A homeowner explains how new electric heating systems are helping to reduce her energy costs
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Challenge: Electric heaters in need of replacement
Solution: Dimplex Quantum Off-Peak heaters and Q-Rad radiator installed
Outcome: £500 per year saved on energy costs
When Amy Ahmed-Dolphin purchased a two-bedroom, ex-local authority property in Rowington, Warwickshire, in 2004, she moved into a home that was heated predominantly using 20-year-old manual electric night storage heater technology.
Fast forward 11 years, with the heaters now at least 30 years old, and her ability to heat the home had significantly deteriorated. Ms Ahmed-Dolphin and her husband Saleem had previously removed a storage heater from their kitchen during renovation works.
“This probably was a mistake because although maybe it was not the most sophisticated storage heater, the kitchen has had no heating for years and it has been really cold,” Ms Ahmed-Dolphin explains.
Because the house was so cold downstairs, the hallway leading up to the stairs began to suffer from damp. To combat this, the Ahmed-Dolphins were using a plug-in oil-fuelled heater, which ate into their energy costs.
An unfortunate breakdown of the storage heater in their lounge meant that they were forced to heat the room by using the combination of a solid-fuel stove and a ceramic fan heater.
Unfortunately, Mr Ahmed-Dolphin suffers from health concerns when the temperature drops. This proved to be the final straw and gave the Ahmed-Dolphins the impetus they needed to explore possible heating alternatives.
Owing to its rural location, the majority of the village is situated off the gas grid, meaning that any system they opted to install would have to be powered by electricity.
A starting point for the Ahmed-Dolphins was the existing systems, which had lasted for approximately 30 years that were manufactured by Dimplex.
“We thought we would go and see what the most modern equivalent was of that brand,” Ms Ahmed-Dolphin says.
The solution they settled on was Quantum Off-Peak heaters from Dimplex.
The Quantum Off-Peak heater, as the name of the product suggests, is an electric heater designed specifically to store heat and operate using cheaper off-peak electricity.
Two of the heaters were installed in the Ahmed-Dolphin house in December 2015 by T Sparkes Electrical – one in the lounge and one in the kitchen. A further Dimplex Q-Rad electric radiator was installed in the hallway of the property.
Although the ground floor of the property has these new systems, the first floor has yet to receive similar upgrades. The couple still have two existing old storage heaters. These are in upstairs rooms and are still admirably working away after all this time.
“We are expecting the upgrade to pay for itself in around five years.”
The only reason why these heaters have not been replaced yet is entirely down to practical reasons. The couple have planning permission for a two-storey extension of the property, which is significantly going to overhaul the house.
“Not a single room is going to be untouched, so we weren’t going to do anything else,” says Ms Ahmed-Dolphin. “It was about getting the heating in to get the house through the winter to help keep the house and us healthy.”
But she admits that once that is out of the way, “we do need to look at the whole heating system”.
The new heating systems have delivered several benefits for the Ahmed-Dolphins so far.
One of the biggest bugbears that Ms Ahmed-Dolphin had with the old storage heaters was that they “just chucked out the same amount of heat, regardless of what level you set it”, but this was no longer an issue with the new Quantum Off-Peak heaters.
“If you set it low or high, you can definitely feel that there is a varying level of heat coming out,” she says.
Another particular benefit for Ms Ahmed-Dolphin and her husband was the unit’s boost functionality.
“When it gets really cold in the winter, we can boost the system. The fan would just kick in and put a bit more heat out.”
The systems have resulted in a noticeable drop in the cost of energy for the Ahmed-Dolphins.
“At the point we upgraded the heating system, we were paying an average direct debit of £119 per month to the energy company. Now, we’ve dropped to an average of less than £73 per month,” Ms Ahmed-Dolphin says.
“That’s a saving of more than £500 across the year – and on those calculations, we are expecting the upgrade to pay for itself in around five years.”