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  • FIRST POST
    Bexm
    storage heaters/electric central heating or gas?
    • #1
    • 17th May 07, 12:54 PM
    storage heaters/electric central heating or gas? 17th May 07 at 12:54 PM
    Hello!

    I know there are a few posts similar to this but cannot find one giving the advice I need (if you know of one please direct me!)

    We have just moved into a 2 bed house, it has one small 15yr old storage heater in the living room, an electric towel rail in the bath room, and a wall mounted electric ("blowy") heater in each of the bedrooms!

    We have set the storage heater going and it makes the house nice and warm in the morning, but not so much in the evening, which is useless as we are generally out from 8-6.
    It's not that cold out at the moment so when winter comes we will be freezing!

    Currently there is no gas connected to the house, but we can get it connected for around 3-4 hundred (i think).

    We only intend in staying in the property for about 5 years.

    The thing we are trying to work out is what's going to work out the best for us? We need to do something about the storage heater as its not effective enough, and the electric heaters expensive to run.

    We are considering installing either electric or gas central heating or maybe upgrading and adding some more storage heaters, and use some low wattage "plug in" heaters as extra in the evening.

    We also want to take in to consideration any value any of this will add to the house when we go to sell.

    Has anyone been in this situation? Or got any advice?
    We don't know average costs of things yet as we haven't lived there long enough, but we want to sort something out before winter!

    Thanks in advance!

    Bex
Page 2
  • JPSC
    Can I throw in some actual experience using all electric heating. I have a small detached house (about 115 sq m) with storage heaters in the hall, living room and dining room, seven direct panel heaters in the bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen, a fire in the living room and a circulating immersion heater on Economy 7. Total household usage for the last year was approx 13000KWh, 2500 on day rate and 10500 on night rate - total cost about 750.

    The storage heaters are set to give background heating at approx 17C, with timed heating in the bedrooms night and morning at 18C and the living room fire used in the evening at 22C in Winter. The house is occupied all day. The oldest storage heater is 22 years old, doesn't deteriorate to my knowledge

    The key to reduced energy use and cost has been controlled use of a well designed system with adequate capacity, all the heaters direct and storage are thermostatically controlled and the direct heaters timed, the immersion heater runs for the last three hours of night rate in the morning and we never run out of hot water unless we have a lot of visitors, even when we had three teenage children at home. When we moved in with uncontrolled heating the annual usage was around 22000KWh.

    There is excellent information about specification available from manufacturers and I think the newer products from Creda and Dimplex would be more economical than those we have.

    Hope this helps
  • patman99
    Speaking from my own experience, E7 (night storage0 radiators are a complete waste of money. I replaced both of the ones in my flat with oil filled Delonghi Dragons (1x 1/2/3Kw, 1x 1/2Kw), I saved the 100 cost in less than 6 months.
    If you want a really cheap heat system, why not install a Solar panel array ?, I know that technically you are not supposed to use them to provide hot water for your central heating, but if you have a hot water tank as part of your central heating system, fitting a bypass coil with a simple winter/summer valve system wouldn't do any harm.
    If you have an immersion heater, then you would need to adapt it to take a coil as part of the system install (you DON'T pump water round the circuit, but anti-freeze instead). There are plenty of sites that will show you how to create a home brew solar system, and when I finally save enough to move into a house, I fully intend to build one.


    BTW, If you paint an old (or new) radiator matt black & mount it on your roof it works every bit as well as an expensive Evaporated Tube system (according to a freind who had the ETS installed at his house, then 2 weeks later, helped another friend install a homebrew 'radiator' system on his roof)
  • FrozenScot
    From current debate it would appear that heating a three bedroom bungalow with electricity would cost approximately 800. Can anyone give the operational cost of gas central heating to allow a cost comparison to be made. . . Regards
  • Cardew
    From current debate it would appear that heating a three bedroom bungalow with electricity would cost approximately 800. Can anyone give the operational cost of gas central heating to allow a cost comparison to be made. . . Regards
    Originally posted by FrozenScot
    This system you are interested in is not storage heating.

