What Are Infrared Outdoor Heaters & How Do They Work?

You’re probably familiar with infrared light, know that it’s a part of the light spectrum humans can’t see and that it’s used in technology like thermal imaging and night vision goggles.

But what is infrared heat, what are infrared outdoor heaters, and how do they work? You’ll learn the answers to these questions below, which will also help you to understand why infrared heaters are the ideal heating solution for outdoor spaces.  

What is Infrared Heat?

To understand what infrared heat is, picture a cold winter day. If the sun is out and you stand in the sunlight, you feel the warmth of its rays, even in freezing temperatures (and from 93,000,000 miles away, no less!) That warmth is from infrared heat (also referred to as “radiant heat”), and it’s generated by everything from toasters to campfires to patio heaters.

Like the sun, an infrared outdoor heater uses infrared light that is invisible to the eye that warms us as it’s absorbed by our skin and clothes – without producing harmful UV radiation that comes with sunlight.

How do Infrared Outdoor Heaters Work?

There are different kinds of infrared heaters: some that radiate infrared light directly into an area and others that use infrared bulbs with a fan that blows air onto a heat exchanger, like a metal conductor (e.g., copper), to create heat. 

The more efficient infrared heaters are the ones that radiate infrared light that is directly absorbed by people and objects, i.e., that heat objects instead of the air. This is why they are used in outdoor heating and for big, spacious structures like warehouses, garages, and airplane hangars that have a large area to cover and doors that are constantly open – it makes more sense to heat the objects in these spaces than it does to heat the air and constantly replenish heated air as it moves through the space and eventually escapes.

What are the Different Types of Infrared Outdoor Heaters?

Infrared outdoor heaters come in all shapes, sizes, and usages, but they are mainly categorized by their power source: natural gas, propane, and electricity.

Natural gas outdoor infrared heaters.

These are heaters that are connected directly to a home or business’s gas line to draw power, so they are not movable or portable. While natural gas is a relatively cost-effective power source, gas heaters produce emissions that are harmful to both humans and the environment. These emissions also mean that a gas heater can only be used in an uncovered outdoor area and are not safe to use if your patio has a roof, awning, tent or any other type of covering.

Propane-powered infrared outdoor heaters.

Propane heaters are a portable alternative to gas-powered outdoor heaters. They are connected to a propane tank that sits in the base of a tall, freestanding heater. Like gas heaters, they are inexpensive to operate, but they also produce harmful emissions and can only be used in completely uncovered spaces. As well, both gas and propane are potentially dangerous materials and must be handled with caution.

Electric infrared outdoor heaters.

Electric heaters are the most expensive of the three to operate, but they are also the safest for human health and do not have the same explosion risks that come with gas and propane. They are available in freestanding and mountable units and come in various styles, sizes, and power outputs, and many can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet.

Simple At Home - Making Life Simple Again

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.