The most common view is that central heating systems are efficient, however when you understand the laws of physics and how heat is produced and transferred within a central heating system, you realise there are more efficient ways of heating your home. However most homes in the UK would have to make a greener transformation, replacing gas and oil boilers for electric ones. The advantage the electric boiler has is that it’s nearly 100% efficient in producing the heat, but because the central heating systems use heated water to heat the air, the transfer of heat is not 100%- it’s close to 75%. With that being the case, we believe the better way of heating homes that already have central heating, and that want to make a transformation to zero carbon by using electricity, is to go the hybrid way. Let me explain what the hybrid way is.
Most existing homes would have their central heating on for 2 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening- the issue with that is that the remaining 16 hours is unheated, which means the temperature of the house drops within that period. If you start your heating at 6am, your house may be at 10 degrees Celsius; so to shift the temperature from 10 to 22 degrees Celsius would take a long time, and cost a lot of money. This process is again repeated in the evening. The hybrid way would be, in an average 3 bedroom property, to install just two temperature-controlled storage heaters to maintain the property’s temperature at 15 or 16 degrees Celsius. Therefore, when you stick to your central heating programme of 2 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, your boiler would use less energy and warm your home quicker, giving you greater comfort. This is particularly useful in the UK, where temperatures can fluctuate even in winter, as much as 8 degrees colder or warmer. If you have a temperature-controlled storage heater, your starting temperature is always 15 or 16 degrees, despite outdoor temperatures.
The myth of having two different heating systems in one home means it will cost you more is not true. What matters is the temperature you heat your home to everyday- that’s what will determine the cost. You may say “but then why can’t I keep my boiler on so that a 15 degree temperature is maintained at all times”. You could do that, but it’s not efficient because heat transfer on that is 75%, due to heat being transferred from water to air. Whereas temperature-controlled storage heaters heat the air directly- this reduction in the number of energy transfers increases efficiency to 100%. When you consider that for 16 hours of the day, where you’re likely to be keeping your home at 15 degrees Celsius, it is better to use temperature-controlled storage heaters.