Last week we had a tantalising glimpse of the upcoming summer with clear skies, temperatures in the mid-twenties, and glorious sunshine all week long. For storage heaters, this sort of weather signals a regime change. Throughout the warmer months, to ensure you’re keeping your house cool and your heating bills low, it’s time to adapt the way you use your storage heaters and start preparing for the summer…
Electric storage heaters are workhorses; tirelessly charging and losing their heat in a continuous cycle, all day every day. For cold weather, there’s a standard storage heater routine. Draw as much power as possible overnight, use the least amount of heat you can throughout the day, and save as much heat as possible for the evening— ensuring you’re not left freezing cold until the following morning when the heaters have recharged. This sensible storage heater tactic allows you to stay warm without wasting too much energy, too early on. While this is perfect for surviving winter on an economy tariff, when the sun shines, you need to adapt your technique.
By following a few simple steps, you can be prepared for the warmer weather and start seeing some improvements to your heating bills at the same time.
Adjust your storage heater controls
If you have a manual storage heater, adjusting the dials is key to keeping cool and saving money throughout the spring. The “input” dial tells the storage heater how much heat it needs to store overnight. For winter, this dial is usually set to maximum. This instructs your heater to draw as much power as possible, so you have a healthy supply of heat for the following day.
Even though you’re using an economy tariff, drawing power still incurs a charge. For spring and summer, when you won’t need as much heat, turning the “input” dial to a lower setting is a cost-effective and energy-efficient way of using your storage heaters. On a lower setting, less power will be drawn from the mains and less heat will be stored for the following day. This saves energy, as you won’t be left with excess heat that you can’t use, and money, as your heater will spend less time switched on.
The “output” dial can be used in the same way. On warm days when you don’t need thorough heating, turn your “output” dial to a lower setting. This adjusts the amount of heat that’s released into your room, ensuring you stay nice and cool. This will also ensure you have some spare warmth left for the evening, just in case the cold creeps back in.
For automatic storage heater users, this process is made easier through the automatic charge regulator. If you haven’t used all the heat at your disposal, your Economy 7 heater intuitively reduces the amount of power it draws from the wall on its next charge. This gives you less heat for the following day — ensuring you use exactly how much you need, rather than wastefully creating heat that you won’t use.
The Elnur SH12A is an automatic storage heater that comes equipped with this intelligent feature. The SH12A will monitor your heat consumption and adapt its charge rate to suit, a handy feature for the summer if you don’t want to be adjusting dials and pre-empting how much heat you’re going to need for the day ahead. Simply sit back, relax in the sunshine, and let your automatic storage heater do the rest.
Turn your storage heaters off altogether
If it’s apparent you’re not going to need your storage heaters at all, there’s no harm in turning them off for the summer. With the heaters switched off at the wall, they can’t draw any power, which saves you both energy and money. The only downside to this technique is that you’ll be forced to find another way to keep warm if the cold returns, as you won’t have any immediate heating to fall back on. This is only really a viable option for the height of summer, when you can be sure you’ll be warm enough to forgo your electric storage heaters entirely.
If you’re planning on switching your Economy 7 heaters off, we’d always recommend testing them from time-to-time. If you keep your heaters off for months on end and they stop working, you’ll inevitably find out too late to save yourself from spending a few nights in the cold. Assuming your household runs on an economy tariff, this could be a costly oversight if you’re forced to run electric space heaters in the meantime while you wait for a repair.
Bearing this in mind, it’s always best to switch your storage heater back on at the wall every other week to test that it still heats up.
The summer checklist
Adapting the way you use your Economy 7 heaters is a great way to make sure you stay cool over the summer. The checklist below can be used for quick reference, helping you to get ready for the sunshine.
- Turn the “input” dial down over night to draw less power from the wall
- Turn the “output” dial down throughout the day to use less heat
- Consider switching your storage heaters off at the wall
- Every week or so, test your storage heaters to make sure they still work
Whether you spend time finding the perfect “input” and “output” balance, or turn your heaters off entirely, these simple steps will ensure you’re prepared for summer with your storage heaters.