    It is simply a water filled radiator you plug into a 13 amp socket.

    They recommend you use it on Economy 10(which is not available in most homes) but even then that will only provide cheapish heat for 3 hours at a time when you need it.

    For a 3 bed bungalow(in frozen Scotland) using this system you will never approach running costs of 800 for heating/hot water.

    Even with proper Storage heating you will be very lucky to get close to 800 running costs.

    The average home uses 20,500kWh gas per year for heating and hot water. A bungalow in Scotland probably a lot more.(say 25,000kWh)

    Take a gas price as 2.5p/kWh and you are looking at 625(for 25,000kWh)

    The efficiency of a newish gas boiler is approx 90%. So to produce the same amount of heat with electricity you are looking at 22,500kWh.

    The difficulty is knowing how much electricity you will be able to use at Economy 7 rates(or Economy10 if available) but I would think on full storage heating 1,200 would be a reasonable assumption.

    Using the system you seem to be interested in, IMO you would be talking of 2,000pa.

    A financial advantage of Electrical heating is you avoid the servicing/safety costs of gas(150pa?) and there is virtually nothing to go wrong with electrical heating. This is not the case with modern condensing gas boilers stuffed full of electronics.

    I accept that my figures above for consumption can be open to debate. However the ratio of costs will be approx correct.

    Above all, dont believe any of this advertising hype put forward about special electrical heating systems being super efficient they aint!!

    All electrical heating(other than hugely expensive heat pump systems) have the same heat output in terms of cost, be it a 50 year old 3 bar electrical fire, or the most modern form of electrical heating on the market.
  • suze0303
    Hi all, my job is advising businesses on energy efficiency. I have to agree that gas is a far, far superior way to heat a building than electricity. It is cheaper and, for anyone who's interested, the CO2 per kWh is less than half.

    New storage heaters are more efficient than old ones because, as someone has already said, the insulation is better and they also have better control. But, a friend of mine had storage heaters in her 3 bedroomed house and she spent around 10 per day on her electricity bill in the winter. It was a housing association house and there was so much pressure form the tenants that the association eventually caved in and put gas in them all.

    I have a 3 bedroomed house and my gas bill and electricity direct debits are around 65 per month.
  • irnbru
    It was a housing association house and there was so much pressure form the tenants that the association eventually caved in and put gas in them all.
    Originally posted by suze0303
    Which is fine if the HA pay for the installation of mains gas and GCH.

    I've got a quote for nigh on 10K just to get connected to mains gas.

    I have a 3 bedroomed house and my gas bill and electricity direct debits are around 65 per month.
    Originally posted by suze0303
    Yes but are you in debt or credit?

    I have a 4/5 room house (3 bedrooms) and paid Scottish Power ~900 for E7 in the last billing year.

    If you have E7:
    1. You need to know how to operate it properly.
    2. You need to pay attention to the temperature the following day - the PITA of not having on-demand heating.
    3. You need a well insulated house - a drafty house will decimate the stored heating.
    I enquired about gas primarily so that I could increase my supplier choice. Scottish Power have not reduced the cost of E7
  • FrozenScot
    Thanks Cardew for your input. My original concept was to use electric panel radiators to avoid the disturbance of installing central heating lifting floorboards etc. After the discussion in this forum I am moving away from this idea and moving towards a mains pressure vented cylinder with either a gas boiler or an electric Fifas boiler which would avoid the annual test certificate required by gas. Has anyone got any comment. . . . Regards
  • Cardew
    Thanks Cardew for your input. My original concept was to use electric panel radiators to avoid the disturbance of installing central heating lifting floorboards etc. After the discussion in this forum I am moving away from this idea and moving towards a mains pressure vented cylinder with either a gas boiler or an electric Fifas boiler which would avoid the annual test certificate required by gas. Has anyone got any comment. . . . Regards
    Originally posted by FrozenScot
    The Fifas boiler again uses daytime electricity - it is NOT a storage heating system.

