Infrared heater - harmful or not?
When the autumn leaves start to curl up 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 welcome. The choice is great: fan heaters, convector and oil heaters, as well as their infrared variety.
Infrared heaters for a house are good in that they dissipate heat to a minimum and provide local heating of a certain object. But does this heat have a harmful effect on human health?
The principle of the infrared heater
Most man-made heaters do not work particularly well: the heat radiated by them heats the air, and only then the heated air transfers heat to us and to surrounding objects. The principle of the IR heater is borrowed from the "patent office of nature". And there everything is economical and expedient. The heat rays coming from the sun are absorbed by the surrounding objects, which, in turn, heat the air.
This is how the infrared heater works. Its main elements are a radiator and a reflector. The emitter serves as a source of infrared radiation, that is, heat, and the reflector directs these heat waves in the desired direction. Already then heated interior items, the walls give away the received heat, heating the air.
Types of IR heaters
There are three types of infrared heaters:
Which option is most preferable? It depends on the location and purpose.
- In a 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, installing a ceiling version is undesirable, there is a danger of overheating furniture and household appliances. This variant of installation in the bedroom, in the nursery and other places of long stay is undesirable. Permanent heating of the head can lead to negative consequences.
- Outdoor copies are mobile, their location is easy to change, and there is no danger of overheating of any part of the body.
The use of an infrared heater
Unlike the other brothers in their destination, this roomy sun has a number of advantages.
Allows local heating.
- Does not burn oxygen.
- Does not dry the air.
- Noiselessly performs its work.
- It makes it easy to adjust the direction and width of the radiation zone, and also to keep the heat in the room longer.
- His work is characterized by an almost complete lack of air convection and the movement of dust, which accompanies the movement of air masses due to heating.
- Getting on the person, infra-red rays improve blood circulation, stimulate metabolism, cause a burst of vitality.
Given that our body itself is a source of heat radiation in the long-wave range, it needs replenishment with longwave heat. If such replenishment is impossible, there is a general deterioration of health, insecurity before the attacks of various diseases. That's why we are so pleased to bask in the fire, in the sun or at 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 places of rest. Thus, the benefits of an infrared heater are obvious.
Infrared heaters operate in the temperature range from 300 to 800 ° C. The length of the waves emitted by it depends on the temperature of the heating element. Long IR waves do not have a harmful effect on humans and even increase its immunity. It is these waves emanating from heaters operating in the temperature range 300-400 ° C. The heater does not light up at the same time. As the temperature increases, the waves shift into the visible part of the spectrum, changing their color from burgundy to white. Notable harm to health inflicts infrared heaters, in which the maximum radiation falls on short waves.
It should be noted that any heating element radiates a whole set of frequencies, however, the distribution of their intensity depends on the temperature. The human body itself radiates and with pleasure absorbs wavelengths of 9.6 μm. Such waves penetrate the skin to a depth of 0.3 μm, being absorbed in its upper layer. While the shortest IR waves penetrate under the skin up to 4 cm! What is the damage done by them? 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 consequences.
This not only overdoes the skin, dehydrating it, but it can also cause burns.
- Insidious shortwave heat can have a photochemical effect on cells. With sufficient wave intensity, cell membrane damage occurs, and the configuration of the protein molecules is lost. This can lead to a change in their physicochemical properties. We see something like this when we curtail the boiling of sour milk.
- Thermal effects on the grid structure of the eye and the lens, leads to the formation of cataracts.
Knowing that some infrared heaters are harmful to health, it is necessary to prepare responsibly for the purchase of such an instrument.
Choosing the right infrared heater
On sale infrared heaters are available with three types of heating elements:
- The halogen radiator has two drawbacks - its golden light irritates the eyes and it emits short-wave heat, which has a negative effect on the person.
- In addition to thermal radiation, the carbon heating element gives off some of the energy in the form of a reddish glow, which may be an irritating factor to the eyesight and cause a negative reaction in asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
- Heating elements with a ceramic shell do not emit light, and their radiation falls on a harmless medium-wave and long-wave range.
In all heaters to protect the case from overheating, its heating element is surrounded by a heat insulator. The best thermal insulation material is basalt, which does not contain additives. Since heating additives can become a source of toxic substances (formaldehyde) and cause poisoning.
An honorable second place, after the convector heaters, in the general rating was taken by the 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 heating the floor, panels, ceiling. Due to low heating temperatures, the wavelengths emitted by the heater are within 5-10 μm. And the main part of its wave spectrum is 9-10 microns, which coincides with the length of the heat wave emitted by a person. Therefore, it is easily absorbed by the human body and, as it were, warms it from the inside.
In the positive asset of film IR coatings, their ability to maintain a comfortable temperature at which air is not dried and the oxygen content in it is reduced. A 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 assure its complete safety. In fact, whether or not an infrared heater is harmful depends largely on the correct choice when it is purchased and installed.
When choosing the power of an infrared heater, be guided by the ratio of 1 kW for every 10 sq. Km. m. area to be heated. But this is only when this unit is the main source of heat.
For short-term local heating, IR emitters of low power, about 300 kW with carbon or quartz heaters, will be the best option. Their heat transfer is much more effective. If you just need an additional heat source, then the power can be reduced.
Selecting the ceiling mount option of the heater, make sure that the distance from it to the head is from 0.7 to 1 meter. If you place the device too low, you get headache and bad health. You have to reset the heater or change the working area.
In other words, the harm of the infrared heater is not "programmed" in principle, or perhaps due to its incorrect installation or excessive use of it. Infrared heating technology is economical, easy to operate, no wonder it is called the climate technology of the future.
The article was written by Svetlana Semyonovna Dracheva, a teacher of physics of the highest qualification category.