First of all, if you are actively considering buying a Paraffin Inverter Heater, but don’t want to spend the usual £250 – £300, then I have found a much better deal for you –
I know that when you read the title of this blog – Home Heating using paraffin Inverter heaters, the word ‘paraffin’ alone, will conjure up those childhood memories of Grandad’s ancient paraffin heater running during long cold winters in his greenhouse and the lingering smell of paraffin which always used to follow, however before you hit the back button and leave, the paraffin inverter heaters I will be referring to here, are top of the range, ultra modern safe paraffin heaters manufactured in Japan and of which are even far more safer to use than portable gas heaters using calor gas bottles, and open fires.
Many of those who are reading “Home Heating using paraffin Inverter heaters”, may be here out of pure curiosity, but those open minded individuals and savvy consumers who want to save money on their energy bills and who continue to read, will probably find that it actually saves them considerable amounts of money by switching over to paraffin heating for their domestic requirements, especially those trying to heat poorly insulated old buildings and those who are suffering from Storage Heater blues or indeed, are looking to substitute any form of expensive electric heating with something much more affordable.
For those readers with Gas central heating, lucky you!. This article is unlikely to be of any interest to you as you already have one of the cheapest forms of heating known to man – Mains Gas. However even if you have central heating, you may need additional heating in an extension, conservatory, loft conversion, caravan or outbuilding where the cost of extending the gas central heating may not be economically viable or possible, so stick around, as paraffin heating may still also be of interest to you, and will work out far cheaper than installing extra radiators or the huge expense of running an electric panel heater, fan heater or oil filled radiator.
Using a Paraffin Inverter Heater can also work out a lot cheaper than using a traditional gas fire to heat a room. Despite the low cost of natural gas a lot of Gas Fires, even modern ones, can be extremely inefficient, often consuming as much as 6.4kw worth of gas just to produce 4kw worth of heat into a room, and some of the “living flame” gas fires are even worse than this, as the majority of produced heat escapes from the flue or up the Chimney.
So whilst Gas is one of the cheapest forms of heat, this usually only applies to very high efficiency Central Heating system boilers built in the last five years or so, and when compared to a Gas Fire, the increased efficiency of 99% offered by an Inverter Heater, compared to the 50% – 60% offered by an older gas fire, the small extra cost of paraffin or heating oil is more than offset by the wasteful, inefficient nature of the gas fire, making the Inverter Heater the cheaper form of heating one living room or an open plan area.
Home Heating using paraffin Inverter heaters will be of interest to those in rural or remote locations who don’t have access to mains gas, or households who currently use oil fired or LPG based heating systems, but the biggest savings by switching over to heating a home with a paraffin inverter heater will be to those using Economy 7 storage heating, Electric Central Heating or any form of electric heating appliances for their main heating, and this is where 30% – 70% savings can easily be made.
Home Heating using paraffin Inverter heaters
This is where my own experiences begin, I have a rural property which is outside of the mains gas area and doesn’t have any form of central heating, the property is insulated and has double glazing, however it suffers from one handicap, the fact that it has electric storage heaters. Those who have storage heaters will already know, that come winter they are extremely inflexible, increasingly expensive to run and by around 5pm or 6pm they have exhausted all of their useful heat and once night falls, the room rapidly becomes cold. Electricity is supplied on Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs, and although these tariff’s give you seven to ten hours of cheap overnight electricity, the cost of the Electricity during the normal day (peak) periods is significantly more expensive than on a standard non economy 7 tariff. Up to three or four times higher per unit in fact!.
This means, that when the Economy 7 storage heaters inevitably run out of heat, by around late afternoon or early evening, or the weather turns unexpectedly chilly some other form of ‘top up’ heating is required which is often also electrically powered, such as a convector heater, panel heater, fan heater or oil filled radiator.
These types of heating appliance use extremely large amounts of Electricity and after several hours of use can soon work out to be prohibitively expensive, which then largely negates all of the savings made the previous night during the E7 / E10 period.
