Electric heating for shop - storage heaters or what ?

HI Folks
Regular readers may remember that we're running a small art / craft retail outlet (on a shoestring).
Thanks for the suggestions about reducing the cost of lighting - we've made some savings by swapping the mains GU10 spots for 20w units - and all still looking good.
Thinking ahead to winter, and some means of heating the shop.
It's wired/metered for overnight reduced rate electricity, and there are a couple of (elderly-looking) storage heaters in the place.
Bit of a debate going on at the moment about the relative merits of overnight storage heaters / fan heaters / radiant heaters / oil-filled heaters.
Heating's only required during shop opening hours (10:30am - 5:30pm) - so my thoughts are to use overnight cheap-rate mains to charge up storage heaters... but what does the team think ?
In my workshop I use one of those low-wattage (3 x 400w switchable) quartz radiant heaters - I was thinking that this could be arranged to supplement the night storage and warm up chilly shop-assistants...
Comments / suggestions / advice please?
Thanks Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 29/06/2012 20:43, Adrian Brentnall wrote:

If you already have them and the appropriate tariff then you might as well use them I suppose (but check the sums carefully). But they are not worth buying if you have any other means of heating.
Oh and watch that your electricity company is not ripping you off with insanely high "estimated" bills based on peak winter usage during mid-summer (ours is - we just spotted it).

Air curtain fan heater at full width and variable speed over the door to keep warm air in and make sure the warm air is stirred up evenly. Convection heaters are basically a waste of space - even more so if they are restricted to the modern safe operating surface temperatures.
A bit like cool-wall toasters they don't work!
You can have insane amounts of old style too hot convection heating in a large tall room and it will still be freezing in the populated zone until the entire room fills with warm air from the top down.
--
Regards,
Martin Brown
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 29/06/2012 21:52, Martin Brown wrote:

Hi Martin There's nothing else 'built-in' to the shop. We have 13A sockets, but I'm aware that standard-rate electric heating is going to be expensive.

Just moved from one supplier who insisted on 'guessing' our usage, rather than either taking a reading themselves or using my meter reading - so, yes, we're aware of that problem.

Hmm - I'm trying to educate shop-sitters to keep the door shut. There's a feeling around that if the door is shut then potential customers won't have the sense to operate the door-handle..... (though I don;t really agree).

OK
<grin>
The ceilings are fairly low - maybe 8ft - but my theory is that it's better to use the storage heaters to provide a level of background heat, and then, if really necessary, top up with a localised radiant heater....
..we also need to look at draughts - you could limbo under the back door!
Thanks Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 29/06/2012 22:12, Adrian Brentnall wrote:

....
Their instinct is better than yours. I expect the passing impulse buyer to be a significant part of your business and they want to feel free to leave at any moment without making a purchase. An open door will make them more welcome to come in and to feel more relaxed when they are inside. Having to open the door and close it behind them creates a greater feeling of commitment to buying.
Colin Bignell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 30/06/2012 11:56, Nightjar wrote:

HI Colin Always a matter of balancing the theory (speaking as a Sociology / Psychology graduate) with the common-sense.
While what you're saying may be correct (and I know you have experience in this) - I can't justify heating the entire street because we've got to leave the door open.... This time of the year it's not a big deal - but, come October, I'm afraid that door'll need to be closed.
Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 30/06/2012 14:10, Adrian Brentnall wrote:

That is the whole point of air curtains over open doorways. They create a barrier that keeps warm air in the building during the winter and, if the building is air conditioned, keep the cool air in during the summer.
Colin Bignell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 30/06/2012 18:57, Nightjar wrote:

I understand the application in "big shops" - but I can't think of one shop within 30 miles of ours that's that hi-tech...
Rural West Cork, Ireland, here - probably a little behind the times in retail trends - but we love it that way..
Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 30/06/2012 20:04, Adrian Brentnall wrote:

...
Now, I would see that as an opportunity to be the only shop in the area where there is always a nice warm blast of air to welcome people in on a cold winter's day.
Colin Bignell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nightjar wrote:

we installed that in our company which as sited in a converted car showroom... we had a sodding big gas boiler heating some water rads and where we couldn't site them air curtains fed by hot water. They are very good in that they blow hot air down reversing the trend of convection.
they weren't coolers, but we overrode the thermostats in summer to provide some sort of breeze.
--
To people who know nothing, anything is possible.
To people who know too much, it is a sad fact
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Pity about the cost of doing that with an operation which appears to have a significant cash flow problem that doesn't even pay its staff.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 03:07, Rod Speed wrote:

That, of course, is why they want to be a place that people out shopping drop into to warm up on a cold winter's day.
They may have to buy heaters anyway. If not, then the question does not even arise.
Air curtains are an efficient way of heating. Second hand heat pump units would be the best, if available.
Colin Bignell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 06:51, Nightjar wrote:

Ah yes - that reminds me why Rod's in my killfile, and I only see his misinformed, sarcastic rubbish when somebody else quotes it.
Just for the record (and for Rod's benefit) - we don't have a cash flow problem. The place is run along co-operative lines where the members' subscription covers the cost of heating, light, credit card processing and so on. When members' art or craftwork sells they get the whole ticket price, there are no markups or commissions taken by the shop. There is no cash-flow problem - we collect subscriptions in advance for each 4-month period, and then spend that money, as wisely as possible, on the operating costs of the shop... the aim is to break-even on each 4-month period. The shop is staffed by volunteer members on a daily rota, which is why the conventional management techniques don't always work <grin>.

