Gas or infrared radiant heater?
Before purchasing a radiant heater the decision needs to be made whether it should be a gas heater or infrared heater. For this, one should be aware of a few facts and arguments.
Gas radiant heaters
On average, a gas powered radiant heater consumes 1100 gr propane gas per hour with an output of 14 KW. 11 kg propane gas (standard sized cartridge) currently cost about 18.89 €, 1 hour operating therefore cost about 1.89 €. There are also the added costs for the cartridges, filling and transport. When cartridge is empty the radiant heater stops working, which can be quite annoying during the barbecue on the weekend. As there are usually 11 kg propane gas in a cartridge and a gas heater consumes about 1100 gr per hour, the cartridge would have to be exchanged every 10 hours. Unfortunately, a large amount of heat energy of a gas radiant heater is lost to the ambient air.
Infrared radiant heaters
Infrared radiant heaters come in various types and with different performances. Most common are heaters with a performance between 500 Watts and 2000 Watts. Of course it is possible to combine more heaters to reach the desired output. The comparison between gas radiant heaters and infrared radiant heaters is quite difficult, so in order to make it as fair as possible, we shall assume that an infrared radiant heater with 3600 Watts performance is comparable with the above mentioned 14 KW of the gas radiant heater. Current the KW hour costs about 0.24 €. Multiplied by 3.6 we have calculated the costs for 1 hour infrared heater operation with a performance of 3600 Watts, which would be 0.86 €. Upon comparing this value with the price of 1 hour gas heater operation we can notice savings of 1.03 €. On average, radiant heaters are working ca. 1095 hours per year (equal to 3 hours per day), amounting to savings of 1127.85 € (1095 h x 1.03 €) per year. Therefore the direct comparison of costs is clearly won by the infrared radiant heater.
When it comes to thermal efficiency, the infrared heater also wins, as its short wavelength infrared radiation almost exclusively heats up solid bodies and therefore prevents loss of heat energy to the ambient air. Futhermore, the short wavelength IR radiation is especially suitable for reaching a deeper heating.
Being maintenance free, the infrared radiant heaters come with another advantage, as the infrared heaters bear the slogan: "Plug in, switch on, feel good". By relying electric power the inconvenient exchanging of gas cartridges is not a subject anymore and infrared heaters can be used at any time.
Safety is another important point for end customers, especially when there are children living in the household. As there are not gas pipes and dangerous sources of heat the dangers of accidents can be lowered significantly.
When using infrared radiant heaters there are no direct emissions (for example carbon dioxide when burning gas).