I have a one bed flat, which has Economy 7 heating. My storage heaters are no longer working as they are 17 years old and really outdated. Because I have Economy 7 I’m using electric fan heaters during the day and it is costing me a fortune.
I was thinking of moving away from storage heater and buying electric radiators. What do you think? Would it be worth it or should I buy more storage heaters?
Also, if I changed to the new system I would have to change to a normal tariff which isn't a problem. The problem is: how would my hot water heat up? The hot water heats up during the night but if I move away from Economy 7 how would this work? Would it be more expensive having a normal tariff?
Any help would be appreciated,
Pauline Boanas, via email, Monday 13 February, 2012
Hi there, Pauline.
Since the hot water is still working, it may be worth your while getting a heating engineer in to check out why the storage heaters have packed up. As all the heaters aren’t working, this would suggest it’s not the individual heaters at fault, but a problem further “upstream” - which could be a simple repair and get your heaters working again.
It might be something more complicated - and therefore more expensive - but at least paying for a few hours of a heating engineer’s time will give you a clearer picture of the problem and help clarify your options.
Fixing the storage heaters, even if it’s a temporary solution, will be cheaper than having a battery of fan heaters churning away sucking expensive electricity out of the grid. But even then, storage heaters aren’t ideal as they work by physically burning the air (which is why you get those burn marks on any adjacent wallpaper or decorations) and the distribution of heat is uneven - most of it lingers on the ceiling.
Modern stand-alone wall-mounted radiators have come on leaps and bounds in the last ten years and installing several of these should be not only make your home warmer and cosier, but also a lot cheaper to run than storage heaters on an Economy 7 tariff.
The modern stand alone radiators also come equipped with timers and thermostats so you can have the heat when you want and as hot as you want. In comparison, storage heaters can produce too much heat in the morning (when you’re probably out at work) and not enough when you need it in the evening. Although installing these modern radiators would involve an up-front cost, because of their efficiency they’ll be cheaper to run and you’ll recoup your investment in about five years.
But before installing the new radiators, you’ll probably have to remove the existing storage heaters. These heaters are full of bricks and connected to mains electricity so, unless you’re familiar with removing them from walls, the job should be done by a heating engineer.
Also, the older heaters have a layer of asbestos between the bricks and the wall, which makes their removal and disposable subject to stringent health & safety laws. This website tells you which makes and models have asbestos in them.
Once the storage heaters are gone, the sockets can be turned into regular sockets by a suitably qualified electrician ready for your new radiators.
Photo by Richard Harvey.
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