Are Infrared Heaters Safe and Why Should You Get One?

Christine Herrington

Christine is our Chief Editor and a contributing writer to the site.

Last Updated on June 10, 2021

When it comes to energy efficiency, you won’t find a better heating unit than the infrared model. These machines emit electromagnetic radiation outward into any room, heating nearby objects and bodies within a few minutes. 

This heating method is also completely safe because your body is used to receiving infrared rays every day when you go outside for a walk in the sun. 

However, it’s useful to know a few practical and actionable methods for protecting your infrared heater and ensuring that you don’t damage the unit’s power cords or leave flammable household objects right next to the machine. 

Are Infrared Heaters Safe and Why Should You Get One
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What Are Infrared Heaters, and Why Should You Get One?

This form of heating is one of the most energy-efficient options in the market. Where old-fashioned convection heaters suck in cold air and use an integrated heating coil to release a hot breeze back into the room, infrared units produce their own heatwaves

These machines have a built-in quartz lamp or rod that emits infrared energy waves through electromagnetic radiation. These waves disperse and hit objects and bodies in the room rather than just the air around the unit. 

Electromagnetic radiation creates an atmosphere that’s not overly humid or stifling, unlike a convection or furnace heater. It’s also a heating method that doesn’t displace too much dust, making it ideal for allergy sufferers and those who work in a room with no option to crack open a window. 

Infrared units also tend to be a highly cost-effective method of heat generation. A typical infrared heater is less than half the size of a bulky radiator or convection furnace so that you can save plenty of money on basic running costs. An infrared machine will produce heat within a few minutes of you turning it on. If you compare this to a convection-style heater, which can take up to an hour to circulate hot air around your room, it’s clear which unit has the upper hand. 

Are Infrared Heaters Safe?

The question that holds people back from investing in one of these efficient heaters is often, are infrared heaters safe? The answer is yes. 

Infrared heaters emit infrared heat waves, and these waves are perfectly safe. When people talk about the dangers of overexposure to sunlight, they’re referring to ultraviolet radiation rather than infrared light. 

Recent research shows that the far-infrared rays (FIR) that these heaters emit may positively affect your physical wellbeing, helping to relieve the symptoms of those living with chronic diseases and illnesses. Far-infrared heaters don’t emit ultraviolet waves, so you won’t have to worry about sunburn or carcinogenic developments in your body. 

When you experience the heat of an infrared unit, it should feel like you’re walking outside on a sunny day or lying on warm sand. In 2006, the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection stated that; there was no need to worry about any artificial infrared heater sources, saying that, “the contribution made by the far-infrared radiation,  3-1000µ, is normally of little or no practical concern.” 

How to Use an Infrared Heater Safely

So are infrared heaters safe? The unit itself is extremely safe, as long as you’re taking the proper safety precautions while using it. A quality infrared panel or unit is a cost-effective, energy-efficient, and safe heating source. However, there are still some factors that you should consider when you purchase one of these units to ensure the complete safety of you and your friends and family. 

For the sake of safety, apply these tips to any heater you buy, regardless of whether it’s an infrared, convection, or an old-fashioned conduction unit. 

Check that the unit is safety-certified 

Before you decide which machine to buy, make sure that it’s safety-certified. Look for an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) listed label: this company is an independent safety certification institution that’s well-respected worldwide. If you can’t see that label, search for an ETL-listed mark, which indicates that the product satisfies North American safety specifications. 

If you don’t see either of these marks, look for a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) emblem: this company is a prestigious certifications and standards corporation that checks products from North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Don’t put flammable materials on top of the heater

Try not to drape flammable items like clothes and bedsheets across the top of your infrared heater. You don’t want the infrared radiation to set your combustible natural fabrics aflame. 

For that reason, try to install your infrared heater so that it’s at least a few feet away from your curtains, duvets, and other potentially hazardous items like books or wooden furniture. 

You should also aim to leave some space between your heater unit and large, bulky pieces of furniture like your couch or dining room table. These cumbersome and substantial products will block the heatwaves before they reach you and your friends, and you’ll waste energy and money as a result. 

Insulate and preserve the power cord

One of the major fire hazards associated with any household heater is the cable that connects the machine to the power outlet. If someone trips over this cable and damages it, or you accidentally spill some water or juice on the wires, you’ll wear down and weaken the cord. 

If you damage your power cord and the wires become exposed, entangled, or frayed, you risk causing a buildup of electrical resistance within these wires, which may lead to a fire. 

Protect this cable by ensuring you’re not leaving it where anyone can trip over it. You can also invest in a heavy-duty cover for the cord, or some cable ties, so you can keep all your wires in an organized bundle when you’re not using them. 

Get a model with integrated tip-over protection 

Make sure you’re buying a model that comes with several built-in safety features, like tip-over protection and overheat detection. The tip-over function means that the heater will automatically shut off whenever you accidentally push it onto its side, while the overheat mode detects when the unit’s internal parts are becoming too hot and shuts the machine down. 

Invest in a Safe and Energy-Efficient Infrared Heater to Cut Costs

Infrared heaters are inexpensive, energy-efficient units that will heat any space quickly and evenly. They’re also completely safe, emitting radiation that feels good on your skin and warms you up wherever you are in the room. 

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