Today, there is a huge choice of electric heating solutions available for heating your home. Whilst all electric heaters provide a source of heat, they all have very varied strengths and are suited for different aspects of your life and areas of your home. Electric heaters range from complementary heaters, that can be used in conjunction with electric radiators or central heating systems, to portable heaters, that can be moved around to whichever location needs heat. Furthermore, there are many types of electric heating that can be used independently as your main heating system – electric radiators are the obvious choice, but infrared panels and storage heaters both offer a heating system that can be used economically throughout the house.
Electric heaters are diverse, and therefore some heaters work better in certain rooms of your house than others. So, what are the strengths of each type of electric heater, and for where are they best suited?
1. Towel Rails
Towel rails work in a similar way to radiators. Towel rails use both radiation and convection to ensure your bathroom and towels are always kept toasty! In many bathrooms, towel rails can be used as the sole source of heat. Electric towel rails are 100% efficient, and are more economical than central heating towel rails because they can be controlled separately to the rest of your heating. This gives you a way of keeping your towels warm over summer without switching your entire heating system on. Remote digital programmers and digital thermostats are also available with many towel rails, such as the stylish Ecostrad Magnum, which can be used to create a bespoke bathroom heating regime, perfect for maximising efficiency and saving money.
2. Convection Panel Heaters
Panel heaters spread heat purely through convection. That’s why they’re also known as convection heaters, or convector heaters. Hot elements within the panel heat up the air as it circulates around the room. This hot air then continues to circulate, keeping the room and the people within it warm. Out of all electric heating solutions, panel heaters are some of the cheapest to purchase. This is because the technology is relatively simple and cheap to produce – the heating elements are unenclosed, unlike radiator heating elements, so they can be more cheaply manufactured and fitted within the heater. Although panel heaters are a cheap option, they do come with significant drawbacks which mean that they should not be used as a home’s main source of heating. For one thing, they are less efficient, because the heat they produce is lost quickly through draughts, which makes them more expensive to run. They can also cause wall blackening, if they are used frequently, because the hot elements can burn dusty air, leaving dark stains above the grill.
Having said that, there is definitely place for panel heaters within the home. Investing in a whole-home heating system is undoubtedly expensive, and there are some rooms where you can afford to economise. For less visited spaces in your home, such as guest bedrooms, a panel heater can be ideal, as it offers an effective on-demand heat source that will not be used frequently enough to become expensive. A panel heater fit for this purpose would be the Haverland Lodel. This Haverland heater offers wall mounted electric heating with a slimline modern design, remote control and digital thermostat, for fully controllable panel heating.
3. Infrared Panels
Contemporary, stylish and energy efficient, infrared panels are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional electric heating systems, such as storage heaters. Utilizing infrared radiation enables a high level of efficiency, as the far infrared heat is easily absorbed by you and the fabric of your room. The heat then re-radiates back out into the room, conserving the heat and raising temperature levels quickly. Heat radiation is beneficial as, unlike convection currents, radiation does not transport dust around the room and waste energy lifting hot air to the ceiling before it falls back down. Thus, infrared radiation can create a cleaner environment within your home. Infrared panels are exceptionally versatile: they can be used free standing as portable heaters, fitted permanently as wall mounted heaters, or they can slot into suspended ceiling grids. Due to their high levels of efficiency, infrared panels are ideal for any room within your house. Their aesthetics also make this possible, as they come in an array of varied designs, colours and materials to integrate fully into your home interior design. Take a look at our range of Herschel infrared heating panels to get started, and consider the Herschel iQ thermostat kit to connect all your heaters into one programmable heating system.
4. Heated Mirrors
Using the same technology as infrared panels, heated mirrors offer two-in-one functionality, as a source of heat as well as a reflective mirror surface. This means they could be used in bathrooms, bedrooms or any room in the house which can benefit from a mirror. Heated mirrors are especially popular in bathrooms due to their condensation-resistant properties. Models such as the Hershel Inspire come in many varying sizes and shapes, making them adaptable for any space. For example, in a bedroom, a profile mirror could double up as a heater. Electric heated mirrors can be used throughout the house, even in bathrooms, provided they are safely hardwired by a professional electrician.
