Electric heating comes of age

Published:  01 February, 2013

Lee Nurse explains how advances in technology make electric heating a very attractive option.

Lee Nurse explains how advances in technology make electric heating a very attractive option.

At the same time the country has been gripped by the effects of its declining oil and gas reserves. Historically the UK has been fuel rich making us heavily dependent on our gas reserves. But, with gas in decline, since 2004 we have relied on fuel imports leading to higher prices due to the volatility of the international energy markets.

During this period, electric heating has been transformed as manufacturers develop advanced systems to meet the needs of households and energy efficiency demands of legislation. Offering an affordable heating solution, with low capital and installation costs, electric heating is a welcome alternative in the current financial climate.

The technology is also ideal for rural households that do not have access to a gas supply. With limited installation disruption, as electric heating doesn’t require the flue siting and pipework needed by traditional boiler heating systems, electric heating is easy for installers to fit it in a few minutes rather than the day or two needed for wet heating systems. It can also be installed almost anywhere in a room and is ideal for extensions. With reduced maintenance and no moving parts, electric heating offers households the comfort of not having to worry about costly annual boiler checks.

As winter bites, the cost of heating homes is at the forefront of the householder’s mind, with fuel hikes for both gas and electricity a key focus in recent times. However, as gas supplies dwindle it is gas users that have been hardest hit and it looks like this is set to continue.

In the long term, gas is not sustainable. As we move towards zero carbon homes and a decarbonised energy supply, electric heating will become the heating technology of choice. Manufacturers are already preparing for this transition by offering new products that will meet both the demand and the needs of the market.

Suitable for both newbuild and refurbishment projects, the newest electric heating features on-board energy monitors allowing occupants to see exactly how much energy is being used to heat a room, helping them make an informed decision on thermal comfort.

The inclusion of highly sensitive, silent operating, digitally controlled thermostats accurate to within 1°C allows electric heating to act quickly to maintain constant room temperature levels, reducing temperature overrun and minimising energy consumption of the heaters. The radiators are easy to operate, coming with seven pre-set heating schedules and three user defined temperature settings for comfort, economy and frost protection.

For instance, Vent-Axia’s new range of towel rails features high quality white or chrome finishes with 10 different models, allowing customers to choose the right towel rails to suit their home. The range has an optional advanced controller, with five heat outputs, providing an eco-mode ideal when drying towels to ensure minimal energy use.The controller turns the rail on full power for 30 minutes and then reduces the output to the user setting for a further 90 minutes, before turning the towel rail off. Households therefore have warm dry towels without wasting energy, bringing greater comfort to the towel user while adding to the temperature and comfort of the room.

With improved efficiency and control, electric heating offers installers a technology that promises their customers the comfort and style households desire.

Lee Nurse is marketing director at Vent-Axia.

This feature ran in the November/December issue of HVP.