By January 11, 2016 Read More →

Heating solutions for gas-free homes

Vent-Axia family on couch
With 17% of the UK population living off the gas grid, electric heating offers an effective solution for electric wholesalers to offer their customers. Tom Emson Product Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia explains.

Recent figures show that 3.9 million UK households (17%) do not have mains gas heating, with more than half these homes (2.3 million) heated by electricity. Many homes that are off the gas grid are in rural areas or in urban highrise flats. Thirteen per cent of remote rural homes in England, 10% in Wales and 22% in Scotland use electric heating compared with 9% of urban homes in England. In Scotland 82% of highrise flats are heated by electricity.

The majority of these homes have little prospect of being connected to the gas grid and need an effective, efficient alternative. Many homes with electric heating currently use manual storage heaters, which can be inefficient and impractical to use. But there is a new breed of modern electric heating systems that are cost effective to install, easy to use and cheaper to run. In fact, there are now efficient electric heating solutions for every room in the house including towel rails, underfloor heating and aluminium radiators.

Using electricity is ideal for households without a gas supply. Electric heating offers an affordable heating solution for homeowners with low capital and installation costs. Almost maintenance free with no moving parts, electric heating also offers households the comfort of not having to worry about costly annual boiler checks.

What is key to this next generation of electric heating is not only do these products offer greater flexibility to households since they quickly warm a room providing almost instant comfort, but technological developments now mean their accurate controls ensure they are more energy efficient than ever before.

Warmth in the bathroom

Households can now expect improved efficiency and control across a wide range of electric heating technology. Towel rails are traditionally marketed to homeowners for their aesthetics rather than efficiency. However, the next generation of heated towel rails now quickly and efficiently warm and dry towels while adding to the overall style, temperature and comfort of a room. For instance, Vent-Axia’s wide range of towel rails features high quality white or chrome finishes with ten different models, split into flat, curved and designer styles, allowing customers to choose exactly the right towel rails to suit their individual home.

But it is control that is central to the range, with the series featuring an optional advanced controller offering five heat outputs. Providing an eco-mode ideal for use when drying towels to ensure minimal energy use, the controller turns the rail on full power for 30 minutes and then reduces the output to the user setting for a further 90 minutes, before turning the towel rail off. Households therefore have warm dry towels without wasting energy, bringing greater comfort to the towel user but also adding to the overall temperature and comfort of the room.

Toasty toes

Advances in technology also means electric underfloor heating is set to grow in popularity. Manufacturers have been developing systems that meet the comfort needs of households and energy efficiency demands of legislation.

Electric underfloor heating already has many recognised advantages. On the aesthetic side it is invisible and gives households the freedom to place furniture where they like. Meanwhile using the large surface area of a home’s floor to heat a room allows the low temperature radiant heat to provide evenly distributed warmth giving much higher levels of comfort when compared to other more traditional methods.

Using this method the thermal output is 2-3°C lower than using a convection based system where the heat will collect close to the ceiling, thus saving 5-10% of the running cost while eliminating draughts or cold spots in the room. The flexibility of electric underfloor heating is an added financial bonus since it can be installed one room at a time allowing households to meet their individual comfort and budget needs, adding further rooms as finances allow.

Accurate controls ensure underfloor heating is more energy efficient than ever before. For instance, Vent-Axia’s Bluethermal™ Underfloor Heating includes a heating thermostat controller that monitors both the floor and air temperature. This allows customers to gain maximum control over their environment by allowing them to set the thermostat at either the ideal floor or air temperature depending on the room.

Keeping warm around the house

Meanwhile, electric radiators have many benefits. They cause little installation disruption for any household since they don’t require the pipework needed by traditional boiler heating systems. Meanwhile, for landlords electric heating means they do not have to worry about costly annual boiler gas safety checks, which at approximately £75 per year can add up over the lifetime of a product, saving hundreds of pounds in reduced maintenance costs.

The electric radiators’ flexibility is also an added financial bonus since heaters can be installed almost anywhere in a room as stand-alone units or as larger systems allowing households to meet their individual comfort and budget needs.

New advanced electric heating systems also incorporate highly sensitive, integral thermostatic controls. For instance, Vent-Axia’s range of energy efficient Opal Aluminium Radiators, featuring a digitally controlled thermostat, represent this new generation of electric heating technology – slim and stylish in design and offering controllable comfort. Featuring controllers that are fully programmable this type of electric heating system offers closer energy management, thus saving money for the homeowner.

This type of electric radiator also features on-board energy monitors. These monitors allow occupiers to see exactly how much energy is being used to heat a room, and thus make an informed decision on thermal comfort.

Easy to operate, the radiators come with seven heating schedules and three temperature settings for comfort, economy and frost protection, allowing homeowners to manage the warmth in their homes to meet their needs.

So with electric heating now offering efficient heating for every room in the house, homes that are off the gas grid can rest assured that electric heating offers an affordable heating solution this winter.