    It cannot be repeated often enough - any form of heat output costs the same if you use electricity. There is no 'magic' electrical system that somehow produces more heat per buck.(other than a heat pump)

    A 15 fan heater in each room will produce exactly the same amount of heat per pound() spent as the Fifas system. In fact you could argue that fan heaters are more efficient as you get instant heat and when you switch them off you don't have residual heat - which could be wasted if you were leaving the room.

    The website for Fifas is totally misleading IMO. Firstly they price their electricity for comparison purposes at 6.05p/kWh(+52pa standing charge) - compare that with any available tariff now.

    Then they calculate they can heat a house and provide domestic hot water for a total consumption of 7,631kWh a year. As said in an earlier post you would be lucky to get away with 3 times that amount for a 3 bed bungalow in Scotland.

    If you are going down the electrical heating route; then the only sensible system must be storage heating of some kind.

    However if you have gas it is a 'no brainer' to have this over any system that runs on daytime electricity.
  • peat
    If as you said in a previous post you "stay 15 miles from the ski slopes" I am surprised that you can get mains gas - if you are talking about LPG then thats a whole different ball-game
  • suze0303
    Yes but are you in debt or credit?
    Irnbru, I am always in credit!! Gas heating is just much cheaper than electricity. Sympathise with the plight of all who aren't connected to gas though. It's a long payback if you have to pay for the connection. Don;t know if I'd do it either if it were me.
  • Jo.G
    I'm glad this thread keeps going! At the moment I'm paying 129 a month to Powergen and on my last bill I still owed them money. I havent had the storage heaters on all over summer even though its been quite chilly some days and hopefully my next bill wont be so bad. Once winter starts, I'll have to use my electric fire in the living room because when I got someone out to fix them, I was told the storage heater in there isnt working properly. Unfortunately, the quote was a couple of hundred quid + fitting & VAT! As we'd need to get a loan out to replace the storage heaters and add extras, I'm thinking we'd be better to bite the bullet, borrow a lot more and go for gas.
  • jawa1
    A friend had a really bad house fire at 3am in the morning last march. It was caused by the storage heater overheating and I think the thermos failing.

    The storage heater was 15+ years old.

    The fire investigating officer said this it quite a common occurrence, (but he could have meant that storage heaters in general cause fires i.e clothes left on them rather than overheating and bursting into flames as what happened to a friend)

    Do not mean to worry anyone, but if you have a old storage heater I would research into them more.
    Last edited by jawa1; 14-08-2007 at 4:09 PM.
  • FrozenScot
    The Fifas boiler again uses daytime electricity - it is NOT a storage heating system.

    It cannot be repeated often enough - any form of heat output costs the same if you use electricity. There is no 'magic' electrical system that somehow produces more heat per buck.(other than a heat pump)

    A 15 fan heater in each room will produce exactly the same amount of heat per pound() spent as the Fifas system. In fact you could argue that fan heaters are more efficient as you get instant heat and when you switch them off you don't have residual heat - which could be wasted if you were leaving the room.

    The website for Fifas is totally misleading IMO. Firstly they price their electricity for comparison purposes at 6.05p/kWh(+52pa standing charge) - compare that with any available tariff now.

    Then they calculate they can heat a house and provide domestic hot water for a total consumption of 7,631kWh a year. As said in an earlier post you would be lucky to get away with 3 times that amount for a 3 bed bungalow in Scotland.

    If you are going down the electrical heating route; then the only sensible system must be storage heating of some kind.

    However if you have gas it is a 'no brainer' to have this over any system that runs on daytime electricity.
    Originally posted by Cardew

    Thanks Cardew - I am in the process of moving to Inverness hence the gas query. . . Regards
  • Mogz
    I am in the same boat:

    4 electric oil radiant panels on 4 separate circuits in my 2 bed ground floor maisonette.

