Skip to content

How Do Storage Heaters Work -How To Replace For Free !

  • by

Table of Contents

How Do Storage Heaters Work -How To Replace For Free !

We have compiled a  complete guide with lots of frequently asked questions about Storage Heaters

to help you make an informed decision on replacing them like for like or changing to an alternate form of heating.

On This Blog You Will Learn About:



How Do Storage Heaters Work?

Free Storage Heaters 1

A Storage heater is an electric heater that accumulates heat in special ceramic or clay  bricks during the night (when electricity is at its cheapest ) which then releases it during the day. Storage heaters are usually mounted on the wall and resemble radiators.

These heaters are called storage because they have the ability to conserve energy and release it when the source of energy is unavailable.

It can heat up the ceramic bricks inside when electricity is abundant and cheap, mostly during nights, store it and release it during the day.

It is ideal for people who have an  Economy 7  meter and have subsidies on power bills at night.

The easiest way to understand storage heaters is to visualise them as a big rechargeable battery.

Once the heat has been exhausted, ( usually late afternoon )  you need to use another source of heating for the rest of the day to heat your home.

The heaters are then recharged from 10 pm for use for the next day.


Government Grants To Replace Storage Heaters – Who Qualifies?

The UK government ECO scheme has certain requirements for those who apply for the  free electric storage heater grant.

You Qualify or this fantastic Free Storage Heater Replacement Grant if:

  •  You receive a benefit or on a low income
  • You are a home owner
  • Your Heaters are over 10 Years old

Which Benefits Qualify For  Free Storage Heater Replacement

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment & Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Pension Credit – Guarantee
  • Pension Credit – Savings
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

 How Does The Application Process Work?

The ECO4 Scheme eligibility check takes only a couple of minutes.
You take a short online survey and this comes back to us for checking.
If you are deemed eligible, one of our approved installers will contact you to arrange a free survey.
All being well you will have up to 4  heaters fully fitted for free and some free insulation too!


Why Use Storage Heaters ?

  1. These are inexpensive to use as compared to normal electric heaters.
  2. Modern heaters have timers, thermostats and fans to work more efficiently with less maintenance required.
  3. These are noise free heaters. Even with the fan inside, these are very quiet.
  4. These are very painless to install and can be installed anywhere the electrical wiring is available.

    Pros of Storage Heaters

    Cheap To Run- They charge up at night using Economy 7 tariffs which are about a quarter of the price of daytime electricity.

    Siting Of Heaters – They are easy to install, can be situated anywhere that electricity can be wired.  so they are more flexible and can be installed in many more situations than traditional radiators as there is no pipe work involved. Maintenance Free – Heaters are relatively maintenance free as they have no moving parts or liquids and they tend to have a longer life-span than traditional heating methods.

    Space Saving –Modern storage heaters are very different to the old systems people may remember. Slimmer designs and advanced technologies are now the order of the day.

    Fan Assisted – Modern heaters installed as part of the ECO scheme are now fan assisted and instead of releasing it by convection, a silent fan extracts cool air from the room and converts it to hot air through a vent and are usually controlled by thermostat.

    Cheaper To Run  – compared to panel heaters and are programmable and are exceptionally quiet, even those that use a fan.

    Cons Of Storage Heaters

    more expensive than gas, so are typically only used by households that are off the gas grid.

  5. excess stored  heat can lead to overheated rooms.
  6. Can run out of heat by early evening


What Are The Best Storage Heaters ?

The best known makes that have been around for years  and have been approved to be fitted on Government schemes are below.

  • Dimplex
  • Creda
  • Elnur
  • Fischer
  • Heatstore

All heaters will have been thoroughly tested  for fitting on Grant schemes so will be highly recommended.


Are Storage Heaters Expensive To Run ?

A 2.5 Kw heater that is charged up at nightime ( using cheaper electric ) will cost you around 13p per hour to run.

This will be payable whether you benefit from the heat or not. Use the heat or lose it is the rule.

To sum up a 2.5kw storage heater may have a running cost of between £1 and £2 per day.

If you have 4 heaters running on a daily basis, this will work out very expensive with a weekly average of up to £70 per week !


What Are Electric Storage Heater Running Costs.

Modern storage heaters are to 27% cheaper to run than a standard storage heater system and up to 47% compared to an electric convector heater

The cost of running a storage heater depends on a range of different factors, including:

  • Room size and size and number of windows in the room.
  • The insulation in your home
  • The age and  type of glazing of your windows
  • The temperature you are comfortable with
  • The severity of the weather in your area


Are Storage Heaters Cheaper to Run Than Gas Heating ?

