When choosing between a standard boiler, renewable energy and an electric immersion heater to provide warmth to your home, there are a number of aspects you need to take into consideration. These include the ease of use, the type of property you live in, the cost of running the different types of heaters and more.
The main differences are fairly obvious. The boiler uses gas or oil to create the heat that powers your hot water and central heating, a solar panel converts the sun’s light into energy and the immersion heater does the job through electricity. Your options can therefore be narrowed down by circumstance.
For example, you may not be on the mains gas network or you might not have room to store oil. It could be that you live in a location where there is little natural sunlight, or the position of your home is not ideal to catch the rays. In these cases, you might consider an electric immersion heater as a viable alternative. However, if you have the choice of two or more of the above, is it worth installing an immersion heater? Keep reading to find out what an immersion heater is, how it works and how much an immersion heater costs to run.
What is an Immersion Heater?
If you have not come across one before, you may ask yourself ‘what is an immersion heater?’ The simple answer is that it is a device that provides hot water for your home and is powered by electricity. The immersion water heater is separate from your central heating boiler or radiators, which means that, even if your central heating fails, you should still be able to have hot water in your home.
Your hot water immersion heater can be used as your main source of hot water or as a back-up for your traditional gas boiler. Some people who have older gas or oil boilers in their home choose to also install an electric immersion heater so they are more likely to always have a supply of hot water to hand. You often find that an immersion tank is the primary source of hot water in new build homes that are not supplied by the main gas network or those properties that are off the grid due to their remote location.
In order to cut the immersion heater cost, many users set a timer to heat their water during off peak hours when electricity is less expensive. With the sort of insulation supplied with a modern immersion tank, you can keep the water hot for a decent amount of time, even if you use the heater overnight.
How Does an Immersion Heater Work?
In many ways, an immersion heater works like a large kettle. The immersion heater itself sits inside a hot water cylinder and is powered by a strong electric current. It runs off the mains electric and the electric resistance heater heats the water inside the tank until it reaches the designated temperature. When the temperature drops below a certain level, the immersion heater comes back on until it reaches the required heat level again. However, if you want to stop the water from heating at any point, for example during peak electricity hours, that is possible. The water doesn’t have to be kept warm if not required.
Cold water enters the tank at the bottom, and rises to the top as it heats up. As more cold water enters the bottom of the tank, it provides the required pressure for the hot water to leave the immersion water heater and find its way to the bath, showers and sinks that require it.
As well as using electricity from the mains supply, it is possible to connect them to solar panels and other renewable energy sources. This can help reduce the cost to run an electric heater.
Immersion Heater – How to Use?
How to use an immersion heater depends on your hot water requirements. You may feel that you need a constant and steady supply of hot water at all times, in which case you could leave the heater on constantly. However, this is an extremely expensive and inefficient way of using the device. In this case, electricity is constantly required to keep the tank hot.
Setting your thermostat for a lower temperature helps to save on your energy bills, but you need to heat the temperature to a minimum of 50 degrees celsius in order to kill the bacteria that could be present in the tank. The thermostat means that the heater stops when it reaches the correct heat and only powers up again when it drops below.
You might also use a timer for your hot water immersion to come on during off peak hours, or just ahead of when your household uses the most hot water. One of the problems with an immersion heater is that you need to pre-plan when you will need to use your hot water. Otherwise you have to wait for the entire tank to heat up before taking a shower, having a bath or doing the washing up. You cannot partially heat up the water using an immersion heater.
How Much Does an Immersion Heater Cost to Run?
It does not make for light reading when you ask how much does an immersion heater cost to run. The fact is that electricity is an expensive way to heat water and, because you can either heat the entire hot water cylinder up or nothing at all, there is often a large amount of wasted energy.
At an estimated running cost of between 40p and 50p per hour, you are looking at spending around £300 a year simply on heating your water, and that is based on it being powered up for just two hours a day. If you have a greater demand for hot water in your home, you might need to use it even more, making it more expensive.
Timers that restrict the heating to off peak hours can help, but the water does not stay hot forever. Also, once you have used it all, you need to reheat the whole cylinder again and the immersion heater cost can quickly rise.
Alternatives to an Immersion Heater
The ideal alternative to an immersion heater is a combi boiler. Combis heat only the water that you use, meaning there is less wasted energy. Gas is already a cheaper way to heat water than electricity, making a combi boiler a much more cost effective and efficient solution.
Combi boilers take the water straight from the mains supply, so you can have the hot water you need on demand. There is no need to wait around for a tank to heat up. Because there is no hot water cylinder or tank, you can also free up space in your home by choosing a combi boiler over an immersion heater. In addition, the fact that combi boilers use fresh water means you don’t have to worry about the associated risks of bacteria that can come with stored water.
Clever Energy Boilers recommends Worcester Bosch combi boilers, which are renowned in the industry for their build quality and reliability. The firm has been named the best boiler manufacturer for the last ten years running by Which? Magazine, showing the esteem in which it is held.
They will quote for a standard boiler as well as a premium model and will explain the advantages of both options to help you make your decision. The prices include all the work that goes into fitting the boiler as well as the cost of the item itself. You won’t receive any surprise charges, and the costs they give to you remain fixed for a period of time so you can make your mind up with no pressure. This ensures you can work out the best new boiler deals for your individual situation.
Call Clever Energy Boilers on 0330 055 2210 to book in a free quotation today.
What Next – Contact Our Team….