Every day we speak to customers who want to replace outdated storage heaters but aren’t sure where to begin. Electric radiators can provide an economical and eye-catching alternative, but just how easy is it to make the transition? We’ve set out to answer all your questions in this definitive guide: everything from disconnecting your heaters to disposing of the bricks, from changing your meter to hanging your new wall mounted radiators.
Removing your storage heaters
The bad news first: removing storage heaters is not a DIY job, so this is the part of the process that will cost you the most money. However, once the decks are cleared, installing electric radiators is a quick and easy process that your electrician can do as part of the overall project.
Hiring an electrician to remove your storage heaters
If you don’t know much about storage heaters, you may be disappointed to discover that removing them is not just a matter of disconnecting the heaters from the wall. That’s because storage heaters always come hardwired, so it’s never as simple as just whipping out the plug! Storage heaters are hardwired because they need special wiring in order to work with a two-tariff meter.
What to expect
Your storage heaters will be connected to the mains via two electric circuits: one which carries off-peak electricity, and another that carries on-peak electricity. This allows your electricity meter to record how much electricity you have used at different times of the day. Your energy supplier can then calculate how much energy to charge at the lower rate, and how much at the higher. When you have your storage heaters removed, your electrician will need to:
- Remove or rewire off-peak circuits
- Convert storage heater sockets to ordinary sockets
- Earth and install circuit breakers where necessary
- Test, certificate and write report
For one storage heater, this should take 1-2 hours. For an entire houseful of heaters, the process might take 1-2 days. Depending on where you live, the state of your existing wiring and the level of certification required.
You can expect it to cost you anywhere between £500 and £1000 to have an entire houseful of storage heaters removed.
What to consider
When looking for an electrician to do the job, you should consider the size of the task. It may work out cheaper to pay a lump sum if you just have a few storage heaters to remove. If you have an entire houseful of heaters to shift It’s likely more economical to choose an electrician who charges by the hour. To help your electrician work as efficiently as possible, make sure all rooms are tidy and your heaters are easily accessible before they arrive.
How to dispose of your storage heaters
Some electricians will include the disposal of your storage heaters within their fee. Others may offer to organise disposal as an optional extra. However, disposing of your storage heaters yourself can be an easy way to save money.
Dismantling your storage heaters
Storage heaters are very heavy – essentially, they’re metal boxes full of bricks, and can weigh anything from 40kg to 400kg. Luckily, they can be dismantled once removed: use a screwdriver to open up the metal casing and take out the heating bricks one by one. However, you should not attempt this if the storage heaters have been used for heating within the last week – the bricks are designed to retain heat and won’t be safe to remove until they’re cold.
Methods of disposal
Once you’re in a position to move your storage heaters, you have three main options for disposal:
- Take to the tip – This method is not recommended if you are getting rid of multiple heaters because of petrol costs and the potential damage to your car posed by the heavy bricks.
- Hire a skip – Skips are available in a range of sizes and allow you to dispose of a large amount of waste quickly and easily, with no risk of damaging your vehicle.
- Give them away – You could make use of community recycling sites such as Freecycle or advertise the bricks to local farmers/builders who can put them to use as hardcore for farm tracks or pit-filling.
Asbestos in storage heaters
If your storage heaters were installed before 1974, they may contain asbestos insulation. The Asbestos Information Centre have published a list of historical storage heater models which are known to contain asbestos. We recommend checking your storage heaters against this list before hiring an electrician. If there is any chance at all your storage heaters contain asbestos, you should consult an expert before removing.
Coming off Economy 7
Before installing electric radiators, you will need to switch from your Economy 7 tariff to a standard electricity tariff. This is essential: electric radiators use electricity as-and-when they produce heat. If you remain on Economy 7, you will be charged the inflated daytime electricity rate whenever you use your radiators – a sure-fire way to rack up a hefty electricity bill. Switching to a standard electricity tariff will allow you to make the most of energy efficient electric heating.
How to change your tariff
To change your energy tariff, you’ll need to phone your supplier and have a new electricity meter fitted. Most suppliers will do this for free. Don’t be afraid to shop around – the UK has a wide range of tariffs on offer, so it’s always worth comparing the market to find the best for you.
Replacing your storage heaters with electric radiators
Now your bulky storage heaters are a distant memory, you can finally get to work on fitting your home with stylish electric radiators. And the good news? It's a quick and easy job for your electrician, so you can get your whole home refitted in a day.
Why electric radiators make the perfect upgrade
- Safe – Electric radiators are one of the safest heating systems out there with no mandatory maintenance required. Safety features such as thermal limiters cut power to the radiator once it has reached a certain level, for ultimate peace of mind.
- Modern – They have been developed to reflect 21st century aesthetics prioritising innovation and ease of use with their technology constantly evolving.
- Energy efficient – Electric radiators don’t get their heat via plumbing; zero energy is lost, making them 100% efficient at point of use.
- Energy-saving features – They feature many functions that save energy and ultimately keep bills down. Identify over-consumption with energy usage statistics or set up a schedule to prioritise your routine.
- Smart technology – Many electric radiators come with WiFi capability. Connect your heater to a compatible app or your Google Home/Alexa voice assistant and access heat management like never before.
Installing an electric radiator
Installing your new electric radiators can be done in two simple ways:
Hardwiring your electric radiators
Many of our electric radiators are DIY-friendly, though bear in mind that these are high wattage appliances. If too many are plugged in at once, it could overload the ring main of your property. For a whole home refit, your new electric radiators will need to be professionally hardwired to the mains via a fused spur.
How to DIY-install an electric radiator
If you do want to fit one or two radiators DIY, all you have to do is follow these six easy steps:
- Use the included template to mark on the wall where the brackets will go
2. Drill four holes as directed by the template
3. Screw the mounting brackets to the wall
4. Hang the radiator on the brackets
5. Fix the radiator in place with safety screws
6. Plug into a normal electric socket
Upgrade your electric heating today
Say goodbye to those storage heaters once and for all. Our friendly sales team are always on hand to help you make the best choice for your home, offering informed and practical advice to guide you through our extensive range of electric heating solutions. Get in touch today, and look forward to comfortable, controllable, and affordable heating.