Immersion heater and storage heater

ahfat41
ahfat41 Posts: 304
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Son made an offer for a flat with immersion heater and one storage  tester in lounge and the owner is using a portable Dyson heater. Am a bit concerned, it will be expensive to warm the 1 bed flat in winter, she said approx £8O month. He is a bit clueless and did not ask much about heating. Can anybody offer some advice, will be better to convert to electric central heating or install another storage heater in bedroom. Thanks
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  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,140
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    edited 13 February at 9:58AM
    Storage heaters charge up overnight and release heat slowly during the day/evening. Unless the bedroom is in use all day, as an office if WFH for example, it's not likely to be the best option. He would probably be better with some form of electric heater that can be set to come on with a timer for 30 minutes before bed and again in the morning so it's warm when he gets up. Does he know if the shower is electric or runs off the hot water tank?
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  • Gerry1
    Gerry1 Posts: 9,731
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    With the vendor's permission, go to uSwitch and enter the address.  It will look up the property's usage and costs.
    Of course, your son may have a different lifestyle and temperature preferences, but it will give you a rough idea.
    If extra heating is required a new storage heater in the hall may be better than one in the bedroom.
    If the existing storage heater is an old one with two knobs or if it's an instantaneous electric shower then it's bad news.
  • BellaBlondykeTheThird
    BellaBlondykeTheThird Posts: 242
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    edited 13 February at 10:39AM
    I would Ignore the uSwitch guesstimaten if I were you ours is still 4000kwh or electricity out (higher) than our average use over the past 7 years.

    So it should not be relied upon at all.
  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,670
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    edited 13 February at 12:35PM
    Electric heating can be expensive to run if only look at energy costs but there are also some large savings (*) to be had from no gas boiler as an owner - especially so in smaller properties.  

    It's a perfectly viable solution for smaller homes as a result.

    £80 I suspect is actually pretty reasonable annualised monthly DD figure for 1 in a small 1 bed flat with reasonable insulation standards.  £960 pa.

    Many could probably even save a bit on that.

    (*) And remember although gas is cheaper per kWh it comes with fixed overheads that make it a pain for low use properties. He will have no c£110 gas standing charge. Over 1 months bill. No say £100-£150pa annual gas boiler service / safety inspection. Another 1-2 months bill etc.  No £xx-xxx pa for sporadic boiler / radiator repairs.  No £2-4,000 every 10-20 years for new boiler.

    All that buys a lot of electricity's extra cost vs gas.  (Even at SR diff c20p per kWh - the £108 SC covers 540kWh - more than I used last month my heaviest use month normally- and more like 3m worth in summer. )

    I manage almost that £80pm currently (nearer £85 / £1020 pa forecast) in a 2 bed mid terrace on more expensive E10 (vs E7 pricing but it suits my old heaters and Im at home several days a week) and that with hot water immersion tank and a seperate electric shower.  But heat sparingly (17C living room, 15 elsewhere - fine if layer up and younger / healthy probably manage even lower)

    If the heating is as I assume (*) on e7 to heat immersion and night storage heater overnight at off peak rates.

    If LR heater old lossy and manual 1or 2 dial an upgrade to a modern HHR panel with adaptive self charging regulation and 7 day timer / programnable air thermostat could be a wise move - especialky if out at work several days a week.  If already a modern lot 20 fan assisted storage heater model with programmable air thermostatic controls I'd maybe live with it and see.

    Old Manual core brick regulated  models like mine need constant adjustments as weather changes to minimise running costs whilst maintaining room temperatures.  In last 2 months - that's been every 3 days on average across 3 heaters for me - looking at weather forecasts and adjusting charge levels going from 0 to all 3 on high back to all off.  Many would find that too annoying.

    There are however intermediate levels of controllability.

    And again if on e7 - because it generally comes with a peak premium rate 17 hrs a day ( e.g. EDF who publish full regional splits - average is c16p off peak vs 35p peak cf say 28p flat rate) - its important to try to minimise heavy use - like plug in heaters - during peak times.  Wouldnt panic say 1/2-1hr morning and night in bedroom - but long hours mounts up quickly and could wipe out off peak rate savings vs SR.  So again a small hhr nsh or programmable lot 20 in hall if that has doorways to heat bathroom / kitchen / bedroom may be a wise investment longer term.

    (*) PS If not on E7 or other legacy multirate there is little point in having any storage heaters they are expensive and only justification is charge low off peak rate - heat all day from it.
  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 20,786
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    I reckon that figure is probably pretty close to the money to be honest. We previously lived in a 60sqm-ish 2 bed flat - solid floors and wall insulation wasn't all that. Windows were decent though. Immersion heater for water, electric shower, and a range of storage heaters from a very controllable HHR Dimplex Quantum in the hallway, through to older style "2 knob" ones in the living room and bedroom, and one ancient (we reckon probably around 40 years old) one lurking in the spare room. To be honest we generally found we only needed to use the hallway and living room ones - plus an electric towel rail in the bathroom. The flat did have a gas supply but that was only used for cooking. We were paying just over £100 a month there, but that ran us into credit which we are now in the process of eating through in our new (and rather larger!) home! 