Consuming electricity outside of the overnight off peak period rapidly becomes expensive. This is because E7 customers with storage heaters are openly penalised for their cheaper overnight rates and will pay double or even treble the cost for their daytime Electricity compared to non E7 electricity customers enjoying standard single rate tariffs.
The electricity companies know all about the limited effectiveness of storage heaters and because of these limitations know that there is a very real possibility that the majority of their E7 customers will require some form of top up heating at some point during the evening especially during the coldest mid winter months, at the times when the most expensive ‘peak rate’ periods will apply, and so are laughing all of the way to the bank.
In other words they give a discounted overnight during E7 / E10 off peak period which looks very generous on the surface, but they then quickly snatch most of that generosity back by charging very expensive daytime ‘peak’ rates at double or treble the unit cost compared to non E7 customers on standard single rates. In addition, the discounted Off Peak rate of the Economy 7 period is also rapidly increasing, back in 2011 I was paying less than 5p per kw/h, in 2013 I am now paying 6.2p per kw/h (and some customers are paying as much as 8p per kw/h) – all far more expensive than mains Gas customers who pay as little as 3.3p per kw/h all day long.
Electricity prices continue to rise, as do oil prices and LPG, minimum deliveries for both heating oil and LPG may also make fitting central heating boilers powered by these fuels unattractive. Fitting a wood burner is an ideal way of mitigating the ever increasing cost of Electricity, however this is not always suitable in some properties, and also for those living in flats, smoke free zones or who are renting their property from a landlord.
During winter 2010, I was often paying over £100 a month in Electricity costs to heat a 1 bedroom flat, based on running 3 large storage heaters, which was around double the cost of heating a Three or Four Bedroom house with Gas Central Heating. When I arrived home from work late in the evenings I wasn’t feeling any real benefit from it either as the Storage Heaters had exhausted most of their stored heat, and during the coldest winter months I still needed to plug in additional heating for several hours in the Evening just to be warm when reading or watching the TV.
A quick calculation soon revealed the painful truth, in that for every hour I was running a 2.4 kw Convector Heater for top up heat during the Evenings, I was mitigating around 3 hours worth of Economy 7 cheaper rate electricity!!, because my Electricity cost during the peak period was 3 times the cost of off peak, so it didn’t take long for the Electricity company to claw back, nearly all of saving I had made on the discounted electricity which it had sold to me overnight, whenever I needed to run additional heating during the following Evening, which in Winter means this was happening almost 7 days a week.
Additional energy price hikes had also been announced for the second time in a year, and I could see the day when paying £150 a month in Electricity would become a reality. I began looking for alternatives to Electric heating, and stumbled across a forum for Boat Owners and static caravan dwellers, who had seemed to have found a solution.
I was introduced to a modern day, Japanese manufactured indoor Paraffin heater. This was no ordinary basic old fashioned paraffin heater like the ones my grandparents had once had , but a sleek, safe and odourless fan assisted paraffin heater, with a kw heat output exceeding that of most standard Electric heaters and being fan assisted it was also capable of heating a living area very quickly, and at a fraction of the cost of an Electric equivalent!.
I researched these paraffin inverter heaters further and traced their roots back to Japan, where central heating systems are rare, and where most Japanese families still heat their homes using these clever, safe and portable Paraffin / Kerosene fueled modern space heaters. They are also used routinely in Southern France & Italy, where they are so popular that dedicated containers of kero fuel are sold in most hypermarkets.
At first my prejudice about paraffin heaters and memories of the lingering small of paraffin came back to haunt me, but I decided that the Japanese were a clever race, and had developed many modern designs as far as appliances and domestic equipment was concerned and as a Country they certainly wouldn’t be using Paraffin Heaters as their preferred, daily form of heating if it was dangerous or ineffective. Npower had also just written to me, announcing their latest price rises (for the fourth year running), I decided that anything to save me money over Npower’s E7 overpriced daytime rates was worth a go.
