Can I power infrared heating from my solar panels?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 November 2014 at 10:11 am
Q: Having had solar panels installed a few years ago, the same company is trying to sell me infrared heating for inside the house which will use electricity generated by the panels. Do you have any advice about infra red heating? I currently have gas central heating using a combi boiler.
A: Infrared heating is an interesting option that has been growing in popularity. Most domestic heat sources use convection (radiators, wood burners, fan heaters) to heat the air in a room. Infrared heaters give out radiant heat which warms objects (or more specifically the humans in a room). This means that you get warm as soon as you turn the heater on, and don't have to wait for the room to warm up.
However, they are powered by electricity. This makes them an ideal replacement for storage heaters or other forms of electric heating, but much less economical if you are replacing gas.
The argument that you will use the electricity generated by your solar panels sounds enticing, but it is thoroughly misleading. The times that you are most likely to need heat are the times that the sun is least likely to be shining. You'll notice that now we're in autumn your daily solar generation will have dropped significantly, and will carry on falling as the days get shorter and colder. So unless you have some strange need for heating in the middle of summer, I suggest that you stick with gas! It will be better for your bills, and for the planet.
More information about heating and hot water on YouGen.
Need help with any Jargon?By Cathy Debenham
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