Should You Turn Storage Heaters Off During the Day? A Guide to Efficient Use
Storage heaters are a popular choice for heating homes, especially in areas with colder climates. They work by storing thermal energy during the night, when electricity rates are usually lower, and then releasing this heat during the day. A common question among users is: "Should you turn storage heaters off during the day?"
This guide will answer this question and provide simple, effective tips on how to use storage heaters efficiently. Understanding the best practices for operating these heaters can keep your home comfortably warm and help reduce energy costs.
What is an electric storage heater? How does it work?
Electric storage heaters are a popular kind of electric heating and are second only to gas and oil boilers. Often called night storage heaters, they are designed to work with special electricity tariffs that usually offer cheaper electricity at night. This feature makes them a cost-effective option for heating.
In the UK, some people might have a different meter setup that allows storage heaters to charge during afternoon or evening periods, not just overnight.
Older Storage Heater Models
Older models of storage heaters come with two main controls: an input dial and an output dial. The input dial manages how much electricity is used for heating, while the output dial regulates how much of this stored heat is released.
Input Dial: This dial controls how much electricity the heater absorbs and stores. When you turn up the input dial, the heater uses more electricity to heat up during its charging period, usually at night.
This is useful in colder weather when you anticipate needing more heat. Conversely, turning down the input reduces electricity and is suitable for milder days.
Output Dial: The output dial regulates the release of the stored heat. A higher setting on this dial means the heater releases heat faster, making the room warmer. This is particularly useful during the coldest parts of the day.
Lowering the output dial results in a slower release of heat, maintaining a more consistent temperature over a longer period or saving stored heat for later when needed.
Boost: Some storage heaters come with an optional boost feature. This should be used only when you have used up all the stored heat, as it can be costly. The boost function draws electricity at the current rate, which may be higher, especially if you are on a tariff like Economy 7 that offers cheaper rates during off-peak hours.
Using the boost option sparingly is best to avoid high electricity bills. Ideally, reserve it for freezing weather when the stored heat is insufficient to keep your space warm.
Modern Heat Storage Models
Modern storage heaters have been upgraded to be more automatic. They come equipped with thermostats that let you set your preferred room temperature. Once set, the heater regulates the input and output automatically.
Following the new regulations introduced in 2018, many models now include features like insulated casings to retain heat better and fans to maintain a consistent room temperature. These improvements are not only eco-friendly but also help in saving energy.
Advanced models of these heaters are now smarter, with intelligent charging systems that calculate and store the right amount of heat needed.
Some can connect to your home’s WiFi, allowing you to control them remotely via a smartphone or other devices. Some models can automatically detect and react to changes in room temperature, adjusting their heating output to match.
Should you turn the storage heater off during the day?
Deciding whether to turn off storage heaters during the day depends on several factors, including your daily routine, the specific heating needs of your home, and the type of storage heater you have.
Daily Routine and Heating Needs: If your home is empty during the day, turning off the heater or setting it to a lower output might be more energy-efficient. This way, you are not using energy to heat a space. However, if someone is home during the day or certain rooms need to be warm throughout, it might be better to keep the heater on.
Type of Storage Heater: Modern storage heaters often have better insulation and controls. They can retain heat for extended periods, making it unnecessary to turn them off during the day. Older models lose heat faster, so adjusting the output is more effective than turning them off entirely.
Temperature Maintenance: Some people prefer to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day, which can be more comfortable and prevent dampness or cold-related issues. Keeping the storage heater on at a lower setting might be beneficial.
In summary, whether you should turn off your storage heater during the day depends on your personal needs and the capabilities of your heater. It is a balance between comfort, energy efficiency, and cost.
How to use storage heaters efficiently?
Using storage heaters efficiently can help maintain a comfortable home while decreasing energy costs. Here are some effective tips:
Understand Your Tariff: Know when your electricity rates are lowest (usually at night). Ensure your heater charges are lower during these off-peak hours to take advantage of lower rates.
Adjust Input According to Weather: Increase the input level to store more heat on colder days. On milder days, reduce it to save on electricity costs.
Use Output Control Wisely: Keep the output low if you are out during the day or don't need much heat, and increase it when you need more warmth. This helps in conserving stored heat for when it is most needed.
Avoid Overuse of Boost Function: Use the boost function sparingly as it uses electricity at peak rates. Reserve it for extra cold periods or when the stored heat runs out.
Proper Insulation: Ensure your home is well insulated. This helps retain the heat, reducing the need to heat the space constantly.
Regular Maintenance: Keep your storage heaters well-maintained to ensure they operate efficiently. This includes cleaning and checking for any needed repairs.
Use Timers and Thermostats: If your heater has these features, use them to automate heating times and maintain a consistent temperature, which can be more energy-efficient.
Zone Your Heating: If possible, heat only the areas of your home that are in use. Shut doors to unused rooms to keep the heat where it is needed.
Understand Your Heater's Features: Familiarize yourself with your storage heater's features and controls to use it effectively.
Monitor Your Usage: Monitor your electricity bills to understand your usage patterns and adjust your heating habits accordingly.
Implementing these tips can lead to more efficient use of storage heaters, providing comfort while optimizing energy consumption.
Benefits of installing electric storage heaters in your home
Here are some benefits of electric storage heaters:
Cost-Effective with Certain Tariffs: If you're on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, storage heaters are beneficial as they utilize off-peak electricity rates, helping you save money.
Easy Installation: Compared to other wall heaters or central heating systems, storage heaters are relatively easy to install.
Low Maintenance and Durable: They typically require minimal servicing or replacement and can last many years, making them a convenient choice.
Ideal for Homes without Central Heating: Storage heaters offer a practical heating solution if your home doesn’t have central heating.
Environmentally Friendly: Using electricity, particularly from renewable or low-carbon sources, can be more eco-friendly than using gas. This makes storage heaters a good choice for environmentally conscious households.
In conclusion, storage heaters offer an efficient and cost-effective heating solution, especially for homes without access to mains gas or those on specific electricity tariffs.
With features like easy installation, low maintenance, and environmental benefits, they are an excellent choice for many, balancing comfort with energy efficiency.