Electrical Contracting News (ECN) May 2017 - Page 39

HVAC The key to cost effective electric heating is to match a combination of heat retention and direct acting appliances to the lifestyle of the user. The issue has been made worse by the fact that the proportion of electrically heated homes heated by direct acting appliances has risen in recent years – which means more people are paying over the odds for their heating. Direct acting appliances have their purposes, they are best suited to very well insulated properties or conservatories, bathrooms and bedrooms where heat is required in short bursts rather than throughout the day. But the key to cost effective electric heating is to match a combination of heat retention and direct acting appliances to the lifestyle of the user. We are aware of some manufacturers that still insist direct acting is the best solution for the entire house, and this is contributing to a distorted perception of the effectiveness of electric heating – not to mention unnecessarily high heating bills for some users. Manual storage The other issue which must be addressed when looking at fuel poverty in electrically heated homes is that of outdated manual storage heating systems. Around 70 per cent of all homes with storage heaters use manually controlled appliances and the fi gure rises to 78 per cent in local authority properties. Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of storage heated homes have appliances that are more than 12 years old, a statistic which is signifi cantly disproportionate to any other heating appliance. SPECIAL FEATURE This goes some way to demonstrate the opportunity for upgrades, which can, of course, present lucrative opportunities for contractors, especially when multiplied across large housing portfolios. In fact, the DCLG estimates that arou