Storage Heater Systems can save energy and money
Have my neighbours done this?
What is it?
A heater that stores the heat overnight when electricity is cheap
What will it save me?
Night time is less than half the cost of daytime electricity
How do I get it?
You need to have an off-peak electricity tariff and get an electrical contractor to install them
What does it cost?
An individual storage heater could cost around £500 fitted (2013)
What are the technical details?
Storage heaters may have been fitted if there is no gas available, but if gas can be provided it may be better to replace the storage heaters with a gas fired boiler system. If not, then upgrade to fan assisted storage heaters with automatic control.
Storage heaters use the less expensive off-peak electricity to heat thermal blocks inside each heater over night. Some of the heat will escape from the heater case, providing a degree of background heating, but most is released through convection from an adjustable grill at the top.
Heaters usually have 2 controls, one to set how much electricity is used over night to heat the store and the other to adjust how much heat is allowed to escape by convection. These need continual manual setting to ensure that electricity isn't wasted but there is enough heat available when needed.
Modern storage heaters can now have more automatic controls which judge the overnight requirements using an external thermostat and have an internal thermostat to control the room temperature.
The most efficient and effective heaters are fan assisted to provide controllable convection and have a boost facility if more heat is needed to top-up in the evening. However, these need two separate electrical supplies, one for on-peak and one for off-peak.
For this type of heating system, hot water is normally provided by a direct hot water cylinder. In this case twin immersion heaters are usually fitted in a larger than average cylinder. The lower immersion heater will use cheaper off-peak electricity to heat the whole cylinder overnight with the upper immersion heater providing a top up from on-peak electricity if needed. The cylinder should be factory insulated with 80mm foam.