Is infrared heater harmful or not?
When autumn leaves start to fall down and from the chilly cold you want to wrap yourself in a warm shawl, an additional source of heat in the house will be very useful. The choice is great: fan heaters, convector and oil heaters, as well as their infrared variety.
Infrared heaters for the home are good because they dissipate heat to a minimum degree and provide local heating of a particular object. But does this heat have a detrimental effect on human health?
The principle of operation of the infrared heater
Most man-made heaters are not particularly cost-effective: the heat they radiate heats the air, and only then the heated air transfers heat to us and you and the surrounding objects. The principle of operation of the infrared heater is borrowed from the “patent office of nature”. And there everything is economical and expedient. Heat rays coming from the sun are absorbed by surrounding objects, which, in turn, heat the air.
This is how the infrared heater works. Its main elements are emitter and reflector. The emitter serves as a source of infrared radiation, that is, heat, and the reflector directs these heat waves in the right direction. Already then the heated interior, the walls give off the heat, heating the air.
Types of IR heaters
There are three types of infrared heaters:
- floor standing;
- wall mounted;
Which option is most preferable? It depends on the installation site and purpose.
- In the house with children, wall-mounted appliances should be installed at a height out of reach for the growth of the child.
- In a room with low ceilings, the installation of the ceiling version is undesirable; there is a danger of overheating of furniture and household appliances. This option is undesirable installation in the bedroom, in the nursery and other places of long stay. Constant heating of the head can lead to negative consequences.
- Outdoor units are mobile, their location is easy to change, and there is no danger of overheating of any part of the body.
The benefits of infrared heater
Unlike its other counterparts as intended, this indoor sun has several advantages.
Provides local heating.
- Does not burn oxygen.
- Does not dry the air.
- Silently does his job.
- Allows you to easily adjust the direction and width of the radiation zone, as well as keep warm indoors longer.
- His work is characterized by the almost complete absence of air convection and dust movement, which accompanies the movement of air masses due to heating.
- Getting on a person, infrared rays improve blood circulation, stimulate metabolism, cause a surge of vitality.
Considering that our body itself is a source of heat radiation in the long-wavelength range, it needs to be replenished with long-wave heat. If such feeding is not possible, there is a general deterioration of health, insecurity against attacks of various diseases. That is why we are so pleased to warm ourselves by the fireplace, in the sun or by the fire.
The infrared heat coming from the heater is practically not absorbed by the environment, since it represents electromagnetic waves for which the air is transparent. These radiation sources can provide you with warmth and comfort in a certain area of the apartment, in the country, in the gazebo and other corners of rest. Thus, the benefits of an infrared heater are obvious.
Infrared heaters operate in temperature ranges from 300 to 800 ° C. The length of the waves it emits depends on the temperature of the heating element. Long IR waves do not adversely affect a person and even increase his immunity. Such waves come from heaters operating in the temperature range 300–400 ° C. The heater does not glow. As the temperature increases, the waves shift to the visible part of the spectrum, changing their color from burgundy to white. Infrared heaters, in which the maximum radiation falls on short waves, cause significant damage to health.
It should be noted that any heating element emits a whole set of frequencies, however, the distribution of their intensity depends on temperature. The human body itself radiates and with pleasure absorbs wavelengths of 9.6 microns. Such waves penetrate the skin to a depth of 0.3 microns, being absorbed in its upper layer. While the shortest IR waves penetrate the skin to 4 cm! What is the harm they do? Like the flames of a large fire, they quickly heat the illuminated surface without changing the temperature of the other side. As a result, this leads to the following harmful effects.
This not only dries the skin, dehydrating it, but can also cause burns.
- Insidious shortwave heat can have a photochemical effect on cells. With sufficient wave intensity, the cell membranes are disturbed, the configuration of protein molecules is lost. This may lead to changes in their physicochemical properties. Something similar we see when minimizing boiling sour milk.
- Thermal effect on the grid structure of the eye and lens, leads to the formation of cataracts.
Knowing that some infrared heaters are harmful to health, you should prepare responsibly for the purchase of such a device.
The right choice of infrared heater
Infrared heaters are available with three types of heating elements:
- The halogen emitter has two drawbacks - its golden light irritates the eyes and it radiates short-wave heat, which has a negative effect on a person.
- In addition to thermal radiation, a carbon heating element gives off some energy in the form of a reddish glow, which can be an irritating factor for the eyes and cause a negative reaction in asthmatics and allergies.
- The heating elements with a ceramic shell do not emit light, and their radiation falls on the harmless medium-wave and long-wavelength range.
In all heaters to protect the housing from overheating, its heating element is surrounded by a heat insulator. The best insulating material is basalt, which does not contain additives. Because when heated, additives can become a source of toxic substances (formaldehyde) and cause poisoning.
The honorable second place, after convector heaters, in the overall rating was taken by film IR models. They are thin heating elements, laminated with a special film. The maximum temperature of their heating is 50 degrees. Such heaters are suitable for floor heating, panels, ceiling. Due to low heating temperatures, the wavelength emitted by the heater is within 5–10 µm. Moreover, the main part of its wave spectrum falls at 9–10 μm, which coincides with the length of the heat wave emitted by man. Therefore, it is easily absorbed by the human body and as it warms it from the inside.
The positive asset of IR film coatings should be added and their ability to maintain a comfortable temperature at which the air is not dried and the oxygen content in it does not decrease. Large heating area contributes to the formation of negative ions, which have a positive effect on the body.
Manufacturers of infrared technology in the field of heating are convinced of its complete safety. In fact, it is harmful or not the infrared heater depends largely on the correctness of the choice when it is purchased and installed.
Choosing the power of the infrared heater, focus on the ratio of 1 kW for every 10 square meters. m. area to be heated. But this is only in the case when this unit will be the main source of heat.
For short-term local heating, infrared emitters of low power, about 300 kW with carbon or quartz heaters, will be the best option. Their heat transfer is much more efficient. If you just need an additional source of heat, then the power can be reduced.
Choosing the ceiling mount option heater, make sure that the distance from him to the head was from 0.7 to 1 meter. If you place the device too low, you are provided with a headache and feeling unwell. You will have to reinstall the heater or change the work area.
In other words, the harm of an infrared heater is “not programmed” in principle of its operation, and may be caused by improper installation or excessive use of it. Infrared heating technology is economical, easy to use, and it is not for nothing that it is called the climate technology of the future.
The article was written by Svetlana Semenovna Dracheva - a teacher of physics of the highest qualification category.