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Storage Heaters: A Simple Guide

Heating is an essential component to any home, especially during the winter months when temperatures have a tendency to drop incredibly low. So if you’re thinking of replacing your current heating system, need to know how to get the most out of your storage heaters, or are considering storage heaters for a property you are renovating, then our 'Storage Heaters: a simple guide' is well worth a read. Make sure you make the right decision to suit you, your lifestyle and your property.

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What Is A Storage Heater And How Does It Work?

Storage heaters are essentially electric heaters which are designed to store heat using electricity during off peak hours when rates are at their cheapest (usually during the night). They then release the heat during the day as, and when, required.

By simply using electricity at its cheapest rate to heat electric elements inside the heater which then in turn heat ‘heat banks’ (which are usually composed of clay bricks or other ceramic materials of a very high density which absorb and retain heat well) storage heaters are able to store enough heat to heat your home during the day and through the night. By using state of the art insulation materials, storage heaters are able to store as much heat as possible for as long as possible.

Are There Different Types Of Storage Heaters Available?

The answer is yes. There are four different types of storage heaters available on the market, all of which work in different ways, have different pros and cons, and vary in price. Take a look at this brief overview of each to help you chose the right one to suit your needs and budget:

The Manual Heater

Manual heaters offer value for money being the cheapest range available. However they are often used incorrectly due to confusion over the controls resulting in insufficient heat being available when needed. To ensure you use yours correctly, be sure to read the manual provided with your heater carefully. Usually manual heaters have two controls – Input and output. The input control monitors the amount of heat stored and the output control allows you to monitor or adjust the rate at which the heat is released.

The Automatic Heater

Automatic storage heating devices can measure the temperature in a room in order to release only the necessary amount of heat; in essence making them smart heaters. Due to its ability to adapt to its environment, this style of storage heater can help to save up to 15% on your energy bills compared to other storage heaters. 

The Combination Heater

Great for heating larger rooms, combination heaters feature a convector heater enabling a greater amount of heat to be produced. Essentially two heaters in one, the combination heater is great for regulating room temperature. With modern combination heaters having two level safety systems stopping them from overheating, these are a safe and popular option. 

The Fan Assisted Heater

Although fan assisted storage heaters are the most expensive style of storage heater to purchase, they are well worth the investment. Considered to be the most energy saving storage heater available, fan assisted heaters do not automatically release the heat they have stored during the night in the morning. The special fan integrated in to their design enables the heat to be dispensed at the most convenient or needed time for you. With thicker insulation these heaters have greater heat retention than any other storage heater and are perfect for the home or office as the fan is incredibly quiet.

What Are The Advantages Of Storage Heaters?

  • Installing storage heaters is far easier and cheaper than installing the gas boilers, piping and radiators required for gas central heating. This is a particularly strong advantage if you are renovating an old property without existing central heating.
  • They are virtually maintenance free helping to keep running costs low
  • They enable you to utilize electricity when at its cheapest rate helping to reduce electricity bills

 What Are The Disadvantages Of Storage Heaters?

  • Most storage heaters will release the heat they have stored during the night the next day, even if it is not needed.
  • Many users do not understand the input and output controls on their storage heaters  resulting in limited effectiveness
  • They can often be fairly heavy and bulky taking up more wall space than gas radiators
  • Selecting the right size heater can be a tricky task. If you choose one too big you will not see any of the cost saving benefits you would see if you fitted the correct size Choose one too small you will not have enough heat to heat the desired room.

Helpful Tips For Using Storage Heater Input And Output Controls

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The Input Control

The input control allows you to alter the amount of heat your storage heater stores during the night. In turn this setting allows you to manage how much electricity you use. Take a look at these 3 useful tips to help you utilize your input settings:

  1. If your home is warm enough during the summer turn your storage heater off at the wall to stop it storing any heat during the night and using electricity
  2. During the winter keep your output control set to the maximum to ensure the maximum amount of heat is stored. You don’t want to end up not having enough heat to keep you warm on a freezing cold day!
  3. As the weather gets milder, reduce the setting of the input control to its lowest, this will stop you from storing and wasting un-needed heat helping to keep your energy bills low 

The Output Control

This control allows you to regulate the temperature of the room you are using your storage heater to heat. To ensure you are always comfortable try sticking to these 2 simple rules:

  1. For maximum efficiency turn your output control up during the day or when you require heat and then turn it right down just before you go to bed
  2. Generally your output control should be set higher as it gets colder an lower and the weather warms

Remember: Heaters are only as good as the room they are in. If your room is poorly insulated, has a large amount of glass, or is unusually large you can’t expect one storage heater to perform a miracle!

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