A Guide To Electric Storage Heaters

Electric storage heaters produce and store heat during off-peak electricity hours. This heat is then released via a fan-assisted system whenever room temperatures drop below a certain degree. Electricity-powered heat is a more environmentally friendly way to warm your home than gas. However, electricity tends to cost more than gas, which makes electricity unviable for some homes.

An electric heater (also known as a “night storage heater”) helps to make electricity more economical, by producing heat when it’s cheap and only releasing it when necessary. But, will this efficient heater work in your home? To answer the question of “How do electric storage heaters work?”, here’s all you need to know:

Table of Contents

What Are Electric Storage Heaters and How Do They Work?

Electric heaters look just like a radiator, except they’re not connected to a boiler or heat pump. Instead, these units are connected to your home’s electricity and contain electric heating elements which turn on during off-peak electricity hours. Throughout these off-peak hours, the heaters produce as much electricity as they can to create stored heat.

Heat-retaining materials are used to store the thermal energy produced by the electric heating elements. These materials can be found within close proximity to the heating elements. In most cases, they’re made of ceramic or clay bricks – or another material that features a high heat resistance and capacity. These materials absorb and contain the heat, ensuring that it is ready to use when needed.

The electric heater contains a thermostat. Once the room temperature drops below a certain point, the stored heat will be released into the room.

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How Much Do Electric Storage Heaters Cost to Run?

Despite running at off-peak times, electric heaters will likely cost you between £2 and £4 to run per day. While this may not sound like much, it can definitely add up – especially if you’re maintaining several heaters in several rooms.

This is mainly due to the current high cost of electricity. Hopefully, electricity prices will drop in the near future, which will allow energy-efficient heating solutions like electric heaters to become more cost-effective.

However, the price you pay to run an electric storage heater is also determined by the electricity tariff you’re on. If you switch to a more affordable one, electric heaters could end up saving you money on heating bills.

Cost of Installing an Electric Storage Heater

The cost of a single storage heater is only around £150 – £200. However, in order to provide heat for your home, you’ll require several storage heaters in several rooms. So, it will likely cost you well over £500 to kit your entire home out with heaters.

On top of this price, you’ll also have to pay for installation costs. To install several heaters in your house, it’ll likely take a few days. This will cost you around £700 – £1,600.

So, in total, the cost of installing night storage heaters in your home will cost upwards of £850.

Types of Storage Heaters

The different types of storage heaters include:

  • Night storage heaters – These heaters are designed only to charge up at night when they can create the maximum amount of heat at an off-peak electricity rate.
  • Automatic storage heaters – These are modern storage heaters that utilise thermostats and timers to ensure that heat is collected and released at the most appropriate times. Before, storage heaters had to be controlled manually.
  • Smart storage heaters – These are designed to take full advantage of Economy 7 and Economy 10 heating tariffs. If you have an Economy 7 tariff, you can switch on your storage heater for the seven hours in which you have cheaper heating. Likewise, if you have an Economy 10 tariff, you can switch on your smart storage heater for the 10 hours you have discounted electricity rates.
Electric Storage Heaters

Advantages of Storage Heaters

  • Even heat distribution: Modern storage heaters provide even heat throughout the day.
  • Economical and energy efficient: They do not burn any fossil fuels, like gas or oil, and can save you money on heating costs.
  • Low carbon emissions: Relative to gas boilers, storage heaters produce low carbon emissions.
  • Low maintenance: Storage heaters have a low breakdown risk.
  • Quiet operation: When in use, storage heaters make minimal noise.

How to Use Your Storage Heaters

To use your storage heating system, all you have to do is set the timer and desired room temperature.

Some smart heaters work automatically. They will determine the temperature of the room on a day-to-day basis and adjust the amount of heat they produce and release accordingly.

If you do not have a modern storage heater, you’ll have to adjust the input and output control buttons yourself. You can set how much heat you want it to store and release during the day.

Safety Tips When Using Storage Heaters

  • Do not obstruct the surface of your storage heater.
  • Ensure there are no curtains or other items positioned nearby that can accidentally fall on your storage heater.
  • If you have children or pets, put up a guard around the storage heater.

FAQs

If you work away from home for most of the day, you may not be able to enjoy the full benefits of a storage heater. These heating solutions are designed to store heat at night, not during the day.

Yes, night storage heaters can be turned on and off. Modern storage heaters can even be controlled via an app.

Conclusion

Night storage heaters can save you cash on your energy bills and can sufficiently heat your home this winter. However, make sure you have an affordable electricity tariff in place first, as these systems can be expensive to run when considering that the cost of electricity in the UK is currently higher than gas.