Infrared panels are energy-efficient, sustainable heating options. But how does that change if you want to leave the panels on for extended periods?
Can you leave infrared panels on all day? What about letting them run throughout a cold night?
These are important questions you might have. Considerations here revolve around two main aspects:
- Operational safety
To give you the quick answer, the majority of good infrared heating panels are designed with safety and efficiency in mind, allowing them to be left on throughout the day without major safety issues or costing you a small fortune.
Even better, the rise of smart heating systems means that many homeowners now have the option to control their heating remotely or set schedules to help further with cost-effectiveness and energy use. That said, running infrared panels for long periods of time is possible.
This article will run through some of the finer details so you’re fully in the know of what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to running IR panels for long periods of time.
Can you leave infrared panels on all day?
It’s important to remember that infrared (IR) panels are directional radiant heaters. They heat you, not the air around you, which means they work best when you’re close by and in direct line of sight.
With this in mind, there’s not much use to leaving your panel running when you’re away from the heating zone. IR panels won’t warm a room up in the same way as a convection heater (e.g. traditional radiator) does, unless your room is super insulated.
Caveat out of the way, yes you can leave infrared panels on all day if you want to. For example, if you work from home and it’s in the middle of winter, you might keep your home office IR panel on all day rather than heating the whole house.
In terms of costs, individual panels are cost-effective to run, but it will depend on three factors: panel wattage, duration turned on and electricity rates.
To give you an example. Say you have a 400W panel in your home office. At the time of writing, it will cost 11p an hour to run. If you leave it on all day, say 10 hours, it will cost you £1.11. A bigger panel, for example powered to 1000W, will cost 27p per hour. You can learn more here on how much it costs to run infrared panels.
Although the most basic panels will just have an ON/OFF switch, smarter panels can automatically adjust as needed. With the best infrared panels, you can set minimum and maximum target temperatures between certain times of the day.
Setting these parameters alongside timing schedules is the most efficient way to run IR panels. It leads to less heat loss and greater efficiency. When temperature settings are used, a panel doesn’t have to draw full power all of the time when it’s on. This can significantly reduce energy use and is a major advantage of IR panels.
The other positive of smart, remote-controlled panels is that you can adjust settings from wherever you are – handy if you forgot to turn something off.
Is it safe to leave infrared panels running?
Ok, so you know you can leave an IR panel on all day, but what about the safety aspects?
Generally speaking, infrared panels are considered as a safer heating option as they do not use combustible fuel. This reduces the risk of carbon monoxide production or fuel leaks.
Instead, IR panels use a specific type of long-wave, or far, infrared radiation. This is perfectly safe for humans as it’s ‘non-ionising’. In fact, far infrared radiation can be used for cardiovascular, muscular and immune therapies.
The third safety point to consider relies on panel design and safety features. Most residential infrared panels are designed to be safe for extended periods. These heating units often come with built-in safety mechanisms, such as:
- Overheating protection: This feature automatically switches off the heater when it reaches a certain temperature to prevent any fire risk.
- Tip-over protection: In case the panel is knocked over, this function shuts down the heater to avoid potential hazards.
For added reassurance on prolonged use, consumers are advised to buy panels from reputable brands that meet regulatory safety standards – more explained in this post on infrared panels and safety risks.
It almost goes without saying, but it’s important to make sure there’s no obstruction directly in front of the panels and that nothing is left touching them, such as curtains. These instances could cause fire risks.
How long can infrared panels be left on for?
Infrared panels are made for continuous operation over many hours. Once turned on, they’ll heat up in a few minutes and can be left running for extended periods of time without issue.
With the incorporated safety features, if the panel gets too hot, they will automatically shut off until the temperature has reduced. Still, it’s a good idea to set heating schedules for the most efficient usage.
- Did you know that some infrared panels have an operational lifespan of around 100,000 hours?
To put that into perspective, that’s around 11 years of 24 hour, 365 days a year use! If you ran the panel for 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, you’d get over two decades of use.
Good quality panels are built to last. They also have minimal moving parts, meaning they don’t need to be maintained or serviced.