A common problem with heating most shops, barns or similar buildings is that many are poorly insulated and/or have a very high air turnover ratio due to high ceilings, large overhead doors and generally drafty conditions. The solution? – gas infrared tube heaters.
Why infrared? What is infrared?
Infrared is just another term for radiant. Think of a stove, fireplace, oven or even our own sun. These sources all emit infrared (radiant) heat energy at the speed of light in a straight line. Upon striking objects (floors, people, machinery, animals, etc.) that energy converts to heat and warms the surrounding air. Think of the sun. The sun does not heat the air, the sun heats the earth’s surface and earth’s surface heats the air.
In a shop, barn or other wide-open interior space, infrared heaters are designed to produce safe, comfortable radiant heat to floors and objects in order to heat the surrounding air. Generally, infrared heaters are directed downward from the ceiling toward a target area below. For instance, in a horse barn infrared heaters can be directed toward a wash and grooming area or down a common walkway, between horse stalls or even in riding arenas. In an auto repair shop, heaters can be located over or near workbenches or between overhead doors.
What kind of infrared heaters are best suited for shop and barn environments?
We recommend gas infrared tube heaters. You’ll find a lot of information on the internet to help you learn what infrared can do for you. To find the best brands, type into your browser "best tube heaters" or "superior tube heaters". This should take you to a number of manufacturers’ sites where you can read about the products they offer and learn why gas infrared tube heaters are usually the best for heating farm buildings, shops, manufacturing facilities, aircraft hangars and other large open structures.
Why infrared tube heaters?
A few good reasons:
1. Infrared tube heaters emit soft, comfortable radiant heat energy without moving any air with no drafts. No blowing air can help prevent respiratory illnesses in both humans and animals.
2. General creature comfort is improved. Infrared heats the ground. Warm floors means warm bodies and feet.
3. Infrared, like light, can be directed at a target. For barns, this can mean the horse wash area, dry off areas, stalls, aisle ways, or wherever the need for heat is greatest. For shops, this can mean work areas and assembly lines.
4. Energy savings and efficiency. Infrared heaters can be strategically mounted to throw radiant energy where it is needed, rather than to empty spaces. This tactical approach to heating space can save a boatload of money in operational costs versus forced-air heating methods.
5. Infrared tube heaters are completely self contained. By drawing outside air into the burner at one end and venting products of combustion out the opposite end to the outside, the flame inside the heater is completely isolated from dusty and contaminated indoor air. This prolongs life of the heater.
6. Infrared feels natural. Just like standing in the sunshine, the soft heat energy creates a healthier and happier environment for people and animals.
What exactly is a tube heater?
A tube heater consists of a burner box, which includes control components much a gas valve, circuit board, safety switch, etc.) Extending horizontally from the burner is a long 4" diameter 16 gauge steel tube, anywhere from 10 to 70 feet in length. Positioned above is an aluminum parabolic reflector running over the length of the tube. When the burner comes on, a long flame shoots down the tube until it gets hot. The reflector ensures that heat energy that bounces out from the top portions of the tubing gets reflected downward to the floor area. The goal is to get all of that energy focussed downward.
A simple web search of infrared tube heaters will give you a good overview of the different tube heater brands and what they offer. Hint: not all brands are the same. For instance, one manufacturer has a 99.9% efficient reflector configuration – the best in the industry. Others range anywhere from 65% efficient (effective) to 95%. A superior reflector design can mean better heating efficiency and lower operating costs.
If you’re searching for a tube heating system, do a thorough online search first. Not all are alike. Some are simply better than others. As stated above, Google "superior tube heaters" or "best tube heaters". Look for the best warranty, best construction quality, best reflective efficiency, and best serviceability among all brands. Then, buy only from a company with a solid reputation in the infrared industry, a company capable of giving you the type of support that will merit your business. You should get a good price, of course, but make sure that whoever you buy from will be on hand to fulfill, guarantee and offer support to you down the road. We don’t recommend buying from large catalogue houses that sell thousands of unrelated items. They tend to be "order takers" only and you’ll find it nearly impossible to get design/application assistance or future service.