Upgrade old Night storage heaters, come off E7 and get "German" electric storage, or back to Gas

MattNev Posts: 12
First Post
I see there are plenty of similar threads so apologies for an repetition.
I have just bought a 2 bed flat.  The previous owners ripped out the Gas Boiler and central heating and went on to Economy 7, and 2 Dimplex NSHs and 2 Dimplex convection heaters in bedrooms. These are old and only manual control.  I work all day so the NSHs are effectively heating the empty flat, with very little control and only on/of manual in bedrooms.

I want to move to a WiFi phone app/home hub (Im a Mac user so homeKit compatible) enabled more efficient heating system.
Initial Google searches floods me with the "German" storage heaters.  Quotes from companies like SunFlow, Elktherm, Fischer, Climastar all seem to be falling in the 5k-6k range for 4 radiators and coming off economy 7.  These prices seem extravagant for what is an ex-council flat but I was initially tempted by their sales pitches, despite flashbacks to similar DoubleGlazing pitches a few decades ago. Getting a Combi-boiler put back in and central heating re-installed is likely to cost 6-7k.
Does anyone here have any advice or experience with similar scenarios.  From what I see I have 4 options:

1.Upgrade to modern night storage heaters keeping economy 7. 
2. Invest in one of these "German" storage heater systems and come off Economy 7 ( I am unlikely to be using much electricity between midnight and 7am).
3. Go for cheaper oil or Gel filled electric heaters and time the heating times to fit with times I am there, Again with no Economy 7.
4. Invest in putting Gas Boiler back in - this is the most pricey but would have the advantage of being better able to meet the demands of a Bath I want to put in the flat, over the current 120L pressurised hot water tank.  
Any advice or discussion would be most welcome.  
Many thanks



  • Gas everytime and that could increase the value come sale time.
    "I can lead you to the money saving well but cannot make you drink from it"

    As mum always said "don't respond to imbeciles just ignore them" wise words mum 
  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,770
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Whatever you do, don't even think of getting those magic dust German non-storage heaters running on expensive day rate electricity.  They'll bankrupt you and make prospective purchasers of your flat run a mile.

  • What's your bill in winter month?
    What time do you come home?
    How long you're planning on staying in the flat?

    The answers may help.
  • knightstyle
    knightstyle Posts: 6,972
    First Post First Anniversary
    Getv the gas boiler in ASAP before they get banned. I think comparable prices at the moment are about 8p per KWh for gas and 28p electric.
    So an electric system must be over 3X more efficient than a gas one to be price even.
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,689
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited 11 December 2023 at 4:27PM
    I am increasingly unconvinced new gas installs will be as worth while an investment as have been historically.

    Gas may well be dead tech in a decade or so - in less than a decade if some reports on Scottish greens policy impact on property values have their way - even a potential liability for landlords at tennancy renewal and sellers.

    Like EVs were in past the gch to ashp transition is in the carrot phase, but that will turn to stick soon enough - new build gas is defacto soon to be banned due to new environmental impact standards. Upgrades will follow - as might increased emissions levies on gas rates or SC.

    My total electric bill inc hw and heating - 2 bed mid terrace - current bill forecast c£1000 - adding the second gas SC non trivial part of likely unit rate savings - add an annual boiler service / safety check - another £100-200 etc will erode even more of them etc.

    Harvie et al have just had to delay a very unpopular proposed c2025-28 tightening of regs on home heating - but only by a few years in Scotland.

    The cheapest quickest fix to daytime output is likely to be to replace your existing nsh with modern high heat retention storage heaters like Dimplex Quantum RF  (or Elnur or equivalent) and stay on e7.

    These are more suitable for bedrooms than old nsh but probably price overkill - although some wonder panels arent that cheap either - but if you really want to heat the bedrooms direct and maximise e7 off peak rates - an option.

    I suspect a cheap panel with timer / smart controls might be better bet on total costs for bedrooms for just a few hours am pm boost.

