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I first became aware of IR radiator in the TV programme Grand Design. So on a visit to the NSBC in Swindon, when I was collecting information and ideas with my forthcoming double storey extension, I made sure I looked at available IR radiator there.
My first impression was that it's a brilliant idea. I read up on more information about IR radiators on the internet, as well as other heating methods available to home owner like me.
I knew gas boiler will be on the way out, but it wouldn't be economical for me to rip it out (it's only 3 years old) and start again for the whole house. So I looked at way of deversivise from the gas boiler.
Originally I was going to go IR radiators in all areas of the extension, but was told by an estate agent that when I come to sell the house, not all buyers will like non-gas heating, so I hedge my bet and go with a mixture of gas, IR and underfloor heating.
In the new extension ground floor, I have underfloor heating. In part of the old house (but renovated) I ripped out the gas radiators and installed ceiling mounted IR radiator connected via a thermostat to control the temperature.
In the upstairs master bedroom its a mixture of gas central heating plus supplementary IR radiators. One close to the bed and one in the bathroom. These 2 are controlled by pull cords so they can be on/off independently as we wish, as the name suggests, their main function is to supplement the heating if needs arise.
After one winter using the IR radiators, our experiences are very positive. The one controlled via a thermostat works well, it comes on when it gets too cold, the warmth it gives is very gentle, no dryness as with a gas central heating or burnt smell from an electric heater. They say heat is pretty much spontaneous, but my experience would suggest 5 mins or so for the warmth to make any difference. However, the biggest plus is the one in the bedroom and the bathroom.
Say when the central heating has stopped, and we are still up in the bedroom, if it starts to get cold, we simply pull the pull cord and switch on the one near the bed and the whole area stays very toasty. The biggest bonus is the one in the bathroom, we all know that even with the central heating on, the bathroom can feel a bit cold coming out of the shower or bath, we simply switch on the one in the bathroom 5 mins before we have shower or bathroom, and every surface is lovely and warm.
Running costs wise, they are very good too. The one in the bedroom and bathroom are only 600w, so even with it on for the hour will only cost about 10p. The one downstairs is 900w, cost would be about 14p for the hour, since its control by a thermostat, it come on and off on it's own and in practice will cost less than that.
If you add a battery powered by solar panels and the IR radiators will pretty much run cost free.