Slim line electric storage heaters are increasingly being seen as a real alternative to traditional gas and oil central heating systems. This article aims to explain how they work and the pros and cons of using them.
Inside a Slim Line Electric Heater
Unlike traditional hot water radiators, an electric storage radiator contains heat retaining material - usually a clay/ metal composite. This material is connected by a series of electric elements. When the elements are switched on, the clay material absorbs the heat and heats up
The heat retaining material is insulated and can retain the heat for approximately fifteen hours, so the heaters can release the heat the following day after heating up overnight.
Standard electric radiators do not have the heat retaining clay material and insulation. But this does allow them to have a greater variety of shapes and sizes.
Designs and Materials
Modern design and materials have greatly increased the range of slim line electric radiators that are available today. Contemporary slim line radiators are usually finished with top quality aluminium and are truly slim, with some being only 60mm deep.
They also come in a variety of dimensions making them ideal for fitting into existing rooms, such as the small spaces commonly found in conservatories, kitchens and bathrooms.
But many other designs are available, including traditional and classically styled multiple column designs constructed in cast iron. However, these do not have the ability to store heat and take advantage of cheap overnight electricity tariffs.
How are Electric Storage Radiators Controlled?
Depending on the type of heater, different vents and flaps allow the heat to escape during times when heating is required, sometimes with the aid of fans but mainly by convection and radiation.Electronic controls regulate the timing of when the heater stores and then releases the heat
Electric heating systems utilise wireless thermostats to provide the most flexible control over heating.
Thermostats also allow heating engineers to split the heating within a house into zones (either a room or number of rooms) which can have their own distinct temperature and time programme.
Popular UK Brands
The most popular brands in the UK include Dimplex, Fischer Future Heat, Creda, Elnur, Newlec and Sunhouse. Of these Dimplex is probably the biggest manufacturer supplying a large range of electrical heating products across the World.
Creda is another popular brand and is a leader in storage heaters for homes and commercial environments. Creda has a wide range of advanced storage heating systems with a reputation amongst consumers for efficiency, style, flexibility and innovation.
Newer brands to the UK include Fischer Future Heat, a leading German manufactured electric storage radiator brand which boasts a unique 40mm chammote clay core which allows it to heat up faster and retain heat for longer than other similar slim line storage heaters.
Why Install Slimline Electric Storage Radiators?
The cost of energy for different heating systems is only part of the true running cost. The real cost of a heating system is a combination of the original capital and installation cost, the annual fuel cost, maintenance costs and the operational lifetime of the system.
Taking all these factors into account make electric heating a more economical option that traditional gas and oil heating.