Differences Between Heating Systems

Water-based Heating Systems

The main difference between an infrared heating and a conventional, convection-based, heating system is the way of heat distribution. While in the case of infrared heating everything is heated except the air, the exact opposite is the case with conventional systems. The radiator heats up the ambient air, the air rises up to the ceiling, steadily decreases in temperature on its way to the opposite wall, sinking down to the ground and finally returning to the radiator. This temperature gradient leads to air circulation in the room, which heats the entire air inside the room. This circulation is called convection. However, this known and widely used system also has some disadvantages, which are not known to the majority:

Indoor Climate

The humidity changes by heating the air. The result is a very dry and unpleasant air. The consequences are the drying out of skin and mucous membranes, which are reflected in symptoms such as dryness of the eyes and throat.

Dust Swirls

In order to improve the efficiency of a convection heating system, radiators have an optimized construction (with slats) to accelerate the air more strongly and thus facilitate the formation of air circulation. With speeds of up to 3bft at the radiator,  large amounts of dust particles are also swirled up and distributed throughout the room.

House Dust Allergy

The air circulation not only distributes the dust itself, but also the faeces of the house dust mites living in the room. That is why people with house dust allergies have major problems, especially during the heating season.


Warm air can absorb more moisture and store it than cold. A water bottle taken out of the refrigerator in summer will be covered with water drops within a very short time. The reason for this is the condensation of the water contained in the air. Water always condenses at the coldest point in the room. Usually these are windows and walls in the room.


The combination of warm air and moisture, i.e. on a wall, is the ideal basis for the mold growth. Black mold spores are naturally contained in the air and are distributed throughout the room by the air circulation.

Air Stratification

Rising warm air and sinking cold air creates air layers with different temperatures. This effect is known as "warm head, cold feet" and is perceived as uncomfortable.


A relatively large effort is required to heat the room air (combustion of a fuel carrier, heating of water, transport from water to the radiator). However, a pleasant room climate must be ventilated regularly, which means that a large amount of energy is quickly lost.

Heating System Inertia

Since the sun is lower in winter than in the summer, it can easily heat up the rooms. To avoid overheating and a waste of energy, the radiator should be switched off as quickly as possible. However, a radiator usually continues to heat up to 30 min after switching off, while it takes about 10 min to return to temperature. This delayed reaction time is due to the inertia of this system, since water is a very good heat accumulator and only releases heat slowly. Considering this behavior over an entire heating period, large amounts of energy are wasted by the inertia of this heating system.

Maintenance & Repair

Conventional heating systems require annual maintenance to replace clogged filters, etc. as well as a visit of the chimney sweep. Moreover, additional repair cost can occur resulting in annual maintenance costs.


Furthermore, conventional heating systems consist of many components, complex circuits and require a considerable expenditure in installation.


Electric Heaters

Electric Floor Heating


The principle of electric floor heating is simple: A copper wire is laid under the flooring, similar to a water-based underfloor heating system with pipes. When voltage is applied the copper wire heats up extremely and thus its surroundings. However, this heating method is inefficient, since the hot wire must first bring all interstices to temperature before a noticeable temperature increase occurs. Moreover, this technique is very energy-intensive.





Night Storage Heater


In this heating system a storage medium is heated up with inexpensive "night electricity" (low tariff electricity) and give off its heat, usually by fans, to the individual rooms. Since this method is also inefficient and uneconomical, a ban on this heating method is always a topic in politics.





Infrared Heating South Africa | 7441 Sunningdale | Cape Town

Mail: info@infrared-heating-sa.com