Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills.
Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day you will be charged more than a standard fixed tariff would usually offer. To save money with Economy 7, it is suggested that you need to use more than 40% of your electricity during these cheaper 7 hours.
How do I know if I am on Economy 7?
You can check if you have an Economy 7 meter by looking at your bill – if you have two electricity readings, marked day and night or high and low, the chances are you’re on an Economy 7 meter. If you live in a property with storage heaters, you are most likely on Economy 7.
This way of billing was brought in to support electric storage heaters. Storage heaters charge up during the night and emit heat during the day. Economy 7 would not be recommended for electrically heated households without storage heaters or a hot water tank, or for households which mainly use electrical appliances during the day, such as a washing machine or a tumble dryer, as the day time rates are more expensive.
How do storage heaters work?
Storage heaters are wall-mounted, and look similar to a normal radiator, though they usually have feet at the bottom as they are a lot heavier. They work by charging up overnight and storing this energy as heat in a bank of clay or ceramic bricks. This heat will be dispelled over the following day. It’s best to imagine them as a rechargeable battery – they cannot be turned on to emit heat straight away – they must charge up. It’s important that you don’t set your storage heaters to charge during the daytime hours – this is a very expensive way to heat your home, and all of the heat will be put out at night when you don’t need it.
You can control the heat settings on your storage heaters using the ‘Input’ and ‘Output’ settings, which can usually be found as a dial. The input setting tells the heater how much heat to store during the night. The higher you set this, the more heat it will store, and the more electricity it will use. During the day, the heater will release heat constantly at low levels. You can control the amount of heat released through the output control – this setting controls heater vents which open and close, letting heat out faster or slower. Opening the vents fully will use the stored heat up faster.
What’s the best way to heat my home?
Storage heaters are not the most efficient way to heat your home. Unlike a rechargeable battery which will hold its charge until needed, storage heaters will lose heat almost immediately, especially as they get older. They can lose from 25-50% of their energy this way. You can buy storage heaters which hold this heat for longer, but this of course comes with a hefty price. When using storage heaters, it’s advised to ensure that your property is well insulated so the heat will be retained for longer, rather than escaping through the walls and roof.
If your storage heaters are old and inefficient, it might be time to consider changing your heating system. Through Switched On Portsmouth you can receive a fully funded gas central heating system, including any required gas connections. Gas central heating is up to 3 times cheaper to run than electric heating, and can provide heating on demand. We also offer assistance with getting your walls or loft insulated which will help you reduce your energy bills, and make it easier to heat your home, no matter what heating system you use.
For more information, click here. You can also give us a call on 0800 260 5907!
By Anttonia Lindup