"How do these night storage heaters work?"

CSE helps tenants to understand their heaters

10 January 2011

CSE’s advisors have been working with tenants of Flourish Homes in the Mendips to ensure that householders are getting the most from their night storage heaters.

Night storage heaters have a (sometimes) well-deserved reputation for being confusing and difficult to use, with unfamiliar settings and dials. But if they are used well they can be very cost-effective.

"They work by consuming electricity at night, storing this as heat and then slowly releasing this stored heat during the following day,” explained CSE’s Louise Rutterford, who is managing the Flourish Homes project. “They are a good option if you live off the gas network and have to use electricity to heat your home, but two conditions apply.”

The first of these is that the home is on Economy 7, a tariff that offers much cheaper electricity at night, but more expensive electricity during the day. This means that the electricity used by the storage heater is relatively cheap.

The second is that the heater isn’t used to provide heat overnight, and so has a full store of heat to release during the day.

Liz Dagger is one of CSE’s advisors working on the project. “We sent our easy-to-understand leaflets on night storage heaters and Economy 7 to over 500 Flourish Homes tenants in villages and hamlets across the Mendips.

“We also invited tenants to a well-attended ‘storage-heater’ coffee morning in Radstock where we found that many householders didn’t know how to use their heaters and were definitely not getting the most from them. Most were not closing the ‘output’ at night, so heat was escaping and not being stored for use the next day.

“It was also not well understood that being on Economy 7 meant that the cost of the electricity used during the day is much more expensive. After the event, most tenants said they would change their behaviour such as by using their washing machine in the early morning and turning appliances off standby. One attendee from Gurney Slade was so impressed, he even took information home for all his neighbours.”

If you’re not sure you’re using your night storage heater most effectively, call and speak to our Home Energy Team.

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