Infrared Heater Safety Guide (10 Tips For Safe Heating)

There are many questions when it comes to the different types of heaters that your household can withstand. Many are safe, while others have been known to explode due to incorrect usage or a malfunction.

However, in your research, you have found that infrared heaters are incredibly beneficial for many reasons, like warming an area of your home, eco-friendly and less costly, AND they are even good for your health, which is rare to find these days!

But the question you may be looking up today is, can infrared heaters be left unattended?

In general, infrared heaters are safe to leave unattended, especially electric ones. On the other hand, it is good to note that you should not leave gas-powered infrared heaters alone due to them possibly leaking gas. If you purchase these heaters, it is best to use an electric-powered one. 

If you wish to know all the safety tips on safe heating, you have come to the right place! Although infrared heaters are some of the safest, it is still important to remember all there is to know on the subject.

We will be going over tips for safe heating, if infrared heaters can spark a fire, and if these particular heaters produce carbon monoxide.

Can Infrared Heaters Be Left Unattended?

Going more into detail on the answer above, infrared heaters are very safe to leave unattended or overnight as you sleep. The only exception to this being is that of a gas-operated infrared radiator. Anything that has to deal with gas or propane must be taken into precaution, primarily due to the potential cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is also safe to note that infrared heaters do not emit gasses into the air, such as carbon monoxide, greenhouse gases, or other toxic gasses. Nevertheless, you can ensure only good things regarding infrared heaters. 

10 Tips For Safe Heating:

Every heater you contact will provide a list of safety precautions. It is essential to know what each one is to ensure both the product’s longevity and your safety. Since this article’s title is about ten crucial tips for heater safety, we will mainly focus on today.

Tip 1: Protect The Power Cord

Please ensure the power cord connected to the wall outlet will not be stretched across the room. Most fires happen because the power cord was damaged, which is essential to keeping your home protected. You must keep the line away from anything that will also give it a lot of wear and tear. 

Tip 2: Keep Animals & Small Children Away

Another way to ensure safety is to keep infrared heaters away from small children and animals. One of the downfalls of these heaters is getting extremely hot, especially when touching them. If you have a large family, we recommend getting a wall-mounted infrared heater, so they are out of arm’s reach. Another thing to keep in mind is getting a cool-to-touch exterior for further protection.

Tip 3: Clean The Area

Although infrared heaters are not known to catch on fire, keeping everything in the heater’s area clear is imperative. It is never safe to put anything on top of the radiator in itself or right next to it. Some homeowners think using these heaters as a dryer will be okay, but that is also never okay. However, these types of objects we are talking about include, but are not limited to:

  • Clothes
  • Drapes
  • Linens
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Wood objects
  • Any other flammable objects

Tip 4: Check The Smoke Alarm

Now and again, it is essential to check the smoker alarm to ensure it is working correctly just in case a fire were to occur, especially at nighttime while you are asleep. Infrared heaters should not be an issue when it comes to sleep, but you don’t want to be like me when my smoke alarm got confused every time my household took a shower or bath! I am a relatively new homeowner, but let me tell you, that was an atrocious week.

As a rule of thumb, push down on the middle button at least once a week and change the batteries twice a year. Knowing when you purchased and installed the smoke detectors is essential because they need to be switched out every ten years. Use a sharpie to mark the exact installation date for better preparation when you need a new one. 

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Tip 5: Look For Safety Features

Ensure that these heaters have safety features. There are two specific things to look for:

  • Tip-over protection: This will allow the heater to shut off if it falls over automatically.
  • Overheat protection: To guarantee the heater does not get overheated.

Tip 6: Ensure The Heater Is Safety Certified

Going moreover what we just talked about, make sure your infrared heater is certified by three prominent organizations. Let us talk about what each one is down below:

  • Underwriters Laboratory (UL): These are tests for the latest products and technologies that mark them safe worldwide. This company annually tests over 19000 different products, ranging from electronics, alarms, lasers, medical devices, robotics, and security equipment. 
  • Intertek (ETL): This company confirms that your product meets external and internal standards. It will give the product listed more credibility in whatever market they are portraying. In this case, portable heaters.
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA): Being a leader in testing, inspection, and certification worldwide, the CSA goes through social good, sustainability, and safety. They do these things worldwide, especially in countries like Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia. 

Tip 7: Use A Grounded Outlet

A grounded outlet can provide more safety to larger devices such as TVs and computers. A wall heater that produces 1500 watts is a part of this, especially when creating a higher power. You can ensure not to overload the grid with a grounded outlet and some surge protectors

Tip 8: Limit Long-time Exposure

Infrared heaters work very much like the sun. Although it does not produce UV rays and does NOT cause cancer (a huge mistake some homeowners make), long-term exposure may lead to burns due to how it heats objects and people instead of the generalized area.

So, although infrared heaters are perfectly safe to be left on overnight or while you are gone, it may not be the wisest decision to do so, especially if you are prone to burning efficiently. However, some people may want to keep it on, so it is to each their own will. 

Tip 9: Do Not Use The Heater In Damp Or Wet Areas

It is NEVER okay to use ANY heater in a damp area, primarily if they use electricity. This could cause an electrical shock and spark a fire. We want to avoid that at all costs, so please do not do this. 

