Alternatives to Storage Heaters
A storage heater allows homeowners to make the most of lower night time electricity rates but they don’t always offer the greatest control in terms of when they release the stored heat.
Once they’re full of heat, storage heaters begin releasing it out into the space, whether you want to heat up the room at that time or not. For this reason, they’re not always the best choice and it’s well worth considering possible alternatives to storage heaters.
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What are storage heaters?
Storage heaters are made up of ceramic bricks that store thermal energy during the night when cheaper electricity tariffs are available (Economy 7 and Economy 10). This energy is then gradually released into the room as heat the following day.
While modern storage heaters offer increased levels of control they’re not always the most effective, efficient or practical of heating systems.
Why consider alternatives to storage heaters?
While storage heaters allow homeowners to take advantage of cheaper electricity tariffs much of the stored heat isn’t released efficiently. By the time the evening comes around (when you’re likely to want the heating the most) there’s a high chance that the heat will have already been released. Additionally, in some cases any excess heat will need to be released into the room which can lead to uncomfortably high temperatures.
Due to these potential downsides of storage heaters, it might be worthwhile considering an alternative.
Alternatives to storage heaters
These are some of the alternatives to storage heaters that could be a better fit for your home:
- Infrared heating panels
- Electric radiators
- Fan heaters
- Oil filled radiators
- Ceramic heaters
Infrared heating panels
Heating systems typically heat up the space in a room but infrared heating panels work a little differently instead heating up people and objects directly. This form of heating reduces waste as the whole room won’t be heated up – you will feel warm while in a cold room.
Infrared is the same type of heat emitted out by the sun, just without the harmful UV light. Using it to heat homes is a relatively recent development and is building momentum thanks to the benefits it offers:
- Silent in operation as there are no moving parts
- Can reach desired temperature within 30 seconds
- Minimal air circulation helps to prevent dust circulation, damp and mould
You can read more about infrared heating in our guide: Infrared Heating Panels: Pros, Cons & Costs.
Electric radiators often resemble conventional radiators that are heated up by a boiler. While they look similar, electric radiators simply connect to the main electricity supply to generate heat.
Electric radiators are available in a range of outputs which reflects how much heat it’s able to generate.
Fan heaters aren’t the most efficient or practical alternative to storage heaters but can give the room a blast of heat as and when needed. They’re small portable units that blast hot air out into the room in a single direction. They’re often used in shops or rooms that aren’t occupied too often to keep them warm.
Oil filled heaters
An oil filled radiator works much like an electric radiator but is full of oil. The oil heats up the oil, a fuel which has great thermal retention qualities to cool down slowly, meaning that you can turn the heater off and it will continue to radiate heat for a short while afterwards. Thanks to the oil, the running costs are comparatively lower than electric heaters.
Oil filled heaters are available for a fixed wall installation or in portable form (which makes for a great backup heating supply should the central heating fail to work).
Ceramic heaters resemble fan heaters in terms of their small portable build but they operate in a very different way. The part of a ceramic heater that warms the room is made from positive temperature coefficient ceramic, any air that passes over this ceramic is heated up.
How much do storage heater alternatives cost?
Depending on the alternative heating system that appeals to you, the costs can vary greatly.
|Alternative to Storage Heaters||Potential Cost|
|Electric radiator||£120 – £415+|
|Fan heater||£9 – £15|
|Infrared heating panel||£100 – £500+|
As all of these heating systems run on electricity, which can be expensive, it’s important to not only consider the initial costs but the running costs too.
Running costs of the alternatives to storage heaters
We can work out how much the alternative heating systems are likely to cost by multiplying the kilowatt hour (kWh) of the heater by the cost of electricity. In the table below, we’ve taken the average cost of electricity as 14.4p/kWh.
|Heating system||Energy Used per Hour||Potential Running Cost per Hour (14.4p/kWh)|
|Infrared panel||0.4 kWh||6p|
|Electric radiator||1.2 kWh||17p|
|Fan heater||1.5 kWh||22p|
To get a better idea of how much the above electric heating systems will cost for you, simply find out the kWh of the heater or radiator, how much you’re charged for electricity and do the following equation:
Should I have a storage heater installed?
There’s no doubt that storage heaters have become dated technology. While they allow you to take advantage of the Economy 7 and Economy 10 nighttime tariffs, the way the release the heat isn’t the most efficient or effective. You could be left feeling cold in the evening when you need the heat most.
The best alternative to storage heaters are arguably infrared panels which offer much more in terms of control, efficiency and the overall comfort they can give to a room.
Need a new central heating system?