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7 posts

Wannabe Geek


#272825 18-Jul-2020 14:19
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Currently I'm considering which heaters to buy to heat some bedrooms.

 

I'm looking at convection heat panels with the Dimplex Alta, or Far InfraRed heaters from https://infracomfort.co.nz/ .

 

The bedrooms are only 9m2, so only around 750w convection heater should be needed, or a 500w InfraRed panel (apparently). The house is very well insulated, roof, walls and thick double glazing.

 

 

 

Question is... Can a Far InfraRed heat panel heat a room this size? As I understand they heat objects rather than the air, so people get warmed up quite fast. My main concern is that when people leave the room, the rest of the house is cold. Unlike convection heat where the air will go around the house if we leave the room doors open. So with InfraRed I would need to install them everywhere so people always feel the heat.

 

 

 

Has anyone in NZ had a panel from https://infracomfort.co.nz/? Or can someone comment on what other InfraRed panels are like in bedrooms?


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396 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2525205 18-Jul-2020 14:51
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I recently stayed in a property with the Infracomfort panels, and I found them quite good to use. Apparently they are cheap to run as well. I found you did get warm and toasty very quickly, in fact almost (almost) too hot. As you point out, it did not really seem to warm the air, but maybe I just didn't notice it.

 

On our second night we left the heat pump in the living area on, the doors open, and had the Infracomfort set to a lower temperature on its thermostat thing and found that quite comfortable though.





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Uber Geek


  #2526810 21-Jul-2020 22:24
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The Alta is designed to act like a central heating radiator. It has a thermostat to hold the room temperature to a set degree point instead of the vague "low medium high" type randomstats most cheap heaters have. 

 

New Zealanders mostly go for single room quick blast heating which is more what infra red heating is good for as it directly heats the person so requires less incidental space heating to achieve that. If you aren't in the room a 500w infra red lamp is going to heat the room the same as a 500w Alta panel heater. The "quote" for pricing makes me think that isn't a cheap product.

 

The Alta should be slightly cheaper at Placemakers than Mitre10.


 
 
 
 




7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2529217 26-Jul-2020 23:32
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Just got one of the infrared panels as a test. So far it's really good. It feels like sitting in the sun and warms me up pretty quick. It does take a while to heat the room.

Did some tests... 9m2 room, with 2000watt convection heater heats from 10c to 19c in 1 hour. 700watt infrared panel takes around 3 hours to bring the room to 19c. Which is expected because the heat is 100% efficient. It takes the same wattage no matter what.

But... Since it warms objects I myself feel the warmth quick.

Did some tests with opening the door and window in the room. With convection heater the room temperature dropped pretty quick, but with infrared the temperature stayed a bit longer.

The air quality is also better with infrared. The room doesn't feel stuffy or hard to breath.

It's a much higher upfront costs. But when you have a family with asthma and don't want any forced air heating there aren't many options. I remember my radiators in the UK did a similar job to the infrared panels.

Pro's:
- Can be mounted out of the way so you get the floor and wall space back.
- No forced air so provides better air quality.
- Temperature doesn't drop so fast when opening a door or window.
- Seems to remove moisture from the aluminum retro fitted windows.

Cons:
- Higher upfront cost.
- Can take longer to heat the room air because they are generally less wattage and don't have a fan.
- Panel gets very hot so can't be touched.
- Takes longer for my hands to heat up. I can feel the heat on my body, but my hands still take a long time to feel anything. Probably because of the panel placement.

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  #2529224 27-Jul-2020 06:16
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How is forced air heating reducing air quality or affecting people with asthma? I know brand new fan heaters can smell a bit, but give it a couple of hours use and the smell goes away.

 

Have you consider oil heaters? They also take a while to heat a room up. In my home office I use both - a small 1000W oil heater plus a fan heater as extra heat and blowing through the oil heater to move the heat out of it more quickly. Both are on full during my free hour of power.

 

Have you considered heat pumps? Air quality is good, and even one heat pump in a central location can make a big difference. If air has to go round corners it won't do it super fast, but turn on a heat pump at 3pm that's centrally located and within a few hours all the rooms are a lot warmer.

