The Fall of the Electric Storage Heater: Better Ways to Heat Your Home

Storage heater in bedroom

Storage heaters have always been the black sheep of the electric heating family. Cumbersome, unsightly, and inherently inefficient, storage heaters are a product of the past: a time when electric radiators were in their infancy and several leagues away from the ultra-slim, ultra-efficient products on the market today. Despite the overwhelming number of alternatives available, storage heaters continue to thrive, with multiple brands and models in use today. If you own a storage heater, or were considering buying one under the promise of cheap daytime heating, it might be best to read on and consider some superior 21st century alternatives.

So, what are storage heaters and why are they such a bad idea?

Storage heaters are children of the early 60s, spawning out of the need for energy companies to capitalise on surplus, night-time energy. As Britain surged its way into the modern age, power stations were working around the clock to generate enough energy to meet the demand. At night, however, the demand for power was substantially less, leaving energy companies with left-over power and nowhere for it to go. A solution was devised: create a cheaper night-time energy tariff and a product that would take advantage of it. Out of these circumstances, the storage heater was born. Pitched as an efficient, low-cost way to heat your home, storage heaters would draw their power at night and retain it for use the following day. Cheap, daytime heating with minimal fuss or bother. What’s not to like? Right?

Well, not quite. In theory, storage heaters are ingeniously useful appliances. In practise, however, they can be quite the opposite! Consider this: you want to make a hot cup of coffee for your morning commute to work. You pour the coffee into a mug and go about your business. What happens? The coffee loses heat from the second it’s been made, gradually cooling down until it’s not even remotely warm anymore. Before you get to work, the coffee is cold and you’ve no way to make yourself another. In many ways, this metaphor extends to storage heaters. From the very second a storage heater stops charging, it begins to lose heat until there’s nothing left. If a storage heater runs out of charge, you will be without heat until the off-peak charge rate comes back around again. Whether the charge runs out at 2pm, 6pm, or 9pm, your home will remain unheated until the following day. 

Storage Heater

With a system that restrictive, you’re forced to be overtly mindful of your heating habits. These days though, modern electric radiators and heaters come with additional features specifically designed to integrate into your daily routine and cause as little inconvenience as possible. If you crave heater control beyond a basic ‘input’ and ‘output’ turn dial, or dream of having a constant supply of warmth past 9pm, then now’s the time to ditch the 1960s and embrace the modern age.

What should I use instead of a storage heater?

Electric Radiators Direct stock a variety of products that can replace storage heaters. We supply designer electric radiators with comprehensive digital programmers, as well as budget-model electric heaters that supply simple, top-up heat. Whatever your budget, you’re sure to find a heater or radiator that can be used all day, every day, if needs be.

The RC Wave

Haverland RC Wave electric radiator on wallOur best-selling electric radiator, the RC Wave sits at the opposite end of the spectrum to storage heaters. Sleek, modern, and featuring a precision thermostat for accurate and efficient heating, the RC Wave is the crowning glory of modern electric heating.

Firstly, unlike storage heaters, the RC Wave runs on a standard energy tariff, so you can use it at any point in the day without incurring any additional charges. The RC Wave can be DIY installed, is suitable for wall-mounted or free-standing installation, and comes with an optional remote so you can adjust your heating from the comfort of an armchair. The elegant ‘wave’ design of the RC Wave fits into any home aesthetic, traditional or modern, and its slimline 75mm depth allows it to slip unobtrusively into any sized room, something a storage heater certainly can’t do.

The most drastic departure from the rudimentary design of storage heaters can be found in the RC Wave’s programming capabilities. With a thermostat accurate to 0.2 °C, the RC Wave can be programmed on an hourly basis for comprehensive heater scheduling. Assign Comfort, Economy, or Anti-Frost modes to each hour and create a heating plan that fits around your lifestyle – without worrying whether you’ll have enough heat to stretch into the evening.

Available in a range of sizes and wattages, the RC Wave is the ultimate electric radiator for whole home heating, offering so much more versatility, style, and functionality than storage heaters.

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The Ecostrad iQ Plus

Ecostrad iQ Plus panel heater on wallIf you’d prefer something a little less comprehensive, we have a range of low-cost electric panel heaters that provide comforting warmth as either occasional or supplementary heaters. The Ecostrad iQ Plus is top of the class for panel heating, with advanced functions and a streamlined, lightweight appearance.  

Unlike most panel heaters, the iQ Plus has a sophisticated digital programmer that allows for an hour-by-hour heating schedule just like the RC Wave. Assign your own custom temperatures to create a highly personalised heating schedule that caters to your exact needs – a feature lacking in storage heater design. As an added bonus, the iQ Plus is also WiFi and voice control compatible when used with the Smart Life heating app, so you can go one step further with your heat management and save even more on running costs.

Ideal for spare bedrooms, home offices, or for any room that needs top-up warmth, the Ecostrad iQ Plus is a portable and versatile heating option. In many ways, it’s everything a storage heater isn’t. The only downside to panel heaters is that we don’t recommend them for whole home heating as they’re really only designed for bursts of heat when you need them most. You could use a panel heater in conjunction with a storage heater but doing so would mean using the more expensive daytime rate, which is less than ideal.  

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So, there you have it. Two justifiable electric heating options that surpass the restrictions of storage heaters and their 1960s design. If you want low-cost, versatile heating - try the Ecostrad iQ Plus. If you want comprehensive home heating, Haverland’s RC wave is the product for you. The iQ Plus and the RC Wave will provide above and beyond what storage heaters are capable of, offering more control, low-costs, plug-in-and-go installation, and programming options beyond a simple ‘input’ and ‘output’ turn dial. For reliable and efficient heating, look no further!

For more information on our products, head over to our website or give one of our friendly sales team a call.