How High-Quality, Efficient Electric Heating Can Reduce Your Costs and Bills
Electric heating is becoming increasingly popular and has many advantages over heating systems that use other fuels such as gas, oil, or LPG. Electric heaters have had much research and development invested in their operation so they’re now technically very advanced. To start with, electric heating is fully efficient in terms of converting electrical power to heat energy. The conversion rate is 100% efficiency and no electricity is wasted. This means that every single kilowatt of electricity produces a corresponding kilowatt of heating. By contrast, boiler systems steadily lose energy through the flue from which the waste gasses escape.
Low Start-up Costs
Electric heating is very cost-effective to buy and can be seen as a good investment for the homeowner. When it comes to installation, you won’t pay high labour fees because installation is a straightforward process. No pipework is required and each radiator is directly connected to the electrical circuit, which just takes a short time. You can use electric heaters as stand-alone units or as part of a system and you can also add heaters to your system with a minimal cost and fuss.
Minimal Lifetime Ownership Costs
There is much debate about how much electric heaters cost to run compared to heating systems that use other fuels. This is, however, only part of the picture and you have to look at the respective lifetime costs of each system. This takes into account the fuel type as well as any ongoing maintenance costs over the lifetime of the system. The prices of oil, gas and electricity can fluctuate but Energywatch, the independent gas and electricity consumer watchdog, has reported in the past that the cost of gas supplied by some energy companies had increased by almost double the rate of electricity. Oil prices can be extremely volatile too and oil theft is a real hazard for those using oil-fired heating with external oil tanks. By contrast, the supply of electricity is practically impossible to steal and, unlike carbon fuels, it will never run out.
Electric heating doesn’t have the level of complex moving parts that other systems have and can, therefore, have a typical lifespan of as much as 15 years. Gas boiler suppliers tend to quote an average of 10 years for a gas boiler. Also, gas boilers require regular servicing and inspections and parts usually need to be replaced quite regularly. If a gas boiler breaks down, the effect is very dramatic, whereas there’s little that can go wrong with an electric heater and they don’t have annual servicing costs. So, in summary, electric heating is more cost-effective to install and maintain and has a longer lifespan than gas heating systems. This means electric heating system ownership costs provide better value in many ways before we even examine the costs of running the system.
The Energy-Saving Operation of Electric Heating Systems
Modern electric heating systems use the latest technology to ensure that the biggest energy and cost savings are achieved and many people have switched to the latest electric heaters from the old-style night storage heaters. The latter operate by heating fire clay core bricks during the night on the Economy 7 tariff. They take some time to reach their optimal temperature before the stored heat is released into the environment during the day. Temperature control, however, is hard to achieve, with the home becoming cool during the later part of the day as these outmoded heaters can’t respond to the changing weather conditions. This can lead to too much heat in warm spells or the need to use additional temporary heating during cold snaps. Modern heating systems, such as those offered by Electric Heating Expert, attain their operating temperature within minutes as opposed to hours and using only a fraction of the electricity to maintain the desired temperatures. This means a lower and more efficient energy consumption, which can lead to large cost savings.
German electric radiators, such as Electric Heating Expert’s Economiser range, are one of the more popular electric heating systems the UK has to offer. They contain a material known as Chamotte, which is a ceramic fire clay designed to heat up rapidly, keeping the heat within the core of the radiators. The continuous process of heat generation and conservation means that the electricity used is very low, leading to efficient and cost-effective heating. Furthermore, the Economiser range is very responsive, which is excellent for bedrooms and bathrooms where you might only need heat for a short period of time. You can also turn up the heat on the spot when the weather turns cold. You can install large radiators and they won’t use more power. Thermostatically controlled electric radiators only use the electricity they need for your set room temperature.
