Does Infrared Heating Help with Condensation?

Are you fed up with condensation gathering on your windows? How about damp patches forming in those cool, dark areas? 

This is all caused by an excess of moisture. And one thing that doesn’t help with moisture is traditional, convection-based heating.

With convection-based radiator systems, the air is warmed which then circulates around a room, picking up moisture and depositing it on surfaces. With infrared heating, you don’t get circulating air movement. This is because infrared panels heat solid objects up directly, leaving the air environment undisturbed. 

The result is two-fold: relative humidity levels stay consistent and objects with thermal mass, such as walls, absorb warmth. These are both beneficial for preventing moisture build up. We’ll take a closer look at how infrared (IR) heating can help with damp and condensation in prone areas, such as bathrooms. 

Does infrared heating help to reduce damp in houses?

Showing up on walls and ceilings and notoriously difficult to treat, damp in houses is caused by moisture. The unwanted moisture can come from internal or external sources. 

If damp is being caused by an external source, such as a leak or drip from the outside, this will need to be fixed at source before you see any improvements.  

But damp can also be caused over time from the inside. It has a tendency to appear on cold, exterior walls. When walls are cold, moisture is more likely to accumulate. So, a good strategy is to make sure walls, particularly exterior facing ones, remain somewhat warm. 

Infrared heating is a good way to prevent damp from forming. It’s effective because the IR wavelengths are absorbed into the thermal mass of the wall itself, which slowly spreads warmth through the brick, mortar and plaster. 

In fact, infrared is excellent at heating liquids up directly too. Gradually, this helps the wall to  dry out instead of providing favourable damp conditions for mould growth.

First and foremost, you want to position infrared panels in the best place to heat up the room occupants first. However, a good strategic placement where heat distribution is well-angled can support multiple roles. For example, a major advantage of infrared panels is that you can install them to face exterior walls or put them in other positions where they can help target problem areas.

As a by-product of warming walls, damp will struggle to set in place. Even more, heat will actually be re-emitted back into the room over time.

Can infrared panels reduce condensation?

As well as helping to reduce damp, infrared panels can help decrease the chance of condensation occurring. 

Condensation forms on windows or walls when warm air meets a cold surface. When warm air meets a cooler surface, it loses energy which causes moisture to form water droplets. 

One way to stop condensation is to limit the amount of warm, circulating air that hits a cool window. Infrared heating helps to prevent condensation from forming in two ways: 

  • It raises the temperature of the window or wall
  • It doesn’t warm the air and cause circulation movements 

With infrared heating, the relative indoor humidity levels are kept fairly stable. This helps prevent excessively moist or dry air that can occur with boiler-based convection heating, ultimately feeling more comfortable for you. 

By reducing air movement, infrared heating has benefits for people with allergies, as it doesn’t disturb and circulate microparticles in the same way as convection heaters. 

Can infrared panels help to stop mould from growing in homes?

Mould thrives in damp, humid environments. It usually grows on cold, moist walls and ceilings where relative humidity is greater than 70%. 

By helping to keep moisture and humidity levels low – somewhere between 30-60% – infrared heating panels help prevent mould growth in homes. They do this by warming and drying out walls and ceilings, so there’s no readily available environment for mould to take hold. 

With this knowledge, it’s a good idea to pre-emptively warm known cold spots in your home with infrared heat. 

Infrared panels and condensation in bathrooms

Bathrooms are hotspots for condensation issues and potential damp problems. 

The combination of hot steam from showers and baths mixing with cooler surrounding air can lead to water formation on walls, mirrors and windows. We’ve all been there when you get out of the shower, go to look at your fresh self in the mirror and can’t see a thing because of the condensation. 

Infrared heating panels in bathrooms offer a clever and effective solution to condensation problems. They can help keep your bathroom environment drier and more comfortable. 

By warming the solid surfaces and materials in bathrooms, water vapour is less likely to condense into liquid form. This is true for mirrors and windows, but also for tile grout, caulking and other absorbent areas prone to staying damp. By heating these materials from the inside-out, moisture gets driven out. 

Infrared panels for bathrooms

It’s perfectly fine to install standard infrared panels in bathrooms. Just note, as bathrooms are plug-free zones, any infrared panel will have to be wired into the electrics – this is standard procedure for a qualified electrician.  

A potential safety issue with IR panels is if they remain in contact with flammable materials, such as curtains or towels. In a bathroom, it’s always nice to warm your towel up before use and then dry it off afterwards. 

Thankfully, you can get special infrared towel heaters. Excellent quality IR towel warmers, such as the ones from Herschel, have two heating zones with rails to hang your towel – preventing contact with the panel itself. 

The upper zone of the panel retains a higher temperature to heat the bathroom and the lower section has a lower temperature to warm and dry your towel. How good is that? These infrared towel rails are also good for separate toilets and to use in kitchens. 

The infrared panel technology goes further too. It’s now possible to get infrared heating mirrors. They look and act exactly like standard mirrors but give off infrared heat. Not only can this warm the bathroom but it completely prevents any condensation from occurring on the surface – a non-steamed up mirror! 

These mirrored infrared panels are IP rated so they can withstand splashes of water. They can also be an excellent option for hallways and bedrooms. 

For more information, check out our post on the best infrared panels to make sure you’re getting the highest quality models.

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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