The manufacturer claimed that their paraffin heater was 99% efficient, which was actually much more efficient than even a Gas Powered ‘A’ rated central heating boiler, and virtually the same 100% efficiency offered by direct Electric Heating. Unlike earlier paraffin heaters and Gas Calor heaters, this paraffin heater produced no obvious room condensation and had many safety features which made it safe to use an everyday household form of heating, I was now convinced, so I ordered one.
The £250 that I paid for the Corona Inverter Paraffin Heater, seemed a lot to pay for a portable space heater, especially one powered by paraffin, but it turned out to be an astute decision which in turn, turned out to have paid for itself over just one average winter, and it paid for itself from the savings gained from space heating using paraffin instead of the more expensive daytime Economy 7 rates.
The Paraffin Inverter Heater really gave me the best of both worlds, I could reduce my reliance (and use of) the expensive to run storage heaters, and then instead of using the Convector Heaters on an overly expensive peak rate electricity tariff when I got in from work, I simply fired up the Corona Inverter Heater to deliver heat whenever I was at home, at around a third of the cost of peak rate Electricity.
I read that standard Paraffin / Kerosene fuel burning at almost 100% efficiency will produce at least 10kw of heat from every litre of Paraffin / Kerosene it consumes. So lets do the maths, and let me actually prove the savings to you from my own personal experiences.
I currently buy Electricity during the ‘peak’ periods from Npower, at around 21 pence per KW/H.
I originally bought Paraffin from a local allotment society for 70p a litre. I get 10kw worth of heat from each litre burned which brings down the price for heating to 7p per KW/H. (I now pay 5.3p per KW using standard home heating oil kerosene @ 53p a litre but i’ll get to that later)
My Corona Paraffin Inverter heater produces 3200 watts of heat, or 3.2kw so on its full setting, for one hours worth of use it costs 3.2 x 0.07p to run = 22.4 pence per hour to give out 3.2kw worth of heat, enough to heat a fairly large living room or open plan lounge-diner very quickly.
To run an Electric Convector Heater rated at 3000 watts (3.0KW) it would consume 3 electricity units every hour, which would cost 3 x £0.21 units per hour to run – so £0.63 per hour to run a single 3kw heater when using peak rate electricity. By using a 3.2kw Corona Paraffin Inverter heater instead of a 3KW convector heater, actually saves me £0.406 per hour in real terms, plus I get an extra 200 watt worth of heat from the 3.2kw Paraffin heater over the 3kw convector, which isn’t a lot, but does add up over a period of running during a typical evening (an extra 1kw worth of heat for every 5 hours it runs to be exact)
So by using the Corona Paraffin Heater during the Evenings for an average of just six hours at a time, saves me £2.43 in heating costs per night, just by changing the way that I heat the room and the fuel I use to do it, and trading Peak Rate Electricity back to good old fashioned Paraffin, burned in a state of the art heater.
Couple this with an average of 10 hours worth of use per day when home at the weekends, and that saving adds up to £4.06 per weekend day, so the potential saving by using paraffin adds upto £20.27 per week (£2.43 x 5 nights + 2x £4.06 per day at the weekends) – that’s an amazing £81.08 per MONTH in savings from my own usage pattern, just by turning the convector heater off and the paraffin heater on, and avoiding the use of expensive Electric heating.
The figures speak volumes, and in just three winter of average use during the Winter, i’ve effectively recouped the cost of purchasing the inverter heater and beyond that point, the savings are in my pocket for many winters to come!, and the money is far better in my pocket than those belonging to the shareholders of the expensive utility companies!.
So there you go – what more can I say? other than that I paid off the original outlay for my paraffin heater during the first half of its first winter, meaning that the savings that I am getting at the moment – upto £81.08 a MONTH are now mine to keep as the paraffin inverter heater is still going strong, and still saving me money, and i’m just as warm, I have made no other sacrifices to do it nor had to turn down any thermostats or put on extra layers of clothing. As a result of switching to an Inverter Heater my £100+ monthly winter E7 Electricity bill is a nightmare from the past and has dropped to a more manageable, summer-like £25 – £30 a month, now i’m no longer using it for heating.
