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How Much Space Will an Infrared Heater Heat?

Posted on Dec 1st, 2011

One of the most common questions we get from potential infrared heater customers is, "How many square feet will it handle?" If there was an easy, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we would gladly give it. In heating, however, as with many other things, one size simply doesn't fit all, and a general answer may or may not apply accurately to your situation.

The first thing to understand is that an infrared heater such as the SolarFlare is not a primary heat source, i.e., it is not a replacement for a central heating system. Rather, it is a supplemental heat source that will help keep a large area warm, and allow you to leave your whole-house thermostat on a lower setting. With that established, the next question is, just how large an area are we talking about?

Many variables, working together, affect the answer to this question. A room with only interior walls, for instance, is much easier to keep warm than a room with two or three exterior-facing walls. A well-insulated room holds heat better than a poorly insulated one such as a garage. A room with a low ceiling contains a smaller cubic volume of air and is therefore easier to heat than a room with cathedral ceilings. The presence of partitions and doors also makes a big difference in the way warm air is distributed throughout the room. A 1000 square foot open area, for example - such as a living / dining room or a finished basement - would be much easier to heat with an infrared heater than a 500 square foot area divided into three rooms.

Our experience is that, under ideal conditions, the SolarFlare can provide effective supplemental heat for an open area up to 1000 square feet. We have seen ads and websites by other manufacturers claiming that their heater will handle up to 1500 square feet, but it's important to understand that virtually all heaters of this type use the same basic technology and put out the same amount of heat. Some manufacturers are more conservative than others with their estimates, but they are all completely subjective, rather like estimating how large a room a certain lamp will light.

In short, if you're shopping for infrared heaters, don't compare the square footage estimates. Look at the power consumption first; this is usually 1500 watts, but smaller ones are available, and are generally only useful for very small rooms. Then, look at the quality of the product, and where and how it was made. We feel sure you won't find anything close to the beauty and durability of the SolarFlare - the only affordable infrared heater still made in America.

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