More people are considering infrared heaters as options for raising the temperature in smaller spaces. They offer the advantage of spot heating, or just focusing the warmth in a particular area. So there's no need to heat a whole house, just so your bedroom can be nice and toasty. If you're in the market for one of these devices, here are a number of features that you might want to watch out for.
There are a number of features which should form a solid base for any infrared heater you're considering. If a device has these features, then you can consider it a fairly solid product. The device should have a solid thermostat, for starters. This way, you can set the device to exactly what kind of temperature you'd like to experience in your room. The heater should then be able to sense how hot or how cold it is, and then adjust its output of warmth accordingly.
Even if the heater's job is to raise the temperature using infrared energy, it shouldn't become hot itself. So ideally the device will have an external housing which remains comfortable to the touch, even if it has already been operating for a while. This is a safety consideration because you don't want people, especially young children, to end up in danger of getting scalded or burned, just by coming into contact with the device. Neither do you want a device which could potentially be a fire hazard, especially if you plan for it to be running in your room while you sleep.
In order to find out if a product is up to scratch, check if you can see a demonstration unit that has ideally been running all day. Then find out if the temperature of the device's housing remains comfortable, or if has become uncomfortably hot over time.
You need to choose the right infrared heater for your space. So this will depend on what kind of space you plan to heat in the first place. You will want to inform the salesperson of the area of the room to be heated. You'll ideally bring a diagram or some form of drawing so you can show where you plan to put the heater, in relation to the rest of the room. Then based on that information, the salesperson can recommend a heater which is strong enough to heat your space, but not so strong that its warmth will overpower the room. You don't want to end up sweaty and uncomfortably hot, after all.
This is particularly important if you'll be using the heater in the room where you sleep. It also helps if you'll locate the heater somewhere where people have conversations, or where you'd like for the space to be quiet. Again, to best test this characteristic of the device, look for a demo unit that's been running all day. Cycle the temperature up and down and see if the device ends up becoming too loud. You want a device that you can live with, not one that'll threaten to drown out people talking or the music you like, or even prevent you from falling asleep.
The bulbs of the heater are a very important component. Through these, infrared energy is directed and released. You don't want to have to deal with bulbs which will stop working after only a short amount of time. It can be difficult, however, to gauge which devices have longer lasting lights. You can check with the salesperson or the manufacturer, of course, but these sources may not be the most objective. Another way to look for information is to check online for reviews from people who've actually bought the product. They'll be in a better position to say whether the device and its bulbs continue to run well even after a year or longer.
If you can, try to get a device with a remote control. This could mean that you will end up looking at more expensive products, which is unfortunate. However, having a remote can make the use of your device that much more convenient. For example, if you use the heater in your bedroom, you can simply place the remote on a side table or somewhere easy for you to reach. If you decide that you want the temperature to be warmer or cooler in the middle of the night, you won't have to get out of bed to make the change. The remote will make things so much easier.
Bill Strong is a heating expert who enjoys sharing his experiences with others.