There are a number reasons people may be considering a new electric heating system. The most common reason is that they already have an ageing electric heating system that needs replacing, the second most common has only really emerged in the past few years – they want to reduce the carbon emissions of their home.
Whatever reason you are considering electric heating then below is a short guide on the main types of electric heating:
Infrared Heating Panels
Infrared heating has been around for a long time. I have come across large blocks of flats normally from the 80’s/90’s/00’s that have had infrared ceiling panels fitted as the main source of heating. In all the properties I have visited the owner has wanted to change to a different form of electric heating. The reasons for this are usually that it no longer works/they are not happy with it/they are not completely sure how to use it.
Infrared heating heats objects like the sun, it doesn’t heat space. The good points for Infrared heating include: its cheap to buy and install compared to plumbed systems, you can ventilate without heat loss, it’s beneficial for allergy sufferers, It doesn’t dry the air, can be used inside and out, maintenance free, instant heat and it prevents condensation, they need to be mounted where they can’t be obstructed which may not be the best aesthetically.
The negatives for Infrared heating include: if you obstruct the heaters less warmth gets through, they don’t heat the whole room, cold spots in rooms, they are expensive to run as primary heating.
When I talk about electric radiators I define them as electric heaters with a core, normally stone or thermal fluid that retains heat. Most are wall hung and radiate and convect heat. Unlike storage heaters they run on normal rate electricity so can be turned on and off as the user requires.
Modern controls with Lot 20 thermostats/timers make them easy use and adapt to your heating needs. A lot of the options now have wifi/App control that can be controlled remotely.
There are a lot of different options on the market and its important to choose the right option for your home. Some suppliers will try to shoe horn their ‘one size fits all’ radiators into every type of home. They don’t require pipes so are generally much easier and cheaper to install than a wet central heating system.
Towel Radiators/Bathroom Heaters
Originally invented to just dry wet towels so they don’t start to smell. Over recent years fully electric towel rails have become very popular as they can be used independently to the rest of the central heating . There are a huge range of styles and heat outputs that mean they also provide good heating for the bathroom all year round.
Under floor heating (Electric matting)
Underfloor heating feels great under foot and is a popular choice particularly under tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. The mats need to be fitted under the tiles by the builder/tiler and must be tested during the installation (to check they haven’t got damaged). Installation is a bit of a faf and requires planning.
The resultant heating is great although I do find the kitchen in my house particularly expensive to run. I will be doing some testing on these systems in the coming months so please watch this space.
Storage heaters began being used in the 40s and 50’s. They first became very popular in the 1960’s as the electric board encouraged their use. During the 60’s power stations produced a lot of power for industry and home use during the day but there was no demand at night. Storage heaters were a way to keep up demand at night and make power stations more efficient.
The 80’s and 90’s saw more reliance on cheap gas from the North sea so many moved away from electric heating to gas boilers. In the 1980’s Economy 7 was introduced as an incentive to get people to keep using storage heaters. In reality, if they had the option most people chose gas.
There are still a lot of homes with electric heating and many rely on storage heaters. Energy performance assessments grade HHR (high heat retention) storage heaters as the most efficient electric heating. Controls have improved massively and smart technology means the control system gets an understanding for how much energy is needed and only charges that amount.
In my opinion, storage heaters remain a great option, particularly if you require heating during the day.