What is an Economy 7 Storage Heater?

Economy 7 (E7) Storage Heaters are a type of heater that ‘stores heat’ generated when electricity is cheaper.  The stored heat is then released into the room.  Most storage heaters have controls so you can alter the rate at which the heat is gradually released back into the room.

This type of supply was very popular years ago when many homes had dual supplies.  A ’24 hour’ supply is used for lights & sockets within the property, whilst the storage heaters run on an ‘off-peak’ supply.  The “off-peak electricity” is normally supplied between 0000-0700 for 7 hours.  This is what led to the name of Economy 7.  Although they still do get installed a single rate meter is much more popular nowadays.

Whilst modern gas fired central heating is possibly more popular, there has been somewhat of a resurgence in their use.  Large buildings which have been sectioned off into flats or apartments are now using modern Economy 7 Storage Heaters.  These are very useful in instances where gas central heating is not an option as storage heaters use much less energy than electric panel heaters in the long run.

How Do I Use My Storage Heaters?

Storage heaters can be a little different to control and use as opposed to regular electric panel heaters.

A storage heater cannot give immediate warmth like a panel heater, the elements are generally less powerful (hence the energy savings).  They must be ‘charged up’ overnight and then the heat can be released gradually to warm your room through.

Obviously the quicker you release the heat back into the room, the quicker the heat stored within the heater will run out.  After this point, you will then need to wait overnight for the storage heater to store more heat.

The following tips will help you get the most from your electric storage heaters:

  •  The input regulates how much heat is stored.  In colder weather, this should be set to maximum. While in warmer weather, choose a lower setting. You should only need to adjust the input control setting when the outside temperature changes, for example when it starts to warm up again in spring.
  • The output regulates how much of the stored heat is released.  It does this by opening and closing the flap behind the front grille. The higher the output level, the more the flap opens, releasing more heat back into the room.
    To get the most economical heating, the output control should be left on a low setting during the day or when you’re out and turn it up in the evening if you require more heat.  Then turn it back to the lowest setting before you go to bed, ensuring that the heater can store the maximum heat overnight ready for the next day
  • When a night storage heater is used for the first time after being unused for a while, it will need approximately three nights to bring up its efficiency again. During this time, try and keep the input as high as possible, and the output as low as possible to store up heat within the storage heater. After this time you can start to adjust the input/output dials to suit your personal taste
  • Common faults with storage heaters include blown fuses and overheating causing the thermal cut-out to become activated.   Be sure to check for these before deciding your storage heater might be broken
  • If one side (or the middle of larger storage heaters) is cold, it is possible that one of the elements has blown.  This is not something you will be able to check yourself, so if you experience these issues, then do call a local electrician.
  • Do not place things on top of your storage heater
  • NEVER use your heater to dry clothes!
  • NEVER cover the surfaces of your heater or obstruct the air grilles
  • Be careful with the arrangement of furniture, ensure no furniture is directly in front of the heater as this can stop the heat spreading (and could also give rise to fire risk if too close)
  • It’s a good idea to fit a guard to your storage heater if young children are going to be around them unsupervised.  The front covers (and particularly the vents at the top) can become extremely hot to touch
  • Ensure there is a gap of no less than 6” between your curtains and the top of your storage heater
  • If your heater has been switched off for the summer, it is a wise idea to run a vacuum cleaner over the front of the vents to remove any build up of dust or fluff within that could burn when the heater is switched on.
  • Make sure your heater is securely fixed to the wall for stability.  Storage heaters are extremely heavy, even small ones can weigh over 50Kg due to the storage bricks used within.   If your heater becomes loose from the wall it could become a serious hazard.

Electric Storage Heaters

I hope this has helped clear some of the confusion and misconceptions regarding Storage Heaters.  As the method of operation is so different to any other kind of heater, a lot of people think they are malfunctioning just because they do not understand how to use it properly.

If your storage heaters fail to work after following the above advice, have cold spots on them when they should be hot or have particularly poor performance, drop me a message and we will come and have a look for you in the Wakefield area.

Thanks for reading,

James – ElectricBlu Contractors

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  • James
    28th January 2023

    I know you meant midnight to 7am, but as you stated: “The ‘off-peak electricity’ is normally supplied between 1200-0700 for 7 hours.”

    1200-0700 is from noon to 7am and is 19 hours not 7. The 1200 should be 0000 for a total of 7 hours.

    • ElectricBluContractors
      28th January 2023

      Hello James

      Thanks for pointing this error out, yes you are correct the 24HR time would be 0000-0700.

      It’s worth noting now that a number of newer suppliers have been using different times altogether and I would always advise the customer to check with their supplier before assuming the E7 times.

      Thanks again, kind regards
      James – ElectricBlu Contractors

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