How Much Does it Cost to Run Infrared Panels?

Read up on infrared panels and you’ll notice a couple of phrases that generally accompany them: energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

Both are true, especially when compared to more traditional heating systems. But how does this affect their running costs? 

It’s an important question to ask. With higher costs of living and more homeowners concerned about their carbon footprint, understanding the running costs of infrared panels is essential.

The quick answer is this:
The average cost to run a single infrared panel in the UK per year is between £100-£200. 

The more panels you have in your home, the higher the total running costs will be. 

Although this gives you a general idea, many factors influence the actual operating costs. This article will dig into the details on how much it costs to run an infrared panel. 

Are infrared heating panels expensive to run?

The cost of running an infrared panel comes down to three things:

  • Wattage – The power of the panel
  • Duration – How long you have it turned on
  • Electricity rates – The price you’re paying your energy supplier

Throughout this guide, we’ll be calculating electricity costs based on the current UK October 2023 electricity price cap of 0.27p per kWh. This is historically very high, which makes running infrared heaters more expensive than previously. 

The price you pay for electricity may differ depending on your supplier. For example, I’m with Octopus and I’m currently paying 25.92p per kWh, so my costs would be slightly lower than stated. 

Infrared heating panels tend to be powered from 200W on the small side to 1,200W on the large side. You can get bigger or smaller panels, but we’ll work on this range to give you an understanding.

Based on the current UK electricity price cap:

  • A 200W panel will cost 5p an hour to run
  • A 1,200W panel will cost 32p an hour to run

For single panels, this makes infrared heating cheap and efficient to run. 

For example, a 200W panel is the perfect size for a home office. In the depths of winter, you can run it for 8 hours a day and only spend 40p on heating costs, and it’ll keep you lovely and warm. That’s very cheap.

I used to have a free-standing electric convection heater that warmed up very fast, but its wattage was up to 2000W – this higher setting would see running costs 10 times higher than a 200W infrared panel. 

All that said, costs can start to add up if you have several large infrared panels as the primary way to heat your main living areas.

What does an infrared heater cost to run?

Infrared panels can be a good, cost-effective way to heat a space, or zone, in your home. The costs to run an infrared heater can differ dramatically depending on the size of the panel and for how long you keep it on. 

The table below breaks down the costs to run different sized infrared heaters for one hour, for a month at two hours a day and for a full year running the heater for two hours every day.

Infrared panel powerCost per 1 hourCost per month (based on 2 hours a day)Cost per year (based on 2 hours a day)

All of the figures above are for single panels. If you are thinking of installing one or two panels to heat specific zones of your home, this is easy to do. It starts to get a little more complicated to calculate the running costs to heat your whole house. 

As a ballpark figure, you’ll need anywhere from 6-20 panels to heat your full home. This largely depends on the overall size of your home, plus shape of the rooms. 

For example, a 3 bedroom semi-detached home may require between 9 and 12 panels. A one-bed apartment may only need 6-8 panels. 

Let’s stick with a 3 bedroom home. If we take an average panel size of 400-600W, it will cost you between £632 at the lower end and £1,416 at the higher end. A more realistic running cost figure to heat the full space is somewhere between £800-£1,200.

You might think, brilliant, that’s cheaper than my gas-powered central heating costs currently.

The kicker is that infrared panels won’t provide you with hot water. For this you’ll need some form of hot water cylinder. These storage tanks are quite expensive to run, costing anywhere from £1,000 to £2,000 per year to provide hot water.

The average cost of infrared heating panels in the UK in 2023

The cost of infrared heating panels in the UK vary depending on size, quality and brand. Generally, the larger the panel, the higher its heating capacity, running costs and initial price to buy.

On average, the price for a single infrared heating panel ranges from £200 to £500. For a three-bedroom home with 12 panels, the total cost for all infrared panels will be approximately £5,000-£7,000. Let’s take a closer look at panel costs by size.

Small Panels

Small panels will generally be powered between 150W-400W. 

Smaller sized infrared panels are ideal for compact rooms and zones, such as home offices and snugs. You can expect to pay in the range of £100 to £250 for a small infrared heater. Considering its energy consumption of approximately 0.15-0.4 kWh per hour, these panels come with small yearly running costs.

