Computer-controlled infrared heating – dispelling the myths

The end of 2020 saw a flurry of heating activity from the government to help spur the UK’s net zero transition, including the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the long-awaited Energy White Paper.

A core area of focus is how to tackle the huge challenge of decarbonising the UK’s heating sector, particularly against ambitious targets to move away from fossil fuel systems. While the anticipated Heat and Buildings Strategy, which is due at some point in Q1 this year, will hopefully put some more detail around how this will be achieved, interest is growing around low-carbon technologies, such as computer-controlled infrared (CCIR) heating, as one of the solutions to help with the transition.

As with any new and innovative technology, we often get asked questions about how much it costs to install, and whether it does really use less energy than other technologies.

So, we thought we’d dispel the top five myths we encounter around CCIR heating systems to demonstrate why they have an important role to play in the low-carbon transition.

Myth One: It is not as cost-effective as a traditional system

At the end of 2020, concerns were raised by the Environmental Audit Committee that the proposed roll out of low-carbon heating technologies, such as air source heat pumps (ASHPs) could be hampered by the high cost of electricity i.e. it would not be as affordable as gas systems.

While this may potentially be an issue that ASHPs will need to overcome, it is not necessarily the case with CCIR, as our technology uses significantly less energy than traditional systems without compromising on performance.

In a recent independent assessment to review the performance of CCIR against both traditional convection heating technologies and ASHPs, the technology was shown to provide the same levels of comfort within a room, using 60% less energy than a standard electric convection system and 3% less than air source heat pumps. This reduced consumption rate means that carbon emissions are also more than 60% lower than traditional systems.

Ambion is also compatible with flexible time of use tariffs, as energy is drawn at a steady rate, 24/7, so its usage doesn’t spike during expensive morning and evening peak periods like traditional heating systems. This makes it a very cost-effective option for flexi tariff customers in particular, as they can save up to 25% of the cost of each unit of energy they use.

Taken together, this means CCIR is as cheap to operate as conventional gas central heating.

Myth Two: It cost more to install

Ambion’s system actually costs less to install and run than many other low-carbon heating alternatives. It’s up to 40% cheaper to install than ASHPs – for example, in a typical three-bedroomed house, the estimated capital cost of installing one of Ambion’s systems is around £6,000, compared to nearly £10,500 for an ASHP.

Myth Three: CCIR is only suitable for off-grid properties

While CCIR is naturally a good fit for those properties that aren’t connected to the central grid system, it is suitable for all properties.

Ambion’s heating systems are suitable for any type of residential property, from new-build houses that will need to comply with the Future Homes Standard by 2025 (or potentially earlier), to retrofitting older properties. They can also easily be installed in apartment buildings and social housing properties, providing cost-effective, low-carbon, comfortable heat.

It is also suitable for a wide range of commercial and public sector installations, helping organisations to reduce their energy consumption.

Myth Four: It is difficult to install

CCIR systems are easy to install, whether they’re being retrofitted into an existing building or installed within a new build, because they simply need wiring into the mains by an electrician, rather than plumbing in. CCIR also has no moving parts and requires no annual maintenance, so reduces the administrative burden that comes with some heating systems.

Myth Five: Traditional systems provide greater comfort

One of the key benefits of CCIR is that it provides greater levels of comfort to the end user than traditional systems. This is because it provides a natural, ‘radiant’ heat that feels like standing in direct sunlight, as it warms the materials in the room rather than the air.

CCIR also reduces humidity, which helps to remove damp and condensation from buildings, as well as improving the air quality within a building, as unlike conventional central heating, it’s not reliant on circulating heated air. This reduces the amount of circulating dust, which will be particularly beneficial for those with asthma or allergies.

The path to a low-carbon heating future

As we have said many times, the future of heating is low-carbon, so change needs to happen now. This is why time should also be taken to investigate all the low-carbon heating alternatives – such as CCIR – to ensure a full understanding of the benefits these new and successful technologies bring.

To find out more about how computer-controlled infrared heating could benefit you, our team is on hand to help – just email us at or call us on 0333 188 0633.