Installed heating explained

Installed heating refers to permanent fitted system for a single room or the whole house.   There are two types of installed electric heater:

Direct-acting heaters

Designed to use standard rate electricity, these provide fairly instant heat when they are switched on. Panel heaters, convector heaters, fan heaters, electric radiators and radiant heaters fall into this category, providing heat only for the time they are energised.

Direct-acting heaters are 100% efficient at point of use and are used mostly for rooms which only require heating for short periods, like bedrooms – although in compact, well insulated modern properties, they can be used as a complete heating system.

On a given tariff, 1kWh of energy used will cost the same, whether it’s a fan heater, panel heater, oil-filled radiator or even a hairdryer using it. The key to improving efficiency is to use products that have thermostatic control to ensure that the room is not overheated, thereby saving energy.

Off-peak Quantum heaters and storage heaters

These absorb energy in the form of heat from electricity when it is supplied at a lower price (usually at night) and store this for slow release over an extended period.

If the Quantum or storage heater takes a full charge of 18 kilowatt hours, that is equivalent to 18 off-peak units of electricity. Typically the Quantum will only take the charge it requires, and therefore will rarely need to take this full amount. Due to the intelligent self-adaptive technology employed within the Quantum, it is difficult to calculate an average running cost per hour.

Since Quantum and storage heaters use energy supplied by low-cost, off-peak electricity for a given property, they will always be cheaper to run over a 16-hour day than direct-acting heaters, such as electric radiators or convectors, which use standard rate electricity.

Still got questions?

Guide to home heating FAQs