Replacing storage heaters: what are the alternatives?

Posted in: Energy and Heating
An old electric storage heater

There are many homes across the UK that still rely on old, outdated storage heaters to provide heat. Many of these storage heaters fall short of recent energy efficiency legislation and are now not legally allowed to be installed in new-build homes. A lot of old storage heaters also contain asbestos which means that upgrading to something more modern would be beneficial for your health as well as your finances.

How storage heaters work

Storage heaters (or 'heat banks' as they are known in some parts of the world) usually contain ceramic bricks that store thermal energy during the night in order to heat homes during the day. In theory this makes sense as electricity is cheaper at night than it is during the day, particularly so for those on 'Economy 7' electricity tariffs. However, in practise, many old storage heaters often provide too much heat in the morning and not enough in the evening, which is usually when you need heat the most.

Since 2018, all manufacturers of storage heaters must include an electronic thermostat with a 24/7 timer and the ability to detect an open window. This has helped to make modern storage heaters much more economical and efficient, but there are still a large number out there that don't have this energy-saving technology and are therefore quite an expensive way to heat a home.

Reasons to upgrade your storage heaters

Old-school storage heaters were once a very useful and popular way of heating homes that were not connected to the mains gas supply. Those days have long since passed, however, and there are better forms of electric heating available to you.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to change your old storage heaters:

Cold evenings

As mentioned previously, because storage heaters are designed to use electricity during the night so the ceramic bricks can release heat during the day, you'll often find that your not getting heat when you most need it. A home heated by storage heaters is often very warm when you wake up in the morning and much too cold during the evening.

In two-storey homes, the heat will quickly rise to the top and will often escape out of roof and/or walls. Many homes that have old storage heaters are also not well-insulated, which compounds the problem of heat loss and can often make electricity bills higher.

Lack of functionality

Though modern storage heaters must be built with timers included, a large amount of the old style ones don't have this functionality. As storage heaters require a bit of forward-planning to ensure they're providing heat for the following day, users must remember to switch them on manually rather than relying on technology to do it automatically. Such organisation around your home heating is simply not practical and doesn't allow for quick reactions to sudden drops in temperature or a need for extra heat.

Bulky and awkward

Storage heaters are very heavy pieces of equipment and also need to be quite large to emit the amount of needed to adequately warm the room. It's recommended that furniture is not placed in front of them so that the heat can circulate around the room and they also project out quite a distance from the wall. This means that they take up quite a lot of space and limit where you can put furniture and the way you can arrange your room.

Install electric radiators as an alternative

An anthracite DQ Vela electric radiator

Electric radiators are a heating choice many people make when replacing storage heaters in their homes. There are a huge variety of electric radiators in a wide range of styles, sizes and heat outputs, giving you much more choice than with old, clunky storage heaters.

Some of the mains reasons to upgrade to electric radiators are:

Increased heating control

With electric radiators, there's no need to check the weather for the next day and try and set your storage heater to heat up in anticipation. All modern electric radiators come with precise thermostats and timers, allowing you to get the exact temperature you want in each of the rooms in your home, without needing to do much planning in advance. The rooms in your home can be warm when you need them to be, without relying on what action you've taken the day before.

Quicker temperature increase

All electric radiators contain an element that converts electricity to heat. This is a much faster and more efficient way of getting your required temperature than the thermal energy build-up and release of a storage heater's ceramic bricks. If the weather suddenly gets worse and the temperature plummets, you can react quickly with electric radiators and get your home back to a comfortable temperature. You'll find that electric radiators provide an even temperature as and when needed throughout the day, rather than the uneven heat distribution problem that comes with storage heaters.

Lower electricity costs

Most homes that contain storage heaters are on a special electricity tariff known as Economy 7. This means the electricity you use during the night is much cheaper than the electricity used during the day. However, the negatives associated with only being able to store heat during the night and the high cost of using electricity during the day, often makes the Economy 7 tariff a bit redundant and a waste of money. Switching to a standard tariff and be able to use electric radiators exactly when you need them often works out cheaper, as well as making living conditions more comfortable. Electric radiators are much more energy efficient than storage heaters, needing less electricity to heat the room, so switching to a standard electricity tariff normally makes much more financial sense.

Wider choice of designs

You're pretty limited when it comes to storage heaters, but with electric radiators the sky's the limit in terms of design choice. Whereas storage heaters take up a lot of room, electric radiators are much more slimline, even coming in vertical orientation allowing you to make use of upward space if horizontal space is at a premium.

Radiator manufacturer's have made huge strides in recent years with electric radiator design and you can get anything from Victorian cast iron radiators, to copper column radiators, to chrome heated towel rails, all able to run off the mains electricity supply.

Electric radiators provide a real alternative to those not able to install a gas-fired boiler and conventional hot water system. Electric rads have become the go-to choice for those seeking to remove their old, inefficient storage heaters and have a more flexible, style and economical method of heating their homes.

Electric Radiators at TradeRadiators.com

Here at Trade Radiators, we have a large selection of electric radiators in stock and are prices you won’t find anywhere else.  Our range promises simple but effective heaters that will match the décor in any room. With excellent efficiency as well as high BTU outputs, our electric radiators allow you to get the best of both worlds. Our electric heaters only require a plug outlet, so you can have it installed in a flash. Once it is installed, it does not require a large amount of maintenance due to their incredible standard of robustness and the premium materials used in their construction.

Shop the range and see which electric heating option is right for you.

Electric radiators range at Trade Radiators

View All Our Electric Radiators

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20 July 2021