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Electric storage heaters work by storing heat overnight and then releasing it gradually throughout the day.
They should be run on the Economy 7 tariff, which means that they use electricity supplied at the cheaper night time rate. The day time units are more expensive, so it's worth putting certain appliances on a timer, such as washing machines and dishwashers. Not only does this mean you'll get the benefit of the cheaper rate, you'll also wake up to clean dishes!
The specific day and night periods on an Economy 7 meter vary between different regions and at different times of year. Usually the night usage is recorded between 11:30pm and 6:30am in the winter and 12:30am to 7:30am in the summer. You can contact us to find out the specific times for your meter.
Modern storage heaters are fixed to the wall for stability, although their weight is taken by the floor. The heaters should be wired into your meter by an independent electrician and each one should have a separate on and off switch on the wall next to it.
The input control sets how much heat is stored.
Whenever you need heat, the switch should be left in the 'on' position. It should be kept on a low setting during milder weather, when only a small amount of heat needs to be stored. In colder weather, set the input to a higher setting to store more heat.
The output (or boost control) sets the room temperature.
On a low setting it allows heat to leave the heater slowly, which is ideal if you're out and about during the day. On a higher setting, more heat is given out at a faster rate. This should be saved for when you're at home.
Turn it back to the lowest setting before you go to bed as this will prevent the heat that's being stored up through the night from being released.
You can control storage heaters individually. This means you can choose different heat settings for different rooms. Used correctly, they will provide much cheaper room heating than electric fires or convector heaters.
The input (or charge) control tells the heater how much heat to store overnight.
In milder weather, the input should be kept at a lower setting. When the weather is colder, set it to a higher setting so more heat is stored. You should only need to change this to match the weather and the amount of heating you need. At night when the heater is charging, make sure the boost is off and the temperature control is set to a minimum in order for the heater to charge fully.
Some fan assisted storage heaters have an automatic input control. This is a sensor that monitors the temperature of the air whilst the heater is charging. Once you've chosen a setting that's good for you, there's no need to change it. The heater will adjust itself to match your choice.
Some models will have a two-speed fan to control the output of the heat. For normal use, set the fan to a lower setting. To heat the room quickly, use the high (or boost) setting.
If it has a convector heater, the on/off switch and room controls are normally on the right hand side. In order to make the most of your stored heat on the cheaper rates, only use the convector heating if necessary.
It’s useful for a top up in cold weather, or when you don’t need much heat and don’t want to run the main heater overnight. It’s not a good idea to use it on its own all the time as it will cost you more money to run.
The input and output work the same as the basic storage heater. The convector heater has its own controls, normally with a red or orange light to show it’s on.
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