Electric Heating Demystified: The Low Down on Low Cost Heating

Piggy bankElectric Heating carries its fair share of Chinese-whispers when it comes to costs and finances. Generally speaking, electric heating is perceived to be a much more expensive method of home heating than conventional gas heating systems. At Electric Radiators Direct, we’ve heard enough of these cost-driven capers and decided it was time to set the record straight! This blogpost will take a comprehensive look at electric heating in a bid to silence the whispers and prove that going electric can be a cheap and viable option for your home. 

What are electric heaters and why choose them at all?

Well, an electric heater is any type of heating system that plugs into the mains and uses electricity to operate. Infrared panels, convection heaters, storage heaters, panel heaters, portable heaters, and even outdoor patio heaters are all covered by the electric umbrella and rely on electricity to function. Electric heaters of old were commonly used when conventional plumbed systems failed or weren’t enough to provide adequate heat. These early electric heaters were inefficient, poorly made, and highly expensive to run – perhaps accounting for some of the prejudice facing today’s electric heating.

In recent years, however, electric heating standards have soared and products come with all the mod cons you’d expect from any 21st century electrical item. Electric heaters are constructed with a focus on control, efficiency, and on achieving an affordable level of cheap heat that can rival traditional methods. In this vein, electric heaters have developed into electric radiators – a crucial differentiation that, in terms of costs, makes all the difference. Electric heaters tend to be smaller scale devices that operate on occasion in infrequently used rooms. They often don’t have a huge amount of control and are only intended for quick bursts of heat when nothing else is doing the job.

Electric radiators, however, are much more advanced systems that utilise precision controls and technology to go above and beyond the functions of traditional plumbed radiators. These electric radiators are designed with daily household heating in mind and, as such, come with an array of features specifically designed to slim down on running costs and provide cheap and stable heating.  

Easy installation & zero maintenance

RC WaveElectric radiators can become cost effective through several means. Initially, there’s the installation cost - or, rather, the lack of one. Most electric radiators come with a standard 3-pin plug and can be plugged straight into a wall socket. Some electric radiators, like the Haverland RC Wave, are made with recyclable aluminium making them incredibly lightweight so they can be easily hung onto your walls like a TV. If you’d prefer a free-standing option, feet can also be purchased for the RC Wave as well as for many of our other radiators, making installation even easier. Simply attach the feet to the base of the radiator then plug it into the nearest socket and you’re good to go.

Electric radiators save you an initial pay-out in terms of installation. No plumbing needs to be tampered with or rerouted, no flooring or skirting boards have to be moved, and no plumber is required – all of this ultimately saves you money and makes choosing an electric radiator a cheaper alternative from the start.

Unlike conventional heating, which needs to be serviced and maintained, electric heating is maintenance free: no boilers need to be replaced and no systems need to be bled. Your electric heater powers on regardless and saves you even more money this way throughout its lifetime. 

Controlling your energy usage

The main way electric heating can provide cheaper running costs is through the various controls and thermostats that can be used with your electric radiator. These controls, as well as giving you complete mastery over your heating, often come as standard on electric heating products to ensure you’re able to keep a close eye on your energy use.

Haverland SmartWave

Haverland SmartWaveTo better explain these controls, let’s use one of Electric Radiators Direct’s finest models as an example – The Haverland SmartWave. The SmartWave is the ultimate super saving electric radiator and uses intuitive programming and versatile controls to keep an eye on your expenditure as well as your heating – ideal for those of us wanting a cheap to run electric radiator.

The SmartWave can be controlled via WiFi and through an additional unit called the SmartBox. The SmartBox establishes a WiFi connection and enables you to exactly specify when you want your heating to be on. This allows you to set a different temperature for every hour of the day, if needs be, so you can keep tabs on your heating bills in great detail and make sure no energy is wasted.The SmartWave even goes a step further and has a built in infrared sensor that monitors movement to determine whether or not it needs to start heating.

After the first week of using its sensor, the SmartWave begins to record your movements and, over time, develops its own heating schedule based on when it knows you’re going to be in. This dramatically reduces daily running costs as the SmartWave turns itself off when it knows no one will be there – which means you’ll never waste money on heating unnecessarily again. This programme is constantly in motion too as the SmartWave uses its sensor as a fall back if you disrupt your normal schedule. Let’s say you’ve been working at home all week and suddenly need to pop out – the SmartWave will sense you’re not there and switch off accordingly. It even works in reverse too. If you pop home early your SmartWave will know and begin heating again. This is something, we can assure you, you won’t find on cumbersome central heating systems…

Running costs 

Unfortunately, running costs aren’t an exact science – for gas or electric heating – and there are numerous variables that could interfere with how you would calculate them. Cold spots, unusually chilly days that mean you keep your heating on for longer, room sizes, thickness of household insulation, the number of heaters you have, what wattage those heaters are. These things all impede a straightforward and blunt comparison of energy usage and it can often be quite complicated to get a proper grasp on it. One thing we can be certain about, however, is that pairing your electric radiators with a precision thermostat can dramatically reduce your energy bills. For electric heating, this is crucial.

How precision thermostats help to reduce energy usage

ThermostatWhen used with a thermostat to heat your home, electric radiators don’t necessarily draw power from the wall for the whole time they’re in use. Depending on the same set of variable factors as before, some electric radiators might not need to work as hard to reach their set temperature. This can further decrease your running costs and contribute to more efficient energy use. Some electric radiators, for example, don’t draw power for a whole third of the time they’re in use.

This is because electric radiators can sustain temperatures with very little energy use when directed by the thermostat. The precise nature of  thermostats gives your electric heating system the best possible chance to slim down on energy bills as they offer minute control over how much power is needed and for how long. Utilising your thermostat is a sure-fire way to ensure you’re not spending too much energy, and therefore money, on wasteful heating. If you’re considering having a go at totting up your energy usage, keep in mind that your electric radiator might not be operating at full power for the entire duration that it’s in use. For a more concise guide on how you can calculate your energy use, check out one of our previous blogs that goes into greater mathematical detail about cheap electric running costs and even gives you some examples and formulas to try for yourself.

One thing we can be certain of here at Electric Radiators Direct is that the days of extortionate electricity bills and electric heating are no more. Reliable, intelligent, and effective electric heating really can be cheaper to run. 

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