Yes - we need to take a look at the two existing 'nightstor' heaters and see what state they are in first....

The air-curtain thing worries me because it's 'peak-rate' electricity. Heat-pumps are going to require installation (and are again going to be on peak-rate). As we don't really know how long we're going to be in these rented shop premises, we don;t really want to get involved in major installations (even if we had the capital to do so).
Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 08:34, Adrian Brentnall wrote:

They were rubbish pieces of junk even when new in the fabled era of "electricity too cheap to meter". Big heavy monstrosities that were far too hot at the start of the day and totally useless by the end of it.

You will have to do the sums and you could control it with a remote thermostat and/or a door is opened microswitch to maintain internal shop temperature at 16C or above and prevent warm air escaping. Most have settings for fan only half power and full power.
Otherwise every time your shop door is opened a big chunk of warm air escapes from the shop. Basically if you can't afford to run an average 1-2kW heater on peak time electricity you are is serious fuel poverty!
The main concern for a curtain heater in a small shop is will it be quiet enough and can you operate it at lower powers and less noise.
I suspect that if you don't do it right you will end up with your winter volunteers bringing along their own fan heaters or still worse portable gas or paraffin devices that could void your fire insurance.

You seem to have ignored all the advice you have been given.
--
Regards,
Martin Brown
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 09:30, Martin Brown wrote:

Hmm. My parents had them in their house in Cornwall for 15 years or so- and became quite adept at 'regulating' them according to the weather. I'd agree that they're not ideal - but if they're there and in working order then we might as well give them a try.

Not some much 'poverty' - just looking at the various options

Good point

Don't worry - that won't happen

That's a bit unfair, I think. Sorry if it came over that way - and I'm grateful for all the advice - just that some of it (like 'install heat-pump') isn't really all that relevant to a commercial premises on a monthly rental. We've got a trade-off between cheap-to-install/expensive to run and ??/cheap to run - and, as it's our first year in the property we don;t really know what to expect.
Adrian

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There clearly is when you choose not to employ paid staff, whatever you want to call it.

And so you arent likely to be too keen on paying for running an air curtain for the door when you can just have the customers open and close the door instead for free.

And why you may well prefer to have the customers open and close the door for free instead of paying MUCH more to run an air curtain in winter.

And a lot more expensive than letting the customers open and close the door in winter.

But they may end up with a similar cost of heat as the heatbanks and wont require the volunteers to manually control them thru the day.
Corse the capital cost is much higher than the heatbanks if they still work.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 08:34, Adrian Brentnall wrote: ...

One question to ask is whether being open all 12 months of the year is the right business model. Obviously, you will need to try it for the first year, to assess the market. That would make trying to use the existing heating, at least for the first winter, very desirable, even if you plan to replace it year two if you decide to stay open.
However, most arts and craft shops I know of seem to rely upon holiday season sales, which probably puts them in the position of a couple I knew who ran a cafe in a seaside town: 90% of their income came during 20 weeks of the year and the what they took did not cover the additional costs of being open during the winter, so they shut down then and wintered in Spain (again, cheaper than living at home). Of course, they had to run stoves, deep fat friers and other equipment, so their costs were more than just heating.
An alternative might be to have a window only display for the winter months, with contact telephone numbers for anyone who wants to buy. That could be to someone who makes an appointment to come in, or direct to the relevant artist, who could invite the potential customer to their studio, where, of course, even more of their work will be on display.
Colin Bignell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 15:47, Nightjar wrote:

I think you're right about using what's there, and assessing what it costs us...

The original impetus behind the current shop was a pop-up shop that we ran for three weeks running up to Christmas. Trade was 95% locals, with only a few holiday-homers - and it was the locals who said 'why don't you do this all the year round..?'
Current thinking is that we'll keep open 12 months of the year, but, quite possibly, on a reduced number of days per week from Christmas to March (thus reducing the heating and lighting bills).
We opened this year in March, and have done steady business since then. The holiday season over here is pretty much July and August - but smaller numbers of visitors are around at Easter, and June / September. Our target customers are locals and visitors - so we don;t want to be one of the 'close at Christmas, open at Easter' shops... - as the local trade with birthdays, weddings, Christmas etc is very important to us.
It'll be very interesting to look at the first year's figures - and we will then know a bit more about what to expect.
It's a great help to bounce ideas around - even if we don't take all of them on-board <grin>
Thanks Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not if it costs more than they get on the sales of what they flog.
Makes a lot more sense to not have it as a place to warm up in the winter.

Yes, but not necessarily ones as expensive to run as those door air curtains with the door open in winter.
He appears to have quite rightly decided that it makes more sense to just let them open and close the door in winter instead and he's right about that.

The question of those expensive to run door air curtains certainly does when the obviously alternative is to let the customers close and open the door manually.

MUCH more efficient to just close and open the door as you go thru it.

It would actually be much better to minimise the heating of the shop in winter to as low as you can get away with and to use the existing heatbanks instead and to close the door in the winter.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 02/07/2012 08:50, Rod Speed wrote:

...
Only Adrian can decide that and that is a decision that is complicated by working for a collective. It is one thing for me to decide to gamble everything I own on my business decision being right and entirely another to get a collective to agree - on anything.
Colin Bignell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

But it isnt a massive decision to decide to close the door in the winter instead of paying to run an air curtain instead.
That's likely to be much more viable than not even opening for the winter at all.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.