Is An Infrared Heater A Good Choice For Your Bathroom?
Were you at a friend’s house and noticed just how warm and cosy their bathroom felt, even though they live in an older home? They said it was an infrared bathroom heater hidden behind the vanity mirror. That sounds cool, but what exactly is it and is it a good idea for your own chilly bathroom?
In this post, I’ll explain what an infrared bathroom heater is, how it works, its pros and cons as well as answer some common questions around the topic.
Let’s get into it!
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What Is An Infrared Bathroom Heater?
Infrared bathroom heaters work by heating objects, walls, floors, and people in a space using infrared light, instead of heating the air. They are extremely efficient and cost less to operate than a fan-based electric space heater. In many instances, the infrared bathroom heater may be almost invisible. They are often sold as a white ceiling fixture, a glass panel that holds your towel rack, or it can hide behind a big mirror over the vanity. This means they take up no additional wall or floor space.
Many infrared bathroom heaters are sold with an electrical plug, which allows you to mount it to the wall and just plug it in. However, that will be your only control for the heater unless you have a Part P certified electrician hardwire it to an existing circuit. That will be an added cost, but it lets you set up a wall switch or connect it to a thermostat. Compared to the fuss needed to add a radiator in the bathroom that connects to your main heating system, it is a fast and affordable option.
Benefits And Features Of An Infrared Heater
Since these heating panels look so sleek and modern, many manufacturers are now adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability to their control units. Look for a model able to be controlled by your smartphone and integrated with your wireless thermostats.
One of the huge benefits of an infrared heater for a bathroom is that it warms all the surfaces in the room, including the floor and the tub. You will not experience that shock of stepping into a cold bath or stepping out onto cool tiles. Even if you have drafts around the window and door, that will not immediately cool off the warm floor and walls.
Another perk is if you have a heater that doubles as a mirror, it will almost never fog over during a steamy shower. The mirror will melt away the moisture as soon as you shut off the water. Since the walls and floors are also warm, it fights off the buildup of mould and mildew on surfaces in a bathroom.
It does take a little time for the heater to warm up all the surfaces in a cold room. You may wish to put your heater on a schedule so that it warms up the bathroom an hour before morning showers or before bedtime.
Some people that like the feel of warm air on their skin, like what a fan-based electric heater produces, and will comment that they feel chilly with the infrared heater. That is because it does not heat the air. The air eventually absorbs the heat from the walls, floors, and fixtures. You may want to set the temperature for the bathroom a few degrees higher than the rest of the house for this reason.
How Much Does An Infrared Heater Cost?
A typical infrared heater sized for your medium-sized bathroom will run between £180 to £400 for the heating unit. Depending on existing wiring, you can expect to pay a certified electrician between £300 to £600 to have it hardwired into your home.
Advantages Of Infrared Bathroom Heaters
- Low cost of operation
- Takes up no wall or floor space
- Warms up the floor and fixtures without installing underfloor heating
- Reduces moisture level on surfaces which prevents the growth of mould and mildew
- Sleek and modern appearance
- Instantly clear mirrors after a steamy shower
- Wireless controls available for your smartphone
- Able to be hardwired into your home’s heating system
- Drafts will not cool down the room as fast as other types of heating
Disadvantages Of Infrared Bathroom Heaters
- The air can still feel cool on your skin
- No controls are mounted on the unit. It must be hardwired or controlled with an app
- Unit is much more expensive than a plug-in electric heater
- Not an instant heat. It takes time for the surfaces in the space to absorb the infrared rays
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Do Infrared Heaters Use A Lot Of Electricity?
Infrared heaters are extremely efficient. They use must less electricity to produce the infrared rays compared to units that heat up an element and then use a fan to distribute hot air throughout the space. Some experts find infrared units 60% more efficient. If you are thinking about installing an infrared panel compared to adding another radiator, talk to your heating expert for a true price comparison for labour and parts.
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Are Infrared Heaters Safe?
Yes, they are a safe option for heating a small room like a bathroom. The unit will get hot to the touch. But, since the panel is typically wall or ceiling mounted, it is out of reach of small hands. Read the label of the unit and look for CE certification. It is constructed with an automatic shut-off switch, so if the unit ever malfunctions, it turns off before a fire starts. Finally, infrared rays are completely safe. You can install this unit totally confident that it is safe for your family.
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There you have it! Everything you need to know about infrared bathroom heaters.
An infrared bathroom heater may be a neat, quick and affordable solution to giving you a more enjoyable and warm bathroom experience. However, as infrared heats objects and not the room itself, it may take a bit of getting used to and it might not be the best solution for you and your bathroom, depending on what you want.
So, will you be installing an infrared heater in your new bathroom?
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Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.