What is Far Infrared?
Infrared light is the reason why we feel warm when the sun is shining in the middle of a wintery day. Conventional wisdom would suggest that if the air temperature were freezing, then you too would feel cold. However the infrared waves emitted by the sun travel impeded through space, and warm any object they hit, including your body.
Infrared is a form of electromagnetic radiation that sits just beyond the red end of the visible light range of the electromagnetic spectrum. We often hear the word radiation and then automatically associate it with being harmful, but in fact, radiation is just a process of energy emission. Just like visible light radiation, infrared radiation is 100% safe and even our own bodies emit infrared radiation (which is what allows search and rescue helicopters to find lost travellers at night for example).
How long have we known about infrared?
Infrared radiation was discovered in 1800 by Sir Frederick William Herschel. Herschel, born in Hanover, Germany. It was Herschel who found that light passed through a glass prism would spread into a rainbow of colours. Most intriguingly, he found a curious reading when the thermometer bulb was placed just beyond the red portion of the visible spectrum. He had discovered thermal radiation, which has come to be known as infrared.
How do infrared heating units work?
When rays from the sun hit an object they warm it so in the same way, when radiation from an infrared heater hits an object (wall, ceiling, floor, door, ornament etc), it usually warms it. It is in fact either absorbed or reflected but infrared waves continue to radiate through a room until all their energy is absorbed and all objects have warmed up.Think of an infrared ray as a bouncy ball – you will know that if you drop a bouncy ball, it gradually bounces lower and lower until it stops.
This is because each time it hits a surface, a little of its energy is absorbed by that surface. The absorption of infrared radiation is very similar – the infrared waves jump around until their energy is absorbed throughout the room.
Infrared waves first hit the top layer of stone or brickwork and most of this energy reflects back into the room. Only a sixth of the energy is lost by absorption into the masonry approximately.
How does it effect us?
Infrared has always been around us and heats us and objects in our environment directly obviating the need for inefficient air heating systems, such as domestic central heating. Natures naturally occurring infrared rays warm the skin, the heat is then passed by the blood circulation around the body.
Infrared radiant heat cause a beautiful, clean, green and health giving comfortable warmth. Whilst heating us in the natural and cost effective way the rays are also heating the objects that surround us and even the walls of the room we occupy.
Positive effects of infrared on our bodies
Infrared heating has clear health benefits for us over convection heating. The movement of heat around the body through optimum blood circulation this creates deep warmth throughout the whole body and is not limited to the surface as with convection heaters.
Infrared heating does not cause air currents or movement of dust which can cause problems for people with asthma or bronchial ailments. Still and dust free air is far more pleasant for users of contact lenses and people suffering with rheumatic pain will find the homogenous humidity may reduce their pains. Air that is humidity stable and dust free combined with the silent operation of these heaters will all work together to provide a generally better working or living atmosphere.
Ventilation is essential for a healthy and comfortable working atmosphere, any new heating system must take into account the financial costs of heat loss through ventilation. Convection heaters work with higher air temperatures and rely on the movement of air causing a significant waste of money in heating air to be lost through an open window, however infrared heating is directly heating the people and objects combined with no movement of air the losses will be far less.