Storage Heaters: Your Questions Answered

As one of Ireland’s most established installers of quality storage heaters, we often get questions on how storage heaters work. The advantages of storage heaters are apparent. They are an environmentally responsible method of heating a home. If used correctly, they can also be highly cost-effective. While often associated with apartments, modern storage heaters are increasingly installed in more significant properties throughout Ireland. If you’re considering installing storage heaters in your home but have questions, we urge you to read the below, which includes questions to the most common questions we get asked.

What are Storage Heaters

Storage heaters are wall-mounted electrical heating appliances. Their functioning involves utilising electricity over several nighttime hours, which is stored as heat within a collection of clay or ceramic bricks. This accumulated heat is subsequently disbursed on the ensuing day. This design offers the benefit of utilising low-cost nighttime electricity for accumulation and emitting warmth hours after.

How do storage heaters work?

Storage heaters operate by utilising a simple yet efficient mechanism. Here's a step-by-step explanation of how they work:

  1. Nighttime Charging: During off-peak hours, when electricity rates are lower and demand is reduced, the storage heater draws electricity from the grid.
  2. Heating Elements: The electricity is directed to heating elements inside the storage heater, usually embedded within a bank of clay or ceramic bricks. These bricks have a high heat retention capacity.
  3. Heat Accumulation: As the electricity passes through the heating elements, they generate heat. The clay or ceramic bricks absorb and store this heat energy. The bricks have a large surface area and sound insulation properties, allowing them to retain heat efficiently.
  4. Heat Storage: The bricks absorb and accumulate heat throughout the nighttime charging period. The storage heater is insulated to minimise heat loss, ensuring the generated heat is preserved within the bricks.
  5. Heat Dispersal: During the day, when heat is required, the user can adjust the settings on the storage heater. The stored heat from the bricks is released into the room, providing a steady and controlled heat source.
  6. Thermostat Control: Many storage heaters have thermostats regulating heat release. Once the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat cuts off the power supply to the heating elements, preventing further heat accumulation and ensuring energy efficiency.
  7. Gradual Heat Emission: Unlike conventional heaters that directly convert electricity into heat in real-time, storage heaters release the stored heat gradually over an extended period. This gradual release helps maintain a more stable and consistent room temperature.
  8. Efficiency and Cost Benefits: One of the primary advantages of storage heaters is their ability to utilise cheaper off-peak electricity, which can lead to cost savings for the user. By storing heat during the night and releasing it during the day, they align energy usage with lower electricity rates.
  9. Adaptation to Usage Patterns: Users can customise their heating schedules based on their daily routines. Depending on their specific heating needs, they can adjust the heat stored and released.

In summary, storage heaters capitalise on the time-of-use electricity rates to accumulate and store heat during off-peak hours. This stored heat is then gradually released to provide consistent warmth throughout the day. This approach can result in cost savings and efficient utilisation of electricity.

How much do storage heaters cost to run per day?

The cost of running storage heaters in Ireland can vary widely based on several factors, including the storage heater's size, the unit's energy efficiency, the electricity tariff rates, the insulation of the building, and the temperature settings used. Additionally, electricity prices can change over time, affecting the cost of running these heaters.

  1. Electricity Tariff: This can change, so it's advisable to look up the price of electricity from your provider.
  2. Heater Consumption: Determine the power consumption of your storage heater in kilowatts (kW). This information is usually provided in the heater's specifications.
  3. Usage Duration: Estimate your storage heater's hours during charging and heat release periods. This will depend on your specific heating needs and daily routine.
  4. Calculation: Multiply the power consumption of the heater (kW) by the number of hours it runs to get the energy usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Then, multiply the energy usage by the electricity tariff rate to find the cost of running the heater for that specific period.

Remember that storage heaters are designed to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates, which are generally lower. This can help in managing costs compared to using heaters during peak hours.

How do you use storage heaters?

Using storage heaters effectively involves understanding their operation and adjusting based on your heating needs and daily routine. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use storage heaters:

  1. Understand Your Heater: Familiarise yourself with your storage heater's user manual and specifications. Different models might have unique features and controls.
  2. Nighttime Charging: Storage heaters are designed to charge during off-peak hours, usually at night when electricity rates are lower. You can set the input controls on your heater to the desired level for nighttime charging. This determines how much heat the heater will store for the next day.
  3. Adjust Thermostat: Some storage heaters have built-in thermostats that control heat release. Set the thermostat to your preferred temperature. This will ensure the heater releases heat when the room temperature drops below the set level.
  4. Release Control: Some storage heaters allow you to adjust the output level or release rate. If your heater has this feature, you can regulate the heat released during the day based on your comfort needs. Lower settings result in slower heat release and longer warmth duration.
  5. Plan Your Heating: Plan your heating needs based on your daily routine. If you are out of the house for an extended period, you should reduce the output level or turn off the heater's release entirely. In the same way, adjust the settings for weekends or days at home.
  6. Avoid Overheating: It's important not to obstruct the airflow around the storage heater to prevent overheating. Keep furniture, curtains, and other items away from the heater to ensure heat dissipation.
  7. Regular Maintenance: Keep your storage heater well-maintained. Clean the exterior surfaces and ensure the vents and air passages are clear of dust and debris. 
  8. Adapt to Weather: Adjust the release settings based on weather conditions. Colder days require a higher output level, while milder days require less heat.
  9. Monitor Electricity Costs: Monitor your electricity bills to gauge the effectiveness of using storage heaters. Consider adjusting your usage patterns or settings if you notice a significant cost increase.
  10. Seek Efficiency: Efficient usage involves balancing charging levels, release settings, and comfort. Determining the most efficient locations for your needs might take trial and error.

Remember that each household's requirements are unique. It's essential to experiment and adjust to find the most comfortable and cost-effective way to use your storage heaters.

We’re sure you still have questions regarding storage heaters. Therefore, we recommend contacting us today. Our expert electrician will be more than happy to discuss electric storage heaters Ireland with you.



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