Week 1 – Storage Heaters vs Electric Radiators

When looking for your first home, you might have some be thingking about the usual things; how many bedrooms? Do I buy a flat or house? Does it have double glazing? What about a garden?

But have you ever considerd what heating system the property might have? It wasn’t something I’d considered until I’d found the perfect flat for me, which had everything I’d been looking for, except for one thing. Storage heaters. Having always lived in homes with central heating, I (and most people I knew) didn’t have any knowledge of storage heaters. I found out from the previous tenant that they’d been put in in 2011, but what did all this mean? I started researching my options.

One thing I didn’t need to look up online was how unattractive they were. Bulky, large and yellowing, I knew for sure that they weren’t going to fit in with what I had planned for the decor. It wasn’t until I started doing some real research that I realised they really weren’t the best fit for me and my needs.

 

Storage heaters work by using an economy 7 electricity tariff. They’re meant to utilise the electricity when it’s the cheapest (at night), storing it in the bricks within the radiator and releasing when needed. This type of electric heating system aims to keep running costs and energy bills low by avoiding use in peak electricity usage hours.

I knew that I’d only be in the flat in the evenings and weekends, so to store heat all night when I wouldn’t be needing it until 12 hours later didn’t seem the best option for someone with my lifestyle. I also read that the older the heaters were, the less efficient they become. Although only 8 years old, I knew that the efficiency of these old storage heaters would be suffering. The more I researched electric storage heaters and maybe upgrading to newer models, the more I was dissuaded against it. Not only were they not efficient, pricey to run and ugly but if I wanted to replace them, they were very expensive. Alternatives to night storage heaters seemed to be the only option.

First, I looked at central heating. The installation costs of a brand new central heating system and boiler would be extremely expensive and disruptive, and as this was my first property, I didn’t think I wanted to deal with major works immediately. Also, central heating would create a lot of pipes and holes etc that weren’t appealing. Therefore, I came to look at electric radiators as the best heating solution for me.

Apparently, replacing storage heaters with electric radiators isn’t a daunting job as obviously electricity points were already in place, making this a simple job for a qualified electrician. Electric radiators were also much cheaper than storage heaters and 100 times more attractive since they are available in modern slimline designs. As I had a relatively small flat, in total I’d only need 3 electric heaters and I knew there were a variety of sizes and designs that I’d be able to choose from. Modern electric radiators are a lot more energy efficient than past models and both this and my overall room temperature could even be controlled by my phone, which really appealed to me. I would have to change the function of economy 7 on my meter, but from what I’d read it would be simple and would help not only with energy saving overall, but also end up saving me money on my electricity bills.

So I’d made the decision to upgrade my storage heaters to modern electric radiators, but now I had to decide on the style, shape and size whilst trying to be as cost-effective as possible.