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Every Thing to Know about Electric Central Heating

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Night-time Storage Heaters

The most cost-effective type of electric central heating uses storage heaters – and only the type that comes out at night!

These clever heaters use electricity to warm up special heat-retaining bricks with power that has been supplied at a cheaper – night time – rate.

These heated bricks then provide warmth to your home throughout the day – giving heat out slowly and keeping your home warm and cosy – think pit fire, only less messy and easier to maintain.

If you live in a home with night-time storage heaters, the power that is used to fuel the heating bricks mentioned above comes via a special tariff that offers cheaper electricity throughout the night.

Offering seven hours of cheaper electricity whilst you’re asleep (or when you should be), these tariffs are known as Economy 7 and are often the reason you can hear your elderly neighbour doing the vacuuming (illegally) at 2 am.

Economy 10 works in the same way as Economy 7 but offers an additional three hours of cheap electricity to be used during the day – normally in the middle of the afternoon.


According to OVO Energy, there are only 2 million UK homes that use electric storage heaters – and with good reason – when compared to gas (23 million UK users) it’s just too expensive for many of us to even consider using it.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change states that the average UK gas user spends around £550 each year on ‘space heating’ – that’s just heating the interior of our homes to you and I.

The equivalent for electricity runs to around £900 a year – if you’re lucky enough to be on an Economy 7 tariff – but jumps dramatically to a truly astronomical £1,950 if you’re paying the standard rate of electricity.

The graph below (that I have stolen from OVO Energy) shows the cost per kilo-watt hour of each unit of usable heat – the figures are from 2015, but nothing much has changed since then.


PROS – Because storage heaters don’t require any pipework or a flue – in the same way that a gas central heating system and radiators will – this kind of system is much easier (and therefore cheaper) to install than a gas central heating system.

A storage heater also requires a lot less maintenance than other heaters. With fewer moving parts to go wrong, a night-time storage heater won’t need to be serviced annually – saving you money over the lifetime of the system.

And an important point to bear in mind is that electricity is available almost everywhere in the United Kingdom, whereas gas is not. So depending on where you live, mains electricity may be the best and most affordable option for heating your home.


When you break it down to cost per unit, electricity is anywhere between 3 and 4 times more expensive than gas.

Also, just like gas supplies, the cost of electricity is rising and expected to continue to rise for some time – if not for the remainder of life on earth!

The obvious problem that electricity has, is that most of the UK supply is generated in gas-fired power stations, so if the price of gas goes up, so will the cost of your electricity.

Despite the Economy 7 and 10 tariffs being cheaper during the night, the daytime running costs on these tariffs is considerably higher than single-rate electricity tariffs – so while you do get a cheaper rate for your heating, using any appliance throughout the day – particularly an extra electric heater – could be rather expensive.

There’s also a lack of control to consider when using older storage heaters. An older model will give out heat for as long as the internal bricks remain warm, but if you haven’t had the heating on for a while and then switch on the night storage heater, you’re not going to benefit till the following night.

And you may also find that you have to keep an eye on when they turn on and off, as older models don’t have an automatic setting that measures the temperature in the room and then adjusts accordingly, so you might have to keep a close eye on the weather forecast to avoid getting too warm or staying too cold, depending on the weather outside.

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