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storage heater/economy 7 queries
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# 1
absidoodledandy
Old 07-08-2006, 10:45 AM
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Default storage heater/economy 7 queries

This may sound like a stupid question but how do storage heaters know to come on at night time?

Do they have an internal timer? Does the change in electric supply for normal to ecomomy 7 trigger them?

I have storage heaters and i find them to be quite expensive (electricity bill is 50-60/m in winter in a one bed flat with just me as opposed to 15-20/m in summer) so i was wondering if possibly they are coming on at the wrong time?

Is that even possible or if they have an internal timer does switching them off all summer mess up the timings?

Any advice on this subject is very welcome
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# 2
wendyb
Old 08-08-2006, 12:23 PM
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Default Storage heater costs

Most storage heaters have timers which can be set.
Try getting hold of a user manual for the type you have got.
Economy 7 comes on after midnight . I have it to heat my water & it switches on automatically .
Have a look at your electricity bill & you should be able to tell which tariff you are using the most . If its not economy 7 you need to set the timers.
Hope this helps . Though as you can tell I'm no expert!
W
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# 3
irnbru
Old 08-08-2006, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by absidoodledandy
This may sound like a stupid question but how do storage heaters know to come on at night time?
You'll either have a mechanical- or radio-tele- switch. This controls which meter records the usage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by absidoodledandy
I have storage heaters and i find them to be quite expensive (electricity bill is 50-60/m in winter in a one bed flat with just me as opposed to 15-20/m in summer) so i was wondering if possibly they are coming on at the wrong time?
Your storage heaters will be on a separate fuse box controlled by the E7 switch. During the E7 period everything will be charged at E7 rates.

Keep your old bills and compare your consumption, not the cost.

Search this forum for storage heater and E7 advice.
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# 4
GaryS
Old 08-08-2006, 12:41 PM
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Storage heaters are usully wired into a separate circuit, connected to an Economy 7 meter.
This is because they use so much electricity, they only come on overnight.

They heat up overnight using "cheaper" electric, supposedly store it during the day and the you release the heat when you get in from work via the controls. You can also release the heat during the day, but be careful not to turn them up too high as you may run out of heat by late evening.

Some newer ones also have a boost switch which controls a convector element on the front of the storage heater. This uses normal price electricity, not Economy 7 rates.

I would never have storage heaters by choice, having replaced some old ones years ago, then replaced them again with gas central heating.

They are just too expensive to run.
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# 5
Mikeyorks
Old 08-08-2006, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by absidoodledandy
This may sound like a stupid question but how do storage heaters know to come on at night time?

No, it's not the storage radiator fairy! As post #4 - they're wired to a separate meter, which only activates for (generally) 7 hours between 0100hrs and 0900hrs (eg 0100hrs - 0800hrs Winter / 0200hrs - 0900hrs Summer) And, of course, all other electricity you use in this period .. is at the lower rate
Do they have an internal timer?

No

Does the change in electric supply for normal to ecomomy 7 trigger them?
Yes (provided they're 'on' at the wall socket.)

I have storage heaters and i find them to be quite expensive (electricity bill is £50-60/m in winter in a one bed flat with just me as opposed to £15-20/m in summer) so i was wondering if possibly they are coming on at the wrong time?

Unlikely - you should hear a 'clunk' from your meter area at switch on/off time. And the neon in the wall switches should come on/off at the same time??
They're not cheap devices to run, for example, at maximum, a 2.4kw model 'stores' 2.4kw per hour for each of the 7 hours. A total of 16.8kw each night. You can control them by using the 'input' control - which operates a very basic control and reduces the amount of energy stored. But, of course, that's less heat to give out.


Is that even possible or if they have an internal timer does switching them off all summer mess up the timings?

They don't have an internal timer. So you can happily switch them off at the wall socket over the Summer - and back on in the Autumn, with no problem

Any advice on this subject is very welcome
But you could have a look at switching energy supplier for one with a cheaper E7 tariff?

Storage radiators are really only 'background' heating. But, for many years, we found them very good in a draughty farmhouse on top of a Yorks moor - but only when backed up by a couple of huge multi-fuel stoves.
If you want to test the depth of the water .........don't use both feet !

Last edited by Mikeyorks; 08-08-2006 at 10:09 PM.
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# 6
absidoodledandy
Old 09-08-2006, 8:34 AM
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Thanks everyone for the information, you've all been really helpful.
I'm going to look for a supplier with better E7 rates to change to when winter comes around
or possibly just not turn them on and just wrap myself up in a duvet instead!

Thanks
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# 7
tr3mor
Old 26-10-2006, 10:01 AM
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Are storage heaters thermostatic?

If I use the highest setting will it just charge up at that setting all night? Or will it think "That's hot enough now"?

