Storage Heater Operation
The mystery unravelled
Storage heaters charge for 8hrs at night, between approx 11pm and 7am on half tariff electricity. Charge times may vary by an hour or two.
There are two control knobs on storage heaters, input control and output control.
Input controls the charge at night. Generally, in cold conditions, you will require a full charge for storage heaters, so that the heaters will release heat for as long as possible through the day, into the evening.
In milder conditions, this input controller can be turned down. It's a thermostat, it reduces the charge by limiting the temperature of the room at night as it's charging. It's not the most accurate method, and can be a bit finicky. Selecting say '4' might give you a full charge, and selecting '3' might give you no charge, it could be somewhere in the middle. So some trial and error is required.
The storage heaters input controller can go out of calibration over time. So if charge doesn't seem to change too much from full charge when adjusted, this may need to be calibrated or replaced.
The output controller on storage heaters is a simple mechanically operated flap, which controls the output of heat. It looks similar to a letterbox flap, it can be seen through the vent on the top of the storage heater. Generally an issue with storage heaters is that they are cold by the evening. To hold maximum heat, close the flap at night, and open it the following evening.
If you don't want to open and close the flap every day, just leave the flap slighly open on a perminant basis.
Avoid leaving the flap closed fully on a perminant basis. The heater can overheat, being very hot to the touch, and putting strain on the heating elements.
The output flap on storage heaters can fail over time. So if it doesn't adjust, it may need to be calibrated or replaced.
In living rooms, generally combination storage heaters are installed rather than standard storage heaters. This allows heat to be topped up in the evening as the storage heater cools. This storage heater is two heaters in one. The night storage heater, and an day tariff electric heater. The combination storage heaters are noteable by two switches on the wall beside it. One switch is for the night storage heater, the second switch is for the day tariff electric heater. These two heaters work indepentantly, both switches on the wall do not have to be on if you're only using on part of the combination storage heater.
The day tariff electric heater is controlled by a rocker switch with a little LED light on it. Beside this, there is a thermostat. The thermostat controls what temperature which the electric heater maintains. With every degree approx 10% on running costs, it's worth maintaining a comfortable temperature, avoiding overheating the room.
More modern storage heaters are also controlled by a Devi-Regulator at the fuseboard. This is noteable by a green light and a flashing red light. It has two knobs on it. The left knob is not required, the right knob adjusts the charge time of the storage heater at night relative to outside temperature. When left at the centre point, the heater can adjust temp automatically. If this isn't producing enough heat, turn the knob to plus 4.
Older night storage heaters are controlled by wall thermostats. There is usually one in the hall. This is a master controller for all storage heaters. It works the same way as the input controller on the night storage heaters, but controls all the heaters. For most accuracy, it's best to control heaters with the input controllers on the heater, leaving the hall thermostat turned up.
Older combination night storage heaters will have a thermostat in the living room. This controls the day tariff electric heater. It operates the same way as the thermostat on the heater for the electric heater. The wall thermostat is the most accurate here, so adjust this to the required temp, and leave the thermost on the electric heater turned up higher.