Storage Heaters

Electric storage heaters can be an efficient way to heat your home, if used correctly.  The controls on storage heaters can be confusing; this page is designed to let you know the best way to control your storage heater.

How storage heaters work

Inside the storage heater casing are special bricks, which are heated up overnight with low-cost electricity. Heat is then let out slowly through the day. 

Storage heaters usually have an ‘input’ dial which controls how much heat the unit takes in overnight, and an ‘output’ dial that controls how quickly the heat is let out during the day.

For example: If you have the input up to max and output up to max, the heater will take on as much heat as possible and let it out very quickly the next day. Turning down the output will slow down the heat release, so the warmth should last all day.

These heaters are usually connected to the Economy Seven night-time electricity tariff, which is cheaper than the standard daytime rate.

Storage Heater Controls

Storage Heater Controls

The Input Dial - (Sometimes known as the charge or overnight dial)

This control sets the amount of heat to be stored during the night.  It is best to be set on a seasonal basis: medium for autumn/spring, high for winter.  If you find that you run out of heat before the end of the day, and the input is not on maximum, turn it up to store extra for the following day.

The Output Dial - (Sometimes known as the room temperature or boost dial)

This control sets the rate at which the heater lets out the heat.  You may want to set it to low in the morning, and turn it up as the day progresses and you need more heat.

If this is set too high from the morning, the heater will lose all of its heat quickly, and there may not be enough to last until the evening. Also, make sure this is set to low overnight, or you will be heating your home while you are asleep.

It is not uncommon to find that you need additional heat in the evenings.

What is the best way to use the Storage Heaters?

The Output dial should be set to minimum during the night and turned up gradually throughout the day.

Most owners of storage heaters find that they do have to use an extra heating source daily usually towards the end of the day. If you are too cold, remember to ensure the Output dial is set to maximum, before deciding to switch on another source of heat.

Some common questions

Why do my heaters smell funny when I turn them on for the first time in the winter?

Over the summer dust can collect in the heater elements.  The smell should go away after a few days.

My heater makes a noise when I turn the Output Dial, is this normal?

Yes, some heaters have flaps inside which are controlled by the dial.

I have to use some additional heating later in the evening; does this mean my heaters are not working properly?

The amount of heat that the storage heater has in the morning is set by the Input Dial; check that it is high enough for the weather conditions.  Also check the Output Dial.  It should be set to low overnight, and turned up slowly through the day as you need more heat.  Even so, you may find that you need additional heating in the evening, especially when it is very cold.

How can I improve the heating and make it more efficient?

Use the controls correctly, and;

  • Turn down the Output dial when no one is in the room, as this saves the heat for later.
  • Make sure you don’t dry clothes on the heater.  This uses up a lot of heat and can be a fire hazard.
  • Don’t cover your heaters with curtains, as this will stop the heat getting out into the room.
  • Make sure you don’t put furniture in front of your heaters.  You will be spending your money heating your furniture rather than heating your home.
  • You could try fitting shelves above your heaters as this can deflect some of the heat into the room.