Heating your Home Using Electricity
Electric Storage Heaters
Electric storage heaters are generally more energy efficient than, for example; oil filled radiators or electric bar heaters because they use off-peak electricity, the examples given use on-peak electricity. The difference between off-peak and on-peak electricity is that off-peak energy is supplied by your energy company at a lower price than on-peak.
Electric storage heaters work by taking off-peak electricity (usually during night time hours) and storing the heat within the heater itself. The storage heater then permeates the heat to the room throughout the daytime. These kinds of heaters are referred to as Economy 7, or Economy 10, after the tariff name. Economy 7 storage heaters will give out a pre-programmed amount of heat per day, so although they are more energy efficient than many types of heating, you may find that if the outside temperature changes suddenly, you may be left with an overly cold or warm room.
There are modern electric storage heaters that contain a thermostatic control that can automatically gauge the temperature in the room (some models can be programmed to obtain the outside temperature) and adjust the amount of energy stored in the heater as appropriate. Therefore, the room would not be subject to extreme changes in temperature if the weather changed dramatically. This means that the room will be heated in an efficient manner and money will be saved on your heating bill.
Water filled electric radiators
An additional option when using the system of off-peak electricity is via the use of a radiator based systems. This involves using a large, well-insulated tank of water and heating it to approximately 85C using off peak electricity. The hot water would then be pumped into the radiators, which can be controlled via a thermostat, timers and by each respective radiator. If the temperature of the tank falls below 60C, it would be necessary to use on-peak electricity to create more heat.
Electric underfloor heating
The concept behind electric underfloor heating is very similar in nature to how a simple electric storage heater works. Whereas, electric storage heaters work by storing heat insulated in water or bricks, underfloor heating will create heat through the heating element being placed in the concrete floor and the mass of the floor will act as the heating body. This can be augmented by special tiling designed to help spread the heat.
This type of heating is inconvenient to install unless you are in the process of laying the floor and it works inefficiently when carpet is covering the floor. In addition, the system has been known to warp wooden furniture and it is expensive to run.
Portable electric heaters
Portable electric heaters such as fan heaters, electric bar heaters and oil filled electric radiators are one of the most convenient forms of heating in the home as you can plug in the device to the mains electricity in seconds and warm the desired area in minutes, however, they are one of the most expensive forms of electric heating available. The heat obtained from portable electric heaters costs roughly 3 times more per unit than a standard gas central heating system.
As a one of, the use of portable electric heaters can be useful additions to heating your home, however, it is strongly advised that you have a central heating solution in place and only use portable electric heaters when it is absolutely necessary.