Combatting Rising Energy Costs with Electric Panel Heating

Electric Heating has evolved susbtantially since it was first widely used around domestic households in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Domestically, the UK has been reluctant to embrace electrical heating in the same way as our European neighbours. However, in commercial properties, such as high-rise student accommodation, where pumping hot water around is not practical, electricity is increasing in popularity. Ease of installation, minimal servicing and nominal maintenance costs are contributing factors, not to mention carbon reduction and the associated green benefits.

LOT 20 became effective from January 2018. This EU legislation demands compliance with a minimum efficiency standard. It focuses on removing poorly controlled heaters from the market and replacing them with controls for temperature, time, and open window detection among other features. This means that heaters with a simple on/off switch can no longer be manufactured or installed.

Manufacturers upgraded their integrated control heaters to comply with LOT 20, and for the domestic market this was satisfactory however, it inevitably increased the cost of each unit. For commercial applications where hundreds of heaters are required, such as student accommodation, if integrated control heaters must be specified, this results in a significant increase in capital cost.

Another factor when looking at larger scale installations is the accuracy of temperature readings on heaters with integrated controls. A minor discrepancy becomes a major issue when multiplied by 1000 heaters!

Wall-mounted heater controls, such as the Prefect Irus central control system or Ecostat2, individually control the heater in each room. Positioned away from the heat source, the units monitor the room temperature accurately and, if there should be a fault with either the heater or the controller it is cheaper to replace either component rather than throwing away an integrated unit. Having a separate control means that cheaper ‘no-control’ heaters can be installed.

Prefect Controls Electric Heating Range

Prefect Atlantic Electric Panel Heaters 500 – 2500 Watt Range of Atlantic No Controls Panel Heater

Atlantic Energy-Lock Panel Heaters

Panel heaters contain an element that heats the air in a room by convection. They are cost effective to install, especially for large scale applications such as student rooms, they heat up quickly and are very efficient, particularly in well-insulated property. Where space is limited, their compact size makes them ideal.

Prefect Controls Accessio heater panels

Accessio Fluid-Filled Radiators

Fluid-filled radiators use a contained thermal fluid as the heating element. This provides greater radiant heat, warming a person more directly than convection. Radiant heat is more effective in rooms that are less well insulated, and the atmosphere is akin to that of traditional central heating, giving a quick but gentle warmth and a healthy heat diffusion that doesn’t dry the air. Fluid-filled radiators take longer to reach the desired temperature but continue to warm for longer when turned off. They are robust and therefore resilient in challenging environments, subsequently their life expectancy is greater than panel heaters.

We worked on a solution for our customers as soon as we became aware of LOT 20. As providers of heating control systems since 1997 we welcome any rules that lead to greater energy savings and are pleased to be able to provide a cost-effective, efficient solution.

Heaters with integrated controls are more expensive and are often complicated and not very secure, therefore they take the brunt of the wear-and-tear as they are constantly being adjusted. If they become faulty, the whole heater needs to be replaced. Our controllers are robust and tamper-proof and in the unlikely event of there being an issue, we can simply replace the control rather than the whole heater. Separate controls also mean that new innovations and features can be applied to existing heating systems without the need to replace the panels – in a sense future-proofing the accommodation.

Glen Golding

Managing Director, Prefect Controls

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