No .  Electricity is one of the most expensive ways to heat your home and we always recommend that if you are on the gas grid, you should convert to gas heating.

Electric Storage heaters are cheaper to run than their counterparts Electric room heaters ( which are plugged in and use statndard rate electric ) but they are still expensive compared to gas heating.

Gas heating is approx 2 /3 cheaper than electric.



Are Panel Heaters Cheaper To Run Than Storage Heaters

Definitely not.!

On a like for like basis. you will be paying 2  times more for  the same amount of heat as panel heaters . This is because storage heaters benefit from cheaper electric at night whilst plug in heaters will be charged at the day rate.

Panel heaters do have the benefit of you can turn them on and off at will whereas with storage heaters, you need to use up the heat or lose it.

How Are You Charged For Running Storage Heaters?

The heaters are wired up to an economy 7 meter which measures how much power  is used at nighttime and you are then charged at the prescribed rate for night time use.

Night time electricity is approx two thirds cheaper than day rate which makes using storage heaters worth using to heat your home.

As  stated previously ,  you should program your heaters to charge up only when electric is at its cheapest which is during the middle of the night

You can charge the storage heaters in the day also BUT you will be charged the peak rate  which can be 2 thirds more.

Are Modern Storage Heaters More Efficient?

All modern storage heaters are now high heat retention ones which although bulkier,  are up to 30% more efficient at keeping the heat in so will save you money off your heating bills.

Old storage heaters contain very heavy, heat retaining clay bricks but modern, more energy efficient versions use a ceramic material or high density magnetite to store heat.

Also Modern storage heaters are now  fitted with timers,  and 24-hour programming, for more control on usage.  Many now have  open window detection too.

These features help to make modern storage heaters a lot more efficient than old ones and   you should achieve a bill reduction of around 30% by upgrading to new ones.

Although new storage heaters are not cheap, they are more efficient than they used to be in a number of ways, so running costs will be cheaper.

New Economy 7 heaters offer the highest density and heat storage capacity, magnetite is extremely efficient at storing thermal energy but it also relies on excellent insulation to retain the heat.

If you have old storage heaters, the insulation around the heating core may well have broken down over time and this will affect their efficiency.


How Do Modern Heaters Compare?

Modern electric storage heaters have other attractive characteristics which include:

  • Are up to 30% more energy efficient than old ones.
  • Have control systems which allow you to have exactly the right amount of heat in each room, when you need it
  • Have a built-in convector heater for additional heat when you require it.
  • Are slimmer, with a modern stylish design
  •  Will add value to your home and reduce your bills significantly.
  • A boost function for when you might need a little additional warmth.
  • A fan Assist to silently disperse the extra heat generated.
  • Customizable heating schedules enable users to personalize temperature settings as per the time of the day.
  • Modern Storage heaters come with thermostatic controls.
  • Some storage heaters are smart heaters that allow you to control it remotely via the internet.


If you are looking to make storage heater replacements in the near future , we recommend  you look into the the Government Grant Scheme to replace old storage heaters first.

Done privately is likely to cost in excess of £2000 depending on how many you need.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Electric Storage Heater?

Opting to replace old Electric Night Storage heaters with  new ones will not be cheap and you can expect to pay  from £450 each for  high heat retention ones which are the best to go for now due to their long lasting heat.
Some models do go up to £1000 particularly the Dimplex models which are the market leaders.
Cheap storage heaters can cost from around £150 to over £1000 to buy and install, depending on the heat output required.

Generally speaking, the more you spend on a storage heater, the more features your model will have.

New storage heaters need to be installed by a qualified electrician and usually costs from about £70 if there is existing wiring plus the cost of the new heater).

The best storage heaters cost to buy more initially but will save you money over time because they will be more efficient and therefore will cost less to run.

This wide price range is because of the variety of features offered in each type of heater. The more expensive the heater, the better insulation and heat output it offers.

Storage Heater Replacing Costs Including Fitting

More On replacing Storage Heater Costs can be found at CheckA Trade HERE



What Size Heater Should I Buy

This depends on the size of your room and how much heat you need.

Very important to correctly size your heater for each room as a small heater in a large room will not be able to heat the room effectively and ultimately won’t be efficient.

Please ask your local installer to work out the best size for you using a special matrix.

What  Brand is the most Efficient Economy 7 Storage Heater?

We have found that Dimplex And Fischer Economy 7 heaters are the most efficient for running costs.

