- The principle of operation of film heaters
- Advantages and disadvantages of film systems relative to IR spot heaters
- Types of film heaters: ceiling and floor
- Ceiling film heaters
- Floor-standing film heaters
- Conditions for the most efficient functioning of the heating system
- Calculating savings from the use of IR film heaters
- General guidelines for installing infrared film
In this article, we will consider the principle of operation of infrared film heaters, the main advantages, types of equipment, and also calculate the savings from their use. Let’s get acquainted with the general recommendations for the correct installation of the system.
Science knows only three ways of transferring heat between its source and consumer – heat transfer, convection and radiation. The functioning of traditional heating systems is based largely on the first two methods. In relatively recently appeared radiant devices, a third method of heat transfer is used – infrared radiation, which all living organisms feel as heat.
The principle of operation of film heaters
The principle of infrared heating is to transfer heat energy by means of a radiator to objects (furniture, floors, walls, etc.), which accumulate it, and then gradually release this heat into the environment, warming up the heated space. Thus, the air is not heated by the infrared emitter, but by the heat accumulated by the surfaces present in the room. This heating method allows you to heat the room extremely evenly, use energy rationally and significantly increase the efficiency of the heater..
Film IR systems are resistive heating elements mounted on foil. The device is laminated with durable film on both sides. Their thickness is only 1.5 mm. When installed, the panels are connected in parallel to the power supplied to them from the central control unit. This creates a heating circuit controlled by a temperature sensor. When power is applied to the heating elements, they heat up and begin to emit IR waves with a length of 10–15 µm. When the desired temperature is reached, the system power is automatically turned off.
Advantages and disadvantages of film systems relative to IR spot heaters
There are different types of infrared heating devices. The most popular among them are spot heaters and film heaters. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to figure out which system to prefer. In general, they are very similar. They use the same heating principle, have an equal energy consumption, and even the thermostats in these devices are installed similar. However, each design has its own advantages..
Film heaters can often be completely hidden, so they are invisible in the interior, while point heaters resembling fluorescent lamps in their appearance require a certain reference to the decor of the room. Such devices can be installed anywhere in the room. Easily mounted to the ceiling using brackets and just as easy to dismantle. Problems with the installation of spot heaters can only arise when mounted on a stretch ceiling, since it is difficult to install the brackets. However, in this case, it is also better not to use film systems: the relatively high temperature of the heater surface can deform the coating.
Infrared films are usually mounted over a large area, so they warm up the room more evenly. Spot heaters heat up the room with “fragments” and if the devices are installed incorrectly, such thermal drops will be very noticeable. However, this property allows you to exhibit a kind of “thermal curtains” in the room. For example, spot heaters can be placed over windows to cut off warm air leaks. Infrared film heaters, with all their advantages, are inferior to IR heaters in availability, since they are significantly more expensive.
Types of film heaters: ceiling and floor
IR films can be applied to any suitable surface. Their installation is practiced on the ceiling, floor and, less often, on the wall. Let’s make a reservation right away that the wall-mounted version is the least effective. This is due to the fact that the heated air rises strictly upward, therefore, the “working area” of the device will be significantly limited. Such systems are not suitable as the main heating. But they are good for additional heating of cool areas of the room..
The most common are floor and ceiling heaters. Basically, the same type of IR film can be mounted both on the floor and on the ceiling. Therefore, the advantages of both systems are similar:
- Durability and reliability. The structure has no wearing or moving parts and does not need a heating medium. Conductors soldered inside the film can serve indefinitely.
- Profitability. The energy consumption for infrared heating is on average 20-30% less than that of other heating equipment that runs on electricity. The cost of such heating is comparable to a gas system. At the same time, installation costs are much lower, and operating costs are practically zero, since no additional maintenance is required.
- Easy installation and compact placement. The equipment does not spoil the appearance of the room and does not take up useful space. It fits entirely either under the ceiling or under the floor.
