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Energy saving tips for your storage heaters

Person Adjusting Heating Temperature

Storage heaters are one of the most affordable ways to heat your home using electricity. But with the cost of living increasing, more of us are seeing a sharp incline in our heating bills. In this blog, we’ll teach you some handy tips to use your storage heaters more effectively, saving you energy and money.

How do storage heaters work?

Piggy Bank On Top Storage Heater

Storage heaters work by storing up on heat during the night, when electricity is at its cheapest. This typically is over a 7-hour window, but times can vary depending on your model. Once collected, this heat is released throughout the day at various speeds depending on your output settings.

Are storage heaters expensive to run? 

Calculating whether storage heaters are expensive to run is a challenging task. Many factors can play into the cost of keeping your home warm through these electrical heaters. To help you determine the running cost, we’ve split the calculation into three main factors. 

Charging costs 

A small electric storage heater may require around 1kW when charging heat, while a larger model uses nearer to 3kW. That’s a lot of electricity – but remember, it’s the maximum amount of power it’ll use. Some storage heaters also stop consuming energy once they’ve stored enough to heat your space. So, this figure is just a guide . 

Running costs 

Working out your storage heater’s running cost can be a little more challenging, as it depends on how much heating your room needs. To give you an idea, according to EDF Energy, a medium-sized storage heater consumes 2kW and charges at full power for seven off-peak hours and will use 14 kilowatt-hours of electricity. At the average off-peak electricity rate of October 2022, 20p per kWh, that’s £2.80 a day to run a 2kW storage heater. 

Seasonal factors 

Obviously, you don’t need your heating all year round. So, in spring and autumn, your storage heater running costs will be much lower; in the summer, they might be non-existent. So, charging the same heater in the warmer seasons for only two hours will reduce the cost to less than 80p per day. 

How much electricity do storage heaters use? 

As mentioned in the earlier point, the amount of energy your storage heater uses depends on the size of your design and the size of the room you're aiming to heat. According to EDF Energy, a small electric storage heater may consume around 1kW, while a larger model might use up to 3kW.

However, keep in mind that this is just a guide and is based on the largest amount of energy your unit could consume, so your storage heater might vary in energy usage. 

Understanding input and output settings

Storage Heater Settings

Your storage heater is regulated by two controls, your input and output settings.

Your input controls how long your heater collects heat by using electricity, allowing you to turn up or down your heater’s energy storage to fit with your lifestyle, environment, and the weather forecast for the following day. For example, if you know tomorrow is predicted to be a cold and frosty day, it’s smart to turn your input control up.

On the other hand, your output setting controls the intensity your stored heat is released. The higher the setting the quicker your space will heat up but be aware that turning your output settings up will also decrease your heater's running time.

How to use night storage heaters efficiently

Now that you understand the basics of storage heaters, it's time to learn some handy tips to use your heating smarter to save energy and money.

Set your input settings to the level needed

Think about your input control as the project manager of your heating system, regulating exactly how much energy your home needs to store to warm it sufficiently. However, your input control can only do its job effectively if you make informed decisions about your heating use. 

Elements like your home insulation, lifestyle and how long you spend in your home can contribute to how high or low you should set your input setting. For example, if you spend most of your day at a separate workplace, it's worth reducing your input settings to not overload your heater – potentially saving  you money on your energy bills. On the other hand, if you spend most of your day at home, cranking your input up might be a more sensible choice.

Save high output for the evening

Setting your output control on a lower setting should provide your home with a constant and moderate level of warmth. However, from time to time, it's normal to feel a little bit of a chill. If this is the case, try saving your high output use for the evening, this is typically the time you’ll feel the most benefit while ensuring you don’t overuse your allotted heat – just remember to reduce your output before going to bed.

Say no to other heat sources

When your home is cold, it’s easy to reach for a second form of heating to bump up the warmth. However, most other forms of electric heating cost more to run. It’s a much more cost-effective solution to crank up your output control.

Give it a break in the summer

The final tip to using your storage heaters to their full ability is to switch them off during the summer. Your heaters will continue to generate heat long into the warmer months if left on, wasting money. Instead, disconnect them and turn them back on once the weather takes a turn for the worse.