New Heaters have a minimum energy efficiency rating From 1 January 2018, all newly manufactured storage heaters must have certain features so that they comply with Lot20, part of the European Eco-design Directive.

All new electric storage heaters must meet a minimum energy efficiency rating of 38% for a heat output above 250W. To meet this all new heaters have:

  • Digital programmers
  • Open window sensors
  • Electronic room temperature controls
  • Wi-fi controls

Are Storage Heaters Being Phased Out?

Storage Heaters are gradually being phased out due to lack of demand and the fact that they are still one of the most expensive form of heating.

They are also now very old fashioned too and are associated with  1960 s & 1970s homes.

Sales of storage heaters are diminishing year on year  with renewable heating becoming more popular as the UK heads towards a carbon zero future.

Can Storage Heaters Make You Ill?

Electric space heaters and storage heaters can make the air inside of your home extremely dry and unpleasant.

Some of the newer models also blow out air which is not suitable if you are suffering from asthma

This won’t make you ill, but it may  irritate your skin, eyes, ears, and even nose.


Can Storage Heaters Overheat?

Old heaters do get a build up of dust over the years  inside the heater casing. This will affect the distribution of heat and you may get a smell. This can be easily brushed off by removing the inner casing.

If there are items of furniture or curtains within 500mm of the heaters, this too will restrict the flow of heat and we recommend you leave adequate space and airflow  around the heater.

Faulty thermostats &  charge controllers could also cause overheating too.



Can I Leave Storage Heaters On All The Time

If you do need heat over the summer, you may only need to switch the storage heaters on to charge every other night. … You can save more heat for the evening by keeping the setting low during the day, such as when the room is warm enough or you are going out.

As  storage heaters will only charge up at night, so you can leave the input setting without danger of using expensive day-rate electricity.

Once the heat has been exhausted , it will not charge up again until its preset charge time which is usually around 10 -11  oclock.

Are Old Storage Heaters Dangerous?

Some old storage heaters contained asbestos sheets which as you know is a hazard to health.

If your heaters are damaged in any way, asbestos dust and fibres may be released into the room.

If this dust is  inhaled into the lungs, they may give rise to an asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.


What Is The Average Lifespan of a storage heater?

The life expectancy of a typical storage heater is  15 -20 years old.

Models older than this should typically be replaced with modern automatic models.

In recent years ‘automatic models’ have been introduced as standard since they offer small gains in terms of efficiency and economy.


Do  Storage Heaters Leak heat?

Unlike a battery that retains a lot of its charge until used, the storage heaters will begin to leak heat almost immediately due to convection of heat that is stored in the bricks.

As a rough guide, a storage heater will lose the majority of its stored heat over a 12 hour period.

This means that if you get in from work at 7pm, the majority of useful heat will already have dissipated into the home leaving you to be cold in the evening.

You usually will need to switch on panel heaters or other heating to supplement this.

For this reason, storage heaters are not good for people who are out at work during the day unfortunately.

What Alternatives Are There To Storage Heaters?

If you would like to change from electric storage heaters to an alternate form of heating, you have a number of options:

  • Gas Central Heating
  • Electric Panel Heaters
  • Electric Central heating with radiators
  • Infrared Heating
  • Electric Underfloor Heating

All the above have their pros and cons so please do your research before taking the plunge.


Storage Heater Repairs

If your heaters are old , it will not usually be cost effective to repair them.

Average repair costs are £120 and you can replace a heater for another £50 or so.

We recommend you replace rather than repair in most cases.



Storage Heaters – Common Faults

If your storage heaters are not working because they are the old style Electric Storage Heaters that run on a Economy 7 tariff , here is a few things you can try to get them up and running again. The most common causes of a broken storage heaters are within the scope of a competent diyer and are relatively cheap to replace.

Do check the circuit to find faulty components / switch / circuit breakers or measure resistance to check for failed elements in order to eliminate other possible problems.Usually when a section of a storage heater turns cold, it means that an element has failed.Spare parts that commonly cause a broken storage heater include (in order of occurrence):

  • Faulty Thermostat  – (Thermostats & elements commonly fail in 6-8 years )
  • Broken Heating Elements
  • Terminal block which causes loose connection


Should I Try To Fix?

If you are a competent diyer, you may want to have a go yourself.This involves taking off the front panel (remove the fuse / turn off the power first) and replace the thermostat.How to check the thermostat of storage heater Try to do a thermostat manual reset.

