’s aluminum panels can be painted any colour you’d like, provided you use a high quality paint.
Where can I purchase Ducoterra’s Solaray Infrared Panels?
Ducoterra far infrared panels are not available in but a few retail stores, and must be purchased only through Authorized Ducoterra Dealers and Distributors in order for the warranty to be valid. SolaRay far infrared heating panels are superior products, and are professional grade and quality. These are NOT the same products as the cheap Asian made quartz and carbon panels you’ll see in box stores. They are made in the USA, with Ducoterra offering an industry leading lifetime limited manufacturer warranty, and are expected to have a life expectancy of 30+ years.
InfraredHeat.ca is Canada’s Premier Ducoterra Distributor (we sell direct to the public too!), and an Authorized Infratech Dealer, you may simply use our contact form to reach out for more information, or you may call us. We’ll talk about your needs and requirements, and send you a quote. We ship anywhere in Canada or the USA.
Do infrared panels need any maintenance?
Not in the slightest. There are no moving parts, and because of only the highest quality components used, the panels have a life expectancy of decades. Because of their design, they will never deliver less infrared 10 years from now, or even 20 or 30+ years, than they do today. All you need to do is dust them, or wipe them periodically with a warm damp cloth. That’s it!
Is there a difference in energy consumption between ceiling and wall placement?
Yes, there is a small difference. The difference occurs because the surface of panels placed on the wall cool down more rapidly than that of ceiling-mounted panels. This is partially due to airflow past the panels; electricity is required to overcome these losses, hence, the panel will consume a little more energy.
Place the panel on the ceiling wherever possible for optimal heat distribution and lower energy consumption. In a radiant ceiling system, 80% of the energy is converted to Infrared, 60% for radiant wall-mounted systems and 50% for radiant in-floor systems. The dynamic efficiency of hot air systems (gas furnace and ducts) in comparison, is only around 35%.
Can far infrared heating panels work with a home automation system?
Where can (should) far infrared heating panels be used?
Homes, Cottages, Apartments, Tiny Houses / Tiny Homes, “Off the Grid” homes and buildings
Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Living Rooms, Rec Rooms etc.
Commercial Buildings, Industrial and Retail Complexes, Offices
Veterinary Clinics, Pet Shops, Pet Breeders, Trainers, Groomers, Kennels, Aviaries, Zoos, Barns and Barn Stalls
Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, Temples
Hot Yoga & Fitness Studios, Martial Arts Centres, Community Clubs, Saunas
Pubs, Bars, Restaurants
Arenas, Greenhouses, Grain Storage Facilities
Warehouses, Workshops, Garages
Remote Lodges & Resorts, Military Camps, Exploration Trailers, Construction Sites
Hotels and Motels
Virtually anywhere indoors, where you’d benefit from efficient, comfortable, safe, and healthy heat!
Why choose an electric heater, rather than a gas heater?
Simply put, electric heaters look better, are more efficient and are easier to operate and maintain. Electric heaters are over 90% efficient and are perfectly safe for use indoors or outdoors. They are also economical to operate and require little maintenance beyond periodic cleaning. Unlike gas heaters, there are no valves, ignition components, moving parts or burners to maintain or repair. In addition, electric heaters produce no sound, odors or toxic emissions.
Electric heaters also offer added mounting and installation options. They may be flush mounted into a standard 8′ ceiling using our flush mount frame. When surface mounted, they hang less than 9-1/2″ from the ceiling. The most commonly used overhead gas heater requires a minimum ceiling height of almost 10′ and, when mounted properly, will hang almost 24″ below it.
An electric heater is also easier to use. Enjoying electric comfort heat is as easy as flipping a switch. You can adjust the intensity of an electric heater infinitely from zero to 100% of power by using Infratech Controls. By contrast, gas heaters only produce infrared energy on their highest possible settings.
Can I decorate the Panels myself?
Ducoterra’s SolaRay panels can indeed be painted to match your décor, provided only a good quality high-temperature paint is used.
Does an electric heater cost more than a gas unit to operate?