Medium Panels

Medium-sized panels tend to be powered between 400W-750W. These are more suited to mid-sized rooms and are often used in combination with other panels. 

For example, to heat my 40m2 living room effectively, I’d need around 1000W of infrared panel power. This can be achieved through one big panel or two x 500W panels. 

You can expect to pay between £200 and £400 for a medium sized panel.

Large Panels 

Large panels will be over 750W and most commonly up to 1,200W. You can get infrared panels powered to 2000W and 3000W though!

Designed for larger rooms, such as open plan kitchens, a large panel costs between £400 and £600. With a larger energy consumption, bigger panels come with higher running costs. 

What to consider when pricing up infrared heating

When pricing up infrared heating, you need to consider three main costs:

  • Running costs 
  • Panel price
  • Installation costs

We’ve discussed running costs and panel price, so let’s take a look at installation costs. 

Infrared heating panel installation costs

Infrared panels can be installed in two ways: plugged into a socket or wired into the mains system. 

For standalone infrared panels, plugging it in needs no explanation. But for most other panels that are a permanent fixture, you’ll want them wired in through your wall or ceiling. 

For a professional electrician, infrared heating panels are relatively simple to install. Unlike traditional radiator systems, there’s no pipework and no water to deal with.

Typical hourly or day rates will apply for installation. You should expect to pay anywhere from £100-£200 for the installation of a single panel, up to several hundred pounds and more for bigger jobs with multiple panels. 

How much does infrared underfloor heating cost?

Infrared underfloor heating is an excellent option. They are more complicated and time-intensive to install as the existing flooring needs to be removed, but once they are in place these systems are highly effective in radiating heat quickly, are energy efficient and require little-to-no maintenance. 

The installation of infrared underfloor heating systems start at an estimated cost of £75 per square metre. This is generally cheaper than ‘wet’ underfloor heating systems that require pipework and hot water, but it will quickly add up. 

For example, my living room is a medium size 40m2. At £75 per square metre, it will cost me £1,200 to install underfloor infrared heating in this single room. This will pay off with cheaper energy costs in the future, but it’s a big outlay. 

You can even get underfloor infrared heating film from around £25 per square metre. This is a thin covering that won’t affect floor levels and can radiate out good levels of heat.

Will infrared heating become cheaper?

It’s likely that residential infrared heating will become cheaper in the future for a few reasons:

  1. Improved technology – Infrared heating tech continues to advance, becoming more efficient and cost-effective. As this progresses, panels will heat better using less energy, and manufacturing costs should come down.
  2. Economies of scale – As infrared grows more popular, increased production scales and competition will help drive down prices across the infrared heating industry. Similar to how prices dropped significantly over time for other once-expensive electronics like flat screen TVs and like we’re currently seeing with solar panels. 
  3. Lower energy costs – More efficient future infrared panels will require less electricity to run. Combined with solar and other renewables, the on-going operating costs are expected to decline.

So, while upfront infrared panel and installation costs may still be quite higher, the overall long term costs are predicted to fall in the years ahead.

Are there government grants to help with infrared heating?

In the UK, there’s currently no support or grants available for the installation of infrared heating. 

You can find support for other low-carbon heating systems via the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. Grants are available here for homeowners looking to replace fossil fuel heating systems (e.g. gas) with a heat pump or biomass boiler. However, infrared heating is not an eligible option here. 

To wrap up, infrared panels are not the most expensive heating system to run, but it’s not the cheapest either. Day to day running costs can be low, but if you choose infrared heating as your primary system, you’ll also have to factor in the cost to run a hot water tank. 

As technology continues to develop, the future of infrared heating will become more cost-effective, further increasing its appeal as a sustainable home heating solution.

About the author 

Ben Hardman

Ben is a professional writer and the creator of sustainable living website
It's here where he helps people to reduce their environmental impact through simple, everyday choices. Away from the laptop, Ben loves spending time in the natural environment with his young family and Murphy the cocker spaniel.

First Class BSc Biology degree (environmental and climate change focus)
Six years of working and writing in the environmental sector, including two years working at an international sustainability consultancy
Written for Ethical Consumer magazine, My Mother Tree, Unsustainable Magazine, Happy Eco News, Emission Index,
Commented in The Independent, The Guardian, GreenMatch. Also featured on Radio 1's environmental special 'Minute of Me'

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