Storage heaters - ok, or what to replace with?

Storage heaters - ok, or what to replace with?

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Discussion

Rockatansky

Original Poster:

1,602 posts

164 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
For the first time in a very long time I'm going to be moving house.

New house ticked a lot of the boxes - big garage etc - but I'm a bit concerned that it's heated by electric storage heaters.

My experience of these is somewhat dated and not positive, but I don't know if the modern ones are any better. The ones in question have all been installed around 3 or 4 years back. The present owner insists his bills are reasonable, he's on some sort of off peak tariff.

So, until I'm in there I'm not sure whether they'll bankrupt me or not, but if you were to install a central heating system in this (political) climate what's the best option?

I think there's mains gas in the street, but is that out of favour? Biomass? Solar to offset consumption?

Never had to think about any of this before, so I'm clueless biglaugh

For context, 4 bed detached villa, 1990s vintage.

caziques

2,258 posts

145 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all

As with any form of heating you can choose the temperature or the running cost.

All electric storage heaters are 1:1 efficient, what you need to do is turn the floor into a storage heater, and use a heat pump - which will reduce the running costs by perhaps 75%.

However, there is a capital cost. https://www.jk-gb.com/ groove the existing floor - the next problem would be finding a reasonably priced air source hot water heat pump.

I've done some of my house here in NZ - more difficult because the floor is concrete not screed - much easier because I do underfloor heating as a business.

Heat pump and radiators are OK, just not as good as underfloor.

Huntsman

7,683 posts

227 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
We have no mains gas.

Electric is 30p / kwh.

Oil is 10p / kwh.

I'm putting oil heating in.

caziques

2,258 posts

145 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
Huntsman said:
We have no mains gas.

Electric is 30p / kwh.

Oil is 10p / kwh.

I'm putting oil heating in.
And a heat pump is 7-10p / kWh. There is no excuse these days to burn dirty oil with annual maintenance costs when air sourced heat pumps are as good as they are.

Here in NZ we are busy swapping oil boilers for heat pumps, mostly to reduce running costs but also because they are better for the environment and much more convenient.


Equus

13,284 posts

78 months

Saturday 14th May
quotequote all
caziques said:
There is no excuse these days to burn dirty oil with annual maintenance costs...
Except for operational flexibility, and the fact that it actually works in an older property where an ASHP probably won't, of course (or at least not at anything resembling the level of efficiency claimed).

Huntsman

7,683 posts

227 months

Equus said:
Except for operational flexibility, and the fact that it actually works in an older property where an ASHP probably won't, of course (or at least not at anything resembling the level of efficiency claimed).
Exactly.

Plus, lets not forget that the UK grid delivers 70% of its power from fossil fuel, while that number is reducing, an ASHP is still mostly dino juice powered.

Joey Deacon

5,310 posts

153 months

In my experience the worst of both worlds being hideously expensive to run and useless. All the heat they store will have escaped by the evening so you will end up using plug in oil filled heaters as well.

I would suspect the only reason they installed them is because the property doesn't have mains gas. Having had them in the past, as soon as I see one in the photos of a property I immediately move onto the next one.

On a house that size the electric bills are going to be mentally expensive. We were paying £700 a quarter on a two bed flat two years ago.

OutInTheShed

788 posts

3 months

Some 1990s houses have very poor insulation, some are very good.
Some locations in the UK are very much colder than others.

In some cases it's going to take a very long time to repay the capital investment of a heatpump

It's hard to predict the price of gas or electricity.

Depending on the construction of the house, and the local climate etc, UFH may be a good or quite bad idea.

bennno

8,211 posts

246 months

Rockatansky said:
For the first time in a very long time I'm going to be moving house.

New house ticked a lot of the boxes - big garage etc - but I'm a bit concerned that it's heated by electric storage heaters.

My experience of these is somewhat dated and not positive, but I don't know if the modern ones are any better. The ones in question have all been installed around 3 or 4 years back. The present owner insists his bills are reasonable, he's on some sort of off peak tariff.

So, until I'm in there I'm not sure whether they'll bankrupt me or not, but if you were to install a central heating system in this (political) climate what's the best option?

I think there's mains gas in the street, but is that out of favour? Biomass? Solar to offset consumption?

Never had to think about any of this before, so I'm clueless biglaugh

For context, 4 bed detached villa, 1990s vintage.
Worth checking if you have mains gas, if that’s the case it’s your most logical answer.

If you don’t then oil central heating.

ASHP quite a waste of time in an older property. Needs underfloor heating to vaguely work.

Equus

13,284 posts

78 months

OutInTheShed said:
Some 1990s houses have very poor insulation, some are very good.
Almost none are very good by modern standards (apart from a handful of self-builds by dedicated eco-warriors).

Building Regulations standards on energy consumption have improved by a factor of approximately 6, since the millenium.

AlexC1981

4,385 posts

194 months

If you keep your flaps closed the heaters will probably retain enough heat to last into the evening, even on medium input settings.

As gas boilers are being banned for new build homes, it's hard to say what is going to happen with gas prices. It may be heavily taxed as an incentive to move away from it. Same could happen for oil boilers.

I'm really not sure what I would do. Perhaps a gas boiler could be installed with oversized pipework and radiators that would allow you to upgrade to ASHP at a later date without changing most of the system.

Huntsman said:
We have no mains gas.

Electric is 30p / kwh.

Oil is 10p / kwh.

