Electric central heating via radiators?

I'm seeing quite a few new build properties advertising this type of heating.
Presumably, there's an electric "boiler" heating a mass of water, which is then pumped around the house.
ISTM that this is going to be the worst of both worlds.
You get the "expense" of electricity to provide the heat that you are using, and then the waste of that water getting cold when you turn the system off during the day. Plus there's a extra cost of installing all the pipework and maintaining the boiler instead of just plugging a wall heater into the electric system.
Does anyone have any experience of this.
Does it work well as an idea or is it a dunce?
We're talking very modern, presumably well insulated, small (1 bed) properties here, so the additional cost of running it isn't going to be huge. OTOH it isn't going to be hard to heat such a property with a couple of 30 quid panel heaters, so the installation cost is going to be much larger.
Finally, if it was installed "underfloor" I might understand it, but it's not, it's standard wall radiators
TIA
tim
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I've thought the same as you. I guess it's a marketing ploy for people who don't really understand heating. People have an idea that electric panel heaters cost a fortune to run and that radiators are somehow good. So this is just a way of trying to trick them.
The general level of understanding of anything like this is pretty low. Ever tried to convince a convert to oil-filled radiators that they cost exactly the same to run as an electric convector heater? I remember arguing with someone who claimed that pans with heavy bases needed less power to cook food because they held the heat better. In fact oil-filled rads are part of the same con trick - overcomplicating electric heating to fool people that it's cheap to run.
Cheers!
Martin
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I've thought the same as you. I guess it's a marketing ploy for people who don't really understand heating. People have an idea that electric panel heaters cost a fortune to run and that radiators are somehow good. So this is just a way of trying to trick them.
The general level of understanding of anything like this is pretty low. Ever tried to convince a convert to oil-filled radiators that they cost exactly the same to run as an electric convector heater? <<<<
Oil stores more heat than water. The oil filled rads could be heated via off peak and stay hotter for longer - so it went.
Many new houses have rads off an electric thermal store/heat bank. This again, relies on storage after heating on cheaper overnight energy. In reality, unless the store of water is massive, only the rads getting hot when the heat is initially dumped on morning switch on, is cheaper, than running through the day. However in flats with high insulation, and excellent CH controls that is probably all you need most of the time - a thermal store heat bank in the airing cupboard. TRVs and a Smart pump greatly benefits the system.
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I suppose you might be able to come up with a weird definition of 'storing more heat', but in strictly physical terms, that statement is umm misleading.
Water releases 4200 Joules when a kilogram cools by 1 degree, whereas oil releases less than half of that (~1700 Joules). The lower heat capacity of oil is one reason why the oil radiator heats quicker than a water filled one. Of course, having less thermal mass, they aren't so good at retaining heat once they are switched off.
The only way that you could reasonably argue that oil 'stores more heat' would be to use oil heated to >100C, but it would be a bit risky as a means of room heating.
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I think "bollocks" would be more accurate than "misleading". Mind you it was posted by Drivel so "bollocks" is a given.
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wrote:

This weido should be tagged.
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wrote:

TBH it was a stupid thing for you to have said
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wrote:

He should be.
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How exactly? Water has a high SHC, considerably higher than most liquids and solids. If these radiators were filled with Ammonia, Helium or Hydrogen then this would be true :)
I'd guess that the reason for filling them with oil, rather than water, has more to do with keeping the weight of a portable heating device down than anything else.

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Could it also be a means of avoiding internal corrosion?
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2009 21:58:45 +0000, Bruce wrote:

And avoiding pressure build up or more likely kettling noises caused by localized boiling.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember Ed Sirett

Insulating properties too. http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_analyzing_transformer_insulating /
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On 18 Jan,

It's probably a heatbank system, using off peak electricity. We used that at work over 70 years ago.

Off peak electricity (storage heaters or heatbank) are sometimes the only available heating. Multi storey flats, sheltered accommodation etc.
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Depends. If it used off peak and stored the heat - then used a wet system to distribute it as needed - it perhaps would be ok. But if it's not storing heat can't see any advantage over directly heated rads.
--
*Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away! *

