How you heat your home might not be the greatest concern you have in the midst of the summer but summer is an ideal time to think about your heating needs for later in the year. Like most seasonal products, winter coats and so on, radiators, insulation and double glazing can be found at discounted rates in the summer; meaning you can beat the rush and get the best price before the winter months.
Electric heating is the safest, easiest to install and easiest to maintain method for heating a home; and, with the growing prominence of solar panels, clean and cheap electricity is becoming increasingly available. That said, electric heating has never really had a great reputation when it comes to economy; especially in comparison to gas or oil heating. But if you have electric heating, and many modern apartments do, then high electricity bills needn’t be a necessity.
Inforgraphic provided by The Economy Radiator Company
The above inforgraphic shows the key things you need to consider when purchasing an economical electric heater.
The metal casing of your heater will have a lot to do with how effective it is. Metals that are good conductors of heat are best because you want your heater to warm the room as quickly as possible; aluminium is one of the best metals for radiators because it a great conductor and also lightweight and durable. The heating element inside the radiator is also important and a quality metal element, made of tungsten for example, will distribute heat quicker than your standard nickel/copper alloys will.
Electric heaters are 100% efficient, what this means is every unit of electricity (kilowatt, kw) will be converted into heat. This makes working out how powerful your radiator needs to be fairly easy as the higher the kw output the warmer the heater will be. A comfortable temperature for a living space is around 22°C or 70°F and to achieve this heat in an average shaped room you will need 1kw of power for every 14 cubic metres of space. Bear in mind that you may have to over compensate if your living space is prone to drafts from doors and windows. On the flip side of the coin if you have adequate insulation or double/triple glazing in your home then you may not need your heater to be as powerful.
A good thermostat is the main difference between an economic electric heater and a heater that will run up bills. As previously mentioned, electric heaters are 100% efficient so the only way to save money on a high powered radiator is to use it less. I have mentioned that the materials used in a radiator will improve efficiency in heating a room but what about when your ideal temperature is achieved? A good, accurate, digital thermostat will ensure that your radiator is using as little electric as possible to maintain your desired level of heat. Electric heaters become wasteful when they do not regulate their temperature well i.e. they over heat and under heat a room leading to constant turning on and off and an inconsistent heat. A good thermostat will avoid this.
The latest development in thermostat technology is smart thermostats. The most ambitious of these has been designed by Ton Faddell, former Apple engineer and “godfather of the i-pod”. Faddell’s thermostat has inbuilt sensors meaning the radiator will take into consideration how many people are in the room and how active they are, calculating the body heat generated, before deciding to regulate its temperature output. And of course you can self-regulate your heat from your smartphone. This may seem a bit extravagant for your radiator but if you love gadgets then smart thermostats have the potential to save money in the long run.
But I Already Have Electric Heating?
If you already have electric heating installed then make sure you look after it while it is not in use during the summer months. When doing the vacuuming use a nozzle attachment to clean in and around your heater as best you can. Dust building up in a heater over the summer will burn when it is eventually turned on causing an unpleasant smell. It is also recommended that you give your radiators regular wipes with anti-bacterial wipes. Electric heaters create warm air and if they have any allergens, germs or bacteria on them this warm air will allow all this nasty stuff to distribute itself around your room.