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Energy-efficient heaters

Sep 14th 2021

Find out about energy-efficient heaters

Regardless of how efficient your central heating system is, there may still be sections of your house that aren’t as warm as you’d want. In these instances, standalone heaters can be an inexpensive and convenient solution to maintain a pleasant temperature.

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What sort of heaters are available?

In general, heaters are classified into two types: fixed and non-fixed.
Non-fixed or portable heaters are easily picked up and transported and are often powered by electricity, but portable flames fueled by bottled gas are also available.
Fixed heaters such as fireplaces, wall fans, and wood-burning stoves can be fueled by natural gas, LPG, electricity, or solid fuels such as biomass or coal.

Electric portable heaters

While there are several types of electric heaters, the following are the most common:

radiators fueled by oil

Convector heaters, fan heaters, and halogen heaters are all types of heaters.
None of these alternatives is significantly more energy-efficient than the others. However, halogen and fan heaters operate quicker, are also quite quick to heat and cool, with the added benefit of blowing the heat directly where it is required. Additionally, halogen heaters take up the least amount of area, followed by fan heaters.
If there are children or other vulnerable individuals nearby, you should exercise particular caution when using portable heaters. An oil-filled radiator may be inappropriate due to the high temperatures it may attain, which can be harmful to anyone who comes into contact with it.
There should be plenty of room around individual heating equipment, particularly fan heaters, which pull in air, and oscillating halogen heaters.
Standalone electrical heating equipment is often more efficient if they include thermostatic controls – in other words, if they can shut off automatically after a preset temperature is achieved. If a device does not include this feature, an additional plug-in thermostat can be purchased.
Electric heaters are available in an enormous variety of styles and configurations, which is mirrored in their price ranges. The following will give you a general sense of how much you should budget.
Halogen heaters generally cost between £15 to £150, depending on their size and efficiency. Fan heaters come in a variety of forms and sizes and may cost anywhere from £10 to over £600. Convector heaters typically range in price from £20 to £400, whereas oil-filled radiators cost between £15 and £400.
In terms of energy usage, portable electric heating devices are usually more expensive than central heating systems that operate on gas or oil.

Portable gas heater

Bottled gas heaters feature wheels and are semi-portable; nevertheless, they are bulky, making them difficult to manoeuvre up and down stairs. Another drawback is that gas bottles eventually run out and must be replenished or swapped, whereas power is typically accessible continually.
Due to the fumes produced by bottled gas flames, you will need to open a window for ventilation, further reducing their efficiency and cost.

Fixed electric heaters

Although fixed heaters are available for the majority of various heating fuels, their operating costs are often greater than those of central heating systems.
Electric wall panel heaters provide heat by convection and are frequently used in conjunction with storage heaters.
Additionally, electric wall fan warmers are available. These are typically seen in restrooms and are installed at or above head height, blowing heat downward.

Fixed gas heaters and gas fireplaces

There are several alternatives available when it comes to gas fireplaces:
Radiant with an open flame Glass-fronted
Without a flue (catalyst)
Fires with a balanced flue are more efficient since no ventilation is required.
Current gas wall heaters with balanced flues are also available, making them nearly as efficient as modern central heating boilers. They do not serve as the main point of space in the same way that fire does, making them a preferable choice for hallways, stairwells, and kitchens with an adjacent exterior wall.

Fires caused by solid fuels

The popularity of wood-burning stoves has boosted the demand for solid fuels.
Additionally, there are stoves and burners using solid fuels such as coal. Coal has a significantly higher energy density than wood, which means that a given amount of fuel may produce more heat, and certain stoves and flames are capable of burning both types of fuel.
If you reside in a smoke control region, often known as a smokeless zone, certain solid fuels must be used exclusively on ‘exempt appliances.’
Numerous stoves that burn wood and coal-based solid fuels qualify for this exemption, as they are typically enclosed and have a glass front. Additionally, these appliances burn fuel more effectively and completely.

Maintain internal heat

It’s all well and good to generate heat, but what good is it unless you can keep it inside your home and keep it warm?
While your heaters may require ventilation, it is equally critical to ensure that your property is adequately insulated and draught-proofed to keep the heat you create.
Loft insulation is the first step in keeping your house warm. Even if you already have some loft insulation done, it’s important checking to ensure it is installed to the required level. Insulation placed in the 1970s or 1980s is almost certainly insufficient; for more information, see our dedicated guide to loft insulation.
Additionally, your property may be appropriate for wall insulation. Homes constructed after 1930 are more than likely to feature hollow walls, which consist of an inner and an exterior wall. While some contemporary homes come equipped with insulation between the inner and exterior walls, the majority do not. While the process is costly, the Energy Savings Trust estimates that it may save you up to £225 each year. More information is available in our guide to wall insulation.

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