 

Also, how does your house get down to 10 degrees? Is it not insulated? I have a very very old house that I've insulted well and double glazed. We turn the heating off at 10pm when it's about 22 degrees, at 5am when the heat pumps come on it might've gotten down to 18 degrees on an extremely cold windy night, usually higher though. When we turn it off about 7:30am on a cold day again it might be 18 degrees by 3pm when the heating comes on, that's with a ventilation system blowing cold fresh outside air into the house through a filter. When the house is warm most of the time everything is heated through - sofa, mattress, etc, so the whole place feels a lot warmer. It can take a few days to get everything heated through. This probably isn't practical without a large heat source, a fire (not good for asthma) or a heat pump. Heat pumps have filters in them to catch dust and some include UV things that kill bugs in the air.

 

When we had a baby we found that with the heat pumps on all the time, lower at night, the heat bill didn't go up all that much (30%? but the house felt much much warmer as everything was heated through. Now he's a bit older and a daycare we still heat a lot and it's 22 degrees when we're home, but we don't heat overnight or during the day.




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Wannabe Geek


  #2529240 27-Jul-2020 08:19
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So actually the house is very well insulated. Brick and tile, concrete base and insulation in all the cavities. And it's been retrofitted with double glazing. There is a heat pump in the living room which isn't in the best place to heat the bedroom's. And we have a free hour of electricity every day, we tend to blast all the convection heaters on during this time.

I find that anything fan forced is going to dry out the air. Fan forced heaters can take some of the moisture out of the air, but then opening a window at the same time I found was ok, but again inefficient. Did some tests with the family a while back and they started coughing when we used fan forced convection heaters in their bedrooms. The living room heat pump, which is around a few corners took around 2 hours to get the heat into the bedrooms, so we just used this instead and it was much better for them. I'll correct myself and say they don't reduce air quality, because it's not like we have a dusty home or have bacteria floating around, but... The infrared panels did make the room less stuffy, maybe because there wasn't so much heat it the top of the room? Not sure, but it felt nice.

Yes I tried oil heaters, but found they took a long time to heat up, and could easily be tipped over by young children. Unless you find one with tilt protection, or one you can stick in the corner of a room without loosing some heat against the wall.

I haven't tried Micathermic heaters yet. There is a dimplex model that can be placed up against a wall because you can redirect the heat flow on it. That would be a good test to see how fast it heats the room. It's around 20% radiant and 80% convection.

And yes, the bedrooms on the other side of the house don't get the morning sun, they are in the shade for a while. And in Wellington, on cold days, even with all the insulation, they are between 10c - 11c around 7am. But they warm up quickly with the heat pump.

The infrared panel I have is just a trial, just to see how fast it warms the room, what it feels like, what it is... I do like the fact it can be placed out of the way, and that it heats up objects before the room. I can sit in my office and feel warm within a few minutes, without having the heat pump come on early to warm the house first. But, the upfront cost is very off putting when a good convection heater, without a fan, like the Dimplex Alta can heat the rooms with the heat pump. The same amount of power is required to heat the room regardless. I'll say again though... The room does feel more pleasant when heated with infrared, not sure why though... Presumably because convection has placed all the heat at the top of the room.

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Uber Geek


  #2529257 27-Jul-2020 09:03
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We have a Dimplex panel heater in our bedroom.  About 16m2 and a 2kw heater heats it up very quickly.  I tend to over spec heaters, as the thermostat regulates how much power they use, and more heat means the room warms up quicker.





Mike

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  #2529258 27-Jul-2020 09:08
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Increasing the temperature decreases the relative humidity, just because warmer air can hold more moisture. I wonder if that's why they start coughing. You can also pre-heat the rooms while people aren't in there, which could work around the issue with fan heaters. Might be time for a doctors visit to help get the asthma more controlled.

 

We have used oil heaters in the bedroom since our son was born, he's almost 4 now and we've never had a problem with them. A few times when he was younger we had to say "no" but he learned quickly. They tend to be in a corner and have some minor physical barriers in the way.