I'm trying to work out the best way of using them in our flat!
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# 8
JML45
Old 08-11-2006, 10:57 PM
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I have an interesting dilemma. I just turned on our kitchen storage heater a few days ago at about 8pm and it started heating up straight away. I kept an eye on it and it appears it's running all the time. Yesterday I went out to the meter, which is a digital type with different rates for the day and night-time tariffs, and after checking it over a period of hours - including after midnight - found that the "low rate" i.e. the economy 7 meter is running all the time (the figures have changed) and not the "normal" day time meter during the day (the figures are staying the same).
I guess this means that for as long as this has been going on we've been getting ALL our electricity at the economy 7 rate, which is good as we've got five kids and our rented house is extremely badly insulated.

Do I tell the supplier? Yes, of course I do - in a bit!
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# 9
basill
Old 08-11-2006, 11:41 PM
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Hi,
I`m a bit worried about Mikeyorks and GaryS replies to your questions, it is different in my house. Everything is connected to the same meter it is only the rate charged that changes during the economy 7 time.

We dont have any automatic control of the storage heaters, instead there is a timer in the kitchen which controls the storage heaters and hot water cyclinder. This must be properly set for the cheap hours of the night.

If this is the setup in your place it is very likely the heaters are on during the expensive daytime rate. A power cut could easily have this effect on your timer or it could be set to always on.

I have gone a step further and use a timer for the tumble dryer and dishwasher to take advantage of the cheap rate.

B

Last edited by basill; 09-11-2006 at 9:29 AM.
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# 10
Saskia Leoni
Old 09-11-2006, 11:34 AM
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Default storage heater costs

I'd take the 50-60 per month if I were you. I've just had my latest electricity bill, for August, September and October, during that period I only used the two storage heaters for six weeks, one on high and one on low, with economy seven and overnight water heating - my bill for that period equates to just under 650! I just don't know what I'm going to do over the winter. It's a one bedroom flat with high ceilings and no gas in the village - I've had quotes for installing oil but, despite being three rooms and a hall and ground floor, it's coming in at 8500. Mind you, I don't feel like paying out for anymore electricity!
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# 11
dandare
Old 09-11-2006, 10:32 PM
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Do they have an internal timer?

No

Does the change in electric supply for normal to ecomomy 7 trigger them?
Yes (provided they're 'on' at the wall socket.)

this is the way i thought it worked, but ive just been off the phone with scottish power and they say its nothing to do with them??
sorry i have a similar problem to others that they are coming on during peak hours.
in fairness to sp their explaination seems fair enough, they've recently fitted a new meter e7, i was on e10(equivalent) before and claim that the meter itself does not switch on the heaters at off peak, there should be timers for the heater.
and by my unqualified electrical knowledge/guesswork i think as the heaters are ran off there own fusebox then into the new meter there is no timer anywhere in the circuit so when i put them on at the wall they draw lecy am/pm. sp gave the impression that the meter switches tariffs at the correct time but the storage heater will draw lecy as soon as they are turned on at the wall, you need the timer to have them go on at the cheap hours or manually do it yourself at those times, which is not goin to happen.
or is there a feed out of the meter that is soley for storage heaters and only lets the lecy pass when the off peak hours are on.
its all a bit conusing if anyone could shed some light on it i'd be grateful.
brrrr its getting cold.
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# 12
Gorgeous George
Old 09-11-2006, 10:41 PM
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My parents have them and they work great. They also have a boost of 2 hours at cheap rates during the afternoon. There house is really warm all the time.

To me, using gas to electrically pump water around the house seems a bit silly, but that's what I have in my home.



GG
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# 13
dandare
Old 10-11-2006, 5:08 PM
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just spoke to sp and they say that control rate, which i have on my bill along with night/day, is for the usage of the heaters, whether you use them am/pm, as i dont have any timer on the heater circuit it is done manually at each heater, it will draw lecy but be charged at the control tariff, a little less than night rates. does that sound correct?
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# 14
space rider
Old 11-11-2006, 5:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tr3mor
Are storage heaters thermostatic?

If I use the highest setting will it just charge up at that setting all night? Or will it think "That's hot enough now"?

I'm trying to work out the best way of using them in our flat!

I`ve had storage heaters before and I was very happy with them.

They will have an input and an output. The higher the input the more heat is being stored and the higher your bills. Start off at the lowest setting and if the room is cold the next day then increase it. I used to always check the weather forcast for the next day and set my heaters accordingly. I very rarely used to have it at the highest setting, generally it would be at the middle setting.

The output switch..You should always have it at the lowest setting when it starts heating up, ie between 12-8am. If you have the output button on any higher than the lowest setting you are releasing the heat at the same time as storing the heat which will cost you much more money. I used to leave mine at 1 then when I came home I would turn it up by half, then later on in the evening if it felt cool in the room I would set it to the maximum output. But I would not forget to turn it back to 1 before I went to bed.

If you have very old storage heaters, ie the ones that look really bulky it will cost you much more to heat. You can replace them at a cost of about 140 per heater which will pay for itself.

