The Advantages and Disadvantages of Infrared Heating Panels

Lady sat with a cup of tea

Infrared panels – the new kids on the eco-heating bloc – are fairly unknown at the moment, but have a promising future ahead.

These energy-efficient panels provide UK homeowners with a plethora of benefits. They can warm homes in seconds, lower household emissions, and reduce energy bills – all for an upfront cost of as little as £125. 

But, like many things in life, infrared heating panels also have their downsides. In other words, they might not be for everyone.

Want to learn more about the pros and cons of infrared panels? Check out our helpful guide below, and delve deep into the advantages and disadvantages of these green heating appliances.

Lady sat with a cup of tea

Summary: pros and cons of infrared heating panels

ProsCons
Low emissions The whole system is more expensive than the average gas boiler
Will save you money on heating costsThere can’t be any obstructions
Aesthetically pleasing Runs on electricity, which is expensive
Don’t take up much space Can’t fully replace a boiler
Simple to install
Low maintenance
More efficient than central heating systems
No noise pollution
Can be connected to solar panels
Can be installed in listed buildings

The advantages of infrared heating panels

Low emissions

Globally, heating accounts for nearly half of all energy consumption, and roughly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

However, by switching from a boiler to infrared panels, homeowners can drastically lower their energy usage, which means their emissions will also start to decrease.

This is mainly thanks to the panels’ high efficiency rating – some of the best infrared panels on the market have a rating of 100%.

Infrared panels also don’t lose as much heat as traditional boilers because they heat objects directly, rather than heating the air. This means the warmth generated by the panels can’t be lost through draughts, so you won’t be wasting as much energy.

What’s more, if you have a renewable energy tariff, or have a set of solar panels on your roof, you’ll be able to use 100% clean heat – but more on that later.

Save money on heating costs

Infrared panels’ high efficiency will also help you lower your energy bills by 30-50% on average. However, the full extent of these savings will depend on a few factors, including:

  • Which heating system you’re swapping from
  • The size of your home
  • How frequently you use the panels
  • The price you pay for electricity
  • The size and wattage of the panels

If you want to save even more money, you can hook your infrared heating system up to your smart meter and monitor how much energy you’re consuming.

Did You Know?

Infrared panels can be integrated into your home’s electricity system, which means they can be switched on or off in individual rooms whenever you like.

Aesthetically pleasing

Some people are immediately put off when confronted with a bulky boiler or heat pump – after all, we do want our homes to look nice.

Thankfully, infrared panels have a sleek, modern look to them. Users can even turn their panels into art, add a personal photo to the panels, or transform them into a mirror, which makes them a great option for anyone worried about how heating systems will affect their interior design.

Don’t take up much space

These compact panels come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – whether you’re after a rectangular one, a small square one, or a wide and narrow horizontal panel.

These panels are also very versatile in terms of where you can put them. Unlike radiators, which can only be placed low on an interior wall, you can mount infrared panels anywhere on a wall or the ceiling, and even prop them up on the floor.

This is particularly handy for making sure panels won’t be blocked off by any furniture.

Simple to install

Unlike traditional boilers, infrared panels don’t need any pipework, which means installation is as simple as mounting the system to either the wall or ceiling and connecting it to an electric circuit.

Installing underfloor infrared heating can come with a few extra steps, but there’s still no pipework needed, which makes it much easier than installing gas heating.

As an added bonus, many infrared panel suppliers now include installation costs in the purchase price if you buy directly from them, purely because of how quick and easy the process is.

Low maintenance

There are no moving parts in an infrared heating system, which means there’s very little risk of wear and tear. 

If you’re used to the upkeep of a boiler or a heat pump, you’ll be happy to know that infrared panels don’t need to have any air filters replaced, they don’t have an engine to wear out, and you won’t need to top up lubrication. To keep the unit in tip-top condition, you just have to clean the reflectors every now and then.

Some suppliers also state that these panels don’t need annual servicing, unlike boilers and heat pumps.

