26 June 2013
Storage heaters have been around for many years, but have they got any better?¯¨
Heat retaining clay bricks, elements and insulation are the key to storage heaters. When the elements are switched on the bricks heat up. This is called “charging” the heater. One of the advantages of Storage heaters is that they charge up at a time of off-peak electricity. Then the insulation keeps most of the heat within the box.
Off-peak electricity was introduced in October 1978 and over 6 million houses in the UK now support this off-peak plan or in layman's terms economy 7. Economy 7 is a tariff that charges a significantly less rate at night or, between the times of 11pm – 8am which is beneficial to people who work during the day.
The advantage of Storage heaters is that they can work with this tariff, so if you charge the heater during the night and you are off during the day then you can effectively trick the tariff. Although storage heaters are insulated, some heat can leak out, resulting in it not being possible to stop a heater giving off heat once it has been charged. However, as with all heating systems, you will get the most out of your storage heaters if your home is well insulated.
Pros and Cons of storage heaters
Can be very stylish. Each heater is a standalone unit (if 1 fails the others still work)No boiler required. No oil tank required or gas supplyCheap to install, compared to central heating. Very cheap to maintain (compared to servicing a boiler)Reliable if left switched off for long periods of time
May need to rewire the property and have a dual tariff meter installed (day/night meter)Some people struggle to understand how they operate. They may be a fire risk if people dry clothes on them.
Storage heaters come in many shapes and sizes and some more attractive than others. Understanding how the heaters work and which tariff is best for your home will potentially save you money in the long run.