Electric heater, blanket and a cat


Electric Heaters: A Simple Running Costs Guide

September 28th 2022

As energy costs surge and the winter hits, it’s important to find an efficient heating solution that works for you and your home or business.

Some buildings may not have central heating or may be struggling to remain heated without additional heating sources. If electricity-ran heating is the most efficient option for you, there will be many questions you need to find answers to.

The running costs of electric heaters are one of the first concerns of many homeowners and business owners, by understanding the average costs it becomes easier to plan financially.

Here at HSS, we can help you find an electric heater for hire that suits your premise. Be it a commercial heating solution or compact portable heaters, our friendly team online and in-store can advise you on suitable options. 

How to calculate the average running cost of an electric heater

As there are various sizes and types of electric heaters, it is difficult to pinpoint exact running costs. Not only this, but factors such as the following will adjust those costs:

  • Length of time it is operated
  • The cost of electricity at the time
  • The room temperature 
  • Room size and insulation
  • Building location (external conditions can affect how long a heater needs to be switched on).

Despite these factors, there are ways to calculate an average cost to help inform your decision.

Uswitch, a price comparison website, estimates that plug-in electric heaters use around three kilowatts per hour (kWh). We can use this to calculate the average running costs when used in conjunction with the current price cap.

If we take the average price cap (52p per kWh as of October 2022) as the maximum price you could be charged and multiply this by three, we can estimate that it would cost £1.56 to run an hour.

However, as most electric heaters have internal thermostats, they preserve energy by switching off after meeting the required room temperature. 

How long does it take an electric heater to heat a room?

The amount of time an electric heater should be left on in order to effectively maintain a comfortable temperature will vary depending on the size of the room and the strength of the heater. For example, if you have a smaller room with a weaker electric heater, it may take longer for the room to get warm enough.

However, we’ll break down the different types of heaters a little further to understand the duration of time needed to sufficiently heat a room.

Electric fan heaters: If you want to warm up a particular part of your home quickly and efficiently, a fan heater might be just what you need. You can heat up a room in just a couple of minutes due to the high power of these portable heaters. Moreover, electric heaters have a reasonable power-to-price ratio since they are portable and relatively inexpensive. When used sparingly, electric fan heaters can reduce your household energy bills. However, if you use them too often, their electricity consumption will increase your household bills significantly. 

Halogen heaters: Most commonly found outdoors (particularly in beer gardens, halogen heat rapidly warms the subjects around it. These will not necessarily warm an entire room but are highly effective for a quick boost of heat for people in the immediate vicinity. Halogen heating devices can warm people up almost instantly and the energy consumption is reduced as they do not heat an entire room. This type of heater is perfect for outdoor settings where draughts and cold air won’t affect its power.

The various types of heaters: Which is the cheapest electric heater to run?

1. Ceramic heaters - a good level of efficiency with a small up-front cost

2. Storage heaters - utilise off-peak electricity tariffs to minimise running costs

3. Oil-filled electric heaters - very energy efficient providing long-lasting heat

Infrared radiant heater

Electric heaters are a great way to warm the air in your home or business, but they can be expensive to run if they’re not energy efficient. We've identified three of the best options on the market right now, so you can hire equipment quickly and efficiently.

Ceramic heaters

The ceramic heater works on a resistive heating principle, just like most electric heaters. However, the element is ceramic rather than metal. Through the use of an electric current, resistance heating generates heat. Heat is generated by the resistance of the heating element to the current. In general, the more resistance, the more heat is generated.

As ceramic heating elements are more resistant than metal ones, they produce more heat per watt. They're also more efficient than most other heaters, making them more cost-effective.

It is ideal to use ceramic electric heaters in small workshops, garages, and kitchens as an additional source of heat. 

Several ceramic heaters come with thermostatic control, enabling you to set the ideal temperature and have the heater automatically switch off while the fan continuously circulates the warm air until the temperature drops. Some models are small, but some have more power for extra warmth.

Storage heaters

In households without access to gas, modern storage heaters are a good option for providing heat.

An electric storage heater stores thermal energy. Thermal energy is released throughout the day by heating internal ceramic bricks during the night - it works similarly to a rechargeable battery. This is an extremely energy efficient option due to the fact that all electricity consumed is converted into valuable heat. 

The purpose of these devices is to take advantage of the cheaper, off-peak electricity available on certain tariffs during the day to heat a home effectively.

Oil-filled heaters

Electric oil-filled radiators have metal columns with cavities that allow heat transfer freely around the heater. Each column of the radiator is filled with oil, which absorbs heat when heated by electric current. As the oil heats up, it rises to the top of the radiator and is pumped back down to move through another column. The process allows for quicker heating, but also makes oil-filled radiators very efficient because they don't waste heat like other types of heaters do.

As oil-filled heaters convert all energy into heat, this is an energy-efficient option for those that want to get the most out of their electricity. 

Moreover, oil-filled electric panel heaters come with precision digital thermostats to keep your home or office from being overheated. Due to their heat retention properties, oil-filled heaters are cost-effective.

Electric radiator heater

How to reduce your energy bills with electric heaters

The cold weather is here, and it's time to turn on the heat. Electric heaters are an easy way to keep a small space warm without breaking the bank, but they can get pretty expensive if you don't know how to use them right. Here are some tips on how to reduce your energy bills with electric heaters:

1. Install a thermostat and use a timer

If you're using electric heaters to warm your home, consider setting up a thermostat to control their use. This will help you save money on energy bills while keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.You can also use timers to control how long your electric heater stays on for. This will help you save money on electricity by only using your heater when necessary and turning it off when it's not needed anymore.

2. Don’t keep your heater running

Keeping your heating on low constantly is a very common myth, but the Energy Saving Trust has proven that this is not true. Turning on the heater only when necessary is the best way to save energy and money long-term. 

To prevent heat from escaping, install draft excluders and close your curtains where possible.

3. Ensure you are on the right energy tariff

If you're using electric heaters to keep your home warm, you might be overpaying for energy. In fact, many people are paying more than they need to because they aren't using the right tariff.

It's important to make sure that you're on a tariff that is appropriate for your needs and usage. The cheapest tariffs are those that offer off-peak pricing (usually overnight). These tariffs are usually called Economy 7 or Economy 10. It's worth speaking to different providers to get the right rate for your business or home.

Hire heating equipment for your home or business with HSS

If you're looking for a reliable source for heating equipment, look no further than HSS. With an array of commercial electric heaters and portable radiators for different buildings, we're sure to have the perfect solution for your needs.

Our team of advisors is on hand to help you find the right heating system for your needs and can answer any questions you may have about our range.

If you would rather do it yourself, you can use our easy heating hire calculator to help you calculate how much heat you need in your building.

Author - Marcin Haraszczuk

About the Author

Marcin Haraszczuk

Marcin is a member of our E-Commerce Team. He mixes creative flair with analytical thinking, has a knack for DIY and is always seeking ways to broaden and share his knowledge.

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