The market for infrared panels is growing fast and it is becoming more and more difficult to find decent products at a decent price. Warm4less have been trading for a number of years and over those years we have seen a lot of new companies selling infrared panels. From experience, we know a good infrared panel from a bad one. We wanted to share the key points to remember when looking for a good infrared panel.
Carbon Fibre Vs. Carbon Crystal:
A good quality infrared panel will feature an element called carbon crystal. In lower quality panels, carbon fibre is used which is a cheaper, less reliable alternative. Carbon fibre is an ordinary, common material that has a simple structure and low production costs. Carbon fibre has been known to heat very unevenly. Due to the uneven heat, more carbon fibre is needed to compensate for the cold spots meaning that the energy consumption will be higher. This will also mean that the original warm spots will get even warmer when adding in more carbon fibre. The balance is very tricky to get perfect and manufacturers very rarely do.
Carbon crystal has a much more sophisticated technology meaning production cost is slightly higher. The quality of carbon crystal is very stable and has accurate heating temperatures and power settings. Carbon crystal has a very even heat distribution across the product and so with the same size unit, less carbon crystal is needed meaning lower energy consumption.
All infrared panels should ideally be made from aluminium. Lower quality panels will usually feature a PET front which is a type of plastic. PET is very prone to discolouration and will not last as long. You also need to keep an eye out for ceramic heaters as they are basically hot wires buried into a very fragile casing.
Another thing to keep an eye out for in inbuilt controllers. Most inbuilt controllers do not last as long as the panels themselves. When the panels have inbuilt controllers the power supply goes through the controller first. So when the controller breaks down the panel stops working. Carbon Crystal can last up to 100,000 hours (approx. 27 years of regular usage) and most controllers only have a life span of 12 months. You do the maths! It is far better to use a separate controller and just replace that if it goes wrong. We offer a number of different controllers and you can read more about them here.
Rear and front temperatures:
Any decent infrared panel will have a very low back temperature. Usually somewhere between 5°C and 30°C and should be lukewarm/cold to touch. Good infrared panels should have at least one layer of insulation to the back to allow for a lower back temperature. Without insulation, you get 50% of heat out the back and 50% out the front. With our platinum range of panels, we have a triple layer insulation and a 6°C back temperature meaning that you get 99.9% of the heat coming out the front. The front temperature of a panel should never reach above 100°C. If it the front reaches above 100°C it is much more likely to burn out and your heater will not last very long at all. This is a sign of a cheap, badly made panel. This can also cause concentrated areas to burn quicker resulting in black burn marks on your panel.
Compliant to TUV Standards:
Our panels comply with the German TUV (SUD) standard and we have a rigorous testing process to ensure the best quality and performance, enabling us to provide up to a 5 year no quibble return guarantee. TUV means Technischer Überwachungsverein which translates to Technical Inspection Association. TUV SUD is a world leader in product testing and certification. They provide testing to international standards.
Lot 20 Compliant:
Our panels also comply with the more recent Lot 20 Legislation. Recently in 2018 Lot 20 was bought in to decrease the electricity consumption from electrical heating appliances. Despite infrared panels being very different to things such as storage heaters, they still fall into the category of ‘electric heating’ meaning that infrared companies were also made to comply with lot 20. Although the majority of electricity heating consumption comes from the more well-known over powered storage heaters. To read more about how we comply with Lot 20 read our news article here.
Buying infrared panels isn’t as simple as looking at the price and thinking the more expensive the better or seeing a cheap panel and thinking you might save some money, because you probably won’t in the long run! It is important to try and find a middle ground with infrared panels, too low and the product won’t be good, too high and you’ll be over paying. Prices can vary massively on infrared panels and so you need to make sure you do your research. Panels can range from £80 to £1200 depending on the type of panel and more importantly the company selling them. From experience you need to make sure you look at all the above factors and take that into consideration when purchasing panels. If you are unsure about what you should be paying for your infrared panels, get in touch and we will happily advise you.
Tel: 01205 821 793
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