Free delivery and £15 off on the app with the code POOL 15Terms & conditions apply
Who are we
Energy-efficient electric radiators: what are the options?

Energy-efficient electric radiators: what are the options?

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

248 guides

Modern electric radiators feature energy-saving technology meaning they can provide top performance and optimum thermal comfort. Additional features include motion sensors, open window detection and smart control. Read on to find an energy-efficient electric radiator for your home.

Important features

  • Heating technology
  • Thermal performance
  • Smart control
Shop our ceramic heaters

Electric radiators may not be the most obvious option when it comes to making an heating system more energy-efficient – in fact, they are often thought of as energy-intensive. And while old-fashioned grill convector heaters are often the first models to spring to mind, electric heating has come a long way in recent years. These days, many modern storage heaters and panel heaters offer very good performance, smart control and low energy consumption.

If you're looking to improve energy efficiency in the home and want to install electric heating, modern storage heaters and panel heaters are your only options.

Modern storage heaters distribute heat evenly and the warmth they produce is comparable to traditional central heating. These heaters feature a heating element which works to heat up a solid core material. This material stores heat and conveys the warmth to the room often through a mix of convection and radiant heat. Modern storage heaters may contain a thermal fluid like glycol in which case they can be referred to as oil filled radiators or thermal fluid radiators. If the radiator features a solid core (such as ceramic or lava stone), it is commonly known as a ceramic heater or even a dry inertia radiator.

The advantage of a storage heater is that it continues to release heat even after it is switched off.

How does a modern storage radiator work?

The heating core of a modern storage heater performs two roles: it stores warmth as it heats up and releases it back to the room when needed. The performance of storage heaters varies considerably between models depending on the core material. Below we've set out a rough guide to the performance of each core material.

Heating technology

Thermal fluid

Dry inertia

Core material

Thermal fluid

Soapstone

Lava stone

Ceramic

Cast iron

Aluminium

Charging time

****

**

***

***

*

***

Heat distribution

**

****

****

***

****

**

Modern storage radiators with radiant technology

These days, some ceramic heaters feature a radiant panel on the outside which is heated up by one element. A separate element is used to power the core heating component. The advantage of these devices is that the radiant outer panel heats up quickly (but will never exceed 70°) while the solid heating core releases heat to the room gradually.

Modern storage heaters with radiant panels offer the best thermal comfort of all energy-efficient electric radiators.

Electric panel heaters use infrared technology to produce radiant heat. However, unlike storage heaters, these heaters won't continue to release heat once they're turned off.

Radiant heat is transferred directly to anything and anyone in proximity, meaning objects as well as people.
Explore the ManoMano catalog
Panel heaters

If you are hoping to replace old convector heaters with energy-efficient electric radiators, it is essential to choose a model that offers good heating performance, low energy consumption, advanced heating features and smart control. No matter whether you choose a storage heater or a panel heater, your heating system must offer the following:

  1. High precision controls of +/- 0.3°C of set temperatures;
  2. Automatic open window detection to detect when a window is opened or closed. When a window is opened, the radiator will automatically turn off or switch to frost mode.
  3. Absence detection which gradually reduces temperatures in vacant rooms until the radiator switches on to eco mode.
  4. Energy consumption monitor which allows you to see how much energy is being consumed in real time to keep an eye on electricity usage.

Explore the ManoMano catalog
Ceramic heaters

Several calculations can be used to work out how many watts you need to heat your home. These methods vary in complexity, but no matter which you choose, you need to consider the following:

  • the quality of your home's insulation;
  • the volume you want to heat.

One of the most simple and effective ways to calculate the size and number of your electric radiators is outlined below:

  • for homes with average insulation you'll need around 100 W per square metre (or 40 watts per cubic metre);
  • for well insulated homes you'll need 70 W per square metre (or 28 watts per cubic metre);
  • for very well insulated homes you'll need 60 W per square metre (or 24 watts per cubic metre).
It is possible to make your calculations more accurate by adding 5 to 10% on for any rooms with lots of glazed surfaces and/or homes in the north of the country, and 10% per every 500 metres of altitude.

Smart control and the use of an energy management system will optimise energy performance and the level of thermal comfort provided by an electric heating system. In the past, this meant controlling your electric radiators by pilot wire. These days, electric radiators are more commonly controlled by Wi-Fi technology.

Using smart control with the features outlined above can help you save up to 45% on your energy bill.

Energy-efficient electric radiators can be used to make your home more energy efficient alongside measures such as improving your hot water system and insulation, and installing whole house ventilation and a high efficiency heating system. All together, these measures aim to lower energy consumption and reduce household greenhouse gas emissions.

Shop our ceramic heaters

Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 248 guides

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check. Advise everybody in the DIY shop? Check. Redo bathroom plumbing? Check. If it doesn't work, try again! I'll do my best to advise you in your projects.

  • Millions of products

  • Delivery to your home or click & collect

  • Hundreds of dedicated experts online