Any other questions just shout out.
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# 15
space rider
Old 11-11-2006, 5:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JML45
I have an interesting dilemma. I just turned on our kitchen storage heater a few days ago at about 8pm and it started heating up straight away. I kept an eye on it and it appears it's running all the time. Yesterday I went out to the meter, which is a digital type with different rates for the day and night-time tariffs, and after checking it over a period of hours - including after midnight - found that the "low rate" i.e. the economy 7 meter is running all the time (the figures have changed) and not the "normal" day time meter during the day (the figures are staying the same).
I guess this means that for as long as this has been going on we've been getting ALL our electricity at the economy 7 rate, which is good as we've got five kids and our rented house is extremely badly insulated.

Do I tell the supplier? Yes, of course I do - in a bit!
Just be careful. The supplier has the right to estimate what they think you should have used at the normal rate. If they do that then you will have a big bill to pay. It should be picked up when they read the meter, but if it`s not read for years then you may come unstuck unless you think you`ll be moving house in the next 6 months. If that is the case then I would keep quiet. If you have a long tenancy I would be tempted to ring and tell them that you have just discovered it. Some suppliers will just fix the meter and not adjust your bill.
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# 16
dieselglider
Old 11-11-2006, 9:04 PM
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The Economy-7 set-up in my house, here in N.Ireland, seems slightly more complicated than others in this thread. I have two electric meters, and a 'radio teleswitch'.

The first meter is for the normal house electrics, has 'low' and 'normal' readings, and is switched by a transmitted signal through the night for a 7 hour economy cycle.

The second meter is for water and room heaters, and this feeds the radio teleswitch which switches on the water and storage heaters seperately. Iirc, the heaters get switched on and off through the night to a total time of 7 hours, whereas the water gets 4 hours through the night and 1 hour boost in the afternoon.

As said before, the storage heater input regulates the amount of heat stored during the nightly 'charge', although the output 'boost' control on my heaters controlled the release of more heat (via a temperature controlled flap) if required in the evening when the storage temperature was dropping a bit. Basically, changing to a convection type of heat as the radiated heat was dropping, so this could be left in a mid position through the night as the heat build up would close the flap automatically.

Although I have to say that I now have only one storage heater left installed as a back-up, should my oil-fired heating play up. I use the econ7 for tumble drying and summer water heating.
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# 17
Gas_Man_in_London's_gf
Old 28-01-2007, 6:45 PM
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Hi, hope someone can help me. I'm sorry if this is a really stupid question, but how do you know if your heaters are storage heaters or just normal heaters?
Cake & pastry making extraordinare happily engaged to Gas Man in London

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# 18
Mikeyorks
Old 28-01-2007, 7:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas_Man_in_London's_gf
.... but how do you know if your heaters are storage heaters or just normal heaters?
Without taking them apart ... it's not actually an easy question to answer.

Storage heaters will (should) always be wired directly into the wall socket. They should never be connected via a 13amp plug. And ...

They will have fairly basic controls. Normally just an 'input' and an 'output' - and which are usually operated by a coin / screwdriver into a slot in the control. And ..

Storage heaters are bulky and heavy .. as they use heat absorbent material (normally metallic bricks) to store heat overnight and then dissipate it during the day.

If your heaters correspond to all 3 of the above (wired direct / basic controls / bulky) .. odds on they are 'storage'.
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# 19
Gas_Man_in_London's_gf
Old 28-01-2007, 7:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeyorks
Without taking them apart ... it's not actually an easy question to answer.

Storage heaters will (should) always be wired directly into the wall socket. They should never be connected via a 13amp plug. And ...

They will have fairly basic controls. Normally just an 'input' and an 'output' - and which are usually operated by a coin / screwdriver into a slot in the control. And ..

Storage heaters are bulky and heavy .. as they use heat absorbent material (normally metallic bricks) to store heat overnight and then dissipate it during the day.

If your heaters correspond to all 3 of the above (wired direct / basic controls / bulky) .. odds on they are 'storage'.
Thanks for your reply Mikeyorks

Hmm...

They are wired directly into a wall socket.

The controls on them look a bit complicated though - there's a bit which you can turn to change the temperature and a button with a moon on, and another button with a sun on it. On the side, there is a on/off switch.

They're not big and bulky... they look really small and quite thin. They look tiny for the size of the rooms, and look like they wouldn't be able to produce enough heat to heat the rooms.

So I guess they're not storage heaters then? I've just bought a new flat, but haven't yet moved in so I'm unsure.
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# 20
Mikeyorks
Old 28-01-2007, 9:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas_Man_in_London's_gf

1) On the side, there is a on/off switch.

2)They're not big and bulky... they look really small and quite thin.
Would tend to suggest - despite they're wired directly - they're not storage heaters. If you can find a make / model - the manufacturer's Website would be helpful?

Also check whether there's an Economy 7 meter in the flat - fairly unusual if there's no heating that uses it. As just 'normal' use of electricity rarely warrants the premium that's normally charged on 'Day' units of electricity. The benefit normally arises from a high percentage of use of the overnight cheaper units - which storage heaters would use.
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