Infrared saunas, originally most common in Japan, have begun the transition to use in the United States. These saunas forgo steam as a heat transfer medium and instead use light waves beyond the spectrum of human sight to radiate heat directly into the human body. There are many medical benefits attributed to these saunas, but the most practical benefits include a faster heat-up cycle and fewer dangers of mildew or mold contamination.
Infrared radiation occupies a place in the light spectrum above which humans can see, but it carries heat the same way all light waves do. When the infrared waves hit objects, they are partially absorbed into the object, and the energy they had is passed onto the molecules of the object, making it hotter. This means that infrared heat can pass through air very easily and heats mostly what it comes in contact with, such as the human body.
Ceramic infrared heaters produce these light waves by using bio spectrum ceramic tubes to create the infrared waves. An electrical current is channeled between two ceramic electrode parts, and this current is transferred into a specific spectrum of light that is focused into the sauna. These parts are made of ceramic materials because they can withstand a large amount of heat. Other parts, such as a resistance coil, may also be included.
Carbon heaters use panels made of synthetic, composite carbon materials. These carbon panels are strong, light and can withstand temperatures as easily as ceramic versions. It converts electricity to energy throughout the panel and radiates it into the air the same way the ceramic rods work. Carbon is also highly resistance to water and corrosion.
Advantages to Ceramic Process
Ceramic heaters tend to charge more quickly and produce heat faster than carbon models. They are also simpler to repair or replace than the carbon versions, which tend to be more expensive. However, ceramic heaters cannot heat so wide a space as the carbon panels, since they only produce infrared light from their rods.
Advantages to Carbon Process
Carbon panels are a newer version of infrared heating and are much more efficient than the older ceramic models. They generally convert around 90 to 98 percent of their electricity into heat, saving on energy and offsetting the higher installation cost over the years. Since the panels cover more space and are easier to control, they produce more stable infrared patterns over a larger space.