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'Electric Furnaces': Not uncommon now, here in eastern Canadian province.
Especially where people have converted their oil fired hot water radiation systems to electricity (which is now a cheaper fuel). There are no cheap or late night rates here. The only gas available is truck delivered propane which is very uneconomic.
Typically for converting older installations the furnace and oil tank are removed (thus getting rid of the pollution hazard) and the chimney is either blocked off or removed.
Following some spectacular, very expensive and extensive oil spills (in one case the tank/piping had been leaking for over four years!) the annual cost of insurance against the possible pollution hazard of oil leaks and spills has also risen sharply. In one instance a complete new building extension basement plus main storey, was constructed in the hole that had to be excavated to remove a long term oil leakage. Following an also expensive court case! This all a few miles from here. And if oil spillage occurs where wells and septic tanks are used the results can be disastrous. If oil tank installed in house basement, not uncommon 'in town' (presumably where people were a little more house-proud about not having external tanks in view) no one wants several hundred gallons of fuel oil in their basement!
Oil fired hot air furnaces can also be converted to electricity in a similar manner.
Know of only one 'new' (well it was actually a complete house rebuild/ refurnish from bungalow with a basement apartment/flat to three stories six bedrooms and 3.5 baths etc. It also completely upgraded all insulation etc. in the now much larger home) where the heating system now comprises mainly in-floor piping that is fed from a double 'electric furnace'. IIRC there are four or five zones in the house, with controls and two circulating pumps, one for each 'furnace'.
This in floor heating system IMO seems to have some disadvantages. It is very slow and the piping being installed below the floors in most areas except the basement where baseboard radiators were retained may be causing the wooden flooring to 'gap'.
Generally people report that the above forms of conversion to electric heating are more economical than oil. And have much lower maintenance costs, no tank, furnace inspections or chimney cleaning. Domestic electricity cost here, which is a little above the Canadian average, is about ten cents (Canadian) per kilowatt hour/unit.
Personally speaking our individual in each room electric baseboard heating with individual room thermostats has worked well. It allows unused rooms to be turned down or off. And individual rooms to be turned 'up' if say someone is ill. Maintenance has been almost nil; only replacements have been two thermostats and one circuit breaker at a cost of less than $100 during the last 38 years. None of the approx. 12 baseboard heaters ranging from 500 watts (bathroom) to 3000 watts (large room) have failed. Originally for safety with small children we chose baseboard heaters that had small slots, barely capable of poking in anything thicker than a pencil.
Last night I manually turned down the living room and kitchen on the way to bed. This morning I turned them up again. However many people install 'Programmable thermostats', these cost around $25 to $35 Canadian each and can quickly replace existing typical wall mounted '230 volt line voltage' thermostats. The minimum wattage that programmables will work with is usually 500 watts. Their maximum capacity at around 17 - 18 amps seems to be around 4000 watts.
There's nothing magic about electricity, or how it is turned into heat. Each kilowatt provides around 3400 BTUs of heat. It does seem cleaner and simpler easy to work with and modify and much less of a pollution hazard. And since almost all electricity here is hydro generated a suitable choice.
Have to agree about the sad state of understanding of basic 'Physics'. people will tell you something like metal IS COLDER than say wood. It isn't! Just that it consucts heat away from your hand more quickly, if you touch it. Geez why do yout hink people wear gloves! Have fun. Today it's minus 10 Celsius, not very cold by Canadian standards!
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terry wrote:

Unfortunately, here in the UK electricity is rule-of-thumb three times the price of gas for the same power. I agree it's easier to work with, which is why it still gets used in small flats and so on, but it's not really feasible price-wise for a larger home.
Pete
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Perhaps the price relationship will change over time.
To some extent, we are still living in an era of relatively cheap gas. As the current Russia/Ukraine spat has shown, that era is rapidly coming to an end.
Cheap gas meant that many gas-fired power stations were built. As gas becomes more expensive, and new nuclear stations come on stream, the relationship between gas and electricity prices will change.
Our current heavy reliance on gas-fired central heating will also change, possibly with a wider mix of energy sources coming into use.
Are not heat pumps (electrically driven) already an attractive option?
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Bruce wrote:

Possibly. My understanding is that lots of electric heating was put in decades ago on the assumption that cheap nuclear electricity would make them worthwhile. Unfortunately that never happened.

Well, if it does, I guess I can install one of Terry's "electric furnaces" to heat my existing wet system. I'm going with an electric bathroom floor already for simplicity, so one step is done. :-)

If they are, it's because they need less power for a given heat output (moving the heat rather than generating it) rather than because the power is cheaper.
Pete
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Nuclear will only ever be cheap in comparison to wind power (which makes anything else look cheap) and the future price of Russian gas.

Interesting.
Of course. But the result is still cheap(er) heat.
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Bruce wrote:

Current generated price of *modern* nuclear is around 2p/unit if you run the stations to the limit. In fact, with interest rates zero, its even less..most of the cost is the capital cost of building..

Yup. About 4:1 step up IF you design the house for warm rather than hot water heating.
Which makes them cheaper than gas at 1/3rd the price as it were.
Also, for heated watts out, even on carbon fuel power stations, the station has to be running at <25% efficiency to be worse on Co2 than the oil or gas boiler.
If I was redoing the house from scratch I would 100% use a heat pump. Just an immersion extra to take the hot water up to 65C or so.
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