How To Use Storage Heaters Efficiently: 11 Tips To Help

electric storage heater

Most people who use storage heaters find that they are an efficient way to heat their homes.  A storage heater is a piece of electrical equipment that transforms electricity into heat and stores it in a clay brick-lined chamber for later use. It is an effective method to heat a room since the heat is delivered into the room as needed during the day.

How To Use Storage Heaters Efficiently

A storage heater is an efficient method of heating a room if used properly. Steps like turning the output control down to 1 before going to bed, using up all the stored heat first before turning on the boost, and keeping low output numbers for smaller rooms will all help you save energy and money.

  • Find the cheapest heater to run here

How do storage heaters work?

Storage heaters were first developed in the 1930s, and became popular in the 1950s as a way to provide heat during power shortages. Today, they are used in homes and businesses as an alternative to central heating.  In many areas where mains gas is not available, storage heaters are prevalent.

Storage heaters use cheaper off-peak night time electricity provided by an Economy 7 rate. Economy 7 is so named because you get cheaper power for a seven hour period each night, between the hours of 11pm and 7am  an Economy 7 meter is needed if you want to make use of this tariff which every electricity supplier supports.  These meters are also helpful with the increase in electric vehicle use.

How much do storage heaters cost to run?

A typical storage heater unit can cost around £400 and to run a typical 2.5kW unit for a 7 hour heating period can cost around £2.25 per day at the current electricity prices taking advantage of the cheaper Economy 7 or 10 tariffs at night. At this rate, the average running cost of a storage heater is £68 per month.

how to use storage heaters efficiently

Each heater is equipped with two controls – an input and an output. These allow you to store enough heat in the heater overnight and manage the heat stored to ensure you have adequate heat for the following day. 

Check out the full range of storage heaters on Amazon here

How long do storage heaters take to heat up?

It normally takes 7 hours to fully charge up but the time it takes for a storage heater to heat up can depend on several factors, including their size and age. One way to maximise the heat output of a storage heater is to use all the stored heat first by opening the output fully before using the boost function.

To work most efficiently, storage heaters need to be manually controlled a lot, depending on the time of day and the season you’re in. There are, however, a few things you can do to make sure you are using your storage heater as efficiently as possible. Here are a few tips:

Tips to using a storage heater efficiently

1. Match the output dial to the size of the room

A small room doesn’t need a high output because it warms up quickly.  Don’t waste energy by keeping the control constantly on a high number.

2. Keep low input numbers for small rooms

A small sized room doesn’t need a high input number on the storage heater control.  The unit will be using excess electricity to store unnecessary heat.

3. Only heat the rooms you use

If you have a storage heater in a room that you don’t use very often, it is a good idea to turn it down or even off completely. This way, you are not wasting any energy heating a room that you don’t need to. An advantage of a storage heater is that it’s highly controllable, more so than radiator TRV’s.

4. Use up all the stored heat first

If you need more warmth in the room, use up all the stored heat first by opening the output control to fully on.  Do this before using the boost function which uses electricity to heat up straight away. 

On an Economy 7 meter, the electricity cost could be up to 3 times more expensive per unit during the day.

5. Turn the output down to 1 before you go to bed

This will store more of the heat inside the heater ready for the next day.  Also when you go out of the house and don’t need heating, turn the output dial to 1 again.

6. Match the input setting with the season

Winter will require a high input as the heater will emit more heat.  But in the summer, make sure to turn the input control down to a low number or even off when it gets hot outside.

7. Adjust the output regularly

To work most efficiently, you need to adjust the output control on the storage heater a few times in the day.  In the morning, put it on a medium high setting to warm the room up quickly. 

Then turn it down so you’re not wasting energy.  In the evening, turn it to high so all the stored heat is used up.  Then just before going to bed, turn it down to low.

8. Insulate your home

This is one of the most important things you can do to make your home more energy efficient. By insulating your home, you will keep the heat in, and this will mean that your storage heater will not have to work as hard to heat your home.

9. Use draught excluders

image of draughtproofing under a door

Draught excluders are a great way to stop heat from escaping through your doors and windows. By stopping the draughts, you will again be saving energy, as your storage heater will not have to work as hard to heat your home.

10. Keep the vents clear at all times

It is important that the vents on your storage heater are not blocked, as this will stop the heat from circulating around your home. If the vents are blocked, your storage heater will not be as effective, and you will be wasting energy.

11. Look for the best Economy 7 tariff

switch energy supplier

This will make so much difference to your electricity bill.  Every major supplier has a E7 tariff option.

By following these simple tips, you can make sure that you are using your storage heater as efficiently as possible. This will help to save you money on your energy bills, and will also help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Advantages of storage heaters

The advantage of this type of heater is that it can be used to heat a space more efficiently than other types of heaters. You do not need to have a mains gas supply in your property and you have more control over the temperature in each room.

Should you turn storage heaters off during the day?

A prevalent misunderstanding about storage heaters is that they should be switched off throughout the day. This, however, is not the case. Heat is stored in storage heaters throughout the day and released at night. This assists in keeping your home warm throughout the cooler months.

Should you switch off storage heaters throughout the day? You should not do so. Storage heaters are intended to be left on all day in order to store heat.

How do storage heaters know when to come on?

Electric storage heaters typically come with an in-built thermostat that detects the room temperature and controls when the heater turns on and off. In the UK, electricity suppliers often offer Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs, which provide cheaper electricity during off-peak hours (usually at night).

Some modern electric storage heaters also come with more advanced features such as programmable timers and digital thermostats, which allow users to set specific times and temperatures for the heater to come on and off. This can provide greater control over heating schedules and can help to reduce energy usage and costs.

The main difference between basic and automatic storage heaters is the inbuilt sensor and thermostat in automatic heaters.  Basic models will have a timer to know when to come on, while newer heaters have better control features.  This helps to adjust settings based on the timer you want the heat to come on and temperature you set.

Modern storage heaters, like this one from Amazon, are fully programmable with daily and weekly programme settings, with different levels of temperature selectors.  They optimise heating control with highly sensitive thermostatic controls.

For more information on storage heaters, check out this link to the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.


Here are some top tips to use your storage heaters efficiently.

  1. Match the output dial to the size of the room.
  2. Keep low input numbers for small rooms.
  3. Only heat the rooms you use.
  4. Use up all the stored heat first.
  5. Turn the output down before you go to bed.
  6. Match the input setting with the season.
  7. Adjust the output regularly.
  8. Insulate your home.
  9. Use draught excluders.
  10. Keep the vents clear at all times.
  11. Look for the best economy 7 tariff.

Read related articles:

Scroll to Top