How Do Infrared Heating Panels Work in a Bathroom?

Infrared heating panels in a bathroom

With a bathroom being the most humid room in your home, they require a specialist approach if you want to manage moisture levels and achieve practical warmth. 

Traditional convection-based heating falls short of helping with moisture levels as it just circulates steamy air. 

Infrared heating panels on the other hand offer many benefits when installed in bathrooms. We think they’re a brilliant choice in this specific setting. This article will explore why infrared heaters are such a good choice for bathrooms, letting you in on the full benefits they bring.

Why do infrared heaters work well in bathrooms?

Bathrooms pose unique challenges when it comes to condensation and preventing problematic moisture build-up. 

The combination of hot showers and warm baths releases steam into an enclosed space. The problem with traditional convection based radiators in a bathroom is that they help to circulate the warm, moist air.

When this air comes into contact with a colder surface, such as a mirror or window, the moisture comes together to create condensation. Without excellent ventilation, the steam and moisture can cause issues over time. 

The benefit with infrared (IR) heaters is that they heat a space in a completely different way to standard radiators. IR panels emit electromagnetic waves that are absorbed by solid surfaces like walls, ceilings and your body.

By heating bathroom materials directly, infrared helps prevent moisture accumulation in a few key ways.

Firstly, infrared bathroom panels provide gentle, consistent warmth for all surfaces, including the colder surfaces that are prone to condensation. As the waves from IR panels reach to around three metres away, surfaces like tiles and mirrors are brought up to a warmer and more consistent temperature. This helps to stop humid air from cooling and depositing water droplets. 

Secondly, infrared radiation is absorbed by materials, which helps to drive out moisture and prevent damp spots from forming. With infrared, solid but absorbent material in a bathroom, like ceilings and grouting, stay drier over time. This is exactly what you want.

Do infrared panels stop condensation occurring?

Infrared heating panels are highly effective in preventing condensation from occurring within a bathroom environment. Key to this is the way infrared warms solid objects rather than the air itself.

Condensation forms when humid air meets cold surfaces; but, with infrared panels helping to keep tiles, windows and mirrors at more uniform temperatures, this air-surface temperature difference is reduced. The impact is fewer cold areas where moisture can condense. 

Benefits of infrared heating in bathrooms

There are several advantages to infrared heating in bathrooms. These include:

  • Precise control of panels in terms of timings and temperature
  • Very fast to heat up and reach full temperature
  • Energy efficient – this will help with the running costs when used sparingly in rooms such as a bathroom 

The last point on costs is an important one. A bathroom isn’t a main living space, so you won’t need your IR bathroom panel to run for hours on end. 

For example, let’s take the excellent 500W infrared towel heater with thermostat controls from Herschel. With the current cost of electricity at 29p per kWh, this heater will cost you 15p per hour to run. 

As they heat up almost instantly and don’t directly heat up the air anyway, there’s no need to pre-warm the panel for long periods of time. It’s also why you don’t have to leave your panels running all day. This means you can keep running time down, and therefore your electricity bill. 

Can I warm and dry towels on infrared heaters?

One of the best additional benefits of installing an infrared heating system in your bathroom is their ability to warm and dry towels effectively. 

Infrared towel warmers provide high-end comfort and style while getting more functionality out of your heater compared to traditional radiators. 

Infrared heaters designed specifically for bathrooms come with built-in towel racks or rails. These allow you to hang towels safely so they don’t come into contact with the hot panel surface. It also gives the IR wavelengths a chance to disperse out into the bathroom space itself. 

Some clever panels have two zones – one dedicated for towel warming (usually at a lower temperature) and another for heating the room (usually at a higher temperature).

Not only do infrared warmers make your towel feel incredible after a nice hot shower or bath, but they actively dry your towels as well. Infrared heat is highly effective on liquids. This means that the gentle IR waves are readily absorbed by the moisture in a wet towel, effectively causing the water to evaporate. 

The quicker moisture removal with infrared is also better for cleanliness, helping to eliminate bacteria and smells naturally. No more musty towels lingering in your bathroom!  

And finally, I think the infrared towel heaters look great too. Usually white or chrome, they’re sleek, minimalist and modern looking. You can find more of the best infrared panels on the market here.   

How do mirrored infrared panels work?

Mirrored infrared heating panels are a brilliant innovation when it comes to smart heating. These ingenious dual purpose devices feature a standard reflective mirror surface that doubles as an infrared heater. 

Behind the mirror’s glass face, infrared waves are emitted just as they are with standard infrared panels heaters. 

The main advantage mirrored infrared panels offer is condensation prevention. When turned on, you have a completely steam free mirror! This happens because the heat being emitted from the mirror warms the surface, stopping the moist air from finding a cold spot where it can cause condensation.   

For added safety, these bathroom mirrors should have IP water-resistance ratings, making them suitable against any splashes. 

The mirrored infrared panels are also fully app-controllable so you can choose exactly when they turn on and off, and the temperature they heat up too. Stylish, mist-free and practical – it’s no wonder mirrored infrared panels are becoming a popular upgrade choice for modern bathroom makeovers. 

Installing infrared bathroom heaters

Installing an infrared heating system in your bathroom is a straightforward process. All infrared panels should come with mounting brackets that attach securely to walls or ceilings.

As bathrooms don’t allow for open electrical sockets, hardwiring your panel to a fused spur is required. This means installation should be performed by a qualified electrician.  

When installing bathroom IR panels, it’s crucial that they are positioned safely and correctly to maximise heat distribution. Have a read on where you should install infrared panels here. 

In terms of cleaning and maintenance, all that’s required is that you give the panel or mirror a wipe down every so often to prevent dust build up. Other than that, no maintenance is needed and a good panel should last you for a number of decades.

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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