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Safe heater/radiator with a toddler around?

in Energy
12 replies 2K views
Hello guys,

We don't understand much about radiators, but we'll need a couple to heat up the living room during the winter months.

I've just done some searches on Amazon and there are so many different types:
* Oil radiator
* Oil free radiator
* Halogen heater
* Flat panel radiator
* Convector heater
* Fan heater

At the moment we've got a couple of 'fan heaters' but the room goes back to cold as soon as we stop them, so we were looking for something that could be on during longer periods with a thermostat to keep the room warm longer without being constantly on.

The main doubt we are having is, which ones are safer with a 2.5y old toddler who likes touching everything? We have some storage heaters as well, but they become really hot and we think she might get burnt, so something safer to the touch would be good...

Many thanks in advance!
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Replies

  • spirospiro Forumite
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    You mention that you have storage heaters, does that mean you are on an E7 tariff? If so using heaters during the day will be expensive.
    If you are concerned about a toddler getting burnt on the storage heaters put a fire guard around them. Radiators can get very hot but I have never put guards around them to stop children/grandchildren touching them.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

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  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    It is important to note that all the types of heater in your opening post will cost exactly the same, to produce the same amount of heat. This includes your fan heaters.


    Your fan heaters produce 'instant heat' but as you say no residual heat. Oil filled rads retain the heat, but take longer to warm up.


    Halogen heaters can be ruled out for toddlers.


    Your best bet is to use storage heaters and take some precautions to prevent the toddler from coming into contact with the heater - a fireguard perhaps.
  • Hi Spiro,

    Yes, they are storage heater on E7 tariff. However, last year we tried to learn how to use them (they had 3 wheels to control the heat) and we didn't feel the room was heating much, even when storing heat at maximum during the night and leaving it with maximum output during the day, besides that they are pretty large so we think using that one during the day could increase the cost as well (compared to maybe a couple of 1.5KWh or 2KWh).

    Long time ago we used the standard oil radiator, which as far as I can remember, could be touched without much problem... but not sure about all other types that I saw now, or if they'll be better...
  • lstar337lstar337 Forumite
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    spiro wrote: »
    If you are concerned about a toddler getting burnt on the storage heaters put a fire guard around them. Radiators can get very hot but I have never put guards around them to stop children/grandchildren touching them.
    This.

    Since you will need guards for any direct heater you buy, you might as well just get guards for the NSH.
  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    Most people have radiators of some form or another which get hot and don't guard them when children are about.


    Unfortunately a rad that doesn't get hot won't warm the room unless it's extremely large.


    As said above your storage rads are the cheapest way to heat your place if you are on E7. Using other forms of heating during the day will be very expensive (at least twice as much per kwh).


    If you do need supplementary heating then a convector is probably the best but get one with small slots or grills so that small objects can't be poked in.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • ShrimplyShrimply Forumite
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    What I guess would be ideal in this case (I don't think they exist) would be a heater controlled by a pulse proportional thermostat, that way after the room was up to temperature the radiator should only ever be warm to touch.

    Definitely think the best advice would be to get some guards for whatever heat source you use, and ideal make sure that your storage heaters are working and you are using them correctly as they will certainly be the cheapest option if you can get them operational.
  • edited 22 October 2015 at 1:04PM
    matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    edited 22 October 2015 at 1:04PM
    Lets be sensible about this - we've had two kids and four grand children, neither us nor their parents have had guards around radiators, heaters or even the oven (I bet that gets a lot hotter than your average radiator or heater). Neither have any of my friends and non of the kids have had any problems.

    I believe they are necessary if you've got an open fire, a wood burner or something that gets hot enough take the skin off your hands. Or even maybe if there's an elderly or disabled person in the house who may not be able to react, but kids should be able to learn not to touch even little ones.

    What happens when they get to school or other public place (or even to the grandparents) and touch a hot radiator if they've never learned what they are at home.


    Friends of ours "protected" their little one to the extent that they would catch him to stop him falling over. The day they weren't there to do the catching he didn't know that you had to put your hands out and managed to smash his teeth, nose and face in as he wentface down flat onto concrete.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • macmanmacman Forumite
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    You can't use the NSH 'during the day'-it charges up overnight using cheap rate E7 power. The downside of this is that any usage of power (by plugging in convectors etc)during the day and evening (the remaining 17 hours) comes at a hefty premium, usually around 14p per kwh-about 400% more expensive. So mixing the two forms of heating makes no sense at all.
    If your existing NSH's are not outputting sufficiently, get them checked or changed.
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  • Thanks guys.

    THe 2 issues we were thinking were:

    1. This is a rented place and since we moved here the storage heaters have been off since she learnt how to walk. They are in bad locations for the layout of the rooms, by the windows or next to both sofas, so our baby has got used to touch them all over the place (raising her hands and trying to climg, sitting from the sofa, etc). So although I agree that she'll need to eventually learn, not sure that it's the best way to just put the items that she has used without any problem before...

    2. We couldn't find the KWh of the current storage heaters, but they are pretty large and with our tests last year don't give much heat... When I did some calculations last year (which I'm not sure were correct) I think they electricity meter was turning around 6 or 7 times per hour with just one on, so we thought that this might mean ~6KWh each? so putting 3 in the house and having the family staying in most of the time would be really uneconomical, even just one for most of the day could be quite costly, as I mentioned, the E7 energy stored during the night was not really making the room much warmer in the morning last year (even though the external metal was really really hot, I touched once on the top part and felt like burning my hand), so this might mean having it on for most of the day, and if that was its KWh we thought it might be better to get a couple of smaller radiators that you could take with you to wherever area you were to feel the heat closer.

    As we've not used many of the different types that I found yesterday, we were not sure what would be a better purchase (from a heat/economical point of view), as well as safe with our daughter around, which we think we'll learn as soon as she sees a new item and we teach her not to touch...

    Cheers!!
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    mickael28 wrote: »
    2. We couldn't find the KWh of the current storage heaters, but they are pretty large and with our tests last year don't give much heat... When I did some calculations last year (which I'm not sure were correct) I think they electricity meter was turning around 6 or 7 times per hour with just one on, so we thought that this might mean ~6KWh each? so putting 3 in the house and having the family staying in most of the time would be really uneconomical, even just one for most of the day could be quite costly, !
    You really must appreciate that your Storage heaters are equally as efficient - at 100% - as any other electrical heater.


    So as you can get off-peak electricity at under half the price of peak rate electricity, they are over twice as economical as the other heaters you are considering.


    With you being in all day you don't suffer from the big disadvantage of old storage heaters - namely that they leak heat during the day when occupants are out at work.


    Whilst I agree with matelodave's comments in post#6 above, it is obviously up to you what you consider safe for your toddler; however there is no question that storage heating is the most economical solution.
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