    I have added an electric towel rail in the bathroom which previously had NO HEATING. Imagine taking a shower! ITs much better now of course.

    So I was thinking about room temperature shutoffs at each rad, but then discovered that in midwinter, they arent capable of bringing my house up to temperature properly unless left on for 2 or 3 hours - so whats the point of shutoffs....really? I dont tend to program my heatig to be on for more than 1.5 hours anyway...its too expensive.

    I cant afford 3.5 grand for gas central heating + connection, so im spending 1000 on a wood burning stove in the lounge. Since the fireplace needs doing anyway, its the difference between 100 for an inefficient smelly, smokey open fire and 800 for a wood burner to be installed.

    I have double glazing, cavity walls (without insulation), and no rads in the kitchen or toilet.

    Would you think this stove will do the job to tip the balance in my favour?

    Its a nightmare with electric heating......although I recall gas central heating in a flat in manchester being pretty darn expensive too in winter. - It was on a meter and you literally see the money slipping form your hands to keep the place warm.

    Also can you get electric combi boilers and are they worth bothering about?

    many thanks for a most enlightening and intersting thread
  • Mogz
    I'm glad this thread keeps going! At the moment I'm paying 129 a month to Powergen and on my last bill I still owed them money. I havent had the storage heaters on all over summer even though its been quite chilly some days and hopefully my next bill wont be so bad. Once winter starts, I'll have to use my electric fire in the living room because when I got someone out to fix them, I was told the storage heater in there isnt working properly. Unfortunately, the quote was a couple of hundred quid + fitting & VAT! As we'd need to get a loan out to replace the storage heaters and add extras, I'm thinking we'd be better to bite the bullet, borrow a lot more and go for gas.
    Originally posted by Jo.G
    in the long run you're right, but on a temporary note, I'm sure if you ask around, a friend will happily help replace your storage heater with one you can buy off the web for a lot less than 200.

    It's literally - pull out necessary fuse - 4 screws to fit new rad - and 3 terminals to connect up the power. If you're not sure what you're doing dont try it yourself though - as a poor earth connection could cause the rad to be live.
  • sarymclary
    Anyone got an idea how a solid fuel system compares to electric? I've got a coal fired ch/system, which costs anywhere in the region of 50-65 to heat the radiators during the winter. Obviously, there are no costs during the summer. My hot water is heated by an immersion heater, and my electric bill has just gone up to 75 p/month. I have a 3 bed semi, and there are 5 of us living there.
    Whilst the solid fuel system is very warm (too warm sometimes), it is inconvenient, dirty (dust and ash everywhere) and time consuming to operate. I was wondering about using panel or oil filled radiators as an alternative, especially as the upstairs rooms with the chimney breast get so warm the radiator is permanently off in there.
    I've discussed with my coalman which fuel is most efficient, but we're in a smokeless area, which restricts us.
    I'm in a rented property, there's no gas in the village; newer properties have oil fired, which I had in my previous house, but was also very expensive.

    Stick with the coal as it's already there, and still cheaper?
    One day the clocks will stop, and time won't mean a thing

    Be nice to your children, they'll choose your care home
  • seeking2save
    Hi all

    This is my first post on the forums. I've been following this thread, as we need to replace our heating, which is currently all-electric old storage heaters.

    I looked on USwitch.com and put in our details:

    *pay by monthly direct debit
    *average home insulation (2nd floor, we have double glazing, not sure whether we have cavity wall insulation)
    *evening & weekend electricity use (working couple, out all day)
    *cook most nights
    *1 bedroom flat with 2 people living in it

    Then compared all-electric results with gas heating & cooking results.

    With our current energy supplier (Southern Electric, RSPB Energy), the all-electric estimate was surprisingly cheaper (£290pa) compared to the gas heating & cooking estimate (£366pa for gas + electric).

    Do these estimates sound about right for a 1 bedroom flat? Not sure how much you can rely on USwitch's estimates.

