Replacing storage heaters with panel heaters.

Postby PeteD » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:15 pm

Hi all.

I have recently bought my first property and it is all electric, as a result the heating is Economy 7 using storage/convector heaters. When I moved in the one in the bedroom had been removed, the hallway one was broken and the front room one was huge aswell as ugly! I have since removed them all and brought some nice new glass fronted panel heaters, and this is where my problems begin!

The flex wired into the heaters is 4-core, having an additional black 'pilot' wire in, which can be used to control all the panels remotely. I have got individual timers so wont be needing this pilot wire. I need to cap it off according to the regs and am unsure what this actually involves. Do I just fold the exposed metal bit back on itself and screw into a junction box, or is there a better way?

I need to extend the cable on the bedroom panel as it is going on a different wall to that of the original storage heater. The power is coming from a fused spur marked 'Panel Heater' which I'm assuming isnt part of the off-peak ring main? (I'll come to this in a bit) I was thinking about getting a junction box and wiring all 4 wires into one side, then buying a new bit of 3 core cable to wire into the other side and into the spur?

The hallway heater is a whole new problem. The power for this one is also a fused spur but marked 'off-peak', meaning it is only live between midnight and 7am. I may be naive here, but is it just a matter of re-wiring this particular spur from the 'off-peak' fuseboard to a spare slot in the 24/7 fuseboard?

I hope I have made that clear, bascially I need to isolate the 4th pilot wire on all 3 heaters, extend the cable on one, and change the power supply from off peak to 24/7 on another.

I'd appreciate any help or advice on this matter, thanks in advance.
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:00 pm


Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:48 pm

To convert a house from Economy 7 to single tariff system needs a lot more than simply changing heaters.
If one considers 2Kw heaters in kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and 1Kw in hall and bathroom then we are looking at over 40 amp using this at night when no cooking, no showers, etc are being used is OK but add to this the normally daily usage then one would be sailing very close to the wind and likely to blow incoming fuse.
This is not counting the extra expense of using peak power especially if you have not cancelled the Economy 7 tariff which during the day is higher than the normal tariff.
I would agree the storage units don't look too good but you can't fit iron leaden bricks in a unit and insulate them to stop heat escaping until required in a small space. There are systems which allow you to store the power as hot water and reduce the losses and greatly increase control and look like a normal wet central heating system but they are very expensive.
Because the wet system can also use solar power they do have some extra advantages plus they provide hot water for shower etc. But storage tank size is a problem together of course with weight.
I would think again and work out running costs.

Postby PeteD » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:01 pm

Thanks for the reply, perhaps I should've explained more about the property/power usage. It is only a one bed flat, I live alone, and I am only fitting 3 panel heaters, 2 x 0.75kw (bedroom and hallway) and 1 x 1.5kw (front room). They will only be on perhaps half hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening.

However I was not aware that I would need to speak to my electric supplier and change my tarrif.
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:00 pm

Postby ericmark » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:27 am

As long as you are aware no problem as to moving a circuit from one consumer unit to another you are then adding a circuit to a consumer unit which comes under Part P. You may intend to break the law but the problem with consumer units in general is often they can't be isolated else where. So you rely on who has ever worked on them before to have replaced all the internal covers if not you may be exposed to live parts even with main switch off. In the MANWEB area the supply company fits its own isolator on new installations mainly to remove the excuse used to break seals on the incoming fuse which is illegal but so is working on a live board if employed. But these isolators are still rare.
I have heard about the pilot wire but not worked with them so can't help there.

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