Do storage heaters use a of of electricity is a question we get asked a lot. You came to the right place if you are looking for the answer. This article will help you understand the right way to use them.
Storage heaters use electricity on the off peak demand hours. They can be programmed to use very a lot of very little electricity. Storage heaters use a lot of electricity during daytime peak hours on weekdays.
Why Can Storage Heaters Use So Much Electricity
A storage heater uses the off peak period to charge up. It uses the cheaper power rate to store heat into the bricks. If you take a 1000 watt storage heater, which is 1 KW. Use the heater for 1 hour, then you would use 1 kwh.
Times that 1 kwh by your regular rate at say 15 cents and it will cost you 15 cents for every hour that heater runs. Use the same heater at night and times the 1kw at the off peak rate of 8 cents and it will only cost you 8 cents per hour to run.
The heater should be sized properly to heat the space it’s installed in. If done correctly then the heater should need to come on much or at all during the day.
However size the heater wrong or under size it and it will need to come on during the day to keep the room warm. This is where it can cost you more money to run them.
How To Save Money On Electricity with Storage Heaters
As mentioned about sizing it the key. Make sure the size is at least 10 watts per square foot of space. In some older homes we even go up to 12 watts per square foot. In a 100 square foot bedroom you would need a 1200 watt storage heater.
Other Important Factors To Save Money With Storage Heaters
- Insulation values in the space being heated. These are very important to have at least R-20 rated value inside the wall.
- Drafty Areas. Make sure the heaters are not installed in a drafty area like by a front door that gets high traffic. This will trick the heater into thinking that it needs to be on all of the time, which is not efficient.
- Don’t pay with the thermostat up and down. That will also confuse the heater. Just leave it set and if you like it warmer turn it up and eave it there.
Do Storage Heaters Use Electricity During The Day?
Yes most storage heaters have a back up element that can potentially come on during the day. This is in case you have a large temperature fluctuation.
Many areas of the world can have large temperature fluctuations from night to day. In particular when you have a cloudy night which it is warmer and then clears off and gets cold during the day.
This causes the temperature to drop quick in the house. If the heater hasn’t taken the proper storage throughout the night because it was warmer then the back up element can come on. This will bring the room back up to temperature.
It will also cost more money to run this way. The best way around it is to check the weather and turn the heater up the night before. The heater will take a greater charge during the off peak hours so that the back up element doesn’t need to come on during the next day. This will save money.
Are Electric Storage Heaters Any Good?
Electric storage heaters have been around for years. Their technology over the years has as improved greatly. Traditional they were just a bunch of bricks that came on from a single with a timer. They did not have any advanced sensing technology build in.
Newer storage heater models are considered to be smart heaters. They have an internal circuit board which communicates with the elements in the heater. They check the room temperature every 30 seconds and some models check the outside temperature against the inside temperature to get an idea of charge time for the bricks.
The newest model of heaters are connected to wifi. They use a weather app to predict how much charge to take the night before into the bricks. They can check the weather up to a couple days ahead.
The newer storage heaters can also detect the activity in your home to see when you need the heat on or off. They also link to your domestic hot water to tell it when to come on. For example you may have company or children home on the weekends requiring more hot water or heat.
How Much Does A Storage Heater Cost Per Day?
Okay let’s use an example of a 200 square foot room. That’s 20 feet by 10 feet to keep it easy. At 10 watts per square foot it would result in a 2000 watt heater size.
An older style storage heater wouldn’t have enough capacity to heat due to only running on the off peak time and charging the bricks.
A newer style heater would have that second set of elements in the to come on during regular peak times to heat the room. The size of the back up element would be 1200 watts.
Let’s use a weekday as an example. The off peak time at night is usually 8 hours so 2000 watts or 2 kw time 8 hours would be 16 kwh. Times this by your off peak rate. 8 cents is the off peak rate. $1.28 for the night.
Now lets say the heater comes on for 4 hours off and on with the back up heat to top the room temperature up. 1200 watts or 1.2 kw time 4 hours at the regular peak rate of 15 cents. This would be .72 cents. The total per day to heat that room would be 2 dollars per day.
What About The Cost On A Weekend?
