Using storage heaters efficiently

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Using storage heaters efficiently

Storage heaters provide heating in homes that usually have an electricity supply but no gas supply. They make use of cheaper off-peak night-time electricity available from an Economy 7 tariff.

It’s called Economy 7 because you get cheaper electricity for seven hours each night. This uses a special electricity meter, which tracks the electricity you use separately for day and night.

How do storage heaters work?

Storage heaters are set to store up heat overnight for use the next day. Your storage heater gives out heat in two ways:

  • Constant low heat which is gradually released throughout the day even at the lowest output setting
  • More controllable heat you can release as and when you need it using the output control. This controls the heater vents (flaps); the higher the output setting the more the flaps open, releasing heat into the room faster.

This will use up the stored heat quicker; make sure you save some for use during the evening.

Each heater has two controls. These allow you to store up enough heat in the heater overnight, and can control the heat used, to make sure you have enough heat to keep you warm for the following day.

Controlling your heating

There are two controls on your storage heater – Input and Output. Controlling the balance between the input and output will determine how much energy they use, how efficient they are and how good they are at heating your room.

You will know if your storage heaters are working most efficiently if all of the heat saved in the heater has been used by the end of the day.

Input heat
  • The input control tells the heater how much heat to store up during the night
  • The higher the input setting the more heat it will store and the more electricity it will use
  • If you set it too high for the size of the room it has to heat, or for the time of year, you will
    be wasting money.

Seasonal adjustment of input heat:

  • In the autumn you could start with an input of 1 to 3 and gradually increase the setting as winter sets in and it gets colder
  • Over the winter period you will probably want to increase the input setting to 4 to 6
  • In the spring, gradually reduce the input control back to 1 to 3, as it gets warmer
  • In the summer, if the weather gets too warm to need any heating, switch the heater off at the wall
  • If you do need heat over the summer, you may only need to switch the storage heaters on to charge every other night.

REMEMBER! Turn the output control down to 1 before you go to bed and when you go out to save heat and money.

Output heat
  • The output control tells the heater how much heat to let out into the room (often called Boost or Room Temperature) and affects how quickly the stored heat will be used
  • It is important to make sure the output control is turned right down to 1 at night, whatever the season. This will prevent the storage heater from using more electricity heating an empty room, costing you more money, and leaving you less heat for the next day
  • During the day you can adjust the output to suit your needs. Remember, the higher the setting during the day, the less heat is saved for the evening
  • You can save more heat for the evening by keeping the setting low during the day, such as 1 when the room is warm enough or you are going out.

Example of daily heat adjustment: In winter, you will want the storage heater to fully charge overnight because you will be using more heat throughout the following day and evening. Set
the input control to the maximum setting and the output control to the minimum.

During the day use the output controls to adjust the heat up or down as you need it, such as:

  • In the morning, to warm the house up, turn the output to 4
  • When the house is warm, turn the output down to 2
  • In the evening, when the temperature drops, turn the output up to 5 or 6 to use up the remaining stored heat.

REMEMBER! If you haven’t been warm enough, and the side panel is cold before the end of the day – check the output is turned down to 1 overnight and turn the input control up slightly or by one setting. Test again the following evening to see if any further adjustment is needed.

How to save money

Always remember:

  • At night, make sure the output control is turned down to 1, the lowest setting
  • If it is not particularly cold, or you will be out of the house for most of the next day, you don’t need to set the input to maximum because you won’t need to store as much heat
  • If you’re warm enough keep the output low during the day, so you have enough heat for if the temperature drops in the evening
  • As you can control storage heaters individually, you can choose different heat settings for different rooms
  • Make sure you have the correct settings on your storage heaters before using any additional heating sources. During the day Economy 7 electricity can be nearly three times more expensive, compared to the night rate.
  • Keep furniture and curtains away from the heaters to make sure the heat gets into the room and never cover the surface of the heaters.
  • When the weather gets too warm to need any heating, switch off your heaters at the wall.
  • Make sure you have the cheapest Economy 7 tariff. To see if you can save money by switching tariff or supplier use an Ofgem accredited price comparison website.
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