Electric heating is one of the most expensive heating systems currently available, with electricity being the most expensive and carbon-intensive fuel available in the UK. The preference to anyone currently using storage heaters would be to have a boiler or heat pump installed with a central heating system (radiators) or under floor heating installed. This would cost a considerable amount to install but would save a lot of money in the long term on running costs.
You could switch to a conventional gas boiler with a radiator system or if you don’t have a gas supply you could consider an oil boiler. Alternatively you could switch to a renewable heating system such as an Air Source Heat Pump or wood boiler. This would cost more than a conventional boiler to install but would give better savings over its lifetime.
If you decide that none of these options are for you and you are keeping your electric heaters it may be beneficial for you to upgrade your heaters. There is however some benefits to using storage heaters for your heating; it is usually cheaper to install storage heaters than a central heating system. There is next to no maintenance on storage heaters, unlike gas heating which needs an annual service and electricity is available everywhere in the UK unlike gas.
Upgrading your electric storage heaters
If installing a whole new central heating system is not for you then the best option may be to install new heaters with improved control’s and better heat retention. New storage heaters can be pricey at times but are still a lot cheaper to install than a new central heating system.
Fan-assisted storage heaters
The new fan-assisted slim line storage heaters are much more efficient now than ever before. The modern fan assisted heaters are better insulated meaning they store heat more efficiently that can be used when you need it. Not leaking out heat constantly heating the room throughout the day. You can control the heat output better than the older systems to heat up the room faster or keep it cool if you are not using it. Prices on this type of storage heater vary considerably so please get in touch for a quotation.
Modern controllers on storage heaters allow you to set the target temperature using a thermostat and once that temperature has been reached the heater will switch off. Heaters with automatic charge controllers will control the amount of heat stored overnight depending on internal thermostats as well as changes in daily weather patterns.
Celect-type controls monitor the heaters in every room and control the amount of heat stored or released in different rooms automatically.
High heat retention storage heaters
This type of storage heater can store more heat than most other models. Meaning that less heat is wasted through the day and more heat is readily available when it is needed. This type of storage heater will usually come with the Celect-type controls.
How to use your storage heater controls efficiently
Storage heaters work by using the cheaper off peak electricity at night to charge up and store heat and then release the heat during the day when the electricity is more expensive. There are ways of using your storage heaters as effectively as possible to reduce the running costs.
Standard storage heaters have 2 controls. Firstly, Output which controls the amount of heat given out (as long as there is stored heat available). Secondly, Input which controls the amount of electricity used at night meaning how much heat is stored for the next day.
The best way to understand this is that the output dial is to control how much heat you want now, whereas the input dial controls how much heat you want tomorrow. If you are running out of heat in the evenings or the nights are getting colder you may need to turn up the input dial for the heater to store more heat for the next day. If your storage heaters are never running out of heat and are on all evening until you go to bed its best to do the opposite and turn the input dial down as the heater is storing more heat than you need therefore wasting electricity.
Another way to save on electricity is to turn the output dial to zero when you go out or if you go to bed, this will save you heating unused/empty rooms. The dial can be set to zero about an hour before going to bed as the rooms and heaters will take a while to cool down.
When it is summer and you do not need to use the heaters, turn them off at the wall, not just on the dials. This will ensure that they are not being used. Remember though that when you want to use them again you will need to turn them, back on the day before to store the heat over night before the heating can come back on.
Room thermostats are used to keep a room at a chosen (comfortable) temperature, Just like central heating room thermostats. When the air around the thermostat cools down and dips below the requested temperature the heaters kick in and bring the room back up to temperature.
Thermostats need free flowing air around them to work properly and should not be covered or blocked by furniture or curtains. They should also not be placed too close to the source of heat as this will make the thermostat think the room is warmer than it actually is.
To keep running costs down your room thermostat should be set to the lowest comfortable temperature, generally between 18-21 degrees.
Electric Water Heating
The hot water for your home is stored in a cylinder; the thermostat prevents the water getting hotter than required. When the water reaches a chosen level the thermostat will switch off the immersion element to stop heating the water. Cylinder thermostats are usually fitted between a quarter and a third of the way up the cylinder. They will have temperature scale markings to set the temperature with. We would usually advise to set these to 60 or 65 Degrees.
You may have a separate time switch which will let you heat the amount of water you want at the right time for you. Using a time switch you can take advantage of economy 7/10 tarrifs. Using one of these tariffs and setting your timer to heat the water at night will save you money on electricity. If you can set your water to only heat up when you need it and you have a well-insulated hot water tank the water will stay hot for longer and save you money.
Most electric water heating systems will have a boost switch that is connected to a boost element. The booster element is a smaller heating element usually at the top of the tank which is connected to a boost switch. This should be used to heat small amounts of water during the day if needed using the more expensive peak time electricity rates.