It is even possible to obtain paraffin far cheaper than the initial 70p / litre example I gave and so stretch those savings further, but i’ll move onto that shortly. Also bear in mind that the savings and comparisons I made are for one heater in a small flat, if you have the requirement for more than one electric heater, and replace it with paraffin the total savings will increase even further by using a Paraffin Inverter Heater, in place of each Electric Heater, noting that the heaters are also portable and easily carried by one person, so it is possible to move it from room to room, living room to bedroom or even to the shed or caravan, and these heaters are also ideal for heating a conservatory, where Electricity has previously been the only option.
These heaters are also ideal for Tenants, as they are portable appliances and require no installation or landlord permission, simply unplug them and take them with you to your next property as you would with any Fan or Convector heater.
Lets examine the features of the Corona Paraffin Inverter heater.
Safe and Reliable, being 99% efficient and having no external flue or chimney means 99% of the heat produced from the fuel actually goes into the room, not out of the flue. Far more efficient than portable gas heaters, LPG fired central heating, older gas fires and virtually just as efficient as more expensive electric heating, but at 50% – 75% of the cost – FACT.
Portable – requires no installation or outside flue, just fill with paraffin / kerosene and plug it in to a standard mains socket
Has flame failure sensors, CO2 detection and switches off if it falls over or is knocked, making it far more safer to use in the house, shop, workshop or office than conventional Gas Bottle heaters, open fires or newer Bio Ethanol fires.
Produces little condensation, unlike earlier paraffin heaters and gas bottle calor heaters
Little servicing or annual maintenance, and no service contracts, safety checks or repair bills – just an occasional fuel filter clean.
No wicks to replace or trim (Inverter model)
Fan assisted for rapid room warm up (Electric Fan requires 22 watts of Electricity, about the same as an energy saving light bulb)
Digitally Thermostatically controlled, which switches to a paraffin saving eco mode (800w) when the room reaches the selected temperature. In Eco Mode the heater will run for an amazing 45 – 48 hours on one fill of fuel.
Has a digital timer, set it to come on after work or before you get up in the morning.
Virtually odourless in normal operation. Just a quick whiff when starting / stopping.
Available in various output sizes from 2,4kw to 4.5kw, the 4.5kw model will directly replace two convector heaters in larger rooms, and the 3KW model I’ve reviewed here will be more than adequate for most average sized living rooms or an entire small flat.
Fan Assisted and Radiant Versions (which require no Electricity) available
The Paraffin Inverter heater is ideal for use in Conservatories, Porches, Outbuildings, Garages, Shed’s or any location where extending central heating is too costly, its also a very viable and cheaper alternative to very expensive normal indoor Electric room heating in bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, loft conversions etc and in these applications it does stand to save the average household anything upto 40% – 50% off the cost of standard tariff electricity and a massive 75% off the most expensive E7 peak rate electricity tariff. In short if you are plugging in any form of Electric Heater on a regular or semi-regular basis, then replacing it with one of these inverter heaters WILL save you money – between 40% and 70% depending on your current Electricity tariff.
Finally, lets see how the cost of running the Corona Paraffin Inverter heater compares with other fuels
Corona Paraffin Heater – 5.6p per KW (based on 56p / litre for C1 paraffin or small quantities of Heating Oil from a pump)
Corona Paraffin Heater – 4.1p per KW (based on 41p / litre for bulk purchased 28 second domestic home heating kerosene)
Economy 7 Daytime Rate (Npower) – 21p per KW
Economy 7 Off Peak Rate (Npower) – 6.2 p per KW
Standard Electricity Rate – 12p per KW
LPG Central Heating (tank) – 9.5p per KW
LPG Central Heating / Gas Fire (bottle) – 15p per KW
Oil Fired Central Heating – 7.5p per KW (factoring in efficiency losses)
Mains Gas – 3.2p per KW
Wood Burner – 3p per KW
(example comparison rates as they stood at November 2015)
Also compare the £2500 – £6000 installation cost of installing Oil or LPG fired central heating with the low cost of the cheapest Paraffin inverter heater. Even if you bought four Paraffin Inverter heaters for use in a four bedroom house, it would still cost well under £1000, that’s almost a sixth of the £6000 average cost of fitting a LPG based central heating system, and the savings made on the outlay will buy a lot of Fuel.