More efficient than central heating systems

Infrared heating essentially cuts out the middle man – rather than heating the air, which then heats us, this system directly heats objects. This means that homeowners with draughty homes won’t have to suffer from inefficient heating anymore.

Plus, the panels only take about 90 seconds to get up to full heat intensity, so you can forget about having to wait to get warm with infrared heating in your home. It also means that you won’t need to keep your heating on for as long as you would with a boiler.

On top of this, since the panels can be turned off and on by a switch on a wall, you can just keep one heating panel on, and avoid wasting excess energy by heating empty rooms.

No noise pollution

Since there are no moving parts in infrared heating panels, they’re silent whilst running.

This advantage makes infrared panels particularly good for people living in blocks of flats or quiet neighbourhoods.

Can be connected to solar panels

If you really want to shrink your bills and your carbon footprint, you can pair your infrared panels with solar panels.

This is particularly good news for anyone who already has a solar panel system on their home. In this case, all you need to do is get an installer to connect the infrared panels to the electrical circuit, and you’ll be enjoying zero heating bills!

Anyone who doesn’t currently have solar panels installed onto their property, however, will need to invest a fair bit of money to do this first – an average of £4,800 for a three-bedroom house, to be specific.

Bear in mind that you’ll make up for this investment with the money you save on bills.

Can be installed on listed buildings

Anyone living in a listed property in the UK isn’t allowed to alter the aesthetic of the property, which often means they can’t install solar panels or heat pumps.

However, since infrared panels look sleek and don’t take up much room, they have a better chance of getting approved than solar panels do. On top of this, infrared panels can be transformed into mirrors or even have printed artwork on them, which means they can blend into the background more easily.

The disadvantages of infrared heating panels

The whole system is more expensive than the average gas boiler

Despite the affordable price of individual panels, the cost of a full infrared heating system can mount up to a few thousand pounds.

You can expect to pay about twice as much for the whole infrared system, compared to traditional boilers. However, thanks to the amount you’ll save on bills, you should make your money back in a little over a year.

Below, we’ve listed the average cost of different types of infrared panels. Bear in mind that you’ll need at least one panel in each room of your property.

Type of infrared panelAverage cost
Wall-mounted£125–£180
Ceiling-mounted£200
Mirror£300–£450
Painting/picture style£300

There can’t be any obstructions

Let’s have a quick recap: infrared panels transfer heat to objects, not the air. Although this makes them far more efficient than traditional boilers, it also means that they won’t work properly if anything is obstructing them. If you pop a piece of furniture in front of a panel, that object will be absorbing all of its heat.

So, unfortunately, smaller homes might struggle to make space for infrared panels. In these cases, a ceiling panel could be the answer – but you’ll have to pay a little extra for it.

Run on electricity, which is expensive

Although infrared panels are efficient enough to help you save on energy bills, they also run on electricity – which is currently pricier than most other fuels.

To give you a rough estimate of what to expect, using a 500W panel for 11 hours a day will cost approximately £50 per year. Although this is very affordable, remember that you’ll need to have at least one of these panels in each room of your property.

They can’t fully replace a boiler

Although infrared panels can heat up your home, they can’t heat water, which means they currently aren’t able to fully replace a gas boiler. As an alternative, you can look into another green option, such as solar thermal heating, to get hot water.

But keep your eyes peeled, because this won’t always be the case. Even though infrared panels are very new to the heating industry, some companies are already looking into ways to evolve the panels to include water-heating technology.

Summary

Infrared panels are certainly showing promising signs for the future. Although there are a few disadvantages to infrared heating systems, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

If you’d like to learn more about infrared panels before investing in your own, check out some of our helpful guides below:

Beth Howell Writer

Beth has a real passion for green living. She’s been absorbed in eco research for over three years, and has become quite the expert. Whether you’re after a new set of solar panels, a home energy improvement, or you want to catch the latest eco news, she’s got your back.

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