- Favorable effect on humans. The distribution of heat in space is optimal for the body. Air humidity and the amount of oxygen during the operation of the equipment are completely preserved.
- The system is automated. At the same time, it is possible to regulate the temperature in each room separately, which makes it possible to obtain additional cost savings.
- Damage to fragments of the heating coating does not disable the entire system.
Ceiling film heaters
Ceiling mounted infrared film works as follows. The heat rays that the heater emits are directed downward. They are absorbed by the floor or other large objects standing on it, and accumulate on these surfaces. The heated floor begins to give off heat. According to the laws of physics, it rises up. Thus, the temperature at the floor is maximum. At the level of the human head, it is already 1–2 ° C lower. It is this heat distribution that doctors consider the best for the body..
The system, unlike convection ones, does not depend on air movement, therefore it warms up the room as evenly as possible. Ceiling heaters can be installed under almost any cover. The only exception is stretch ceilings. The infrared film heats up during operation, this heat can deform the ceiling fabric, so it is better not to install tension structures. However, if you really want to, you can mount an additional protective layer of drywall, and then install the decor you like.
The undoubted advantage of ceiling heaters is the lower risk of accidental damage. However, if the system is installed in an apartment building, where leaks from the upper floors are possible, it can be considered quite vulnerable. It seems to some that the installation of the ceiling film is more complicated – it is not. Technically, it is no different from installing equipment on any other surface. Perhaps only more uncomfortable.
The disadvantages of placing a heating film on the ceiling usually include an undesirable thermal effect on household appliances. If this is not scary for the floor and even furniture, then it may be unsafe for a TV, computer and other equipment. In addition, the height of the room determines the energy consumption for heating. The best option is a ceiling that does not exceed 3.5 m.Otherwise, heating costs increase sharply, since more powerful equipment has to be installed.
Floor-standing film heaters
A film heater installed under the floor covering works as follows. The floor covering first accumulates thermal energy and then releases it into the air. It turns out that both the floor and ceiling heaters heat the floor. Therefore, the uniformity of heating and the distribution of temperatures in the heated space are approximately the same. The advantage of floor heaters is the absence of thermal effects on furniture, household appliances, etc..
Heating films can be installed under any finish floor covering. In some cases, they are placed under the screed. In the rest, it is recommended to mount a kind of protective coating over the system. It is necessary because the film, on which an insufficiently strong coating is laid, can be easily damaged by heavy furniture, sharp objects, etc. In addition, it must be borne in mind that in the areas under the permanently located overall furniture, massive household appliances, etc. the film will overheat and later fail. Therefore, it is better not to lay it in such areas..
Conditions for the most efficient functioning of the heating system
The heating system will function with the greatest efficiency only if properly installed. During installation, the following conditions must be met:
- Carrying out thorough thermal insulation of windows, doors and walls in the room in which the infrared equipment will be mounted.
- The area covered with foil should be 70–80% of the ceiling or floor area. This will be sufficient if the IR heater is selected as the primary heat source. If the film acts as additional heating, its coverage should be about 40%.
- The power of the current allocated for heating must be sufficient for the functioning of the system. If it is not enough, a load distribution unit should be installed, which allows you to turn on heating in different circuits alternately.
- Competent choice of the height of the thermostat mounting. If the heater is installed under the floor, the device is installed at a distance of 10-15 cm from the floor, for ceiling equipment the element rises to a height of about 1.7 m.
- When installing the film on the ceiling, the height of the room should not exceed 3.6 m.Otherwise, the radiation from the standard film will not reach the floor, scattering in the air.
- When laying the IR heater, it is recommended to use a special foil backing that directs the beams towards the heated space. This way you can reduce heat loss..
Calculating savings from the use of IR film heaters
To understand how effective the use of IR film heaters is, you can calculate the cost of arranging this type of heating. We will carry out calculations for a house with an area of 100 sq. m, where the ceiling height is 2.7 m.We will take an IR-film system as the main heating.
