/ Electric wall heater vs fan heater?

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Ali - on 17 Nov 2013
So have finally got round to turning the heating on in my flat (moved in in the summer) and finding its not that effective, and I suspect, rather expensive. The rooms are largeish (by London standards) and I have an electric wall heater in each of the living room and bedroom, a small one in the kitchen and a heated towel rail in the bathroom. They are not storage heaters, just bog standard electric. The one in the bedroom looks new and gives off next to no heat (I can touch it comfortably and standing a foot away you wouldn't know it was on), the one in the living room is a bit better - you can feel it warming up the room.

Always had GCH before so a couple of questions:

- can I find out easily how much each heater is costing me (i.e. how many kwh each one uses)?

- would it be cheaper to get a small fan heater and use this instead for both heat and getting clothes dry?

- I have a small (new) tumble dryer in the place which I've been using to dry sheets and some cotton stuff - is this likely to be costing me the earth and is there a better (cheaper) way to dry clothes?

Before anyone suggests it, I'm quite happy piling the layers on and using hot water bottles, extra duvets etc, but I need to be able to dry my clothes without them going mouldy from still being damp 3 days after being hung out! When I moved in my landlady swore that the previous tenants said it was really cheap to run, but I have a feeling that may have been deceiving. I have used about 300kwh in the past month and that's predominantly without heating on...
rocky57 - on 18 Nov 2013
Neil Williams - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to rocky57:

Or a dehumidifier. Small flats get very damp.

I live in a bigger house with GCH now, but when I did have a flat I found oil filled radiators gave off usable background heat without costing too much. But electric heating is always expensive.

Neil
Choss on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali:

I havent had any Heating on for last 4 years at all. I just Embrace the cold. I just get Under a Doss bag with a hot water bottle if Necessary.

If i was you i would get either a portable gas Heater, or a small portable oil filled electric radiator.

just Dry clothes on an Indoor Washing Line. Its Free. Tumble Dryers cost the earth.
Ben Sharp - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali: Take your clothes to a laundrettes to dry them, their dryers are bigger so you'll get a lot more in and you'll know exactly how much it's costing.

Although you can get away without it if you pick what you wear with drying times in mind. If you don't already own one then buy and wear a merino base layer and avoid heavy cotton fabrics in the winter. The only thing I have that takes ages to dry is work trousers and jeans. They don't go moldy if you don't dry them on the radiator, they just take a week to dry so you need another pair to alternate with. Using a better brand washing powder makes a massive difference to how fresh they smell.

Any electric heater used to heat the rooms themselves will be similarly expensive if you've got large rooms, there's not much waste in electric heaters. A fan heater will dry your clothes quicker but I doubt it's cheaper than your dryer as you'll have to leave it on for quite a while. You could always put heavier stuff in the dryer briefly to get the worst of the damp off and then let them dry for a couple of days naturally. I don't see that costing much money.

If you're happy being layered and hot water bottled then maybe just get a halogen heater for when you're in need of some comfort. A fan heater for the bathroom would make showering in the cold more bearable, but if you've got an enclosed shower you'd be better just leaving it on for two mins before getting in and drying inside before you jump out into clothes.

Being in a flat is a major advantage provided your neighbours have their heating on, seems quite common place amongst younger flat dwellers to get away without heating at all as the heat from neighbours heats your flat for you. Even given the cold winters we've had recently.
David Riley - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali:
>
> - can I find out easily how much each heater is costing me (i.e. how many kwh each one uses)?

Yes. If is not very hot then it is not costing much. Electric heaters cannot waste any energy, everything you pay for is given out in heat.

> - would it be cheaper to get a small fan heater and use this instead for both heat and getting clothes dry?

Only because it might be more controllable and instant. The cost for the same amount of heat will be exactly the same.

> - I have a small (new) tumble dryer in the place which I've been using to dry sheets and some cotton stuff - is this likely to be costing me the earth and is there a better (cheaper) way to dry clothes?

It takes a lot of energy to evaporate water however you do it. The device suggested above would not do it with less energy and would probably leave the clothes more creased than a tumble drier. So your tumble drier is fine.
However a condenser tumble drier should be much more efficient because the heat and the water vapour are not vented to the room and the energy is retrieved by condensing the water vapour and used again. But they are expensive.
jkarran - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali:

With come caveats electric heat is electric heat. Given you aim to maintain the room at a particular temperature differential above outside temperature it's the room's heatloss (through the building fabric and by ventilation) that defines what the heating costs.

That said, we're more sensitive to radiated heat than hot air. A cool room with a radiant heat source feels nicer than a room full of hot air. The bonus is that maintaining cooler air in the room cuts down on the room's heatloss (less conducted out and less energy put into warming drafts), you can be comfortable for a little less money. You can get portable electric radiant heaters pretty cheap but an oil filled radiator might be a better compromise if you need to keep the chill off the place to prevent condensation. A fan heater will mostly heat your ceiling unless it follows you around keeping you in a warm draft.

Are your wall heaters storage heaters, they probably have some sort of thermostatic and possibly time control? Chances are if you can put your hand on them then the need setting up and probably leaving on for quite a while to get warm.

You could improve the heating by reducing drafts and cutting heatloss but in a rented place it's hard. Also, drying clothes in there you'll soon get damp if you cut down the ventilation. The tumble dryer, whatever it costs to run (probably a fair bit) is probably saving you from condensation/damp.

If you know how much electricity you were using in a month without heating then work out the difference for a month with heating, you then have your heating kWh/month figure. A look at your bill and some head scratching (they're never clear /kWh) should get you a cost estimate for running the heat. The cost will go up as the winter gets colder assuming it's thermostatically controlled.

jk
GridNorth - on 18 Nov 2013
mbh - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali:

Your tumble dryer probably has a rating of 3 - 5 kW (don't know, I haven't got one), and your electricity tariff is probably around the 16-18p per kWh range, so it probably costs somewhere in the range 50p - 80p per hour to run. For each hour that it is on, about 1.5 to 2.5 kg CO2 will be emitted, somewhere. That's not good, but annually it might account for, say, 1% of the CO2 emissions attributable to you. Further, it will help avoid damp in your flat. Ben's advice is good - avoid damp by avoiding heavy cotton stuff in winter, as far as you can. It takes days to dry.
imkevinmc - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali:

>
> Always had GCH before so a couple of questions:
>
>
> - I have a small (new) tumble dryer in the place which I've been using to dry sheets and some cotton stuff - is this likely to be costing me the earth and is there a better (cheaper) way to dry clothes?
>

Dehumidifier works in drying room of outdoor centres, so I thought I'd give it a try. A full load of towels will dry overnight. Goodbye tumble dryer.
David Riley - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to imkevinmc:

A condenser drier is a dehumidifier in a cupboard. It works better enclosed.
MikeYouCanClimb - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Ali) You could try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brHqBcZqNzE


You have smile. I must admit I admire these mad inventor think ouside the box types.

He now needs to invent a better lighter so he does not burn his fingers every time though.

How do you find em?
imkevinmc - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to David Riley: Yes, but then heat is involved,which is where the expense is. I can hang up clean stuff, wet jackets and wet boots, all at the same time. Following morning, everything is bone dry.
Anyway, it works for me.
David Riley - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to imkevinmc:

If you don't have the system enclosed then some vapour escapes and the energy in it cannot be reclaimed for further drying. The dehumidifier will then use more electricity.
Ali - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Ali: Cheers for the replies - I have a dehumidifier (though not at this place) which I'm planning to pick up at Christmas so hopefully that will help.

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