Tip 10: Don’t Put It On A Countertop (Unless If The Manufacturer Says Otherwise)

Some infrared heaters can be wall-mounted; if this is the case, it is perfectly safe to leave these radiators on top of something. However, as a general rule of thumb, heaters should never be left on a countertop or anywhere that does not have a solid, flat surface. 

This is because the heater can tip over at any moment. If the infrared heater lacks tip-over protection, it could be hazardous. Dr. Infrared Space Heater is an excellent option because it provides a box-like style. These heaters are one of the best kinds to have, and we highly recommend them because it does its job as a heater, are eco-friendly, and do not make much noise.  

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Can Infrared Heaters Cause Fires?

As we learned a bit previously, infrared heaters do not use fossil fuels, such as propane or kerosene, which makes it to where these heaters will not emit pollution in the air such as carbon monoxide. They will not cause fires or explosions due to not being a flammable fuel source. 

This is another reason why they can be implanted on the walls. For a gas-based or electronically-based heater, if you leave them further than 3 feet from objects, it has the potential of causing a fire or outbursts.

There have been many stories of how homeowners used these heaters for the first time, whether in their garage or inside the home, and it has exploded due to being on the walls.

However, this is not the case for infrared radiators. Not only would they be safer away from children and animals, but they will add design within your home instead of something being in the corner of your house for 5-6+ months out of the year.

Are There Any Health Issues Involved?

There are no known causes of adverse side effects concerning health for infrared heaters. Infrared heaters work by giving off invisible light similar to the sun.

Because of this, the invisible light will absorb into our skin, clothes, and other objects nearby, which is how it gets warm in your home. These heaters will not cause any allergy issues, unlike other convection heaters with fans circulating the warm air through them. 

On top of this, infrared heaters have many health benefits. While doing this research, I was astonished by what I found and encouraged everyone to go out and get one for themselves!

A study back in 2018 mentions how infrared radiation has therapeutic properties to help nerve cells with wound healing, cancer treatments (despite the widespread belief that it causes cancer), and neural stimulation. 

This study mentioned that the healing effects include fluency, irradiance, pulsing, treatment timing and repetition, and wavelength combined to ensure it works properly.

If you were to go about doing this treatment, there are other things to consider. Make sure to do all of the research if you wish to take that route for any reason. 

How Long Can You Leave An Infrared Heater On?

Because infrared heating will wind up heating the space’s structure and specified correctly, it would be more effective to leave it on instead of turning it off. Simply put, you can leave it on however long you desire. 

Companies typically make infrared heaters with higher-quality materials, so they should last anywhere between 5-10 years. There are three types of infrared heaters, and we put together a graph for you to show how long each one would last:

Type of HeaterLife ExpectancyPrice Range
Carbon10,000 hours$75 to $220
Quartz20-60,000 hours$75 to $140
Heating panel100,000 hours$600 to $700

Where Should Infrared Heaters Be Placed?

You might get stumped when figuring out where to position your infrared heater. Should I put it in the corner, on the wall, ceiling, etc.? Overall, it may not be evident. However, there are three places you can position your infrared heater:

  1. On the ceiling
  2. On the walls, more specifically for picture infrared panels
  3. On the floor with a stand or freestanding.

You will want to figure out where you are in the home most of the time so you can transfer the heat over to you. Where is that within your home on those nights you wish to cuddle up on the couch or chair?

If you are using a thermostat timer, what time of the day will you be in these rooms? These are all things to take into consideration.

The most important thing to remember is that the heater should be in front of you instead of the walls right behind your head. 

In a typical living area, two panels would be better to cover the seating positions of at least two people and the whole area. We will provide some examples of where the placement should go down below:

  • Living room: If you are going to spend a few hours on the sofa watching a movie or are on the computer for a few hours looking over emails, it would be wise to place the heater on the wall where the heater can transfer directly to you on the sofa or desk. 
  • Bedroom: It would be better to place an infrared heater on the opposite wall of your bed or to the side instead of directly behind you. This allows the heater to come across the whole bed to warm you up. 

It would not be the wisest decision to place the heater too high up on walls except if you have a specific reason for it, like heating office areas. Going just above midway to match a person’s height would be an ideal option.

Unless left in direct contact, these heaters should not burn the skin. Overall, the panels should heat up to about 90 degrees, so you can ensure it will not get too hot. 

Two Main Types Of Infrared Heaters

Two main types of infrared heaters are essential to know about. One is a radiant or high-intensity infrared heater, and the other is a radiant tube heater. A radiant heater is used for homes, while a luminous or high-intensity radiator is designed for a commercial-based property.

  • Luminous heaters have many names, such as spot heaters, radiant heaters, ceramic heaters, and box heaters. These surfaces can reach temperatures as high as 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Their high polished reflectors allow the warm degrees to go wherever it is needed. 
  • Radiant tube heaters are much different. These work to just heat objects only as opposed to a massive area. The exchanger can go up to 1350 degrees Fahrenheit, which creates infrared energy. The energy then goes to the floor by the reflectors, and the surrounding people and objects absorb heat. 

Conclusion

To summarize everything in a nutshell, can infrared heaters be safely left unattended? The answer is quite simple, yes they can. You can leave them running 24/7 if you so desire so your household does not wind up feeling cold when you are not home. Not only are they safe to leave on, but they are excellent radiators for your health, which you do not find many of these days.

Overall, we are confident that you have decided whether or not you will be purchasing infrared heaters, and we wish you the best of luck with effectively heating your home! 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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