Making the most of storage heaters

/ Blocks of flats, Freeholders, Landlords, Leaseholders, News

Storage heaters, covered by your buildings insurance, have come a long way since Dimplex offered one of the first domestic storage heaters in 1961.

And while many of the old-style storage heaters dating back to the 60s and 70s may still be working perfectly well, they are often less cost efficient than more recent models and often don’t fit well into a working lifestyle.

There can be few things worse than leaving a toasty flat in the morning and then coming home after a long day’s work and commute to  find things beginning to cool down a little too much for your liking.

Newer storage heaters combine modern controlability with the benefits of using lower-cost time-of-use tariffs like Economy 7 or Economy 10. So, if you use electricity alone to heat your flat and are frustrated by the old heaters, it might be worth considering investing in an upgrade.

As a rule of thumb, more expensive storage heaters tend to be more efficient, and therefore will cost less to run, but you need to consider what’s right for each room and you can mix and match.

There’s no extra wiring, plumbing or flue gases to worry about and fitting these heaters should just be a case of fixing them to a wall. However, do check first with those responsible for the building’s management to ensure the walls will bear the weight (older heaters tend to be floor standing).

You also need to know if there is a requirement in the lease to seek formal permission for such fixtures.  It may seem a nuisance, but remember it’s the same rules that stops other residents doing potentially daft things to your building.

New generation storage radiators look like regular central heating radiators, and they give you absolute control of the temperature in each room at exactly the times you want it. Plus, they can heat up in minutes.

What storage heaters do

Storage heaters enable people to use cheaper off-peak electricity to heat their home during the day. Basic heaters store energy at night and then release heat automatically during the day, much like traditional, old storage heaters. They will continue running even if the room is already very warm, unless switched off manually.

Automatic models have a built-in thermostat which controls the amount of energy stored according to the room’s temperature.  For example, it’s already a lot warmer in summer and you don’t need to store as much heat energy as you would in a cold snap.  So, they don’t store heat energy that isn’t going to be needed which can reduce bills.

Combination storage heaters combine a storage heater and a traditional electric convection heater to provide a boost of warmth when needed.  Top of the range storage heaters are fan assisted, use less electricity and have more-sophisticated controls for setting customised heating programmes to suit individual lifestyles.

There’s no shortage of information available online or ask a registered electrician for recommendations.  Similar to the ‘Gas Safe Register’ for boiler engineers, the ‘Competent Person Electrical Register’ lists electricians who meet core technical standards required by the government.

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The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.