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Most economical form of heating?

Most economical form of heating?

Old Jun 24th 2013, 11:34 am
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Default Most economical form of heating?

I've been looking at flats for sale in the Liverpool area and have seen lots of different types of heating in them. Gas central heating, electric panel heating, electric storage heating and one or two others (my brain doesn't store technical information very well).

My husband thinks gas central heating is the cheapest to run, and it may well be, but he's been in Australia for over 20 years and I was wondering if that's changed. Any comments from forum members welcome and appreciated.
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Avoid storage heating. I lived in a flat once with storage heating - never again.
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by roaringmouse View Post
Avoid storage heating. I lived in a flat once with storage heating - never again.
That's one type I can cross of my list, thanks roaringmouse
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Old Jun 24th 2013, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Gas is likely the cheapest under all conditions where there is already a gas supply into the property.

If heating costs are of concern to you, whatever heat source is used, insulation is critical, and if you are looking at flats, to minimise your heating costs, you should look for units that are not directly under the roof, and have minimal external walls. I lived in a unit with a single external wall in Liverpool and it needed minimal heating. A friend has a similar unit, admittedly in the US but in an area with winter weather similar to much of the UK, and he reports also need minimal heating.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 24th 2013 at 5:37 pm.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 12:55 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Storage heating is usually more expensive, but it can be economical in a really well insulated property. I had a flat for a few years that was a high spec new conversion. It had storage heaters and I've never paid less for heating ever.

So I wouldn't write storage heating off. Just be careful. Look at the Energy Performance Certificate for the property. You can usually download it from the Rightmove particulars. The EPC usually gives an estimate for the heating costs over 3 years.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 9:38 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by Editha View Post
So I wouldn't write storage heating off.
A major problem with storage heating is you have to plan ahead - so if you miss that tomorrow will be a cold day (or the forecast was wrong), or you return from being away on a cold day, it will be very cold in the flat. They also take some time to get right when setting them the night before.

If you get it wrong the other way, then opening a window will help cool down the flat but you've wasted money on unrequired heating.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 10:00 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by roaringmouse View Post
A major problem with storage heating is you have to plan ahead - so if you miss that tomorrow will be a cold day (or the forecast was wrong), or you return from being away on a cold day, it will be very cold in the flat. They also take some time to get right when setting them the night before.

If you get it wrong the other way, then opening a window will help cool down the flat but you've wasted money on unrequired heating.
That wasn't how mine worked. They were on all the time, storing heat overnight and letting it out during the day. Nowadays they have a damper. If it is too hot you put the damper on and it reduces the heat being released. But there was no planning ahead to do. If you have had the storage heater turned off, because you were away or it is spring or autumn, you use a convector heater instead.

In fact you only use them in the living rooms. They are not suitable for bedrooms because they get too hot overnight. They are also quite noisy when they are being charged. My two bedroom flat only had one storage heater in the living room. It was a combined storage and convector heater. The bedrooms had convector heaters and the bathroom and kitchen had fan heaters.

I'm not recommending the system. Gas central heating is more convenient and usually cheaper. But the fact is that in a well insulated property that retains the heat, the system isn't necessarily that expensive.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 10:14 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Gas is the cheapest, and a combi boiler the best of the gas systems. In out last apartment we would use, in the middle of winter, the heating for just a few hours a day, perhaps a couple when we got up, and another 3 in the evening, if we needed a boost, then we had an electric convector heater, like a fireplace, but efficient as all the heat goes into the room. Where we are now, in a block of 65 apartments we have storage heaters, the very modern ones are much more efficient than they were, we also have an electric convector, so far we have used the convector for 20 mins, being in a large block, and having good insulation and double glazing means we feel we may not have to use the storage heaters as there are heaters in the corridors etc, and the apartments seem to keep each others warm.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by Editha View Post
That wasn't how mine worked. They were on all the time, storing heat overnight and letting it out during the day. Nowadays they have a damper. If it is too hot you put the damper on and it reduces the heat being released. But there was no planning ahead to do. If you have had the storage heater turned off, because you were away or it is spring or autumn, you use a convector heater instead.

In fact you only use them in the living rooms. They are not suitable for bedrooms because they get too hot overnight. They are also quite noisy when they are being charged. My two bedroom flat only had one storage heater in the living room. It was a combined storage and convector heater. The bedrooms had convector heaters and the bathroom and kitchen had fan heaters.