    The reviews of storage heaters don't sound that great, but seem to be so much cheaper to install (our flat doesn't have gas, although there is a supply to the block), and then I presume that they're greener in that the electricity can be supplied by renewable sources.

    So currently things seem to be moving towards storage heating - probably not in the bedroom though, as I can't stand sleeping in warm stuffy rooms - do new modern storage heaters emit heat when they're heating up overnight?

    I was considering the Kalirel system, but am having second thoughts now after reading this thread (particularly Cardew's posts).
    Last edited by seeking2save; 16-09-2007 at 3:33 PM.
  • Cardew
    Hi all

    This is my first post on the forums. I've been following this thread, as we need to replace our heating, which is currently all-electric old storage heaters.

    I looked on USwitch.com and put in our details:

    *pay by monthly direct debit
    *average home insulation (2nd floor, we have double glazing, not sure whether we have cavity wall insulation)
    *evening & weekend electricity use (working couple, out all day)
    *cook most nights
    *1 bedroom flat with 2 people living in it

    Then compared all-electric results with gas heating & cooking results.

    With our current energy supplier (Southern Electric, RSPB Energy), the all-electric estimate was surprisingly cheaper (290pa) compared to the gas heating & cooking estimate (366pa for gas + electric).

    Do these estimates sound about right for a 1 bedroom flat? Not sure how much you can rely on USwitch's estimates.

    The reviews of storage heaters don't sound that great, but seem to be so much cheaper to install (our flat doesn't have gas, although there is a supply to the block), and then I presume that they're greener in that the electricity can be supplied by renewable sources.

    So currently things seem to be moving towards storage heating - probably not in the bedroom though, as I can't stand sleeping in warm stuffy rooms - do new modern storage heaters emit heat when they're heating up overnight?

    I was considering the Kalirel system, but am having second thoughts now after reading this thread (particularly Cardew's posts).
    Originally posted by seeking2save
    I would totally ignore USwitch in this case.

    Your figures sound too low to me.

    When you take into account the cost of gas servicing there probably isn't much to chose in costs between Gas CH and night storage heating on Economy 7 for smaller properties; and as you state storage heater systems are much cheaper to install.

    That said Gas CH is light years ahead of storage heating in the flexibility it provides, and will undoubtedly enhance the value of your proprty. So if you can afford to instal gas - IMO it is much the better option.

    The Kalirel system website is full of the usual rubbish designed to obfuscate. - see post #21.

    It cannot be said often enough; all forms of electrical heating* are 100% efficient and so produce exactly the same amount of heat for 1kWh of electricity - be it a 50 year old 1 bar electric fire like granny used, or the most hyped up modern electrical CH system.

    I am quite serious when I say that you might as well get a 3kW fan heater for each room(costing 10 each) rather than install any electrical system that uses daytime rate electricity.

    * except Heat pumps which cost huge money to install(15,000?)
  • TimBuckTeeth
    If your house is not well insulated, then adding loft insulation and cavity wall insulation is the best way to save money on heating bills, especially with electric where the running costs are higher. It is not that expensive and will pay for itself in 1 to 3 years, grants are available if you have a low income or are on benefits.
    Replacing old single glazed windows with double glazed is helpful too, but not cheap.

    I am not a fan of storage heaters. I lived in a place with old ones and they were terrible, expensive to run, heating the rooms up over night and not enough heat the next evening. New ones should be better but I would still avoid them.
    If you are replacing old storage heaters beware that some made before the early 70's contain asbestos insulation. So before taking them apart to take the bricks out check with the manufacturer.
  • Miss Ladybird
    Can I add my question as there seem to be lots of knowledgable people about!
    Have bought a 3-bed semi which has no heating except an electric fire in the living room. There is no gas in the village. We are thinking about installing an oil tank and oil central heating, or alternatively using some kind of electric heating (unknown!) Any thoughts or advice? Thanks!
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