How Many Infrared Panels Do I Need?

How many infrared panels do I need?

Are you looking to switch out your traditional heating system for infrared heating? Maybe you’re looking to heat a specific room or zone to complement your existing system?

Either way, infrared panels can help you out with your heating needs. 

Infrared panels are an innovative and energy-efficient solution to warming up your living spaces, or more precisely, you. That’s because these panels primarily work by directly heating objects in a room rather than the air. 

To determine the number of panels you need, it’s important to look at a few crucial factors. These include room size, layout and insulation levels. This guide will provide you with an easy to perform formula, so you can calculate precisely the right number of panels you need. 

How do I know how many infrared panels I need?

Choosing the right number of infrared heating panels for your space or spaces is an essential first step. Too many panels and you’ll risk overheating your space and wasting energy (and money). Too few panels and there might not be enough power to keep your space warm. 

We want the Goldilocks scenario: just the right number of panels. 

To throw a quick caveat in there; it’s difficult to state outright that you’ll need X number of panels per room. Let me explain. 

First of all, panels differ in their own sizes and energy output. For example, a wall mounted panel with 215W will heat a room differently compared to a 1,250W panel.

Secondly, room sizes differ from home to home. It’s not possible to state that you’ll need two infrared panels in your kitchen – John’s kitchen down the road might be twice as large as yours.

To know how many infrared panels you need with any confidence, it’s important to determine the size (or volume) and insulation levels of each room you want to heat. 

From this you can calculate the correct total panel power needed. This number, given in watts, can then be achieved by one panel or a number of panels depending on your preference and room shape.

Let’s guide you through the process of calculating the number of infrared panels required.

Infrared Heating Panel Calculator

It all starts with measuring your room dimensions in metres. 

You will need the width, length and height of the room. Multiply all of these numbers together (Width x Length x Height) and you’ll get the room volume. This will provide you with a figure in cubic metres (m³).

Next, you need to consider the type of home you live in. This largely determines the insulation quality. As a rough guide, homes can be categorised into three types, although individual homes may vary:

  1. New Build: Homes built post-1990 which had to be built with cavity wall insulation as standard. New builds generally have good levels of insulation.
  2. Standard House: Homes built between 1930-1990 with moderate levels of insulation. 
  3. Old House: Pre-1930s homes with older insulation.
Type of spaceWatts per m³(for comfortable temperature)Watts per m³(for extra toasty temperature)
New Build (good insulation)2025
Standard House (moderate insulation)2530
Old House (poor insulation)3035
Village halls, community centres 3540
Conservatories 4050

To calculate the total watts required per room, simply multiply the volume by the number of watts per m³ according to your home type above. 

Let’s take a couple of examples. 

Example 1:

  • Room: My living room
  • House type: Standard home (1940s build), moderate/good insulation (cavity wall insulation added)
  • Room volume: 40m³
  • Watts per m³ multiplier: 25
  • Total watts required: 1000W
  • Panels required: 1 big panel

Example 2

  • Room: Large open plan kitchen
  • House type: New build home (2000s), good insulation
  • Room volume: 70m³
  • Watts per m³ multiplier: 20
  • Total watts required: 1400W
  • Panels required: 2 x 700W panels (or 1 x 800W and 1 x 600W)

If your total watts required figure is between panel sizes, it’s usually best to round up and go for the higher one. It’s better to get warm and turn the panel off rather than not get up to the right temperature at all and keep the heater running. 

Infrared Panels based on home insulation

When calculating the number of infrared panels needed for a home, insulation plays a crucial role. Good insulation is the foundation of efficient heating and a more sustainable home. Insulation levels will directly impact the requirements from an infrared heater. 

Our table above gives a good rule of thumb for your home type and insulation levels. Take this with a pinch of salt, as it’s possible to retrofit older homes with good insulation levels too. 

To create a well-insulated home, you’ll want:

  • Good cavity wall insulation
  • Good ceiling and roof insulation
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • An airtight barrier to the outside 

For well-insulated homes, fewer infrared panels will be required, while older homes with poor insulation might need more panels to maintain optimum heating levels. 

