There are two common type of heaters, radiant heaters and blow or force heaters. Radiant heat is heat that is released into the air from hot surfaces such as a hot panel on a gas heater, or an open fire, or an oil filled heater. This type of heat doesn’t warm the air, but rather it warms objects and people in a room. It is a more gradual type of heat, not something that you feel immediately you turn the heater on, unless it is extreme heat. Radiant heat gradually warms up the room and radiant heaters can heat up an object without actually touching it.
Wall heating panels or central floor heating usually use radiant heat, however portable radiant heaters are also very popular and useful when it comes to heating your home.
Radiant heaters work well, as long as you are in direct line with the heater, because of the way they work. Infrared rays emitted from the heater warm whatever they come in contact with. If they come in contact with you before something else, then they will heat you. If these rays come in contact with something else before you, for example a chair or sofa, they will heat that, not you. They are more energy efficient than convection heaters as they only heat up objects in the room, not the entire room but you do have to be in a direct line with them.
Typically a radiant heater can be powered by any fuel source, including electricity, gas, propane gas, or even wood. In fact, a wood heater is a very good example of radiant heat. Electric radiant heaters are often fitted with ceramic panels or emitters which are heated up. Ceramic tubes are much safer to use than glass emitters which can tend to shatter or explode.
Portable radiant heaters are great for heating up that one room in your house that isn’t centrally heated. It is also a great idea to have them on hand if you live with people who are affected adversely by the colder weather, as you can heat up their room or living quarters to a more suitable level for them, without having to turn up the central heating in the whole house.
Due to their ability to heat up objects and people, but not the surrounding air, this also makes the radiant heater perfect for using in outdoor areas. A typical example of this is the patio heater.
Wall mounted radiant heaters are good to use in locations where there are a lot of people coming in and out of the room or the location, such as in a busy office building, small shops, and other industrial buildings. Using a conventional warm air heater in these situations would not be economical, nor would they work as well as a radiant heater.
If you are thinking of buying a radiant heater, make sure you understand its capabilities. Don’t expect it to necessarily heat up an entire room so when you walk in from outdoors you are met with an instant rush of warm air.