The other type of electric heater supplied by Electric Heating Expert is the Vantage Electric Radiator. This model has a built-in intuitive control panel that’s fully programmable. The radiator has a sophisticated temperature sensor and fluctuations are monitored, so the wattage input and corresponding heat output can be gauged based on the desired temperature settings that lowers energy consumption. The radiator itself contains a thermodynamic fluid, which is extremely efficient when it comes to releasing heat through the radiator. The durable heating elements can be found at the bottom of the radiator and so, when the fluid gets hot, it flows quickly and consistently through the radiator, ensuring that the heat is generated rapidly and evenly.
The Vantage and Economiser radiators benefit from a short-term storage capacity and keeping the heat in the electric radiator leads to more efficient heat output with an effective temperature sensor and thermostat. The short-term storage capacity offered leads to a more controlled and gradual heat output when compared to radiators that don’t store heat. The temperature sensor can react to changes in room temperature, thereby saving on energy consumption while maintaining an ambient temperature. Radiators that don’t store energy tend to use more fuel as they only have two modes of operation, which are ‘on’ or ‘off’. Even thermostatically controlled radiators with no element of stored heat will go cold once the optimal temperature has been reached. This results in higher power consumption because the radiator needs to switch itself on sooner. By contrast, radiators with deeper heat plates may retain heat for a longer period but don’t lead to better energy consumption as it takes longer to heat a room due to the heat being trapped within the radiator for longer.
Temperature Sensing and Control
The Vantage Thermodynamic Electric Radiator benefits from an energy monitor, so you can track track your energy consumption across every room. This helps you to plan your costs in the future and, if necessary, adjust your settings to lower your bills. The Energy Monitor shows you the amount of energy required to heat a room so, if any one room is showing abnormal energy consumption, you can take steps to address this by, for example, increasing insulation. Another brilliant feature is the open window sensor, which saves on energy wasted through windows being inadvertently left open. To do this, the Vantage Radiator continuously monitors the temperature and, if it detects an unexpected drop, it will cease heat output for 30 minutes. When this time has passed, the radiator will only continue its programme if it detects a rise in the room temperature, indicating that the open window or door has been closed.
When the Economiser range of radiators is installed, they can be individually controlled or set as a group in a zoned temperature control. You can set precise temperatures and the sensors ensure that the radiators remain extremely efficient. Accurate temperature sensing leads to greater control of temperatures and this is paramount for saving on bills. The Energy Saving Trust has publicised that a decrease in room temperatures by just 1 degree can shave as much as 10% off your heating bills. Economiser Electric Radiators use wireless thermostats with long-life batteries and can be located in the optimal positions to control heating. You don’t have to set your thermostat in the hall, where it’s bound to give an inaccurate reading for the rest of the house. Wireless programmable thermostats also allow heating to be zoned to save energy so, for example, rooms that are little used can be kept cool whereas higher temperatures are necessary for occupied areas. This creates a comfortable and warm living space with energy usage that’s completely under the direct control of the home’s occupants.
Factors Influencing Tariffs and Cost Savings
Economiser and Vantage Electric Radiators operate on either a standard rate tariff or on Economy 10. You can shop around to get the best deals for these tariffs, enabling you to secure the best value for money. Savings to your energy will depend on different factors and it’s not the case the one size fits all. These factors include insulation, home layout, careful and correct usage, and securing the best low tariff. Home insulation is possibly the most critical factor and, when fitting a new electric heating system, it’s very important to consider different ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Simply having the right insulation levels can, therefore, significantly reduce running costs.
It isn’t possible to foresee the exact running costs of your electric heating system before it’s up and running but, if you’re serious about saving money, a report from an energy assessor is a good initial step. The bottom line is that high-quality electric heating systems usually provide better performance than lower quality electric heaters as well as panel heaters, fan heaters, convectors and storage heaters. Higher quality electric heaters certainly have lower lifelong costs than gas and oil systems and the intelligent and hi-tech way they work means that electricity is used extremely efficiently, thus providing consistent savings on your energy bills.