Quartz heating is a type of radiant heating, commonly referred to as short wave infrared heating. Radiant heating uses infrared waves to directly heat the surfaces of objects. All objects emit and absorb infrared heat, which is part of the electromagnetic spectrum with a frequency below visible light. Hotter objects will radiate more of this heat. This is the basis of the technology for most quartz heaters.
Infrared heat was discovered in the early 19th century by William Herschel, who named the invisible light as ‘infrared’ because he believed it was ‘below the red light,’ as ‘infra’ in Latin translates to ‘below.’ This meant that Herschel discovered a form of light beyond red light in the electromagnetic spectrum and it marked the first time in history that someone showed there were types of light that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The very first quartz heaters used what is known as ‘near infrared’ or ‘short wave infrared’ which we call Solaira S-Wave which is closest to red in the light spectrum and able to contain large amounts of heat.
The principle of quartz heating (a type of radiant heating) is well-known and has been in use for many years. Electric infrared energy travels in straight lines from the heat source. This energy is directed into specific patterns by optically designed reflectors. Infrared, like light, travels outward from the heat source and diffuses over a distance.
Quartz heating works similar to the sun, travelling in parallel lines, even able to pass through the vacuum of space. This is why quartz heating is not affected by wind and able to directly heat people and objects. Quartz heaters are suitable for outdoor heating as well as indoor heating and due to their heat intensity, are also highly effective for space heating.
A quartz heater is a common type of infrared heater and the creation and subsequent release of heat from the heater is made by the heating element, enclosed in a quartz tube. The heating element produces heat at the necessary wavelength to create the appropriate level of intensity to heat the specific material required. The purpose of the quartz tube is to protect the heating element and also to stop the escape of convection heat.
The principle of quartz heating works with the heating element becoming very hot and the quartz tube experiencing a sudden build up of heat. When the quartz tube reaches the appropriate temperature, the heat is emitted out of the quartz tube. The wavelength of heat produced from this process has been acknowledged as ideal for the human body. The infrared heat is directly absorbed by the people and objects near the quartz heater and very little heat is absorbed by the air, due to the infrared spectrum being almost completely outside the absorption spectrum of air.
Solaira Emitter Lamps
Short wave high intensity quartz heaters work like sunshine, with no pre-heating time and are able to provide instantaneous heat, ideal for commercial, hospitality and outdoor heating. Short wave heaters warm people and objects within the beam rather than the air, resulting in a comfortable environment. ‘Near infrared’ is part of the infrared spectrum with shorter wavelengths, and is sometimes referred to as short wave infrared. The output from short wave heaters is virtually unaffected by the wind making the heaters ideal for patio and terrace heating, as well as heating the outdoor areas of bars and restaurants. Short wave heaters provide the best heat intensity required for space heating, and to heat indoor areas such as churches and industrial buildings. Quartz short wave heaters emit about 92% (greater then 85% after reflectors) of its energy as heat and with no pre-heating time, the short wave heaters are the most energy efficient type of heaters. This compares highly favorably versus the other types of heating such as gas, convection and fan heaters and it is this energy efficiency that results in the quartz short wave heaters being very economical to run, making the quartz heaters appropriate for commercial and domestic heating. Solaira S-Wave heaters are being utilized in thousands of commercial and residential applications around the Americas and world. Solaira offers a range of quartz short wave heaters, perfect for many heating applications. Solaira offers S-Wave heaters in both standard low glare and ultra low glare CANDEL series heaters in ALPHA, ICR, ICR INTEGRATED RECESS, XL, COSY and Malibu FORM FACTORS.
Medium Wave Heating
Medium wave quartz heaters are better suited for indoor heating and semi-enclosed environments such as enclosed outdoor restaurant and bar areas, residential conservatories and office and waiting areas in commercial buildings where a more gentle heat is required. These types of heaters typically take between 3 to 7 minutes to fully warm up. The radiant emitter (heat element) within medium wave heaters is usually a ceramic lamp. This emits a much lower level of glare than short wave heaters, making medium wave heaters suitable for areas where no light is wanted such as theatres and auditoriums. Although they do not provide a heat intensity that short wave heaters can fulfil, medium wave heaters also contain no glass, perfect for hospital and catering environments. Medium wave heat is less directional and is susceptible to air movement, thereby not being ideal or as effective as S-Wave for outdoor heating. The wavelength is inversely proportional to temperature. As the temperature goes up, the wavelength goes down. A medium wave filament only heats up to around 900º Celsius, making it suitable indoor comfort heating as well as for curing and drying processes rather than outside heating. Solaira offers ZIRO Series heaters of medium wave heaters for this application.
Long Wave Heating
Long wave heaters are usually used indoors and in catering environments, where a low level of heat is required and no glass is allowed. These heaters often take over 10 minutes to heat up. Ceramic plaque heaters fall between medium and long wave heat, heating up to around 500º Celsius. ‘Far infrared’ is part of the infrared spectrum with the longer wavelengths, and is sometimes referred to as long wave infrared. Long wave heaters are highly unsuitable for outdoor heating as the heat emitted is susceptible to air movement and is easily affected by the wind, thereby warming the air instead of penetrating through it and warming the person. Only 40% of the energy of a long wave heater is emitted as heat, and so 60% of its energy is used to heat the surrounding space, resulting in the long wave heaters being the least efficient type of infrared heaters. Solaira currently does not engineer products with long wave heating.