I'm putting oil heating in.
Off-peak electricity that storage heaters use is 17p/kwh. OK, still expensive compared to gas, but the storage heaters in my old flat still function as well as they did when they were installed in 1989 with no maintenance or repair costs in the mean time. They run in total silence as well, whereas the wet heating in my house wakes me up with creaking pipes!


Chainsaw Rebuild

1,696 posts

79 months

The idea solution, assuming you plan on staying there long term, would be to thoroughly upgrade the insulation of the house, fit ASHP powered underfloor heating, battery storage and solar on the roof. That way you can charge the batteries cheaply in the night and use it in the day. Some battery systems, such as Givenergy, allow you to sell your excess power to the grin at peak times.


If you have space you could look into ground source heating using vertical piping. I think it might be better, but I don't know much about it.

blueg33

29,668 posts

201 months

Our place in Devon has modern electric heaters. Its very expensive to heat. Our other place uses oil, now expensive but still costs less to heat a large 4 bed 4 Recep house to 20 degrees C than it costs to run the 3 bed in Devon on background heating at 12 degrees C

cayman-black

11,306 posts

193 months

Joey Deacon said:
In my experience the worst of both worlds being hideously expensive to run and useless. All the heat they store will have escaped by the evening so you will end up using plug in oil filled heaters as well.

I would suspect the only reason they installed them is because the property doesn't have mains gas. Having had them in the past, as soon as I see one in the photos of a property I immediately move onto the next one.

On a house that size the electric bills are going to be mentally expensive. We were paying £700 a quarter on a two bed flat two years ago.
This. I would not buy a house with this heating system. IMO you need to fit central heating in .

mnbvcxz123

3 posts

8 months

If they are only a few years old they might well be High Heat Retention storage heaters like Dimplex Quantum. These have much better insulation than the older generations so really do hold the heat in from off peak periods and release it only when you need it, no longer leaking out at night and overheating the bedrooms... Of course this is what they said about the older generations as well... But you do hear nice things about them so perhaps they have finally cracked it now. They also have complicated electronics that will try to predict how much heat you will need each day so they don't over charge. The big downside is they are quite expensive to buy and install with two power cables, but if you already have them that is not your problem. That and electricity is not cheap, but offpeak economy 7 tariffs can be not too bad. It could represent £6000 of modern heating installation.

You presumably don't have mains gas or they would already be using that? If you do then switch to gas obviously.

Oil? Twenty years ago oil was definitely the right choice. But now? Putting in a completely new radiator system, hot water, oil boiler and oil tank (if there is room outside?) is going to be £10,000+ but something that is unlikely to be the future and may be completely incompatible with it.. Nobody knows the future but you could well have to rip it all out in five years.

It's quite plausible that in a few years we will be swapping our oil boilers for super insulated storage heaters that automatically store up electricity when the grid has a cheap surplus. Or something completely different.

So if they are modern HHR storage heaters I would try and live with them for a few years on the best economy 7 tariff you can get. Off peak electricity and oil are actually quite close in price at the moment, and electricity has no servicing costs... Then wait and see if the future becomes a little clearer, perhaps you will buy an ammonia tank and boiler, or roll out lino with built in heating pipes from a heat pump, you just can't know. Good luck.





Condi

13,553 posts

148 months

Huntsman said:
Plus, lets not forget that the UK grid delivers 70% of its power from fossil fuel, while that number is reducing, an ASHP is still mostly dino juice powered.
The UK gets about 45% of it's power from fossil fuels, an amount which falls most years.

2Btoo

2,816 posts

180 months

Equus said:
caziques said:
There is no excuse these days to burn dirty oil with annual maintenance costs...
Except for operational flexibility, and the fact that it actually works in an older property where an ASHP probably won't, of course (or at least not at anything resembling the level of efficiency claimed). hasn't a hope of ever doing so; it will cost you an arm and a leg to install and will then cost much the same as your storage heaters to run, but will struggle to get your house anything more than tepid.
Fixed that for you.

Rockatansky

Original Poster:

1,602 posts

164 months

mnbvcxz123 said:
.....

You presumably don't have mains gas or they would already be using that? If you do then switch to gas obviously.

.....

So if they are modern HHR storage heaters I would try and live with them for a few years on the best economy 7 tariff you can get. Off peak electricity and oil are actually quite close in price at the moment, and electricity has no servicing costs... Then wait and see if the future becomes a little clearer, perhaps you will buy an ammonia tank and boiler, or roll out lino with built in heating pipes from a heat pump, you just can't know. Good luck.
Thanks for your reply, and for all the other replies too - food for thought!

I think there may be mains gas, but I need to establish that for sure, in the meantime the storage heaters (that I took notice of) are Dimplex XLE, not Quantum.

I allowed a bit of headroom in our offer to potentially pay for heating work, but if it all has to be undone in a few years then it might be best to sit it out.

Lots to think about..

trixical

864 posts

152 months

Mains gas isn't necessarily an option even if it's very close by, there was someone on a thread a few months back who had got the gas supply to their door but couldn't find anyone who would install a meter and take on the supply, not sure if they had any luck since.

edit: Johnnytheboy https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&... in case you want to see how hes faired, last updated Jan

Edited by trixical on Sunday 15th May 19:08

Rockatansky

Original Poster:

1,602 posts

164 months

trixical said:
Mains gas isn't necessarily an option even if it's very close by, there was someone on a thread a few months back who had got the gas supply to their door but couldn't find anyone who would install a meter and take on the supply, not sure if they had any luck since.
I remember reading that, I'll not take it for granted that I can arrange connection.