Difference Between Storage Heaters and Low-carbon Electric Heating

The question people ask most often is how a modern low-carbon electric heating is different to storage heaters, as they both use electricity as the energy source, and why is it cheaper to have Wi-Fi Electric Radiators when storage heaters only use power to collect heat and not to dispense it.

i sense smart electric heating LCD thermostat
Low-carbon modern Electric Heating

The answers may surprise you, and we will do our best to explain using non-technical jargon or scientific theories. Let’s divide the answer into 4 main differences: Construction, Efficiency, Compliance and CO2 Emissions. 

1- CONSTRUCTION  DIFFERENCES between Storage Heaters and Low-carbon Electric Heating.

Storage Heaters were invented over 50 years ago to use the old fashioned Economy 7 tariff, where electricity is cheaper from midnight to 7am (low use off-peak periods) by storing heat all night and then dissipating it during part of the day. Their construction is very simple – a stack of ordinary house bricks, with a 2 to 3.5 KW Class 1 electric coil between each layer of bricks that heats up all night, encased in a steel box. Steel has a very low conductivity for heat, but it’s strong enough to hold the bricks. That’s it! No method of controlling the exact temperature, programming or the times YOU decide you want to be warm. 

Electric Radiators from IntelliHeat are made from pure grade aluminium – the best metal for conducting heat after silver and copper. They have a patented Thermodynamic fluid inside that heats up in minutes and causes the whole surface of the radiator to RADIATE heat into the room, when YOU decide you want it, and to YOUR chosen temperature. 

How do storage heaters work? 

As soon as the power is switched off at 6 or 7am, they are roasting hot and then cool down during the day, giving you sauna style mornings, dissipating heat all day when you are out at work, and then cool or stone-cold by early afternoon, cold when you want to watch TV, before charging up again from midnight, and heating all your rooms at 6 am while you are asleep. 

Storage heaters are designed to work with Economy 7, this is a tariff in which night-time electricity is much cheaper, but day-time electricity is much more expensive. The cheap hours are normally from 12 midnight until 7am, however some storage heaters have an expensive ‘boost’ option that doesn’t use cheap night rate, but when turned on uses expensive (up to 30p/kWh) daytime electricity. Also, storage heaters have a set of very basic, simple and confusing controls.

Storage heaters basic, simple (yet confusing) controls

Running costs Comparison storage heaters v modern Electric Heating :

18 Kw storage heaters system quick comparison (large 4 bedroom house, 120 square feet)
Daily average of 18kw x 7 hours (off pick night unit rate 9p) = 126kw x £0.09 = £11.30
Daily average of 18kw x 2 hours boost (pick day unit rate 18p) = 36kw x £0.18 = £6.50
Standing charge pence per day Economy 7 = £0.20
Total £18 a day for 9 hours of heating at an unknown temperature.

This table is a guide using the latest tariffs provided by electricity suppliers.

How do modern Low-carbon Electric Heating work?

Upgrading to modern Wi-Fi electric radiators can help reduce your energy bills up to 30% whilst giving you much more control over when you heat your home or office. Each radiator has its own EcoDesign – Lot 20 Compliant digital thermostat, and accurate temperature control, so as soon as the room reaches the exact temperature YOU decide on, it will then automatically switch off its power usage, and then just dissipate heat until the room cools down to more than 0.5-degree from your chosen temperature. It will then cut back in and just heat the room those 0.5-degrees, back to your comfort temperature. So although it is switched ON (from, say, 5pm to 10pm), it won’t be using ENERGY for all that time – only for the short periods of 0.5-degree uplift, the rest of the time it doesn’t use any energy at all. 

10Kw Low-carbon Electric Heating system quick comparison on renewable tariff (large 4 bedroom house 120 square feet)
Daily average *7 kw/h x 9 hours (flat unit rate 14p) = 63kw/h x £0.14 = £8.80
Standing charge pence per day = £0.00
Total £8.80 a day for 9 hours of continuous heating at 21.5 degrees.
Total £6.80 a day for 9 hours of continuous heating at 21.5 degrees with Zoning the house.
*a 10 Kw Low-carbon Electric Heating system will use in average 6 to 7Kw / hour max due to the correct zoning, controllable intelligent thermostat, app controlled and Lot 20 Eco-design features.
Please note that according to a government study, the average time for households with central heating is 7.5 hours a day.

