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    Alternative to night storage heaters

    Infrared as the solution

    Night storage heaters were very popular in the 1950s because they were considered clean in contrast to oil and coal stoves. The night storage heater is an electric heater, so it is electrically powered, and has a heat storage tank that is charged at night with off-peak electricity. This heat is stored in moulded bricks and released during the day via a fan or blower. Today, night storage heaters are no longer state-of-the-art and are true power guzzlers because they are very sluggish in their heating response. They can hardly react to short-term temperature changes such as solar radiation, which regularly leads to rooms being overheated.

    Converting

    from night storage to infrared

    Infrared heating is an inexpensive and efficient alternative. They can be simply fitted to the connections of the former night storage heater or plugged into sockets. This makes infrared heaters flexible with regard to positioning and easy to install.

    Infrared heaters do not heat the air. Instead, they heat the room itself and elements in the room, resulting in much higher efficiency (see "Advantages of infrared") and consuming less energy. Infrared heaters also consume much less electricity than night storage heaters, especially because infrared heaters can react much better to temperature changes due to their fast response time.

    Infrared heaters are controlled by efficient thermostats. The desired temperature can be adjusted at any time, whenever heat is needed – much more conveniently than with night storage heaters.

    Any unanswered questions?

    How does a night storage heater work?

    Night storage heaters were very popular in the 1950s because they were considered clean in contrast to oil and coal stoves. The night storage heater is an electric heater, so it is electrically powered, and has a heat storage tank that is charged at night with off-peak electricity. This heat is stored in moulded bricks and released during the day via a fan or blower.

    What does a night storage heater cost per month?

    Night storage heaters are quite inexpensive to buy, between €650 and €1,000. The running electricity costs depend on how much heat the stove stores, how many hours a day it is heated and how old the heater is. An equally important factor is whether the night storage heater is charged with more economical off-peak electricity. For example, the cost can be around €200 a year if the night storage heater is used sparingly, but it can be up to €1,300 a year if it is used frequently. This is equivalent to between €16.70 and €108.30 per month.

    How do you dispose of night storage heaters?

    If you want to dispose of your night storage heater, you should first find out whether it contains asbestos, chromate or PCD, which is often the case with older models. You can tell whether the night storage heater contains hazardous substances by looking at its type plate. If it contains hazardous substances, the "Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances" apply. This means that a professional must handle the disposal of the night storage heater so that, for example, no asbestos gets into the house or into the environment.

    If there are no harmful substances in the night storage heater, disposing of it as a private person is quite difficult, as a heater can weigh up to 200 kilograms. In any case, de-installation should be carried out by an electrician, who will dismantle everything professionally.

    What does it cost to dispose of a night storage heater?

    The cost of disposal depends on how many night storage heaters need to be disposed of at the same time and whether they are contaminated with harmful substances such as asbestos. Disposing of a night storage heater without pollutants costs between €90 and €150. If it is contaminated with pollutants, you can expect to pay a disposal fee of about €150 to €230 for each night storage heater.

    When is night storage heating a practical option?

    A night storage heater is a practical option if the following criteria are met:
    – The night storage heater does not contain asbestos.
    – The room heated by the night storage heater is rarely used.
    – The room in which the night storage heater is located is well insulated.
    – Cheap off-peak electricity rates are available in the area where I live.

    What are the pros and cons of a night storage heater?

    Pros
    – Inexpensive to purchase
    – Simple installation
    – Hardly any maintenance required
    – No need to store a fuel or gas tank
    – Can be combined with other types of heating

    Cons
    – High running costs
    – Low efficiency
    – Inflexible use
    – Hot water must be heated separately
    – Asbestos is possible in older models
    – Off-peak electricity rates are not available everywhere

    What alternatives are there to a night storage heater other than infrared?

    Converting from a night storage heater to another heating system is worthwhile. There are many alternatives and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages. We outline these here.

    Central heating
    Switching from a night storage heater to a central heating system involves high investment costs. The purchase costs are high and new pipes have to be laid for gas or oil central heating.

    Wood stove
    It’s possible to switch to a pellet heating system or a tiled stove. Wood is a natural, renewable resource, which translates into a good energy balance. However, one must bear in mind that burning wood releases a considerable amount of fine dust. In addition, wood has to be stored, which requires a lot of space, and there are also the costs of having the chimney swept once or three times a year to consider.

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