Why Infrared Radiation?
There are many types of radiation heaters.
The oldest and most well known source of radiation heat is the sun. The sun, with a surface temperature of 5875 degrees K, achieves a potential of 1,37 kW/m² (solar constant). Without the sun, there would be no life!
Since the age of enlightenment and the emergence of the natural sciences, thermodynamics has been the subject of intensive research and rationally comprehensible results.
Radiation Physics, however, remained a closed book until the turn of the century.
The physical principles necessary for the description of radiation were not established until the birth of quantum mechanics and the establishment of the radiation laws resulting hereof.
Is Heating with Infrared Radiation a New Invention?
Heating with infrared radiation is as old as the use of fire by man. Stone, clay and later tiled stoves were used; tiled stoves supply us with cozy warmth to this day.
The Hypocaust heating system of the Romans is well-known as the first central heating system. It functioned solely as an infrared heating system. The Romans constructed it to be able to withstand steam – they had no mould-promoting paints and plaster, let alone WDVS (heat insulation compound systems). The walls became warm through condensation heat.
With the return to more natural ways of life and healthy living, long forgotten heating methods are reentering today’s modern homes and dwellings. New, however, is the manner in which the infrared radiation is produced – with electricity. Clean, healthy and energy-friendly heating can be achieved with the help of ecological products.
The Tiled Stove
No other heating system has such a good reputation as “the tiled stove”. There must be something about tiled stoves that make them so legendary. Something that one feels, but that cannot be described. That which constitutes the cozy warmth of the tiled stove: cool, dry, motionless and therefore dust free air and warm walls. A correctly placed tiled stove stands near an inside wall, always directed in such a way that it can evently radiate the external walls. The strong radiant heat of the tiled stove warms up the inside surface of the external walls, increases their surface temperature, leaving the temperature of the air in the room cool. No other heating device has such a good reputation as the tiled stove.
Why is there such an improvement in indoor climate when heating with infrared?
In contrast to convection heating, when heating with infrared, the energy is transferred not through the air, but through electromagnetic waves, meaning, the air between the heating unit and the “recipient” does not warm up. The human body prefers radiated heat to convection heat. The larger the surface of the heating element, the less the air is moved and thus, more warmth is radiated. An experiment at the John B. Pierce Laboratory, USA, clarified the goal of a reasonable heating technique: Test persons in a room with a temperature of 50°C (122°F) of warm air and cooled walls froze deplorably; when in a room with a temperature of 10°C (50°F) and warm walls, they broke into an unpleasant sweat. (source: Techn. Info “Strahlungsenergie – die Ur-Energie, neu entdeckt, TT Technotherm GmbH, Nürnberg).
Why is there so much doubt about whether infrared radiation heating systems can heat sufficiently?
Because many still carry the erroneous belief that a warm or cold feeling depends entirely on the temperature of the surrounding air. That is completely wrong! An example from nature proves it: Skiers and mountain climbers do not freeze even if they are in extremely cold air. The reason: They are surrounded by warm infrared waves, which come directly from the sun or are reflected by the environment (snow, stones, earth etc.).
Differences: Convection vs. Radiation Heating
Radiant heat instead of warm air currents which carry dirt and moisture; warm, dry and mould-free walls and furnishings (furniture/inventory/exhibits) along with generally cooler room air temperature – these are the reasons why, up until the introduction of air-heating systems, the maintenance intervals for the inventories and interiors of historical buildings were very long. After the introduction of air-heating systems, intensive measures became necessary every few years against mould, fungus, salt damp, surface contamination, subsurface rot, etc.
In the past, the genuine reduction of costs and saving energy were crucial. Dry rooms can be heated most efficiently with infrared radiation. Even persons shivering in cold beds receive the least expensive form of a good, warm night’s rest with the energy radiating warm water bottle.
Some heating systems have extremely precarious effects on health. All systems which predominantly heat the air (black warmth) work with the principle of air agitation. Air is warmed up, ascends and pulls cold air from the bottom, which is then again heated. This causes a constant air circulation in the room by which the heating of the room through convection first becomes possible. The more the air is heated, the more humidity is drawn from it (the relative humidity is reduced) and the more house dust, pollen, bacteria etc. are whirled through the air. These are swept up, circulated and distributed evenly over the entire room. The consequence: A high air temperature as well as dry and dirty room air. This negatively affects the organism and the feeling of comfort.
Infrared heating is natural, from a physiologically standpoint. The human body absorbs up to 99 % of the radiant heat through the skin. From time immemorial, humans have been exposed to solar radiation – and the body is used to it. In the presence of humid air currents, however, one feels uncomfortable. Who hasn’t heard of “Foehn-Disorders” and the epidemics which threaten the tropics? Exactly these properties have been “proven and tested” in our modern method of heating air – with radiators and convectors in sealed rooms. Meanwhile, over a third of the german population suffers from asthma, with an estimated 8.000 – 10,000 asthma-dead; the Germans are the European champions on the continent, only damp Ireland has more to offer here. Damp insulation systems applied to thick construction shells with mouldy corners and ventilation systems with bacteria rich air hardly promote health and well-being. In museums and churches, the problem of asthmatic personnel and visitors temporarily exposed to high spore levels has become ever more urgent.
Replacing Practical Experience with Theories
In 1885, Professor Hermann Rietschel sponsored a Chair for Heating and Ventilation at the Technical University of Berlin, and the simulation of solar radiation by infrared heating ceased.
The Watt’ steam mashine came into play as steam central heating was being introduced in civil engineering. Rietschel “invented” the ribbed heating element (air-heating unit) and the calculation fundamentals that go with it. This invasion of “modern” technology into the practical experience has since then revolutionized energetic and healthy radiation heating systems into energy-wasting, unhealthy convection heating. Thus, overheated air whistled out of buildings, there were drafts in each nook and cranny due to the air agitation required by the heating technique, the interiors became as black as steam engines and the expensive warm air in both small and large rooms accumulated at the ceiling, without being able to supply any great warmth to their users. All further attempts to continue the development of heating on the principle of radiant warmth remained limited to rare cases. This development was written about in the publication “The Health Engineer” previously “The Plumber and Health Engineer.