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Night storage heaters

Close-up of night storage heater controls.

Everything you need to know about night storage heaters, including how they work and how much they cost.

Last updated, August 2022

How do night storage heaters work?

Storage heaters work by storing heat generated by cheaper night-time electricity and releasing this heat during the day.

Most storage heaters are wall-mounted and look a bit like radiators. They use electricity to heat up a “bank” of ceramic or clay bricks inside them overnight. Then they can release the heat gradually to keep your home warm the next day.

How much do night storage heaters cost to run?

Night storage heaters mean you can take advantage of lower off-peak electricity rates to heat your home. They are designed to work with Economy 7, an electricity tariff where night-time electricity is much cheaper (typically about a third of the price) – but day-time electricity is more expensive.

How do I use my night storage heater?

Storage heaters have a set of simple controls. An input setting allows you to regulate the amount of heat the heater stores overnight. This is important because, although night-rate electricity is cheaper, there’s no point paying for more than you need.

If it’s not particularly cold, or you’ll be out of the house for most of the day, you don’t need to set the input to maximum because there’s no point storing so much heat.

Most storage heaters will only charge up at night, so you can leave the input setting without danger of using expensive day-rate electricity.

The controls also have an output setting that allows you to regulate the amount of heat that the storage heater releases. The higher the setting, the quicker the heat is released into the room.

If the output is high all day, then the heater will run out of stored heat. It is better to adjust the output gradually, saving some heat for the evening. Overnight, or when you are out, you should set the output to minimum, otherwise the stored heat you’ve paid for will be wasted.

Some storage heaters have a ‘boost’ setting. This doesn’t use ‘cheap-rate’ stored heat, it uses expensive daytime electricity. It should only be used if the stored heat has run out.

Even if your night storage heater controls are different, they still operate on the same input and output principle.

How to use your night storage heater (with BSL)

Will they save money on energy bills?

Modern storage heaters

The latest storage heater models have been improved in terms of how efficient and easy to control they are. New models can hold more heat for longer periods, and include better insulation to ensure heat is only released when it’s needed (often via a fan-assisted system).

Many modern storage heaters also feature a thermostat and timer through a programmer or mobile app. This means you can set heat to be released at a time that suits you (for example when you get up in the morning).

Upgrading to a modern storage heater can help reduce your energy bills by about 10%.

High heat retention storage heaters

The most efficient modern storage heaters are called ‘high heat retention storage heaters’. They are up to 27% cheaper to run than standard storage heaters.

In addition to the features of other modern storage heaters, these models achieve even better heat retention and are able to estimate the next day’s heating demand based on user heating habits and climatic conditions (so you do not need to worry about adjusting input settings). High heat retention models include Quantum heaters (from Dimplex/Creda and Heatstore), Elnur (Gabarron) Ecombi HHR heaters and the Stiebel Eltron SHS and SHF range.

Replacing old storage heaters with high heat retention models may also improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for your home.

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