Storage heaters, sometimes called night storage heaters, are a common way for people to heat their homes in the UK. They work by using cheaper night rate electricity to store heat, which is then released the next day. But how much does it cost to install storage heaters in 2023?
Electric storage heaters cost an average of £175 each, plus an electrician’s labour cost of around £55 per hour. The exact price will vary based on the type of storage heater you choose, where you are in the country and the experience level of the electrician. HaMuch has a large database of hourly and daily rates for electricians across the UK, but here are the average costs of installing storage heaters:
Replacement storage heater
New storage heating installation
£1,150 for 1-2 days, plus approx. £175 per storage heater
Storage heaters allow you to take advantage of night electricity rates to heat your home. They work by storing heat generated from cheaper electricity through the night and releasing it through the day.
Most night storage heaters have ceramic or clay bricks inside them, and these bricks are heated up overnight. They then release that stored heat gradually to warm your home the next day.
To make full use of storage heaters, you need to have a time-of-use electricity tariff. Most people have either Economy 7 or Economy 10. Economy 7 gives you seven hours of cheaper electricity overnight, while Economy 10 gives you seven hours of cheaper electricity overnight and three hours at another time - usually the afternoon when demand is lower.
Take advantage of lower electricity costs at night - Storage heaters use your night rate of electricity to heat up, and slowly release the heat the next day. This means they’re cheaper than running standard electric wall radiators in the day.
Cost-effective if you work from home - Since your storage heaters will release heat they’ve stored up overnight during the day, if you work at home they’re a cost-effective way to heat your home. However, if you’re out at work most of the day and won’t get back until the evening, standard electric radiators may suit you better.
Affordable - Installing night storage heaters costs much less than a central heating system, making them a good option for those on a budget.
You need to get the controls right - To make sure you’re maximising the efficiency of your storage heaters, you need to play around with the controls.
Storage heaters have an ‘input’ and ‘output’ setting. The input controls how much energy you want your night storage heater to take in overnight, while the output controls how quickly the heat is released during the day. You need to remember to turn the output down before bed and the input up.
It can be very annoying if you forget to turn the input up before bed, as then you won’t have any cheap heating for the next day! If you’d prefer to not have to deal with the controls, you may want to look at standard electric radiators.
More expensive to run - Even using the cheaper night rate of electricity, storage heaters are generally still more expensive to run than a gas central heating system. If you are connected to mains gas, you may want to consider installing a new gas boiler - while the initial installation cost will be more, the running costs will be lower.
Risk of overheating - If you don’t get your output setting right, basic models of night storage heaters can release too much heat and make your room too hot.
Yes, you do need an electrician to fit a storage heater. Electricity can be dangerous when it’s not handled correctly - you could shock yourself or cause a fire hazard if you don’t fit the heater properly. It’s always best to leave electrical jobs to a qualified electrician that’s registered with a trade body like NAPIT or NICEIC to ensure that the work is carried out safely.
Electric storage heaters aren’t necessarily being phased out, but some new efficiency rules came into force in 2018. These regulations are called Lot 20, which come from the European Ecodesign Directive.
Under Lot 20 regulations, any heater that’s classed as a ‘fixed electrical local space heater’ must have a minimum efficiency rating of 38% if they produce heat at an output of 250W or higher.
That meant that some storage heaters were phased out and can no longer be sold. However, that doesn’t affect any heaters that were already in place, and there are now lots of options available that are Lot 20 compliant. This is good news, as it means they will be cheaper to run.
There is a government scheme to help people replace their storage heaters, but it’s only available to households on low incomes and those in fuel poverty. It’s called the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme, and means that medium and large energy suppliers must promote measures that improve the ability of low-income, vulnerable households to heat their homes.
Under the scheme, you may be able to get a grant to replace your storage heaters if they are very old and inefficient. To be eligible, you need to be on selected benefits, which include child benefit, housing benefit, income support and more. To find out the full list of eligibility requirements, see the Ofgem website.
Night storage heaters are definitely a good option if you aren’t connected to mains gas and you have an Economy 7 or Economy 10 energy tariff to take advantage of cheaper night rates. Make sure you use HaMuch to get a range of quotes from registered electricians to ensure you get the best price for your storage heater installation.
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