How Does An Infrared Oven Work? 7 Questions And Answers

Infrared ovens are truly multipurpose appliances. Just how does an infrared oven work you might wonder ever so briefly…? Lets take a quick tour.
The best infrared ovens heat food by the heat created by energy waves, they are faster and more efficient than conventional cooking methods. Also, as the heat comes from a light source, infrared ovens can do much more than cook.

They are useful appliances we know can bake and pre-heat foods. I bet you didn’t know this tho. Not only that, in addition, these ovens are also capable of other things.

What Infrared Ovens Can Do:

  • curing
  • bonding
  • fusing
  • shrinking
  • laminating
  • burning off
  • thermal forming of various kinds of materials

However, because they can reach extreme temperatures, an infrared oven must be used in the correct application to be effective. Before you start to seriously consider adding one to your home, office or workshop, do some homework. In an attempt at providing you with additional information to assist with the decision, here is a list of seven common questions – with answers – about infrared ovens.

1 – Can An Infrared Oven Perform Better With Little Or No Air?

The fact that infrared energy is not absorbed by air makes this an interesting question. How an infrared cooker works is what makes infrared energy so efficient. The object being cooked absorbs the energy and has to do this before the high frequency energy waves can be converted into heat.

So, as an example of how does an infrared oven work, if you were cooking a roast the moisture inside the meat would absorb the infrared energy and the friction caused by the molecules in the food vibrating at a high speed creates the heat that in turn cooks the roast. If the roast was in a vacuum and infrared waves were aimed at it, the fact that there would be no air present would not change how the meat would cook. Infrared waves are not absorbed or scattered by air.

2 – Can An Infrared Oven Cook Anything Other Than A Flat Surface?

A flat surface can be heated effectively and quickly with an infrared oven. However, most items you would place in one would be complex three-dimensional shapes like a roast. These shapes are also effectively heated in an infrared oven.

Remember, the moisture inside food absorbs the high frequency energy waves and that is what triggers the cooking action from molecules vibrating at a high rate of speed. As long as the infrared waves can be absorbed by whatever you place in the oven, heat will be produced. Air convection used in many infrared oven designs ensures thorough cooking by moving heated air around the object being cooked.

This method is extremely effective and efficient if the oven is being used to dry an object rather than cook it. Also, with infrared oven styles that incorporate different heating zones, this allows for curing and other uses beyond just cooking.

3 – Is There Color Sensitivity To Short Wave Infrared Energy?

The easy answer is that medium and long waves are less sensitive to color. With that out of the way, less than 5-percent of the infrared energy that is sent from a short wave emitter falls into the area of the light spectrum that would be visible. This is measured from a 4,000 degree F short wave emitter.

To compare, when the emitter is at 3,600 degrees F the percentage of energy waves that would fall into the visible light spectrum would be less than 3-percent. Another way to look at it is measuring the temperature difference between a black object and a white object in an infrared oven. The difference should be not much more than 10 or 15 degrees F which is another way of saying the level of color sensitivity to short wave energy waves is minor.

4 – Can The Oven Operator Be Harmed By Infrared Radiation?

The easy way to look at this is by comparing the use of an infrared oven to that of a microwave oven. You can use a microwave oven and stand in front of it and as long as the oven is working properly, have no health effects whatsoever. The same can be said about infrared and ultraviolet radiation.

How does infrared heat work?

The infrared ovens heat food by utilizing reflectors and shields to improve both the efficiency and safety of the appliance. However, it is recommended that you do not spend a lot of time looking at the high intensity infrared emitters when they are in use. This is particularly a caution to take if you are viewing them from distances of less than 15 feet.

5 – Convection Or Infrared, Which Oven Costs More?

How do infrared ovens work: should I choose infrared or convection…? There are several variables to properly answer this question. The retail cost of purchasing an infrared oven will be comparable to that of a convection oven with several models costing less. What may be confusing to some consumers is that an infrared oven in the same price range of a convection oven will be smaller.

The difference in size will present a saving on retail cost related to materials used and the cost to manufacture. However, components in the design of an infrared oven will be more expensive – the electric infrared emitter will cost more than a gas burner as an example. The difference that consumers will probably note most is the cost to operate an infrared oven compared to a convection oven.

As the infrared energy can be controlled, it is more efficient in doing the job it was designed to do. This means it will use less energy overall which translates to a saving on the average consumer utility bill compared to any other cooking appliance. In looking at how an infrared cooker works, I concluded they are considerably less expensive to run than your usual cooking appliances.

You may also like to look at the 5, top rated infrared ceramic cooktops which are portable and simple to use for instant heat. When you need an extra cooktop anywhere, these are the solution.

6 – What Are The Differences In Operating Costs Between An Infrared Or Convection Oven?

As mentioned at the end of the previous question, operating costs will differ between cooking appliances.

How does infrared heat work?

As an infrared oven is more efficient in delivering energy than a convection oven, it will cook faster and use less energy overall in doing so. According to the Electric Power Research Institute, the Center for Materials Fabrication and the Infrared Equipment Association, infrared electric ovens are three times more efficient than convection ovens powered by gas.

Again, for the consumer, the actual saving would be indicated in utility bills where the actual energy used would be recorded as the comparison between gas and kilowatt hour costs of energy. A significant difference can be noted from the speed with which some infrared emitters operate. Some provide an almost instant response which results in virtually no warm up time required for some food. This in itself uses far less energy than the time required for convection or conventional ovens to heat up to temperature to achieve the same results.

7 – Which Requires The Most Maintenance, Convection Or Infrared Cookers?

In taking a look into how do infrared ovens work, I wanted to know just what kind of maintenance would be required. As would be the case with any kind of appliance, proper regular maintenance would be required to keep it operating efficiently. With infrared ovens this would include examination and replacement of emitters and reflectors when needed. Cleaning of the interior of the oven would also keep it operating smoothly.

Convection ovens required the same kind of maintenance with attention placed on cleaning the burner, oven and flue for proper draft. Although a convection oven may not require inspection and cleaning as much as an infrared oven can, it is always a good practice to get into the habit of cleaning your oven after each use. Build up of any kind on any part of convection or infrared oven will have an effect on how they operate.

Infrared grills are a great way to BBQ your food outdoors with a minimum of mess

How Does An Infrared Oven Work Concluding Thoughts….

Infrared cookers have many advantages over convection ovens. If you are seriously considering investing in one the benefits must match your plans for use. Infrared ovens save time and use less energy. They are also available in smaller designs if space is a concern.

Infrared ovens can have their heat zoned so you can process multiple items at a time or use one for reasons other than cooking or baking. These are reasons to consider adding an infrared oven to your appliance collection. I hope you enjoyed my brief overview of how does an infrared oven work:)



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