Operating costs vary by region. Nationwide, electric heaters are less expensive than propane, and are competitive with natural gas. Depending upon the total hours of usage, electric heaters normally have a much lower cost of ownership when factoring in purchase price and maintenance needs. Basically, this means that while it can cost more per hour to operate an electric unit in some areas, it typically takes 7-10 years to save enough money operating on gas to recover the substantially higher purchase price-not to mention cost of regular maintenance for a gas heater.
How long can I expect an Infratech quartz element to last?
Infratech elements are rated for 5,000 hours of continuous use. In many installations you may enjoy your heater for years before a replacement would be needed. Always refer to the W-Series manual for specific instructions, and be sure to disconnect the power to your heater before attempting to change an element.
Are quartz elements better than “short wave” halogen elements?
If you are concerned about ambience, the appearance of your décor and creating a more relaxing environment, Infratech infrared quartz elements are always the best choice. Infratech quartz elements provide comfortable medium wave heat. Competitive products with short wave halogen elements produce more intense heat while emitting very bright and harsh-coloured light. By contrast, Infratech medium wave elements effectively heat your space, while providing a soft, warm glow that is practically unnoticeable.
What is the ideal air humidity?
A level of 40% to 50% air humidity is ideal for humans and animals.
45% to 55% is ideal for guitars! 😉
Do you test every panel that leaves the production facility extensively?
Yes, we produce our panels according to the “Quality at the source” concept; every panel is tested. We guarantee the quality of our product.
Have you encountered any technical difficulties so far? What sort of technical trouble can I expect?
The only known technical problems were due to incorrect sizing, ignored building problems (water seeping into the slab, uninsulated slab for instance) and poor installations. There should be no technical problems as long as the basic guidelines are followed. If the product is installed as a system (panel, power supply, relays, and thermostat), the building is suitable for IR, and the transmission (sizing) calculator is followed, there should not be any issues.
What are your safety certificates?
All Infratech W-Series heaters are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Canadian Underwriters Laboratories (cUL) Listed under File E 29825. We are NZ/Australia and CE Listed under Wakefield Laboratories File NSW 21732. All Infratech fixtures are also certified IP X4 rated.
Spectrum Infrared’s Si Series are Intertek ETL certified indicating they meet or exceed Canada’s CSA certification.
When the sun shines I can feel its “infrared-light” shining right through windows? What about the reverse, energy losses when we use infrared panels?
Yes, a certain amount of Infrared light passes through windows, the amount of Infrared that penetrates windows is dependent on its wavelength.
The sun contains light (both visible and invisible) in the entire electromagnetic spectrum; much of this light comes through the windows but only the infrared portion gets stored in the objects, walls and floors. In return these objects “convert” the energy into far infrared heat. Once converted, only a very small amount of far infrared will be allowed through the glass, most is reflected back into the room. We do not recommend placing panels on a wall directly across from a window, however. Ceiling placement is always the best choice, if possible.
Can I get burned by briefly touching a heated panel?
No, the operating temperatures (around 200 degrees F or 95 degrees C) are deemed to be safe to the touch by the regulating agencies (UL, ETL, CSA, European and other local regulators around the world). These agencies assume that the touch is brief and that there is no prolonged contact with the heated surface. The temperatures are comparable with the outside of a cup of hot coffee or tea. After touching the hot surface you would naturally pull away.
How do I clean my panel?
During the cleaning process, always clean the heating panel while at room temperature. Remove the power cord from the electrical outlet. Wipe with a damp cloth or use a glass cleaner, being sure not to allow moisture to drip into the panel.
If I place my Panel on the ceiling will it mainly heat my head?
No, the panels emit far-infrared light which heats the walls, floor and objects; the resulting heat is distributed equally through a room. In fact, in a properly setup system, you cannot tell where the heat is coming from.
There is a common misconception that if you place an infrared heater on the ceiling, then it will be hot up at the ceiling.
Hot air rises…”heat” does not rise! Remember, we aren’t (directly) heating the air at all!
One of the benefits of heating with far infrared panels is the uniformity of heat in the whole space. The temperature near the floor is only a degree or two different from face level, and a degree or two different from the ceiling level. This is not the case when heating air in a space, as the hot air will rise and go to the ceiling. There it cools, sinks back down creating an ongoing convection system, which is NOT an efficient manner of heating a space!