As you can see, the Corona Paraffin Heater is worth considering as a portable, money saving room heating alternative to either Economy 7 or Standard Electric Heating, as well as LPG heating. Its also ideal as temporary heating for outbuildings or for using on Boats and Static Caravans where LPG may prove very costly. It is also ideal for supplementary heating in short term rented accommodation as no flue or building modification is required and being portable you can take it with you when you move.
It is also possible to further reduce the cost of running the Paraffin Inverter Heater from 7p KW to 5p – 6p KW by switching from C1 Paraffin to Kerosene (sold as 28 second domestic Heating Oil in the UK).
First, let me state clearly that the Manufacturer advise using expensive pre-packaged Class C1 Paraffin in these heaters, however outside of the UK, Paraffin is also routinely known as Kerosene and the fuels are virtually identical. Thus it would seem to be acceptable to burn cheaper 28 second domestic heating oil Kerosene instead of Paraffin, and stretch the savings and make it easier to obtain (Heating oil is generally more readily available than C1 Paraffin).
In the UK, “Kerosene” is sold as 28 second heating oil, the same as home central heating oil fired boilers use. I have been buying and using standard 28 second heating oil in my heater frequently for over 4 years (as of July 2015), and with no obvious adverse effects to either the heater or to myself from excessive fumes / odours, however you do this in your own heater at your own risk.
By buying heating oil kerosene from a local farmer (who has oil fired heating) reduces my cost of the fuel from 70p per litre to 53p per litre, this means that the real cost of running my Inverter heater falls even further, from 7p per KW to 5.3p per KW – making it almost as cheap as mains gas, and even less than the cost of Economy 7 overnight electricity which my (useless) storage heaters use.
However, once again I must stress that if you use domestic Kerosene in your own heater instead of paraffin you do so at your own risk!. If you wish to stick with the manufacturers recommendations on fuel, it is still possible to buy the recommended C1 paraffin at 70p per litre, try contacting your local allotment society, and looking in the yellow pages for local oil and fuel brokers, or if you are happy with Kerosene instead of paraffin, simply buy it in bulk from a heating oil supplier or from a friend / relative who uses heating oil fired central heating and a growing number of heating oil brokers have a self service pump available for small quantities.
For those who wish to continue to use the manufacturer approved premium paraffin in their heaters, Premium Paraffin can be purchased online for mail order delivery in 16 litre and 20 litre quantities, offering a big saving over buying from DIY Stores.
If you do decide to use standard heating oil in your inverter heater, then I do strongly advise filtering the kerosene into the heater tank using a “Mr Funnel”. The Mr Funnel filter will ensure that any dirt and rust particles are removed from the fuel and that any trapped water caused by bulk tank storage is filtered out which ensures longer periods between cleaning of the heater filter and also prevents the heater from showing an “E4” error warning (which indicates water contamination in the fuel). You can buy a Mr Funnel water and dirt filter from Here
Finally, we all like to get a bargain and save money on the initial cost of buying a new appliance and so I constantly search both the UK and European inverter heater retailers to find the best deals. Obviously prices do change, as do retailer stock levels between the winter and summer months, and so this page will be updated constantly every season to reflect this. Currently the best price that we have found for a 3KW Paraffin Inverter Heater for ex-stock availability is available from HERE (Link updated October 2016)
If you have any questions, comments or wish to share your own experiences in relation to using Paraffin / Kerosene for domestic home heating in these heaters, then please use the comment form. (You can also read hints and tips, as well as the experiences of other Inverter Heater users in the comments below)