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Old Storage Heater Problems
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Old Storage Heater Problems

Lack of Control and High Electricity Bill (case)

The problem is that even though the storage heater (model Unidare WM725) is on minimum output it doesn't seem to make any difference to the amount of heat that comes out. This means that in the morning the house is too hot, but by 7pm they are only just warm so the house is freezing. Also the electricity bill is horrendous even though economy 7 is installed.

They do not have control knobs as such, just a kind of half wheel with slots to poke a screwdriver in to adjust the setting.

How controlable should the heat output be on old storage heaters?

This Unidare storage heater was made between 1983 and 1989. The controls are recessed and only operated by a pen or small screw driver.

The fact that on minimum setting the heater still gets very hot would suggest that the thermostat is malfunctioning. As the heaters are approximately 25 years old, obtaining a spare part which is part no. 90832 will be difficult.

Improvement - Future

Complaint of too much heat in the morning and not enough in the evening is very typical of storage heaters fitted in that period. Not that there is any fault with the heaters per see.

'Economy 7' was just launched then and the tariffs were very attractive. They were heavily promoted by the Electricity Boards. Sales of storage heaters reached an all high in the late 1980's at 1.2 million per annum (Current volume about 1/4 of that!). Nobody worried about global warming and energy efficiency. All that changed when Maggie Thatcher privatised the Boards in the early 1990's.

The result however was that lots of heaters were sold but energy efficient measures were not promoted. A lot of homes were poorly insulated and people begrudgingly accepted homes became cooler in the evenings.

Don't bin your old storage heaters in favour of a gas central heating system

Into the future for storage heaters, firstly tariffs are not going to be any cheaper. The only way to make savings and ensure you have better comfort is to take measures to make your home more energy efficient. There are lots of people promoting this thinking. Rather than changing your heaters or doing away with them completely put the money into improvements. Take fairly dramatic measures, even dry lining interior walls etc to reduce heat losses. Take it seriously and go for the best you can.

If you have a heater 5 or 10 years old, it still has another 10 years of life providing you have thermostat and elements checked/ replaced if required. Old storage heaters can be made more efficient by fitting a room wall thermostat nearby. This will lower energy consumption in milder weather automatically.

There are several new types of storage heater which are more controllable and efficient. Consider one of these particularly for the living area in your home. The Dimplex Duoheat is one such model and there are several brands of a fan storage heaters to give you the ultimate in control with economy.