ELECTRIC STORAGE HEATERS
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What are storage heaters?
Storage Heaters are a form of electric convection heating. The heaters contain a storage element (or storage bricks) which are heated up overnight and then release the heat gradually throughout the following day.
Electric Storage Heaters operate on a dual tariff electricity meter such as Economy 7 or Economy 10. These tariffs have the advantage of using cheaper off-peak rates of electric during the night, when the demand for electric is lower.
Storage Heaters are designed to be a cheap heating system because they use the off-peak tariff, not because they use less electricity. In reality, older storage heaters actually require more electricity than standard electric convector heaters, due to their relative inefficiency.
Figure 1: Photograph of an old style storage heater. These tend to be relative inefficient and expensive to run.
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Figure 2: Photograph of a modern style storage heater – they are a lot more efficient and cheaper to run.
Modern storage heaters
Storage Heater technology has improved a lot, since they were first introduced in the 1960s. Since 2018 all new electric heaters have thermostats, programmable timers, temperature controls and fans to help disseminate the heat.
They can also be purchased with remote wi-fi controls and open window detectors. High heat-retention storage heaters can retain more heat - up to 45% more than traditional models for up to 24 hours after they were last charged.
All of this technology means that modern storage heaters are a lot more efficient than the traditional style of storage heater, are cheaper to run and will mean that you’re less likely to be cold by evening time.
What are the advantages of storage heaters?
Storage heaters are relatively easy to install as they do not require the plumbing or pipework that is associated with a conventional heating system. Therefore they are relatively cheap to install and are maintenance-free.
As they use off-peak tariffs, they have traditionally been cheaper to run than other electric convection heating methods. Storage heaters can also be used in conjunction with renewable systems such as Solar PV and Wind turbines, and be charged for free whenever a surplus amount of electricity is being generated.
Although electric storage heaters will never be efficient as a gas or oil boiler, they are a good solution for some smaller properties such as flats where central heating cannot be installed.
What are the disadvantages of storage heaters?
One of the main problems is that Storage Heaters are relatively inefficient. It is impossible for a storage heater to store 100% of the heat generated. Therefore, they are required to store more heat than is actually required for the next day. This means that although electric convection heating is 100% efficient, storage heaters need to use more electricity than standard convectors.
Also, electricity prices tend to be, on average, around three times higher than gas prices per unit of energy, which means that any type of electric storage heater will be relatively expensive to run.
Another problem is associated with time and temperature control. As the electricity is stored for the next day’s heating requirement, there may not be enough warmth if the weather is exceptionally cold and not enough heat has been stored; or conversely if too much heat has been stored and the weather it very warm then it can be make your home uncomfortable.
We are able to obtain funding for Electric Storage Heaters for some properties. Alternatively, if you would prefer to have a Central Heating System installed (eg using Mains Gas, LPG or Oil) then we may be also able to obtain funding to help towards this.
An energy assessment will need to be carried out on your property to establish whether it is suitable and to calculate how much funding may be available. This funding is based upon how much carbon dioxide will be saved by installing replacement storage heaters or a central heating system. The amount of funding varies and is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please contact us on 0330 223 0333 to arrange a free, no-obligation survey of your property, or alternatively you can enter your details on our contact page and one of our energy advisors will contact you.