Electric Heating


Postby polstar » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:45 am

Hi everyone, looking forward to some nuggets of wisdom!

I have recently started to rent a 2 bed ground floor flat that only has electric as energy input. For some reason we are stuk on EDF Economy 7 and are not allowed to change tarrif. WE DO NOT HAVE STORAGE HEATERS!!!! Does this sound like the dumbest development ever?

Anyway, on to my point. In the first month we set our electric radators (Nobo convector panel heaters) to come on when we wanted and with this type there is a thermostat (on each heater) for 'Economy' and 'Comfort'. We set the 'Economy' to 17.5 degrees and the 'Comfort' to 20 degrees (coming on an hour in the morning etc). After the first month phoned EF and they told us that the energy usage is extraordinarily high and in 1 month we spent over £150! We have since turned the '[/i]Economy[i]' setting off. but the 'Comfort' settings do not raise the temperature above 12.5 degrees. I was hoping for some advice as to how to set the system up to keep us warm (not hot or anything) without breaking the bank![/i]
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Postby plumbbob » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:19 pm

"Does this sound like the dumbest development ever?" No, not necessarily. Economy 7 is a good tariff as ALL night time usage of electricity is on the cheap rate which is between 1am and 8am. (Confirm the times before following my advice as it may have changed)

So make sure any appliances such as the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher are on over night and you will save significant money. Make sure the immersion is only on during the low rate hours!

Panel heaters are the most expensive to run and no special tariff will alter that. For electrical heating, some form of storage heating is required either brick filled heaters or a heat store.

Warm the whole flat early in the morning on the low rate, then leave the heaters off as much as possible and only heat the main areas you need when you need.
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Postby Perry525 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:16 pm

The laws of nature are that for a given sized room, with a specific amount of insulation and a specific external temperature you will need a certain amount of heat to make that room comfortable.
So, no one can tell you how much heat a room requires to be comfortable.

We have have some unusually cold weather recently, down to minus 23°C at that level you cannot expect to raise the temperature of a room to comfort level in one hour.

In all probability having your heating on twenty four hours a day full tilt, may not hold the temperatures you require.

Whereas in a normal December/January the heaters will probably cope....but not raise the temperature as quickly as you expect.

Take a look at the room, look for drafts, badly fitting windows and doors, holes in walls, floors and ceiling. Do you have an open chimney? Block them up. Cover the window with cling film from Focus or B&Q or similar, this will make a big difference to how you feel, put up thick well fitting curtains, make sure your feet are on several layers of matting or similar.
Are heaters positioned against cold walls?
Buy an infrared temperature gauge and scan everything to find the cold spots.
Place the heaters in the middle of the room where you will get the most benefit.
Buy radiant heaters, if these are aimed directly at you, you feel warm, it really does not matter if the corners of the room are warm – the main thing is how you feel.
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Postby Mr_Jolly » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:31 pm

If you only have electric as an energy input, have you set up the water heater so it is not running all day? Immersion heaters are 3 kw and you will have a tank between 100 and 200 litres. So don't want to be keeping a 200 litre kettle warm all day !!

Setting economy at 18 and comfort at 20 is a complete waste of time as there is not much difference. Put economy on minimum ( probably 5 ) and comfort at 15 - 20 ( what ever you find warm ). Only set comfort to be on when heat is required i.e. when in the property. Your settings before probably meant your convector heaters were running all the time with the current weather.

Hope this helps. Have to say in the middle of winter my gas and electric bills come to about £150 a month.
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Postby Mr_Jolly » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:29 pm

oops sorry just checked - £150 may be a tad high for a month !
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Postby Perry525 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:28 pm

Jolly raises an interesting point.
If you have an immersion heater in a copper tank and that tank is not insulated, then you will spend a fortune on heating a cupboard.
The copper tank will work best if it has five or more inches of insulation all over and the copper pipes are also insulated to GLC standard.
Note: Each time you run a tap you leave a large quantity of hot water in the pipes that wastes all its heat into the air. Having long pipe runs is expensive and a small local instant water heater will be cheaper to run. But unless you will be using it for a long time is probably not worth buying.
It may well be cheaper to leave the immersion on all the time if it is well insulated as topping up the very small heat loss may cost less than letting the water get cold.
Probably it is best to experiment over a few weeks to see whats best.
If you do turn the heating off when you go out, or go to bed read the meter, jot down the reading and compare when you come back in, or get up. You will be surprised.
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