However, let me add this – for older homes with poor insulation, I wouldn’t bother calculating the number of infrared panels needed. Instead it’s worth investing in re-insulating your home first before you add any type of heater. 

Infrared Panels based on room size 

As we’ve seen above, the size of a room (and its overall volume) plays a key role in determining the number of infrared panels required. 

But room size alone isn’t enough. You can have two exactly the same sized rooms with very different heating needs.

For example, the 50m³ living room of a 2023 new build property with excellent insulation will be very different to an old cottage 50m³ living room measuring with poor insulation.

The basic calculation of room volume in square metres (Length × Width × Height) multiplied by the relevant watts per square metre can be used for all different rooms in your home: including living rooms, bedrooms, offices, kitchens and dining rooms. 

This will give you a pretty accurate number, but you may want to consider other factors too, such as:

  • How many windows in the room? More heat will escape through the windows than walls. 
  • Do you have patio doors? More heat will escape here than through walls.
  • What shape is your room? It’s harder to hit all zones of an L-shape room than it is for a square room.

For large windows and patio doors, you might want to add between 10-20% to your total watts required figure if you like to be warm and comfortable.

It’s then important to consider room shape. Remember, an infrared panel will only heat what’s in the direct line of it. The room will warm up over time, but you’ll need to be in line if you want to feel the warmth straight away. Think about how the sun warms you. 

This will need to be factored in for L-shaped rooms, which will generally require two panels for full heating coverage. For larger spaces, it’s best to use multiple lower wattage panels that you can spread out for optimal coverage.

Infrared Panels based on people in the home

It’s not as important as the other points above, but considering the number of people regularly occupying a room may influence the number of infrared panels required.

This mainly relates to how the people in your home occupy the space. For example, it’s much easier to get two people in direct line of a single panel, than it is to get four people all positioned in line of the heat. 

If this is a consideration, it’s worth adding an extra 10% onto your total watts required figure. Or for every person spending a significant amount of time in the room, consider adding an extra 100 watts of heating capacity. 

What size infrared panel do I need?

This size of the infrared panel you need all relates to the total watts required figure for a given space. 

Once this is known, you can then determine what size of panels you need to install. 

Infrared panels usually range from a compact 150W unit to a larger 1,200W panel. It‘s possible to get even larger powered panels than this. 

The power or wattage of a panel will determine the physical size of it. Of course, large panels need more electrical components on the inside. 

For example, a 300W wall mounted panel can have the rectangular dimensions of 30 x 90cm or more square dimensions of 60cm x 60cm. 

A large 1,200W panel may measure 1m x 1.2m and will therefore take up more wall space. Something to consider.  

If you’re just looking for a small infrared panel to heat you up in your home office or when you’re getting ready, a portable plugin heater will be perfect. They’re also super cost-effective. 

For example, a 220W under the desk heater will keep you lovely and warm, while costing as little as 6p an hour to run. How’s that for efficiency? 

Why choosing the correct infrared panel amount is important

Carefully calculating your infrared panel heating needs is important to keep everything optimised and efficient – which impacts your bank balance and the warmth of your space. 

There are three main reasons why it’s important to choose the correct size and number of infrared panels for your space:

  1. Efficiency: Infrared panels are most efficient when adequately sized for the room. This ensures that the panels can produce sufficient heat without wasting energy. Overpowered infrared panels in undersized rooms lead to heat wastage through overheating. For larger spaces, go with two smaller panels rather than one large panel for increased efficiency.
  2. Comfort: Proper sizing of infrared panels guarantees that your space maintains a consistent and comfortable temperature. After all, this is the primary point of installing an infrared panel! 
  3. Cost-effectiveness: Installing the right amount of panels will make your heating system more cost-effective, keeping your energy bills low.

Our calculation guidelines above will help you determine the correct number and right sized infrared panels so your home can achieve efficiency, comfort and cost-effectiveness.

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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