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Infra-red heaters or HHR Storage Heaters

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I own a top floor tenement flat that I used to live in and then rented out after I married. It is currently empty whilst some work is being done. When I lived there I quickly ripped out the large brown/beige storage heaters as they were truely awful in terms of running costs, providing heat when needed and aesthetically. I would be woken up with a stuffy nose at about 5am, all the heat would be gone by 5pm in time for my return home and they cost a fortune to run. The fan/panel heaters I replaced them with were used only occasionally and I found them much cheaper and effective at keeping me warm. Maybe I'm one of those individuals who prefers it on the cooler side and doesn't think that a home is only the correct temp if you can walk around in shorts and a t-shirt; what's wrong with layering up? I was happy/comfortable enough.

Anyway tenants seem to have different expectations than me so I'm looking at providing some other form of heating for my flat. I have a a bias against storage heaters for the reasons given above but maybe the HHR ones are (much?) better. I'm intrigued by the infra-red heaters but don't seem to have found many/any reviews from real life domestic situations, so the jury's out.

The flat is stone/slate built with solid walls. External insulation is not possible. Internal wall insulation is mostly impractical in terms of disruption and cost. Although we are fitting 4" Celotex/Kingspan between the timber uprights in the lounge external wall & coom following the removal of the lathe & plaster before plasterboarding/skimming (there was a roof/chimney leak now sorted). We may have to remove the lathe/plaster and do the same to the external wall of the bedroom. The kitchen however is in ok nick and fully fitted against the external wall so no insulation is going to happen there. There is a communal drying loft, for which in theory, permission is required from all 8 property holders to do any work in or to (that didn't stop next door from installing a gas boiler up there), especially if expecting them to contribute financially. However I don't see anyone objecting too much if I pay for and insulate under the t&g flooring ie on to my ceiling in the 6" gap. However the thought of lifting boards and possibly having to extend/reroute wiring is putting me off. All my flat's wiring runs on top of my ceilings & down the wall spaces and I don't want to go burying wiring under insulation especially the immersion and shower cables.

My thoughts are go with the infra red panels and install them on the ceilings or in the lounge the cooms. It seems on cursory inspection to be cheaper to install and possibly more efficient to run and in any case I wouldn't be paying the bills. Also being out of reach?! hopefully less likely to be damaged by a tenant. The wiring for the old storage heaters is still there, capped off but OK to use if needed (electrician checked for the last EICR) but would probably have to be added to or replaced entirely as I believe that the more efficient ones require two supplies. Although there is gas to the property I don't want to go there due to the Scottish Government's policies and costs/responsibilities involved. As a landlord I try and provide the bare minimum of electrical equipment; washing machine, fridge/freezer and cooker that are all hard wired in with isolation switches above the work surface and latterly electric heaters. I operate at the lower end of the market, the flat is clean, solid and well presented but basic and very affordable. If I provide more/better of anything it will cost any future tenant more in rent.

Not only do I have 'short arms and deep pockets' ;) but spare money/cash is genuinely in short supply; there isn't a budget for this apart from spending as little as possible.

I would appreciate an electricians view on the options for electric heating given the circumstances. l apologise if this 'War & Peace' post is too much.


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