Most of us know that how we choose to heat our homes & offices can have a big impact on the environment. But fewer of us realise that our choice of heating can affect our own health. In this article we take a look at some of the factors that link heating & health.
We spend around 90% of our time indoors (1) so the quality of air we breathe when indoors is of direct relevance to our health. There are a range of factors that adversely affect Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), but one of the main ones is airborne particles - like diesel and petrol exhaust fumes and dust.
Minimise Airborne Particles
These airborne particles are a particular concern for those with environment-triggered conditions such as asthma. It is estimated that 5.4 million people (around 8% of the UK population) have asthma (2) and 20% struggle with allergies (3).
It might not be immediately apparent but the most common forms of heating can increase the impact that these airborne particles have on peoples' health.
That is because most domestic heating (e.g. radiators, storage heaters) relies on convection to distribute heat throughout a room. The problem with convention is that it stirs up dust and other airborne particles - all of which can make asthma and other bronchial problems worse.
Unlike convection heaters, infrared heating products do not generate air currents that can increase dust circulation. Instead they heat objects and people not the air around them. It is the same way that heat from the sun heats us.
Reduce Mould and Condensation
As well as avoiding stirring up dust, infrared heating can help to reduce problems like mould and humidity. It does this because it penetrates walls and continues to heat them even after the heating is switched off. In effect, infrared heat dries out walls from the inside. Eliminating mould and condensation can improve or maintain air quality for those with allergies or breathing problems.
Avoid harmful gases
Another source of concern for Indoor Air Quality is harmful gases. Any gas or wood-fueled heating will generate a cocktail of gases which can adversely affect human health.
For example, EU-funded Danish research found that indoor pollution while using a new Scandinavian eco-labelled stove increased to over 160,000 particles per cubic centimetre. This corresponds to four times the load measured on the busiest road in Copenhagen (4).
Given the potential for harm, it is important that wood and gas-fueled systems are well maintained. You can also help reduce exposure to harmful gases and particles by buying a wood burning stove that meets the European Ecodesign directive on air pollution and particulate emissions.
By contrast, Infrared heating emits no pollutants and is considered so safe that it is the heating of choice in many baby incubators.
Another, lesser-known health benefit of infrared is the way that our body interacts with it. When the body absorbs infrared heat it increases blood circulation, enhances the immune system and reduces joint pain and inflammation, the same effects as being in a sauna.
If you are interested in infrared for your home or commercial property, take a look at our range of infrared panel heaters.
View the Tansun Iridium Infrared Heat Panel range.
All Tansun products are made in the UK and are designed using premium components. We have been established for 35 years and pioneered the concept of infrared electric heaters alongside Philips technology. We have the largest range of commercial, industrial and domestic infrared heaters in the world, providing maintenance-free, safe and healthy infrared heaters for many different types of heating applications.
(1) Indoor Air Quality Infographic, Andatech Distribution
(2) Asthma facts and statistics, Asthma UK
(3) Allergy UK
(4) Emission Sources, Clean Heat EU