Radiant Electric Heating Panels in HealthcareIn healthcare, there are many challenging applications where optimal patient comfort and best care practice must be addressed in the various clinical settings within a facility. Radiant electric heat (REH) panels have been proposed numerous times by clinicians as a solution to many of these challenges. However, most products on the market lack the necessary radiant effect, material construction, temperature management controls, and adaptability to address the numerous applications in today’s healthcare facilities. Why use radiant electric heat rather than other forms of primary or supplementary HVAC systems?
How Radiant Heating WorksRadiant heating systems have a direct effect on bodies and objects and do not use air as a medium for transfer. Think of how the sun warms us; when you step outside on a cool, clear day you can feel the direct effect of radiant heat as you face the sun. However, there is also the indirect effect of the earth’s absorption and reradiation of this heat energy, which raises the temperature of the air around us. It is not the sun’s radiant energy that directly heats our atmosphere to a livable state, but rather the energy heating an object, the earth, and the reradiated energy from this object that heats the environment we inhabit. Exactly the property that makes radiant electric heat an ideal solution to a significant variety of healthcare applications.
Direct and Individual Temperature ControlRadiant energy heats the body directly using an amazingly effective and expeditious process. It is this property that makes radiant heat so effective in many healthcare scenarios. You not only heat individual patients to desired comfort levels, or attain optimal clinical outcomes, you also have individual room heating control with substantially less turbulence than highly heated air and a turbulent mixing ventilation system (also known as a TMV system). In one study posted by The National Center for Biotechnology Information in partnership with the United States National Library of Medicine, it was proven that unidirectional displacement airflow, or UDF, is an effective ventilation system that reduces airborne bacterial burden under real clinical conditions by more than 90%1. By incorporating radiant heat that does not rely on air for delivery, you effectively reduce the disruption and mixing of the desired airflow caused by TMV systems. Not only is this a deterrent to airborne bacterial burden, it can also assist in removing viral pathogens such as COVID-19, reducing the risk of infection.
REH for Patient Temperature ManagementPutting whole room applications aside, let us concentrate on the wider healthcare applications where we focus comfort directly on individual patient temperature management, and not solely on the space around them. For these applications, sufficient radiant intensity is needed to reach the patient and provide optimal comfort and/or clinical outcomes regardless of room temperature or airflows. Unfortunately, hydronic systems can neither produce the necessary intensity nor provide the zone-ability for this application—and neither can nearly all of the zone-able electric radiant panels that use resistance wire or aluminum ribbon filament to produce heat and utilize poorly emitting, thin aluminum surfaces. These electric panels have a maximum surface temperature of just over 240°F and an average surface temperature of under 220°F. They heat up slowly and cool down rapidly, causing temperature fluctuations that reduce effectiveness and efficiency.
CeramiCircuit for Demanding Healthcare ApplicationsRadiant Electric Heat offers the only viable solution for the demanding applications in healthcare. Their industry-unique and proprietary CeramiCircuitTM element provides a 52% greater downward radiant output than any other competing radiant panel. This higher output provides essential direct source-to-body heat without using air as the vehicle of transfer. The heat is clean as is the process that creates it. The combination of a carbon steel core, porcelain surface, and aluminum oxide resistive trace allows REH panels to quickly produce heat when turned on, and to continue emitting heat while powered down when the thermostat cycles off. This continued release of heat energy from the carbon steel core and highly emissive porcelain surface creates a very even warming effect on the patient, maximizing comfort by eliminating temperature fluctuations typical of competing units as they cycle. CeramiCircuitTM panels also provide infinite zone-ability and control options to support almost any application and increase system flexibility and effectiveness. CeramiCircuit Radiant Electric Heating Panels can be utilized in many areas of a healthcare facility including:
- Recovery Room
- Trauma Room
- Heat Loss in the Operating Room
- Burn Unit
- Geriatric Care
- Emergency Entrance and Waiting Area
- Bathing and Bathrooms
- Registration Desk
- Any Space Needing Supplemental Heat
Conventional methods of heating and cooling increase air circulation but contribute to poor indoor air quality. However, supplementing or replacing a traditional HVAC system with a radiant heating system can improve indoor air quality and decrease the risk of airborne infection.
Electricity plays a major role in the push for dependence on renewable energy and the development of net zero energy buildings. Radiant heating systems are electrically powered and nullify the need for traditional energy sources. They are instrumental to adaptation and renewable sources of energy.
VRF system HVAC is considered the top-of-the-line setup for electric heating and cooling—until the temperature drops. Cold climates impair VRF system functionality. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to boost the performance of VRF systems in commercial buildings and other structures.