Low Running Cost Electric Heaters.
Low Running Cost Electric Heaters, The Facts
Whether an electric heater costs £10 or £500 to buy, if they have the same kW rating they will cost exactly the same to run when turned on.
Keep an eye on your meter
An electric heater is nearly 100% efficient, meaning it turns all the electricity it uses into heat, there is no way of increasing its efficiency as you cannot get more heat for less energy.
The only way to reduce energy use is to turn your heaters setting down so it uses less electricity, or off so it uses none.
THERE IS NO WAY TO CHANGE THIS!
There are many claims made about energy saving heaters with some heaters claiming to be energy efficient sold at grossly inflated prices.
Don't be fooled, any heater which claims to have energy saving features will have built-in controls which either turn them down reducing the heat output or turn them off when the required room temperature is reached.
The only way to get lower running costs is to make your living space more efficient at staying warm. That way you can turn your electric heater's thermostat down, or leave it off for longer.
Most electric heaters already have built-in thermostats which switch them off when the room gets to the required temperature.
Some heaters also have built-in timers that you can set to switch them on and off.
Have a look at our Keeping warmer this winter article for seasonal advice on staying warm and reducing energy use.
Low Running Cost Electric Heaters, The Claims:
Low energy use:
Some heaters cost only a few pence an hour to run are because they are so low powered they use very little electricity, which in turn gives out very little heat.
Low heat rating = low energy use = low running cost.
If you have a 250 Watt heater, at February 2018 electricity rates it will cost about 4p an hour, but it will only give out enough heat to keep a well insulated 5 X 5-foot space warm, great for cupboards but not a bedroom
Trying to use an undersized heater to keep your room warm is wasting money, you will have it on all the time and never get warm. Visit the easy use calculators on our Heating Costs Page to see what size heater you need for your space.
The Warmlite 650 watt Oil filled radiator we have pictured here will keep a 10 x10 ft room warm and costs about 10p an hour when turned on.
The thermostat switches it off when the desired temperature is reached and back on when the room cools down.
This switching can reduce the average running cost by about a third if the heater is used in the right sized space.
Storage heaters, such as oil-filled radiators, are filled with a substance that absorbs and stores heat.
When the heaters are turned off the heat seeps into the room keeping it warm, as the room cools down it switches on again.
This turning on and off means the heater isn't constantly on and using electricity.
The heat stored is not recovered wasted heat, it is heat which would have been sent into the room anyway.
You are not getting extra heat for your money, if you use a radiant heater to warm up furniture in your room then turn it off the furniture would release the stored heat in much the same way, the oil in the radiators is just better at storing heat.
Economy 7 allowing you to charge up the storage units (usually concrete slabs) with cheaper electricity at night and realease the heat in the day.
The problem with this is that by the evening the heaters have cooled down at the time you get home from work and need them most.
Intelligent (smart ) heating:
Once the room reaches a certain temperature your heater reduces its heat setting putting out just enough to maintain the temperature.
This replaces the traditional thermostat which turned the heater off completely, then turned it back on when the room temperature dropped.
This saves on energy use by not turning your heater on at full blast every-time the temperature drops.
You can see that all the low running cost heater claims are about turning the heater down or off, as electric heaters are already 100% efficient it is impossible to produce more heat for less electricity.
If you want to save money buy the best quality cheapest heater you can and follow the tips on our Energy Saving Page.
How an electric heater uses energy
A standard unit of electricity is called a Kilowatt Hour (Kwh). This is the amount of energy used by a 1kW (1000 watt) electric heater for 1 hour.
A 2kw electric heater left on for one hour will use 2Kwh (units) of electricity.
A fan heater will cost a little bit more as it will use extra energy to power the fan.
An oil filled radiator stores some of its heat energy in the oil so will still radiate some heat when switched off.
This is why it's claimed they are cheaper to run because they give out stored heat when switched off.
As long as an oil filled radiator is on it will use the same amount of energy as any other electric heater of the same power rating.
Dont become a statistic this winter, use your electric heater safely
Safe use of electric heaters
With all electric heaters:
- Never buy or use an electric heater without a CE mark.
- Make sure they are well clear of curtains and furnishings.
- Never hang clothes to dry on or over them.
- Take care with time-switched heaters.
- Never sit too close to a heater - you could easily set light to your clothes or your chair, particularly if you fall asleep. Sit at least 1 metre (3 feet) away.
- See our Portable Heater Safety Article for more safety advice.
- Warning: Do not use standard domestic timers with electric heaters as they will overheat. Use timers with a power rating or at least 1kW above the maximum rating of your heater.
- Never set a timer on an electric fan or radiant heater to switch on when a room is empty.
- We recommend a 'run on timer' which you manually turn on then set to turn off at a preset time such as the Timeguard Plug-In Timer.
- The only extra feature worth paying for is smart heating which automatically reduces the heat output once a room is warm.
If there are power cuts, or if your main heating system fails over the winter months, you will need a backup heater. The best option is a Calor gas heater because:
- They have an independent self-contained fuel supply (Bottled Gas)
- They will work during power cuts as they don't need electricity or mains gas
- They are portable, use them anywhere as long as you have ventilation.
Visit our Calor Gas Heater Review Page to see our recommended heaters.
Visit our Calor Gas Information Page for advice on using Calor Gas