    I'd be very wary of claims of all wonder panel heaters - anything running off of single rate or worse e7 day rate likely to be more expensive to run. 
    And memories of past issues - like when FFH were threatened by court action and reportedly settled out of court for undisclosed terms at last minute by Leicestershire Trading Standards for their past sales claims for panels springs to mind.

    Some nsh now come with smart hubs but not sure how open / Internet linked etc to your apple tech format.

    In my region with my supplier sr electric is 27p, e7 off peak 15p and e7 peak 35p.  Use more than c42% and e7 cheaper overall than single rate.  But always more expensive than gas a c7p (until Jan 1st increase)

    With reasonable e7 usage for hw and nsh - 60% plus should be achievable.  I average 75% annually on e10 and use less energy on heating - well run lower home temperatures - than most I know.  Even my split peaks over 90% off peak on coldest days in winter.

    Although just like gas vs electric - some argue fixed time of use like e7 has past its day.  So it's equally a bit of a gamble.

    Flats and conventional ashp a real grey area for now and future - some talk of even ashp idea being dead in cities due to noise levels - to be replaced with domestic heat networks etc.

    Mini reverse air con Air to air heat pumps might be an option to get sr cop price reductions etc - but again would need freeholder permission to drill walls.

    What you certainly don't want is using standard panels heaters a lot at e7 peak rates - or risking a badly configured nsh using it alot either in normal use.  But even then splitting day night not a complete disaster.

    I don't use heaters in bedrooms ever - even when sub zero outside use a summer quilt - and heat a 2 bed 2 story house with just 3nsh - living room, downstairs and upstairs halls - but admit do use fan heater in bathroom when drying on coldest days when feeling the cold.

    These 3 all sadly old manual ones as well.  I did get a quote for quantums a few years ago - but what I thought was a faulty heater was a faulty consumer unit mcb overheating and tripping.  Cost £70, rather than £3k for 2 medium 1 large non rf quantum late 2019.  But the pay back in the  £3k was decades pre current price cap doubling.

  • MattNev
    MattNev Posts: 12
    First Post
    I have just bought the flat so have no idea what the cost will be, I am more familiar with heating a house with Gas central heating so this is all new to me.
    During the week I will be out at work from about 8.30am to 6 or 7pm, weekends will be very variable but Im sure I will be in a fair amount of the time.
    And who knows how long I will stay here, time has a habit of getting away, at least 5 years, and even if I move out I think i would keep it to rent.
  • MattNev
    MattNev Posts: 12
    First Post
    I will get a few quotes over the coming weeks but I suspect putting a whole central heating system back in may be out of my price range for now.  There is also the consideration of the longterm.  When will gas be phased out ?

    I would love to have a combo boiler back and confidently get enough hot water for a Bath without having to also upgrade the pressurised hot water system, plus I can get some stylish radiators. But I suspect it may be too expensive
  • MattNev
    MattNev Posts: 12
    First Post
    Again, I apologise for rehashing an old debate, there are clearly interesting and clear opinions on both sides of the electrical heating debate.
    I appreciate, beyond the "gas is better right now" answer there is no clear answer, but the information available just through Google is heavily biased by companies trying to sell me stuff, not what is the best option for the home owner.
  • With permission you could also research air to air heat pump multi split system for heating. Although they are electric and won't help with hot water they will (with the heat pump technology) produce a heating COP of 4 So 1kwh in and 4 kWh out. With the added benefit of being air conditioning for our hot 2 weeks of summer as well .

    Either that or take advantage of a free heat pump quite for install with £7500 grant from Octopus.

    Good to get the price of all these things 
    "I can lead you to the money saving well but cannot make you drink from it"

    As mum always said "don't respond to imbeciles just ignore them" wise words mum 
  • MattNev
    MattNev Posts: 12
    First Post
    Many Thanks for comments everyone
    Scott_39, are the more modern NSH better at retaining heat till the evening?  I have only been in the flat a few days but I have noticed that the main NSH in the living room is not managing to heat the room adequately by mid evening.  I am sure the room is warm enough during the day but Im not there then so even at the cheap night e7 rate it is functional inefficient as is.
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