I tried heating my outdoor patio, but it did not work anywhere near what l expected; what am I doing wrong?
First, the low-intensity Far-infrared heating systems sold by Ducoterra and Spectrum Infrared are intended (and approved for) indoor use only. They also work well in an enclosed sunroom where there are walls and a ceiling.
In an outdoor environment there are many factors that need to be included in the equation: Such as heat losses through conduction to the outside of the structure, conduction to the ground around, the lack of storage facilities (only the floor and walls can store energy, not the open space), excessive cooling due to outdoor air movement and the wind-chill factor.
You should look at the Infratech outdoor and patio infrared products. They are specifically designed for outdoor use.
I did a room addition and ducted my existing heating system into this room but I could not get it warm enough. I decided to add one small IR panel since I figured I only needed 1/3 of the heat to correct my problem. Why doesn’t this work? It works at my friend’s house.
Unfortunately, because there are too many variables (unknowns), we cannot address in a preformatted answer. Due to these unknown variables, “adding “just a little bit of heat” is a trial and error process. The only way we can guarantee that the Far-infrared system in your addition will work properly is to use the sizing calculator and assuming that there is no primary heat source. In fact it may be better to cap off the air duct (unless required for AC) since the cool air from the home’s primary system may actually cool the surfaces and have a negative impact on the Far-IR system.
If I ignore the floor…
Concrete floors are ideal for storing far-infrared heat. To prove this, we can look at outside brick or concrete slabs; these surfaces will stay warm for many hours after the sun has gone down. To optimize a concrete floor for heat-energy storage we need to insulate it (similar to in-floor radiant heat).
To explain how this works in simple terms. we compare this with a cooking pan. We heat a pan on the stove and when we take it off the pan is very hot; this is because the pan and everything in it stores the heat-energy. After we take it off, we put it on an insulated pad to keep it warm longer. Over time, the pan will cool off. This happens because the heat-energy is transferred from the pan to other media (air or objects).
We experience three kinds of heat transfer:
- The first is radiation; when you hold your hand near the pan you can feel that it is radiating heat-energy. This radiation causes some of the “heat losses” or cooling of the pan.
- The second is convection; cooler air moves past the pan’s surfaces and takes away some of the heat.
- The third is conduction; heat travels from the hottest to the coolest surface. The better the insulation value of the pad, the lower the conductive heat-losses, and the longer the pan stays warm.
If we put the pan on a large cool surface, the “conduction” component will become the most significant “cooling” (heat transfer or heat-loss) factor. If we place the pan on a cold metal counter, it would cool off in just a minute or two, and possibly 5 minutes on a stone counter. The same is true for an uninsulated concrete slab; most of the heat it stores would simply conduct to the outside environment and the heating system would constantly work to replace the lost heat.
In contrast, a properly insulated floor would retain the heat-energy for long periods of time, and in many cases the Far-infrared heating system is only active during less expensive “off peak hours” and is off during expensive “peak hours”. During the “off” time, the floor releases its stored energy and gets replenished during the “on” time.
I have a large warehouse and the floor is insulated, but I cannot heat my shipping manager’s office; why is this?
In your scenario, since you have a continuous slab floor, you are unintentionally trying to heat the entire warehouse with only the heating system in the shipping manager’s office. You are heating the concrete floor in your shipping manager’s office, but your installer did not take into account that the entire warehouse shares the same slab. Though the building may be insulated at the perimeter, your tiny heating system is trying to heat the entire warehouse through what is known as “conduction”.
To optimize heating efficiency, you will need to line the manager’s office floor with a thin layer of insulation and cover this with a few inches of concrete or wooden floor boards. Once the heat transfer to the rest of the building has been stopped the system will work as designed.
I have a brand new building with a properly insulated floor but I cannot get the building to warm up; the building actually feels cooler, not warmer.
When concrete is fresh, it contains massive amounts of moisture (water). Depending on the soil and soil prep, it may take several months for the concrete to dry out. Infrared (of any wavelength) helps dry out the wet floor, but as the water evaporates, you are actually experiencing evaporative cooling. The drying/curing time with infrared heat applied is typically 1/3 of the concrete’s natural drying time and as soon as the floor is dry, the system will perform as anticipated.