Where Should I Put Infrared Panels?

To maximise the effectiveness of infrared panels, you need to position them correctly. Putting a panel in the wrong spot will lead to uneven heat distribution, cold spots and energy losses.

If you’re looking to be more sustainable and energy efficient at home, this isn’t what you want. 

It’s because infrared panels heat a space differently compared to the standard, convection-based radiator system. In a convection system, warm air from radiators rises up and circulates a room where it warms air particles in the process. 

With a radiation-based system, such as infrared, energy travels out in waves directly from the panel until they hit a solid object. For this reason alone, it’s essential they are pointing in the right direction for them to do their job effectively.    

So, it’s important to carefully consider where you put your panels. This article will talk you through the best places to install an infrared panel, as well as the places you should avoid. 

Does it matter where an infrared panel is installed?

Yes, it does matter where infrared panels are installed. When it comes to installing infrared heating panels, their positioning plays a crucial role in heating your space effectively and performing efficiently. Put a panel in the wrong position and you’re not going to reap the benefits from its warming abilities. It’s also going to cost you more to run – learn more about infrared panel running costs here.

The effectiveness of infrared heating depends on the direct line-of-sight between the panel and the objects it aims to heat – you! This is because the energy from infrared heat is primarily absorbed by solid objects with thermal mass, which can then re-emit heat back into the room.

Generally speaking, when installing infrared panels, you’ll want to make sure they’re positioned in high traffic areas, not close to the ground and not in line with windows and doors.

Why is infrared panel placement important?

To understand why infrared panel placement is important, you need to know how they emit heat. 

Radiant heat is emitted from a panel in straight lines – think of how sun rays operate. There’s also a radiation angle when infrared panels are switched on. This means there’s a spread of the heat energy out from the panel too. 

Typically, an infrared panel has a radiation angle of around 45-120 degrees. When positioned properly, this gives a wide reach of effectiveness. It’s also why installing an infrared panel in an alcove or near the floor can reduce efficiency by directing the heat to low-level objects or being obstructed by surrounding walls or the floor.

You also need to consider the transmissivity of infrared panels. Usually, infrared heat will be effective at distances less than 3 metres. Anything more than this and you’re unlikely to feel that direct warming benefit, although the room will warm up over time. 

This fairly standard transmission zone applies to different sized panels too. For example, a 600W and 1000W panel will operate at the same temperature and therefore have the same transmissivity. The main difference here is that a 1000W panel will be able to heat a large space compared to a 600W panel. 

Do infrared panels heat the whole room?

The question often crops up as to whether infrared panels can effectively heat the entire room.

The ability of infrared panels to heat a whole room depends on various factors, such as:

  • Size and power of panels
  • Number of panels
  • Placement and room layout
  • Insulation levels of the room

To determine the ideal number of panels required to heat a room, you can use a simple formula that we discussed in detail in our post on how many infrared panels do you need

Where are the best places to put infrared panels?

So, where’s the best place to install infrared panels? 

For this question, you have two main options: 

  • Wall-mounted
  • Ceiling-mounted 

Let’s take a look at both options in more detail. 

Installing wall-mounted infrared panels

Most people choose to install their infrared panels on walls. The panels are slim and can blend in with the interior decor of the room, meaning they’re not an unsightly issue. 

Ideally when mounting infrared panels on walls, you want them to be at least 1.2m off the floor. Being higher up helps to distribute the emitted infrared radiation more widely and evenly across the room. Too close to the floor and you’ll be limiting dispersion, plus it can be hazardous for young children. 

Be careful of placing an infrared panel too high on the wall, as you might not be able to feel the full effect of the heat either – around body height is ideal. 

It’s also advisable to avoid installing a wall-mounted panel at the side of a door, as an open door can block some of the emitted heat. 

Installing ceiling-mounted infrared panels

In our view, the best place to install infrared panels is on the ceiling. It’s in this position where they are most effective. 

The main reason is that there are no obstructions for the directional heat, plus no impediments for an effective radiation angle. This increased dispersion helps to reduce cold spots and shading effects. 

The ceiling is also a particularly good spot for rooms with limited wall space, such as kitchens and bathrooms. 

Just like wall panels, a ceiling infrared panel will emit heat to a distance of around 3m. With an average UK home ceiling height of 2.4m, this should be more than enough height for most rooms. 

A bonus point here is that an infrared panel will heat a hard floor surface, such as wood, tiles or stone, very nicely indeed. The thermal mass in these materials will absorb the heat and emit it back out into the space – room heating and floor heating in one! This is a good reason why infrared panels might be the future of home heating

If you don’t like the look of the panels, I’ve seen it where they’ve been plastered in. This is a bit like underfloor heating, but in reverse.  

Of course, please make sure a ceiling-mounted panel can be safely installed and isn’t too heavy for your structure. The weight of a panel will vary from depending on the manufacturer, so do your research beforehand. 

Where not to install infrared panels

For safe and effective operation of infrared panels, there are few areas where infrared panels should not be installed.

  • In alcoves and recesses: The idea of having panels ‘out of the way’ sounds good in theory but it’s an ineffective position. This is because it greatly reduces the radiation angle, creating a narrow line of heat.
  • Near the floor: Like in an alcove, an infrared heater too close to the floor will hinder performance. Not only is the radiational angle limited, but there are likely to be more objects in the way of the heat that create shadow spots. This isn’t good for heating a whole space.
  • Directly next to a socket: Installing panels too close to electrical sockets can pose a safety hazard. As a general rule, panels should be placed no closer than 20 cm away from sockets to prevent potential accidents. The same applies to items like TVs. Instructional manuals will state minimum distances to abide by.
  • Near curtains or combustible materials: Due to the heat that infrared panels emit, they shouldn’t be in contact with curtains or other materials to minimise the fire risk.

There are pros and cons to installing a panel opposite a window. The far infrared wavelengths can’t actually pass through glass, which means heat isn’t lost in the way you think. 

Some of the heat energy will be reflected back inside and spread further around, which is a bonus. However, even with the more insulated double glazing windows, some energy will be absorbed and emitted outside. Personally speaking, I’d avoid positioning directly opposite a window. 

The proper positioning of your infrared heating panels is essential. With infrared’s directional heating method, where you place panels directly impacts heat distribution and effectiveness. By mounting panels at optimal wall heights or ceiling locations and avoiding problem areas like alcoves or near windows, you’ll make sure your panels are radiating warmth evenly across your space.

About the author 

Ben Hardman

Ben is a professional writer and the creator of sustainable living website TinyEco.com.
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, PeakDistrict.org
Commented in The Independent, The Guardian, GreenMatch. Also featured on Radio 1's environmental special 'Minute of Me'

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