I'm not recommending the system. Gas central heating is more convenient and usually cheaper. But the fact is that in a well insulated property that retains the heat, the system isn't necessarily that expensive.
Thanks Editha, Pulaski and roaringmouse, it's good to get different perspectives. I hadn't thought about things like minimising external walls and an EPC rating.

I'm steering away from new builds in the areas I'm looking in, either the rooms seem really small or/and they all seem to feature this 'open plan living' thing, with living, dining and kitchen all in one room. I know that some people prefer this, but I hate it!

I'm trying, as much as possible, to 'future proof' our, er, future. For the first time ever we'll be living on a fixed income (combined super and husband's partial state pension) and the less we have to outlay in regular costs, the more lolly we'll have for kicking our heels up
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by mikelincs View Post
Gas is the cheapest, and a combi boiler the best of the gas systems. In out last apartment we would use, in the middle of winter, the heating for just a few hours a day, perhaps a couple when we got up, and another 3 in the evening, if we needed a boost, then we had an electric convector heater, like a fireplace, but efficient as all the heat goes into the room. Where we are now, in a block of 65 apartments we have storage heaters, the very modern ones are much more efficient than they were, we also have an electric convector, so far we have used the convector for 20 mins, being in a large block, and having good insulation and double glazing means we feel we may not have to use the storage heaters as there are heaters in the corridors etc, and the apartments seem to keep each others warm.
Thanks mikelincs, very handy information. The gas combi boiler is my husband's preferred heating method, he was a plumber before moving to Australia and swears by them.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 10:36 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
Thanks mikelincs, very handy information. The gas combi boiler is my husband's preferred heating method, he was a plumber before moving to Australia and swears by them.
The advantage of a combi, is that you have constant hot water, and you do not need a hot water tank.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by mikelincs View Post
The advantage of a combi, is that you have constant hot water, and you do not need a hot water tank.
I'm learning a lot, just read your reply to scouse and I finally understand what a combi boiler is! God, at this rate I'll be changing light bulbs and other assorted technical stuff
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 11:02 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
I'm learning a lot, just read your reply to scouse and I finally understand what a combi boiler is! God, at this rate I'll be changing light bulbs and other assorted technical stuff
Combi boiler is a combination boiler that heats the water and runs the central heating, but the water heating is like the old fashioned gas water heater that fired up when you turned the tap on. It's all very efficient and the modern ones are extremely ecconomical to run. One of the big advantages is that you don't need a hot water tank, and the hot water comes out with the same pressure as the cold as it's direct feed from your mains, no need for a cold water tank either, so you don't get the decrease in hot water pressure if you are having a shower and someone turns the tap on elsewhere, so no sudden cold shower.
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 11:09 am
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Default Re: Most economical form of heating?

Originally Posted by mikelincs View Post
Combi boiler is a combination boiler that heats the water and runs the central heating, but the water heating is like the old fashioned gas water heater that fired up when you turned the tap on. It's all very efficient and the modern ones are extremely ecconomical to run. One of the big advantages is that you don't need a hot water tank, and the hot water comes out with the same pressure as the cold as it's direct feed from your mains, no need for a cold water tank either, so you don't get the decrease in hot water pressure if you are having a shower and someone turns the tap on elsewhere, so no sudden cold shower.
No cold shower? Sold! To the expat near Bournemouth (but not too near)
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Old Jun 25th 2013, 1:13 pm
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Post Re: Most economical form of heating?

In the apartment we are living in here in Switzerland there is underfloor heating (with hot water pipes). It is wonderful...it's the warmest place we've ever lived in. There are no cold spots anywhere in the apartment - all the floors are tiled with the exception of the bedrooms which have parquet flooring.

It seems that all the buildings here are built to a very high specification - the walls are very thick and well insulated and there is no dampness whatsoever (although the landlord requests that all his tenants open the windows to 'air' the apartments for approx 10 mins each day during the winter months).

Our apartment has triple glazing - one entire side of the lounge/dining room has floor to ceiling patio doors to the balcony which overlooks the lake (we can see the storms coming in and the wind 'whips up') yet the room stays warm all year long. The lounge/dining room and kitchen all face west so there are electric retractible blinds to keep the room cool (there are metal storm blinds too which can also be used). There is also a log fire which looks very pretty in the winter but we've barely used it as the room never seems to get cold.

I wonder why underfloor heating has never taken off in the UK?
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