 

A ducted heat pump might be a good solution. Yes, air moves around, but you have it come on a couple of hours before people get home and the will be relatively little air movement when you're there except on the really cold days. Or maybe even just a floor / wall heat pump to help preheat the bedrooms more easily, and small panel / oil / something heaters in each room.

 

You do need to heat the bedrooms overnight to prevent them getting cold. Dropping to 11c overnight though is a huge drop, might be worth checking your ceiling insulation and potentially adding another layer. This could also be because you're turning heating on for a relatively short time and mostly heating the air, rather than heating your house contents properly through.

 

It just seems like you're doing a lot of work to solve the wrong problem. 


 
 
 
 




7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2529739 27-Jul-2020 17:43
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Yea we have the coughing under control now that we removed the fan forced heaters. Like I say we mainly use the heatpump and let it circulate. We tended to blast the rooms before they go to bed and not pre-heat the rooms. We often don't time them to come on in the morning or through the night. We have thick covers on the bed's and no one really complains. Mostly we blast the heaters and heatpump without leaving it enough time to heat the whole house, which is probably why the temperature drops so low overnight. I think I need to trust my heatpump more and let it keep the house at a good temperature.

 

 

 

Anyway, long story short, I did like the heat from the infrared panels, but not sure I can justify the cost when these Dimplex Alta heaters will do the same job. If they were more affordable I'd place them in each room and the hallway's. Like an UK radiator.


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  #2529812 27-Jul-2020 20:31
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I wonder if it's the cold rather than the forced air causing the problems - cold causes me breathing problems. It really doesn't sound like controlled asthma to me. Ask your doctor about a trial of montelukast, makes a big difference for me when it's cold. Note: I am not a doctor.

 

I'd be interested to hear what happens if you try heating the place properly - most kiwis have cold, damp houses and don't even realise it as they're used to it. I wonder if that's a contributing factor to huge numbers of kiwis having asthma.

 

You could try leaving the heat pump on 21 degrees 24/7 for a few days, maybe turning it down to 19 at night and when you're at work. Ideally have at 21 again a couple of hours before you get home. Leave the internal doors open so the heat moves around. You still need ventilation, keeping the moisture in doesn't help - we will have the ventilation system running at the same time as heating, but the ventilation only runs a few hours a day about midday to 3pm during winter, more on really nice days.

 

I note that our power bill is about $370 per month in the middle of winter. I only checked recently, I was surprised it was that high, and that's after our free hour. So having a warm house does cost money, even if it's insulated.




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Wannabe Geek


  #2529824 27-Jul-2020 20:52
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Thanks for your comments @timmmay. We actually haven't had any asthma attacks since removing the forced fan heaters a few months ago. I did some tests and found they didn't cough when using an oil heater. Or a good convection heater without a fan. Right now we just blast the convection heaters (without fan) while we are at home, and before the 2 kids go to bed. Power is roughly $150 a month for a 130m2 home, 3 bedrooms. My thinking was that fan forced air before they go to bed was not good for them, like I say it made the room a bit stuffy, probably due to lack of ventilation and the fan forced heater drying the air a bit. Proper ventilation would be the next thing I do, and then getting a central heating control like the Dimplex ECS. I was looking into smart vent, because I can replace and maintain the system myself.

 

 

 

I opened this thread to get some feedback on Infrared panels, seems it got a bit more in depth than I thought :D. I have to say they are good, and they have a whole home control app too. I would like to kit out the whole home with them but it's not cost effective when a good convection system will do the same job.

 

 

 

I recently got a Heatermate wifi edition so that will help regulate the room temperate on our non-smart convection heaters :D Again just testing but I think our main issue is ventilation, and needing to heat the whole house each day and not just blast it when we are all home.


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Uber Geek


  #2534872 4-Aug-2020 22:10
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Fan heaters kick dust up so I can see why that could be an issue for some asthmatics. Dust mite allergy could be a problem as a house has to dry out periodically to kill them off.

 

Ventilation systems often come with basic G3 or G4 filters so in your case look for something higher grade.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_filter#Filter_classes

 

A heat reclaim ventilation system where the outgoing air heats the incoming air is going to be better suited to keeping relative humidity and heating bills down.


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