We calculate the amount of film required for the building. Since this will be the main heating, we will need 80% of the total area, that is, 80 sq. m of material. The cost of a heating film differs depending on the type of product, power, manufacturer, etc. On average, it is 1000 rubles. per square meter. Thus, the cost of the film will be about 80,000 rubles..
For installation, you will need a substrate – 120 rubles per sq. m, that is, another 9600 rubles. In addition, you will definitely need thermostats. On average, one device is needed for 15 sq. m area. We will need 6 devices worth about 2,500 rubles. a piece.
To summarize: we will spend 80,000 + 9600 + 15,000 = 104,600 rubles on materials. If the installation will be done independently, we will add to this about 10% for consumables such as scotch tape, butyl tape, etc. If the installation is carried out by invited specialists, it is necessary to add the cost of their work, at least 350 rubles. per sq. m.
How much will the system cost? She does not require maintenance, so no costs are foreseen for this item. Let us consider what constitutes the energy consumption of film heaters. For a building of 100 sq. m will have to take IR equipment with a capacity of about 6.5 kW. Let’s assume that the heating works continuously for a month. A thermostat that monitors the temperature in the house starts the heating for a maximum of 20 minutes. In one hour. The rest of the time, the process of heat exchange takes place. Thus, the real energy consumption will be about 30%, that is, 1404 kW / h.
The resulting value is the average monthly heating season. Considering that there are seven such months in a year, we get 9828 kWh. Let’s take the weighted average cost of electricity in Russia, 2.2 rubles. for 1 kW and we get 22014 rubles. in year. It is clear that the amount will vary depending on the duration and intensity of the heating season and the cost of electricity.
When comparing the costs of infrared heating and other systems, it should be borne in mind that the service life of the film is practically unlimited, moreover, it can be dismantled and laid in a new place. Thus, there is no need to plan for costly repairs or replacement of the system..
General guidelines for installing infrared film
Installation of heaters should be carried out only on a dry, flat surface without sharp protrusions, otherwise the film may be damaged. The blade is cut only in specially designed areas, which are marked by the manufacturer on the surface of the material. Otherwise, the heater may be damaged. It is forbidden to lengthen, disassemble, expose the infrared film to mechanical damage or to influence various aggressive environments. It is also not recommended to connect power to a rolled-up heater.
The film is laid in strips no more than 8 meters long. The distance between the panels is at least 0.5 cm. The material must not be bent at an angle of more than 90 °. The panels are fastened only with a construction stapler or special fasteners. The brackets are installed on transparent pieces intended for fastenings. Use of nails and screws is strictly prohibited. Do not install the film at high humidity and negative temperatures.
The installation process takes place in three stages. If you wish, you can do them yourself. It is recommended to strictly follow the instructions for infrared film equipment. In general terms, the work is carried out as follows.
Installing a reflective screen. For styling, penofol, foil insulation or other foil material is used. The canvases are mounted on a flat, pre-prepared surface. The strips are laid with an overlap of 2–3 cm and securely glued with foil tape.
We lay out the heating elements. The film is laid on the base. If necessary, it is cut into strips of the desired length. The cuts of the contact rails must be insulated with special mastic. If you want to unfold the panel, it is cut and rotated at the desired angle. The film heater is fixed to the base with a stapler or special fasteners. Some of the terminals are located on the current-carrying area outside, and the other inside the film. The assembled clamps are fixed with pliers or a special tool. For safety reasons, manufacturers of IR heaters advise that only the manufacturer’s terminals be used..
We connect the system. The wires coming from the heater panels are connected in parallel to the main line. It is best to put them in a cable channel or hide them under a baseboard.
We mount the thermostat. In case of a small heated area, we connect the device “burst” or through a magnetic contactor in the case of a large room. We bring supply lines from the switchboard, we connect. We test the system.