    Storage heaters can work really well - best advice from me would be for him to really learn about how his heater works, and get very used to checking the weather a few days ahead to avoid being caught out if a cold snap hits. 
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  • techphobe
    techphobe Posts: 11
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    I have experience of a 60sq m 2 bed flat with only electricity and three storage heaters. The building is 25 years old with other flats in all directions apart from the front and back. I only ever use the storage heater in the living room and probably only about 20 nights a year. Possibly it’s very well insulated - it’s currently 18.6 degrees with no heating.  I have an electric throw for when I work from home 3-4 days a week so with a fleece on and the throw I am toasty.

    i just checked my electricity bill as was pondering if fixes were worth it and my electricity forecast is £748 a year or £833 depending on whether you check the last bill or the website. Shell (now Octopus) tell me I could get my cost down to £721 by getting a fix. I’m not wasteful but I don’t sit and shiver. The first 2-3 weeks of 2024 I had the storage heater on each night.  I do have two big south facing windows which really warm the place up on sunny winter days so find out which way the windows face.

    I don’t mind a cold bedroom although have a hot water bottle for winter. Shell says my annual usage is 2,605kwh - that’s heating, hot water, cooking and lighting as there’s no gas. It’s Economy 7 but as I rarely need the storage heaters I use almost as much daytime electricity as I do night time.

    My advice would be to shop around for a good tariff and get an electric throw and hot water bottle and it should be under £1k a year even if it’s not as well insulated as my place. 
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,140
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    techphobe said:
    I have experience of a 60sq m 2 bed flat with only electricity and three storage heaters. The building is 25 years old with other flats in all directions apart from the front and back. I only ever use the storage heater in the living room and probably only about 20 nights a year. Possibly it’s very well insulated - it’s currently 18.6 degrees with no heating.  I have an electric throw for when I work from home 3-4 days a week so with a fleece on and the throw I am toasty.

    i just checked my electricity bill as was pondering if fixes were worth it and my electricity forecast is £748 a year or £833 depending on whether you check the last bill or the website. Shell (now Octopus) tell me I could get my cost down to £721 by getting a fix. I’m not wasteful but I don’t sit and shiver. The first 2-3 weeks of 2024 I had the storage heater on each night.  I do have two big south facing windows which really warm the place up on sunny winter days so find out which way the windows face.

    I don’t mind a cold bedroom although have a hot water bottle for winter. Shell says my annual usage is 2,605kwh - that’s heating, hot water, cooking and lighting as there’s no gas. It’s Economy 7 but as I rarely need the storage heaters I use almost as much daytime electricity as I do night time.

    My advice would be to shop around for a good tariff and get an electric throw and hot water bottle and it should be under £1k a year even if it’s not as well insulated as my place. 
    If you're not using electricity much overnight, you would be better off changing from E7 to a one rate SVT.
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  • Scot_39
    Scot_39 Posts: 1,670
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    techphobe says still using just over 50% night - that should still be enough to be cheaper on E7.

    And their's always the chance he increases off peak heating at some point - or sells property to someone who will.

    Or switching to SR the suppliers will inadvertently or otherwise - interfere with ALCS timings.

  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 4,994
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    Scot_39 said:

    Or switching to SR the suppliers will inadvertently or otherwise - interfere with ALCS timings.

    That wasn't the case for me Scot when I was incorrectly moved from E7 to single rate recently. My ALCS timings stayed the same but only the rate 1 register was written to for both on and off peak windows. Therefore, it meant I had to switch off my storage heaters until I was switched back to E7 or they would still come on over night and cost me a fortune.
  • techphobe
    techphobe Posts: 11
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    I did a calc last year to look into moving to a single rate and there was about £20 a year in it. I decided to stay on E7 for the winter so I wouldn’t think twice about putting the heating on a lot overnight if and when I needed it. I needed it solidly during the Jan cold spell so could well have spent more if on a single tariff.

    But as you both mention ALCS I have a question or two. I have never managed to find out when my ALCS times are. I read a thread here which seemed to say they vary by supplier? I’m in the South but all the meters for my block of flats are in a room I cannot freely access to do readings so can’t see when usage slows down. I don’t have a smart meter.  There is a light on the water heater control box but I don’t sit around watching when it comes on and goes off. Over the years I have several different suppliers and did ask one about the E7 hours but they couldn’t tell me so I gave up. Should Shell (now Octopus) be able to tell me their cheap hours and do the storage heaters somehow know to only start up when it’s cheap rate as they don’t have a timer that you set?
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