When you think of central heating you probably picture a gas-fired boiler and water filled radiators. This form of heating can be inefficient, difficult to programme and leave your house cold at the wrong moments. There is an alternative more suited to modern homes and modern life: electric central heating.
If you are one of the 5 million homes in the UK which does not have a mains gas supply then electric heating is your obvious alternative. However, many homeowners are choosing to switch from gas fired central heating to electric heating for the following reasons:
More efficient – with gas boilers around 10% of the heat generated is lost through the pipes and flue. In comparison, 100% of the electricity that’s drawn from the wall by an electric heater is converted to heat, with zero waste.
More control – electric heaters allow you to control the temperate in each room without needing to fire up the whole system.
Eco-friendly – when combined with solar panels, electric heating enables homeowners to heat their homes using renewable power sources.
Future proofed – gas is a finite resource and will one day run out.
Electric central heating can be two things – firstly, replacing your old gas fired boiler with an electricity-powered boiler or secondly, replacing your old radiators with smart new electric heaters.
This article will consider the different electric heaters you could choose for your home. These fall into five main types:
Electric Radiators – These are similar to a traditional wall radiators and work by heating an element such as water or oil in a metal structure which in turn radiates heat out into the room. Electric radiators are suitable for all day use throughout your home. They are efficient, reliable, and highly controllable and come in wall mounted or freestanding variations.
Electric Panel Heaters – Despite their similar appearance, electric panel heaters are not quite the same as electric radiators. While electric radiators are designed for all day use throughout your home, panel heaters are designed for occasional use as top-up heaters in spare rooms, home offices, and guest rooms. Panel heaters provide rapid heat when you need it most and come with attachable feet enabling you to stand your heater up as a portable unit wherever there’s a plug socket.
Infrared Panels – Infrared has the potential to be the most efficient heating system for your home. Unlike other electric heating systems, which warm the surrounding air to heat a room, infrared warms objects and people directly – transferring heat in straight lines from the heater to whatever’s in front of it. Without the need to transfer heat to the surrounding air, infrared heaters are inherently more efficient than any other heating system, electric or plumbed.
Electric Towel Rails – These are for dedicated bathroom heating and have the added benefit of drying your damp towels.
Storage Heaters – Storage heaters work by storing electricity at night, when the electricity tariffs are lower, then releasing it during the day.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is a periodic inspection report on a property’s safety relating to its fixed wiring. This report has also been labelled as the ‘Landlord Safety Test’ or ‘Homebuyers Test’.
The tests are conducted by qualified electricians. It is highly recommended you have an EICR inspection carried out every 10 years for your home. For rental properties, one should be carried out every 5 years or if there is a change of tenancy.
The main purpose of an EICR is to guarantee the safety of the residents and to ensure they are not susceptible to electrical shocks and/or fires.
Portable Appliance Testing or PAT Testing is the process of checking electrical appliances for safety through a series of visual inspections and electronic tests.
The best way of ensuring that your appliances are safe is to have a PAT test carried out on them. This is a good way for landlords to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations to maintain high standards of electrical safety in their rented property.
To establish the safety and suitability of your electrical appliances, the competent person will carry out a visual inspection of the appliance, its plug and lead. For Class I equipment they will also inject test signals into the cable and appliance to ensure their integrity.