A gas-fired infra-red heating system emulates the efficiency of the sun by generating radiant energy that is converted into heat when absorbed by objects in its path. Once the infra-red energy is absorbed by the floors, machinery, stock, and people, it is then reradiated to warm the surrounding air.
This method of heating, as opposed to filling a room with warm air (such as a forced-air unit), allows the source of heat to begin at the floor level, not the ceiling. This makes it an efficient and effective method for heating buildings such as warehouses and storerooms.
The units come in sizes ranging from 25,000- to 225,000-Btuh each, and there’s nothing particularly tricky about designing or installing the systems. “We can make contractors’ lives easier by providing a lot of information up front, which will help them bid the job properly. We can also help with all the details, such as layouts and CAD drawings,” says Tom Blake, IRI President.
The company also can perform building energy analyses and fuel cost savings reports. Blake notes that location of the equipment is one of the finer points contractors may need help with. “We like to perimeter heat the building with radiant heat, putting the hot part of the heaters by the doors. The location of equipment becomes somewhat of an issue, as well as sizing.”
SAVES ENERGY, TOO
In addition to being helpful in areas that can’t be served by traditional heating equipment, gas-fired infra-red equipment is energy efficient. ASHRAE has stated that infra-red heaters can save up to 50% on fuel costs; however, in practice, it depends on the application.
In retrofit applications, users might find the 50% savings cited by ASHRAE, but typically the fuel savings are in the range of 30% to 35%. Re-Verber-Ray also has HL Series two-stage radiant heaters, which the company says can save an additional 12% over single-stage heaters.
“We are allowed a 15% deduct in the heat loss of a building according to ASHRAE design criteria for radiant heat. That’s part of the reason why we save 30% to 35% typically over a
hot air system,” adds Blake.
In addition to saving energy, occupant comfort is improved, as the infra-red system does not cause as much stratification as other systems can. There is also less heat loss with an infra-red system, and comfortable levels can be maintained at lower thermostat settings than can typically be achieved with a forced-air system.
And what about first cost? It depends on the application. In some projects, the infra-red heating system may not cost much more than a traditional system. Blake notes that overall, the cost of an infra-red system is getting closer to the cost of other systems. With the energy savings, the typical pay back can be one to three years over other traditional systems.
Infra-red systems last a long time, too – usually 15 to 25 years. Little maintenance is required as well, as the only moving part is the blower motor. Sometimes the heaters don’t even have a moving part, and they simply have to be wiped off occasionally.
Contact International Radiant for help with heating a unique commercial space. We’re more than happy to help.