5. Ceramic heaters
Ceramic heaters work in a similar way to infrared panels; they both utilise far infrared radiation in order to heat an area. Ceramic heaters, whilst not emitting a visible glow, release a gentle level of far infrared heat which is easily absorbed by objects, surfaces and people. Because of this, ceramic heaters can be used for long periods of time whist still remaining comfortable – unlike the intense glowing heaters you see in pub gardens. This is because the infrared heat used in ceramic heaters is less intense than the infrared used by their glowing quartz heater counterparts. Ceramic heaters are ideal mounted in garages, workshops, commercial spaces or outdoor areas such as a terrace. Due to their robust nature, they can be used in outdoor spaces all year round. One of our most versatile ceramic heaters is the Herschel Aspect XL2. This fully waterproof, ‘outdoor ready’ model will fit into many different spaces with its subtle, modern design.
6. Free Standing Quartz Heaters
Unlike ceramic heaters, quartz heaters use near infrared radiation in order to generate heat. This type of radiation is a more intense form of heating which projects a visible orange glow. This is more effective at counteracting cooler temperatures. A quartz heater therefore may be used in conservatories, garages or other interiors which loose heat easily or are difficult to warm up. A free standing heater, such as the Burda Smart Tower IP20, comes with lightweight, smart white housing, making it an extremely portable option. Because of this, the Burda Smart Tower can be moved to where it is needed, unlike a fixed or wall mounted electric heater. Although the Burda Smart Tower has a visible glow, this is not by any means overbearing in a room, and you can always adjust the temperature and light level using the Smart Tower dimmer switch.
7. Wall Mounted Quartz Heaters
Near infrared radiation is an extremely adaptable heating solution. Quartz heaters, whilst offering a viable heat solution to draughty rooms which loose heat easily, also have their uses in bathrooms. Quartz heaters are prized for their unique ability to heat up instantaneously just moments after switching on. Quartz heaters offer a short, on-demand blast of heat which is ideal for those times when you step out of the shower into an otherwise chilly bathroom. Another benefit of quartz heaters in bathrooms is that, unlike convection heaters, quartz heaters do not heat the air. Therefore, they are not susceptible to heat being lost through an extractor fan, which is often the case when convection heaters are used in bathrooms. A model suited to this very function would be the Stiebel Eltron Bathroom Infrared Quartz Heater. The Stiebel Eltron offers a pull chord switch so you can vary the heat between three distinct levels. The waterproof silver finish enables the Stiebel Eltron to fit seamlessly into any contemporary bathroom, making it a popular customer choice.
8. Storage Heaters
Storage heaters are designed to build up heat charge during off-peak periods, usually overnight. This is because, at night, the energy tariff is lower than throughout the day. The storage heater can then release the heat charge during the day, when power would be more expensive. However, in order to exploit the benefits of storage heaters, you must be on an Economy 7 tariff – an energy plan that includes cheaper energy rates overnight than during the day. The problem with Economy 7 is that it inflates the price of energy used during the day. This means storage heaters only offer an economical solution when used throughout the home – you can’t mix and match them with other types of electric heater because these heaters will be charged at the inflated day time rate. Storage heaters are an “all or nothing” proposition, and many people prefer to avoid them because they are difficult to control and waste a lot of energy if you are out of the house during the day.
Having said that, storage heaters do work for some people. If you wake up early, work from home and don’t use many electronic gadgets, you might find a system of storage heaters really is the most economical heating system for your home. If that sounds like you, you might consider our most sophisticated storage heater: the Elnur ECI308 Smart Storage Heater. This offers an automatic charge regulator, digital programming as well as three different modes. This therefore takes the hassle out of programming your storage system as, after the initial set up, it is easy to control your home heating.
If you would like any more information about any of the products in this article, give our expert sales advisors a call today or browse our website to learn more.