Electric Heating is one of the most expensive ways of heating a home, largely because Electricity generation within the UK requires the burning of an existing fuel such as Gas or Coal in order to produce Electricity, therefore there are essentially two middlemen involved, and two companies intending to make a profit from each unit of Electricity you use. For this reason, there is a huge interest in Energy Efficient Electric Heaters, and unfortunately some manufacturers do tend to exploit and capitalise on that interest, so lets discuss a few facts and put to rest the myths relating to Energy Efficient Electric Heaters.
First of all, as I have stated elsewhere in this blog, ALL electric heating is 100% efficient, this means that if an electric heater consumes 2000 watts in electricity from the wall socket, then you will get 2000 watts worth of heat out from the heater and into the room / person. This basic rule still applies whether the heater is Grannies’ old electric fire, or a modern high tech miracle heater with a three figure price tag.
Needless to say, over the last few years there have been a few Electric Heater manufacturers, who claim that their products are revolutionary, in that they save energy whilst efficiently being able to heat an average size room. Coincidentally, these products often cost well in three figures each, which is up to ten times the cost of a cheap electric heater from Argos or Ebay
Please don’t be taken in by this hype, the glossy brochures and their smooth marketing claims.
If you like the style of the heaters and have the budget to spend several hundred pounds on these electric heaters, then that is your choice, however please don’t do it in the belief that it is a worthy outlay or investment because you are led to believe that they will save you money on your energy bills whilst at the same time keeping your house warm and adequately heated.
The reason that these heater manufacturers can make claims in relation to these products saving energy and money is because the electric heaters behind the claims, are often low wattage, and so consume less Electricity than a standard convector heater, oil filled radiator or Fan Heater, however, consequently, they also output less heat as a result, because you only will get out in heat the same as you input in terms of energy, on a like for like basis.
The laws of physics apply to any room and all houses lose heat at a rate which is dependent on its age and physical level of insulation but there will be a loss of heat from all rooms. So if your house loses 1500 watts per hour in heat, then you will need to input at least 1500 watts from an Electric Heater just to counteract the loss through the walls, ceiling, floor, windows etc and maintain a steady temperature.
Unfortunately, if you lose 1500 watts worth of heat every hour, and only have an electric heater which outputs 750 watts of heat per hour into the room, then you will still have a constant 750 watts loss so the room will never reach a comfortable temperature and will in fact slowly begin feel even colder as the heat from the room continues to escape faster than the chosen heater can replace it.
Most rooms in an average sized house will require at least 2000w to 3000 watts worth of heat, and some larger rooms or those in poorly insulated older buildings may require double that during the coldest winter months. It doesn’t matter how you get that heat, whether you use paraffin heaters, convector heaters or burn dung on the living room carpet, you still need to input that amount of heat in order to keep the room warm.
Many people think that by using a low wattage heater, or one of those expensive energy saving miracle radiators, that they are going to get something for nothing, but it is simply not possible for a heater to only consume 400 or 500 watts from the mains, yet still give enough heat from it to heat a room requiring 2000 watts of heat, and this is why people who buy these miracle electric radiators and heaters find that the low energy models are simply unable to adequately heat their home.
In short, if a heater is rated at 2000 watts, then you will get 2000 watts worth of heat out of it, and transferred into the room, regardless of whether its a 2000 watt heater costing £15 from Argos, or a 2000 watt miracle heater costing £300, and they will both consume exactly the same amount of Electricity and cost you exactly the same to run!.
If Electric Heating is your only option, then you would be far better buying standard electric heaters from the high street shops and instead put the money which you may have been thinking of spending on the expensive miracle heaters towards better insulating your home.
This is the only way that you will save money on heating, because the less heat which escapes through the fabric of the building then the less heat you will need from the Electric Heater to replace the heat which is being lost and the lower your bills will be.
It is also vital that you make sure that you are on the cheapest tariff for Electricity, and the easiest and fastest way of doing this is to use an Energy Comparison Website in order to compare deals and to switch electricity supplier.