Let’s take the same example above only on a weekend. The weekend off peak rate is all weekend including the day so you would be only paying the 8 cents. You would take your $1.28 and this time the 1.2 kw for 4 hours would only be multiplied by 8 cents instead of 15 cent resulting in 38 cents.
Add 38 cents to $1.28 and you get $1.31 per day. It should be noted that if this were a regular electrical baseboard heater multiplied by 15 cents with out the off peak it would cost you $3.28 per day vs $1.31 per day using storage heaters. A significant difference in savings.
More on storage heaters here.
How Much Should Storage Heaters Cost To Run All The Time
Now lets say you leave the door open to get heat in the other rooms. This would cause the heater to run as much as possible. Using the examples above the storage heater costs you $1.28 for the night on the off peak.
However with the door open the back up element runs all day trying to keep up because you are trying to heat a larger space. You would take the 1200 watt back up heater or 1.2 kw and times it by 16 hours of peak time at 15 cents. So it would be 19.2 kwh during the peak at $2.88.
Add this to your 1.28 and now you have $3.68 per day to run that heater.
Do You Leave A Storage Heater On All The Time?
We recommend leaving storage heaters during the winter months on all of the time. They need to do their job efficiently. If you are continuously shutting them off to save power it will do the opposite due to the time it takes them to heat back up.
The best result is to just turn them down while you are away for any length of time.
There are 4 months of the year May and June, then September and October which we call the should period or should heat season. These are the months where it gets cooler at night but still warms up substantially during the day.
The heater will take a charge at night and then still have to release it during the warmer daytime hours. Although its not drawing any electricity it still needs to dissipate the heat it has stored from the night before.
This can cause an overheating situation. The newer style storage heaters do not have that issue as they use the weather app to offset the charge the night before.
In this case only we recommend shutting the storage heaters off all together or running them in regular electrical heat mode. There are also alternatives like mini split wall mount heat pumps to give you a quick heat.
How Many KWH Does A Storage Heater Use?
The largest free standing thermal storage heaters can be up to 12000 watts or 12kw. Internal full heating system storage heaters like the ones that mount right to your furnace can be up to 25000 watts or 25 kw for central heating systems.
Smaller rooms can have storage heaters as small as 900 watts or 0.9 kw. It really boils down to the size heater need to heat the space and there are a large variety of sizes on the market today.
The larger units can use up to 250 kwh per day at a rate of 8 cents it can be 20 dollars a day to heat that space. This would be about a 6000 square foot house in the peak of the winter months.
Storage Heater Electricity Tariff
Mostly all power utilities have some form off off peak tariff. The common mistake people make is to take it for granted. Many people think that the cheaper off peak rate just automatically applies to them if the use power at night or weekends. IT Does Not.
You need to fill out an application form with your local power company and meet their qualifications to get accepted. They come and install a physically different power meter in your house in place of the old one. Not to be mistaken with a smart meter. This meter called Time Of Use, has an internal time clock with pre loaded setting from the power company.
It breaks the peak rate kwh used in that time span and separates them from the off peak rate which is almost half the price. Not only is your heating at this rate but everything in the house is as well.
Domestic hot water, fridge, freezer , lights etc. You can take great advantage of this cheaper rate if you adopt a bit of a life style change.
I usually wash cold and throw a wash in around 8 pm on weekdays. Before i go to bed I will throw them in the dryer close to 11 pm. I also have the dishwasher and hot water tank on timers.
In addition to that I have a pool. The pool is also on a timer from 11 pm to 7 am daily. The advantages are endless when you are on this time of use meter.
How To Apply For The Off Peak Meter
Applying for the off peak meter is simply really. Just contact your local power company to get the paperwork. They will arrange an appointment with you to come out and do a site visit.
They will be looking to see if you qualify. Qualifying usually means that you have to have some type of heating storage. it could be storage heaters or it could be a heated slab by in floor heat floor mass.
The heating for the floor mass must be electric like an electric boiler that heats the in floor. In addition they will be looking for programmable thermostats that are 7 day. This is so you can program the floor to come on during the off peak hours. Here is a link to some programmable thermostats we recommend.
You can also install a timer on your hot water tank to heat the hot water at night. Here is a link to a hot water tank timer we recommend. Click Here