  1. Turn off the power supply and remove it.
  2. If you are skilful, go inside and take off the front panel.
  3. At the top of your storage heater, look for three round polo-like items.
  4. The black cap nubbin with a red dot is the thermostat. Push it down to reset it. If you hear a click, it should function on the next charge period. If not, then the thermostat could be faulty and needs to be replaced.
  5. Put back the front panel and turn on the power. Wait until the next off-peak charge overnight to see if it takes the next charge. If not, call an engineer for a quote of his services or see if you should buy a new one.

What Is The Best Practice For Running Storage Heaters

  1. The most effective and cheapest manner is to ensure is that you don’t use the peak electricity power switch unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Try to avoid using this unless in the middle of the winter when you need a heating boost.
  3. The idea is to make sure the storage heater only charges during off-peak hours.
  4. Turn off the output of the heater when you do not need it heating your room, like at night or when not home.
  5. Before switching to boost mode, make sure you have consumed the stored heat first because the boost feature utilizes daylight electricity.
  6. Do not plug-in extra heaters for more warmth. Instead use the storage heater’s input to the maximum first to store as much heat.
  1. Turn the ‘output’ setting of your storage heater  off when you are out of the room or go out of the house. Good idea to turn off at night too.
  2. Only use the   ‘boost’ setting on your heaters  when  all the stored heat has run out . Always open  the output fully before using boost as it uses expensive daytime electricity.
  3. Avoid using supplementary plug-in heaters as they too will be expensive to run. It’s much  better to turn up the input on your storage heaters so that they recharge more at night and store more heat.

In a nutshell, heat is created at a different time (typically during the night) than it is utilized and then transmitted to the warmer region.

The greater the volume of the material, the more heat it can retain.

Storage heating systems should also be designed in such a way that the heat does not escape on its own and that the heat output can be controlled to ensure the system’s efficiency.

During the winter   – Set the input control to maximum to allow the most charging power to the storage heater.

During the summer –  You may get away with turning the input control right down (or even off), since you won’t need much heat for the home.

Turn the output to zero when you are not at home or when you go to bed.


How To Set Up Your Storage Heater Controls

Most storage heaters have 2 key controls:

  1. Power switch – this determines whether you are using off-peak or  peak electricity to charge the storage heater

Off-peak is considerably cheaper!

Input and output controls

  1. The input control determines how much electricity the storage heater will use to charge

The output control controls the rate at which the storage heater releases heat into the room.


Safety Tips For Electric Storage Heaters

  • Never cover any air vents on your storage heaters
  • Avoid placing anything flammable near your storage heater
  • Ensure a gap of at least 16cm exists between your curtains and the top of your heater
  • Install a storage heater guard to protect children
  • Make sure your storage heaters are installed by a qualified electrician

When Should You Replace Your Storage Heaters?

We recommend that storage heaters over 20 years old that are faulty should be replaced without attempting to repair.

This is because old heaters will be very inefficient to run with the repair not economical or cost effective.

New Economy 7 heaters , storage heaters will be up to 30% more efficient and will pay for themselves in the long run.

Grants are Available – See If You Are Eligible



Are Electric Radiators a good alternative to storage heaters?

Electric radiators are a very good  alternative to storage heaters for heating your home BUT you will find they are approx 25 % more expensive to run as they run on standard rate electricity.
Night storage heaters are recharged at night when electricity is approx 70% cheaper.
We do not recommend changing from economy 7 or economy 10 tariffs for electric heating.

Can You Replace Storage Heaters With Gas Central Heating ?

A cheaper in the long run alternative way to heat your home is to take old storage heaters and replace them with a new central heating system.
Your heating bills will reduce by up to 30- 40% as gas is a much more efficient way to heat your home.
The cost of a new central heating system ( depending on property type should be between £3000 – £4000 but there are government grants available for Free  Central Heating Too.

Need New Storage Heaters?  

  Check if you are eligible for the free Electric Heating Grant  from the government before you go out and purchase some new ones.

Most people are unaware of this storage heater replacement scheme which has been available for the last few years .

You could qualify for this free grant from the government to replace all your old heaters 100% FREE! If you receive a benefit .

Fill in the form below and we will be in touch shortly!



Top 9  Warm Front Grants – Heating & Insulation



Why Apply For A Warm Front Grant ?

✅ There Is No Catch – We Guarantee it !

✅  If Your Application Is Accepted  Your Grant Is 100% FREE

✅ You Will Reduce Your Energy Bills By Up To £300 Per Year

✅   You Will Add Lots Of Value To Your Home

✅ The Scheme Has Limited Funding – Ends Soon

(Visited 188 times, 1 visits today)

Share and Enjoy !


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *