Electric Heating

I have electric heating in my new home, 1 storage heater in the lounge, 1 in the hall and panel heaters in the other rooms. It's a 2 bedroom mid-terrace house with double glazing, wall and loft insulation. There is no gas here and installing oil fired CH would be a problem as there isn't anywhere suitable to put the tank.
I have been looking at Elti heaters: http://www.eltiheating.com/reasons.shtml
The advertising implies they are miraculous and I wondered if anybody has any experience of these or similar heaters. Are they just glorified oil filled radiators with clay instead of oil?
I would like to keep the lounge warm all day, the bedroom warm at bedtime and getting up time and other rooms really just need to be warm when they are used.
I am on Economy 7 and I'd like to ensure that I don't face massive bills if I go to a standard tariff. I'd also like a bit more control over the heating - if the storage heaters cool in the evening (which they do of course) I'm down to an electric fan heater.
--
Jeff Gaines Wiltshire UK
There are 10 types of people in the world, those who do binary and those
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On 13/11/2010 12:47, Jeff Gaines wrote:

They're basically just overpriced convector heaters. These German things - Wibo is another make - are sold to the gullible at very high prices by snake oil salesmen. I know of one old dear, the mother of a close friend, who parted with about 800 quid for such a 2 kW heater. AVOID!

The running cost comes down to two things in the end - how well the house is insulated and the price of electricity. In your situation I'd consider putting in more proper storage heaters and keep the use of day-rate top-up heating to a minimum.
Other, more capital intensive, options might be a heat pump, or a solid fuel stove for the lounge.
--
Andy

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Well Jeff, I've had a look at the website and read their claims.
At the end of the day they're flogging electric heaters. Regardless of how efficient they claim to be, how revolutionary, how unique, etc, etc, they are still electric heaters. And all electric heaters, whether they cost £5 from Wilkinsons, or £500 from this outfit, convert electrical energy at a cost of approx. 12p/kwH into heat energy at near enough 100% efficiency.
Compare that with gas central heating which, using a modern boiler, does the job at roughly 97% efficiency, but at approximately one third the cost of standard tariff electricity. As you can see, they neglect to mention this fact when trying to justify why their heaters are cheaper to run than gas central heating, yet they fail to provide any costs for comparison.
I would say look at the larger picture first regarding the heat loss from your house and hence the heating requirement, try to reduce the heat loss first (insulation), then carry out a few simple calculations of cost/benefit analysis. Take into account your requirement for controllability, and balance this against the benefit of cheap electricity at night you currently enjoy to charge up your storage heaters.
At the end of the day, only you can determine whether these heaters would be a good bet, taking into account the overall purchase cost, versus the possible savings (if any) over your current setup, and therefore the overall payback period.
I would not be in the least bit surprised if you worked out you would be far better off keeping the current setup and using a fan heater for a couple of hours every evening.
Luke
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They are no better than http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/4151955.htm#pdpFullProductInformation
This is a timer controlled thermostatically controlled convector heater and it will cost the same to run at a fraction of the initial cost.
If you actually want to save cash have a look at the energy suppliers, some will give you grants for heat pumps if you don't have mains gas.
http://www.eonenergy.com/In-Business/Sustainable-Energy/Microgeneration/Funding.htm?WT.svl=4

The fan heater is as good as the elti stuff if you plug it into a timer stat.
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Jeff,
I agree with others that you have a jolly efficient set-up as it is.
Thinking sideways, I'd also like to extol the virtues of the electric blanket: there's nothing quite like jumping into a pre-warmed bed: the bedroom doesn't have to be warm (if it *does* have to be warm,for you, then use your fan heater for 10 minutes before you depart for the Land of Nod.)
Further, I'd like to extol the virtues of "live fire" effects in the living room: something in the fireplace that's flickering can make you feel psychologically warmer (says I). So an electric fire/stove with such an effect, or even candles, or a lava lamp (they sell 'em at Amazon) will bring life and "warmth" to the dark winter evenings.
John
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On 13/11/2010 in message
Another John wrote:

Many thanks for all the input - anything that appears too good to be true usually is :-)
I agree with 'Another.John's' comments - I do use an electric blanket and a flickering fire is quite effective even if the heat is off!
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Absolutely brilliant, I love 'em. A cool room makes them all the more enjoyable. A window open for fresh air and less blocked noses etc etc. Terrific.

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When you say new home, is it recent build or old build? That is to say, if old build check 1) loft insulation thickness 2) cavity wall insulation thickness.
Economy-7 is about 4.9p v Peak-Rate 10.4p.
All electric heating is 100% efficient at point of use, energy is neither created nor destroyed, so oil filled or ceramic brick or fan heater or thermodynamic bollocks fluid heaters all produce the same heat output.
There is a perception difference between fan heater & oil radiator & dark-red-radiant heater. An oil radiator will create a local hot spot around it along with some radiant warmth, very good at under-desks for avoiding cold legs. A fan heater conversely is very good at fast *bulk* heating if, and only if, it has sufficient kW for the room size. A dark-red-radiant heater (£150) will directly heat objects rather than the air (the objects then heat the air), which gives instant warmth (little halogen heaters are very weak, but priced accordingly).
Now, there are many high priced heaters around: Aluminium radiators with thermodynamic fluid in, with silly claims attached. They are perfectly good all-welded aluminium radiators with oil, sometimes a timer or instead a basic thermostat. The actual radiator "itself" is worth about £70 for 50cm width (750W) and £180 for 100cm width (1500W), a simple thermostat element "itself" is worth about £45 and a timer unit about £65, anything above that is over priced. Argos/Homebase sold Calortec last year, £105 got you a 700W well finished aluminium radiator with basic thermostat with offers and about as much as they are worth. Such aluminium radiators are popular in warm countries which require only infrequent heating, want the aesthetics or central controller, such as France, Spain & Portugal. Examples are Roiinte & Ducasa, plus I think Calortec & Karilel still exist. The silly claims are a play on wording based on "official studies". The claims are nonsense, peak rate heating unless you have 2010 levels of insulation is *expensive* and *horrifically expensive* if you have open chimneys (even with a dead gas fire stuck in them!). German ceramic block, thermodynamic bovine scatology pump, and so on. These are not storage heaters, they only duplicate the "high thermal capacity" of an old cast-iron radiator, they are for German levels of insulation (which is you have the albert hall outside and cupboard inside it re 200mm Polystyrene or Celotex).
The benefit of aluminium radiators is 1) design & style 2) thermal output for their size - hence the GCH crowd sometimes fit them. The cheaper ones are welded-aluminium, not much wrong with that but you can not change them. The more expensive ones are individual extrusions which you bolt together until something like 22 sections of 80mm width. They can be very attractive, Italy designs & makes quite a few with good finish re paint & edging - at a price.
There are better heaters than conventional storage heaters, and that is the commercial fan storage heater type. These are 240-285mm deep and run £550-1350 for 2kW to 8kW for 660-1610mm long. Some are a bit ugly and lack any on-peak heating element (Elnur do a 2-3-4-5kW version, Stiebel I think do 3-8kW cheap but very long), others such as Dimplex VFM & Creda TSF are more aesthetic and have an on-peak element. They all involve a super-insulated body which loses very little heat - 40% of heat is retained 17hrs after charge ceased which is the *next morning* never mind the evening. This avoids the cooking you overnight and freezing you during the day. The heat is pushed out of them via a fan controlled by a thermostat (often wall mounted like GCH), but at floor level - they do not leak heat out like a normal heater. The downside is their price, but they do work well. Germany has about 9 different types, basically Dimplex VFM is a good example. Very good for people who only have electric heating, but out all day and want more than background heat when they return - they are proving popular in America re 1) high insulation 2) large spaces 3) fit-n- forget reliability, and I bet they cost less than they do in the UK! :-)
So basically you insulate until you are warm enough :-) Thermal linings for curtains help even double glazing, checking draught excluders & hinges even on double glazing are working right helps too. If you do not have modern insulation that is the first thing to check.
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In message

Not likely to help the OP but I have just returned from a weekend in Suffolk; staying in a posh shed which I believe had wet under floor heating sourced from an electric *boiler*.
I fully intended to note the name and report back but forgot. Something short ECU or similar.
What drew my attention was the thumping great isolator mounted below it and the way the lights dimmed when the thermostat was adjusted.
There was also a very modest, roof mounted, wet solar panel. Probably as a sop to planning. The hot tank was a Drivel dream with pressure vessels, heat exchangers, pumps, manifolds and a wall mounted thermostat! I really can't believe that any electrician would connect up a room stat inches from the uninsulated plumbing next to a thermal store.
regards
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Tim Lamb

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Jeff Gaines wrote:

We used to have a15kW back boiler that struggled to keep the lounge diner warmish. On an evening with the outside temperature at zero it would struggle to get the lounge to 22 degC.
What made the difference was attention to detail with the heat losses. Mrs F fitted double thermal linings to the curtains, and we added draught excluders (snakes) at the bottom where the curtains met the floor when they were pulled for the evening.
I found a considerable draught blowing under the door to the hall, so Mrs F made up snug-fit snake for that too. Being open plan, the same used to happen to the bedroom doors, so more snakes for them too.
All windows were shut tight, and and gaps between wall and ceiling filled in. We really did go looking for where the heat losses were occurring.
The difference was a huge rise in comfort levels, especially no more cold feet (from the draughts). On a night where it was -5 degC outside we could get the lounge to 24C.
You might like to consider adding some form of radiant heater to the lounge, such as a 400W/800W quartz bar fire. Having some radiant heat could mean you could keep the lounge temperature to a slightly lower level as personal comfort would be higher.
TF
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