The ideal suggested temperature in the living room is between 19 and 22°C. This is where you spend a lot of time and often for long periods sitting still, so it’s likely that you might get a bit more chilly. Of course, the higher you go, the more energy you’ll use, so always try to go no higher than 21° if you can.

Benchmarks for suggested indoor ZONING temperatures:

  • 16°C Hallways, corridors
  • 19°C Kitchen
  • 18°C Bedrooms
  • 19-22°C Children’s rooms
  • 19-21°C Living, dining rooms
  • 21-23°C Bathrooms  
  • 20-21°C Offices 
  • 15°C Unoccupied rooms
  • Here are some basic benchmarks for home temperatures
  • 24°C – very warm, could be unsafe for heart conditions
  • 18-21°C – comfortable temperature
  • 18°C – minimum for being comfortable
  • 12-16°C – fairly cold, could be unsafe for respiratory conditions
  • 12°C – cold, could be unsafe for heart conditions
    • 9°C – very cold, could be a risk for hypothermia

2- EFFICIENCY DIFFERENCES between Storage Heaters and Low-carbon Electric Heating.

Clearly an uncontrollable system of heating bricks and being forced to endure the heat while they cool down is totally inefficient, removing all choice and individual requirements from the homeowner. You CANNOT have Granny’s room warmer and the bathroom cooler, you CANNOT turn off the heat in unused rooms, or while you are out, and you CANNOT choose how long you want it on. 

IntelliHeat electric radiators allow homeowners/tenants to choose which individual rooms they wish to heat, to what temperature, and at what times, accurate to one-tenth of a degree. This is called Zoning. It means you have AUTOMATIC ROOM ZONING without needing a box screwed to the wall, PLUS automatic occupancy detection, ultra-fast heating response, self learning mode, and a user-friendly 24/7 programmable control system for every individual radiator in the home or office. It uses an advanced energy-regulated thermodynamic product, invented in This decade (not 50 years ago), and can achieve the same output wattage, but using much less energy – saving money as well as using less energy in answer to the recent COP26 and Climate Change requirements WORLDWIDE.

INSTALLATION DIFFERENCES between storage heaters and Low-carbon electric radiators

Brick-filled storage heaters are stupidly heavy and require teams of men to manhandle them in and to hang them on the walls. Removing them also takes teams of men, carrying out armfuls of bricks before they can be removed from the wall. 

Modern electric radiators are smaller, thinner, lighter, much more efficient and can be installed by one man in a day. No need to have brick sized heaters, replacing them with a 50mm thickness of aluminium, giving you more available space in your home. They are MUCH Cheaper to install, cheaper in labour costs, and with one man completing two installations per day, any Housing Association can race through their maintenance list in less than half the time. Our electric radiators replace a typical 3 kW rating old storage heater with a 1.5 Kw output, saving HALF the amount of energy used. 

wentworth hotel aldeburgh pics 3127
iSense Wi-Fi controlled Low Carbon Electric Heating

3- COMPLIANCE DIFFERENCES between Storage Heaters and Low-carbon Electric Radiators.

Current British Regulations for electric radiators is called ECODESIGN LOT 20 Regulations and applies to all electric radiators. Intelli Heat ranges are fully accredited to new UKCA markE.A.C. Certification, CE Certification*, BS British Standards, European Standard (EN), NF *** rated energy performance accreditation. Storage Heaters are not compliant with this legislation for FOUR main reasons. 

1 – Storage Heaters are not strictly called electric radiators, and so have slipped through a large hole in the ERP Regulations , totally un-compliant, and yet being sold to the public as a 50-year-old technology in our modern green energy designed homes and offices.

2 – They CANNOT comply, even if they were renamed ‘Ecodesign, electric storage radiators’ as they do NOT have a temperature control, do NOT have independent radiator on/off controls and CANNOT be controlled by Wi-Fi, app, internet based dashboard, or any 5G process. Ecodesign – Lot 20 legislation

3 – They CANNOT detect occupancy in a room (as electric radiators can with precise PIR sensors) or detect an open door or open window (as electric radiators can from a fast heat loss in their individual thermostats). Once you switch storage heaters on at night, they are forced to cool down all day, whether you are there or not and whether you want any heat or not. 

IntelliHeat Electric Radiators have three major regulation ‘wins’ over Storage Heaters.

