Why is Infra-Red Heating so Efficient? Radiators require high water temperatures and most of the heat delivered by traditional radiators occurs via convection because their surface area is relatively small. Air passes over and through the radiators creating convective warm air currents. Radiators tend to create uneven pools of warmth with the warm air currents affecting the ideal convective loss of the body.
When burning oil or gas to produce hot water for traditional central heating systems with hot water radiators there are losses / inefficiencies associated with boiler efficiency and hot water distribution systems. Direct acting electrical radiant heating systems have no such losses.
These graphs show how inefficient and ineffective radiators are compared to radiant floor heating which represents the ideal heating curve and the pink area represents wasted energy / heat.
Instead of heating air, radiant floor heating warms people and objects by emitting heat energy at wavelengths of about 5 microns (m) and when thermal infra-red radiation is used to heat objects and people to 20 deg C to 22 deg C, their personal heat comfort can be achieved with air temperatures of only 18 deg C to 19 deg C resulting in an energy saving of 18% to 24%.
So, with lower mean radiant temperature (MRT), lower air temperatures, no boiler inefficiencies, no losses caused by draughts, no losses through windows and energy savings from pure thermal infra-red heating effects the difference in running costs between a low temperature radiant heating and traditional heating systems can be as much as 20% to 40%.