Fall Home Show: Infrared heating can cut costs

  • Wed Sep 26th, 2012 8:07pm
  • Life

By Ashley Stewart Herald Writer

For years, Jim Youngsman, 74, used the same infrared heating method that now warms his home to nurture the plants at his former business, Skagit Gardens.

Youngsman, of Whidbey Island, said that his company’s heating systems mimic the sun.

His company, Comfort Glow Heating, will be at this weekend’s home show ready to inform customers about this alternative heating system.

The Skagit Gardens greenhouses were warmed with forced air unit heaters until a nighttime gas leak from cracked heat exchangers killed $35,000 worth of plant material, Youngsman said.

That’s when he began to research alternative heating systems and discovered infrared heating.

After making the switch, Youngsman said that the plants responded very well, the air was quiet and that he reduced his energy cost by 62 percent.

Today, he owns Comfort Glow Heating, which sells the same infrared heating system that he used in his greenhouses.

Comfort Glow distributes Enerjoy Infrared Radiant Heaters, made up of 1-inch-thick panels that come in sections up to 8 feet in length and are heated by electricity. Each panel radiates enough heat for an area 10 times its size and reaches the temperature signaled by a thermostat within 12 minutes.

“It’s not so intense that you feel uncomfortable,” he said. “You’re hardly aware you’re being warmed.”

Enerjoy panels heat a home the same way the sun heats the Earth, Youngsman said. Using infrared energy, panels heat objects in the room, such as the floor and furniture, with a low-intensity that doesn’t require the boost of a fan.

And they don’t cause air to circulate, which Youngsman said is especially beneficial for people with asthma or allergies.

“Allergens stay put and you end up with quieter, safer, healthier and more efficient home,” he said.

The owners of Skagit Gardens, who bought the company 14 years ago, save about $400,000 in energy costs each year among their 14 acres of greenhouses because of the system, Youngsman said.

Youngman said he uses the panels in his 6,000-square-foot home and that he saves about $235 each month compared with his previous heating costs

In a study by the National Association of Home Builders, researchers outfitted a house with three different heating systems and ran each in alternating weeks.

When they measured the electricity consumption for each system, they found that the infrared energy system used 52 percent less energy than a baseboard heating system and 33 percent less than a heat pump system.

Enerjoy heaters, including the thermostat, cost about $4.50 per square foot of the area that is to be heated, with additional charges for wiring and installation.

Comfort Glow Heating

360-424-3789, www.comfortglowheating.com

Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; astewart@heraldnet.com.