1- Full Control: Every iSense radiator has its own 24 hours or Wi-Fi programmer control. This consists of our patented  Ecodesign intelligent heating controls,  With minute accurate on/off timer and PIR sensors to detect room-by-room occupation, automatically switching off in unoccupied rooms to save energy. They can utilise your Wi-Fi connection using our MySense smartphone app to control them from anywhere, giving you up to 1000 Individual Room Controls for Hotels, Offices, Hospitals, Care Homes, Retirement Homes, and Housing Associations, from the comfort of your office laptop, and from your mobile device. The MySense app and web app dashboard will tell you the total energy use, or current hour, day, week, or month. Manage the temperature in every room, office, or apartment from your screen.

Be informed and warned in real time:
– Analyses and forecasts your devices’ future energy consumption
– Anticipates and monitors your budget by changing behaviours 
– Programming & self-learning optimisation to improve your comfort
– Interact at any time when the unexpected arises
– View the status of your installations for each individual building or customer
– Analyse and remotely diagnose
– Warning alerts of an event directly delivered to your mobile device for prompt intervention

2 – Temperature Accurate Thermostatic Controls for every room means there’s no need to be too warm, waiting for old storage heaters to dissipate their heat or be cold all afternoon when all the heat is gone, and the outside temperature has dropped below freezing. Automatic Zoned Heating means: The bathroom can be 22.1 degrees, the kitchen at 18 degrees, the lounge at 22.5 degrees and the bedrooms at 15.5 degrees. Each IntelliHeat smart radiator has its own intelligent independent control allowing up to one hundred heating zones, allowing the unused rooms to be cooler and save energy, while the living room is nice and cosy for the evening. 

3 –The Smart Presence sensor will automatically detect any open door or window, turning the electric radiator off immediately, and reducing energy wastage. The newest technology ‘presence sensors’ notice whether anyone is present in each room and will switch off when no-one is detected.

iSense WiFi Smart electric radiators digital touchscreen thermostat
iSense LCD thermostat Accurate Temperature Controls

In addition to these big wins, our top-of-the-range products have Eco-sense technology which adopts a self-learning mode, enabling each individual electric radiator to memorize your life patterns in each room. We call it the Smart Radiator Intelligent Algorithm, and once connected to your home or office Wi-Fi, will analyse this information in real-time to optimize and adapt your energy use for maximum efficiency and cost savings.

These efficient and stylish electric radiators are available in a range of shapes, colours, sizes, and wattages. We can help you with the correct size and wattage output needed to heat your room and then you decide where you want to install it. No need to take up valuable wall space, you can install them above the sofa, or use horizontal radiators on smaller walls. 

Finally, IntelliHeat Electric Radiators need no technical installation, no rewiring, no expensive batteries, no additional monthly charges, no boxes on the wall, no annual safety inspection, and no maintenance with a 10 years warranty.

4- Cleaner heating, less CO2 emission. 

Household emissions from heating and hot water must reduce by 95% to reach 2050 net zero targets, significant changes are coming to the UK heating market.

Low-carbon electric heating is the future, we will need to replace the very high carbon fossil fuels currently used to heat our buildings with low carbon fuels and technologies. Heating represents 78% of non-transport energy use in the UK. Currently only 9% of heating is powered by electricity, the majority is gas, oil, coal. Currently, over 39% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions are generated from heating.

UK average household CO2 emissions in Kg – 2018 – https://energysavingtrust.org.uk

In order to meet climate change targets, the UK has no option but to switch from gas, oil and LPG to clean electric heating. Electric heating can be 100% CO2 free when powered by renewable electricity. The UK electricity grid is rapidly decarbonising and within 3 to 5 years electricity will be greener than gas, oil and LPG.

The government have already announced the banning of gas boilers in any new builds from 2025. New building regulations (SAP10) which come in force in 2021 will be far more favourable to the use of direct acting electric heaters. Current regulations favoured gas boilers, biomass and heat pumps. Today it is possible to significantly cut back on the amount of CO2 your home emits by opting for low carbon heating options instead of old-fashioned systems like storage heaters, oil, coal or LPG gas-fuelled boilers.

On our next post page we will illustrate a full comparison between a 20 KW storage heaters on Economy 7 and a 8 KW of Eco-design wifi electric radiators on renewable tariff.

wentworth hotel aldeburgh pics iSense wifi radiators
iSense Wi-Fi Electric Heating on renewable electricity

Contact us today or call 0203 916 0000 and find out more information on a low-carbon alternative to storage heaters, what models are in stock and available to install by our qualified partners straight away.