Theory of Infrared Heat

Theory of Infrared Heating


Infrared heating is long wave electromagnetic energy which is generated in a hot source (flat metal panel, quartz lamp, quartz tube) by vibration and rotation of molecules. The resulting energy is controlled and directed specifically to and on people or objects. This energy is not absorbed by air, and does not create heat until it is absorbed by an opaque object.


The sun is the basic energy source. Energy is projected 93,000,000 miles through space to heat the earth by the infrared process. This infrared energy travels at the speed of light, and converts to heat upon contact with a person, a building, the floor, the ground or any other opaque object. There is, however, no ultraviolet component (sun tanning rays) in Electric infrared.


Electric infrared energy travels in straight lines from the heat source. This energy is directed into specific patterns by optically designed reflectors.  Infrared, like light, travels outward from the heat source, and diffuses as a function of the square of the distance. Intensity, therefore, would decrease in a proportional manner. So, at 20’ from the heat source, intensity of the energy concentration is ¼ the intensity developed at 10’ distance.


For comfort heating, there must be reasonably even accumulated values of heat throughout the comfort zone.  Proper mounting heights of the individual heaters, fixture spacing, reflector beam patterns, and heat source wattage must be specified to generate the proper heating levels at the task area. The amount of heat delivered is also adjusted by input controllers or by thermostats which respond to surrounding temperature levels and provide ON-OFF or PROPORTIONAL inputs.

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