Electric Heating Benefits
Electric heating has a many benefits over other heating systems on the market:
Electric heating is very simple to install from one radiator to multiple radiators. It does not require pipes, tanks, pumps, boilers, gas, oil or any other fuel source to operate. It only requires connection to an electric socket or connection point and can be installed within minutes. It can be installed during a new build at the final stage of the project. During a retrofit or refurbishment it can be easily installed without major disruption to the property unlike conventional wet systems where floor boards are lifted and walls disrupted leaving a costly repair bill to the end user for decorating.
Electric heating is one of the cheapest forms of heating systems on the market to invest in. There is no requirement for expensive equipment like boilers, pumps, valves and accessories to operate. The electric radiators simply utilises the power point and the appropriate rated cable in the premises to operate. Another factor to bear in mind is the comparison in labour costs between an electric heating system and any conventional wet system. From experience over the years and constant contact with out approved installers we have learned that the difference in price between the two systems is anything from 40% to a staggering 75%.
In the past electric heating was considered by many as one of the most un – efficient heating systems on the market. This was primarily due to certain types of heaters like night rate storage heaters, and panel heaters. Today however, electric radiators made with high thermal ceramic heating elements with digital thermostat controls are very efficient with low running costs. Electric radiators are 100% efficient, meaning all the electricity used is converted into heat. Unlike conventional wet systems where there are losses in several areas of the system. There are losses in the boiler itself, the flue connecting to the boiler has its losses where wasted energy is exhausted into the atmosphere and then there are the losses in the heating pipes that travel around from radiator to radiator. On average a convention wet system would incur losses of around 20% making the system only 80% efficient.
While many people consider electricity prices to be very high it may be noted that over the last 10 years the price of gas has risen by 92%, oil has risen to over 128% and electricity has risen by 54%. Electricity prices will continue to stabilise in the future with the rollout of wind generation farms across the country that will contribute to 40% of the demand on the grid. Kaolin / Ceramic based electric radiators with built in smart controls utilises the energy required to maintain a set point temperature on demand. The idea of baking large clay blocks at night to release the heat un – controlled during the day is a thing of the past. The future is electric and electric heating.
It is possible to create a carbon neutral electric heating system. The electricity that is produced today to power our electric heaters produces carbon. The electric heaters we use today produces carbon. So how do we make a carbon neutral solution?
By integrating a renewable energy source like a wind farm or an array of photo voltaic panels (PV) into our heating system, we are producing our own energy to use for our heating system. Any excess electricity that is produced can be exported back into the grid for a fed in tariff. PV panels can produce electricity all year round and especially during the warmer months when there is no requirement for heat. The excess electricity can be counter balanced against the electricity we require during the heating season making it a carbon neutral system.
There are very little maintenance costs associated with an electric heating system unlike a conventional wet heating system. Many wet heating systems have hidden maintenance costs associated with their systems. Pump failures, boiler break downs, leaking pipes, frozen pipes, blockages in radiators. These are just some of the problems associated with a wet system that requires a costly fee to maintain.
Electric heating with built in smart thermostats and over heating devices have the capability of maintaining the temperature to an accurate set point. Even for un – occupied rooms the electric radiator can be set at a low temperature reducing the effects of dampness, condensations and damage to properties. The electric radiator can be used in all rooms unlike storage heating where they are not permitted in bedrooms as they are required to be on while the occupants sleep. The electric radiator does not emit harmful emissions into the air like storage heaters or panel heaters do. The electric radiator emits healthy radiant heat into the room like a convention wet system radiator resulting in a healthy lifestyle.
Over the last few years there have been significant changes to electric heating systems controls. Electric heating with built in sensitive thermostatic controls allows the radiator to quickly adapt to changes in the room temperature. The electric radiator can essentially be consider as a zoned heating system. Ecovolt limited has designed the JouleTherm Heating System in a way that all our radiators can communicate wirelessly to a central touchscreen controller (JS10/2). The JS10/2 controller has the capability of controlling up to 40 JouleTherm radiators over 5 zones. From one central point you can configure each individual radiator to whatever temperature you want or you can group control all the radiators linked. This is a breakthrough in the electric heating market and exclusive to the JouleTherm electric heating range and Ecovolt.
For many homeowners who have the burden of living with storage heating we have put a brief document together explaining electric storage heaters and why they were invented. Storage heaters require twice as much power as our Jouletherm radiators. The reason for this is the very large clay blocks they need to heat up for 8 / 9 hours to deliver 7 hours of heat the next day. Typically a storage heater runs out of heat by the early evening especially on a very bad winters day as the property absorbs this heat quickly. For the average person working during the day this is a complete waste of energy and money. Albeit they use night time electricity but they require twice the power so essentially they create no savings and only frustration to the homeowner.
To begin with storage heating was a good reliable solution for builders and developers to install them in apartments, offices, shops, homes, right around the country. Why? Price!! It was also easier for the developer to complete the projects without having to install a full gas or oil wet system. The problem is, storage heating is so un – reliable and difficult to control. Below are some facts about typical storage heating and the running costs associated with them.
In general, electric utilities charge different rates at different times of the day. During peak hours when a lot of people are using their electricity, utilities will increase the price to reduce demand on the system. During off-peak hours, such as in the middle of the night when fewer people are using electricity, the utilities will lower the prices. Night storage heaters are designed to take advantage of this pricing structure. They use electricity to generate heat at night, when it is cheaper, and then use that same heat during the day to heat the house. The current rate from the ESB is €0.0913 cent per KWh or unit of electricity. The night tariff times in the summer are from 11.00pm to 8.00am and in the winter they are from 12.00pm to 9.00am. So a 3.4KW storage heater would consume 3.4 units of electricity every hour at a cost of €0.3104 cent per hour. The day time rate from the ESB is currently at €0.1850 cent for a 15 hour period.
(Figures correct 15/07/2015)
Night storage heaters are powered by electrical heating elements much like those used to power electric ovens and stoves. These heating elements are resistors–materials that resist the flow of electric current. When electricity flows through these elements, it is turned into heat. In a night storage heater, the elements are located adjacent to bricks. The entire heater is insulated and controlled by a thermostat with a timer. A common problem with the heaters is a faulty thermostat which results in the elements consuming power constantly or not working at all. This results in expensive repair costs to have the heater repaired.
Sometime in the middle of the night, a timer automatically turns on the thermostat. The thermostat sends electricity into the heating elements, which heat the bricks. The thermostat continues to heat the bricks until they have reached the desired temperature, then turns off. The insulation prevents most of the heat from leaking back out, but some of it does nonetheless. The heater also releases heat during the night when people are asleep or the office is un – occupied. This un warranted heat is a waste of energy at a cost to the property owner.
Most night storage heaters are designed to heat a single room. A flap opens in the side of the heater, allowing hot air to flow out into the room. The thermostat controls the flat, opening it just enough to heat the room to the desired temperature. As the day goes on, the night storage heater will run out of heat. When it does, the homeowners may use a back-up system to provide additional heating in the form of a direct convectional heater (usually 2000W) that is located at the base of the storage heater. These heaters heat the room but at a high running cost and have no means of storing the heat when they are switched off. This form of heat dries the room of the air that is circulating around it and when the heater is switched off the room immediately starts to get cold.