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Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

Last post Thu, Nov 05 2009, 9:43 AM by Mynewt. 15 replies.
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  •  Thu, Nov 05 2009, 9:43 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Yes insulation with this heating type (well in all cases really but more so here) is a must - otherwise you may as well open the door and toss your wallet on the street.

    Ideally you'd be wanting to turn the input to max so its stores all your heating and the output to off or its minimum setting while you're out of the property, whcih of course cna be increased when you return in the evening. The older type heaters controls are rather poor at best for heat management i'm afraid.

    Another possibility, is to enquire into Economy10 heating if you supplier supports this, this would provide you an additional 3 hours off-peak charge during the day. It may require some internal electrical work as well as the installation of a new meter. I would think long and hard about this and onyl take this step as an absolute must, as there are a number of cons to this sidea.

    1. You may have to pay for the change in metering.

    2. There are very limited pricing plans for Economy 10 and you will generally be unable to take advantage of many of the suppliers best deals.

    3. Equally not all usppliers support E-10 so your choice of porivder may also be restricted.

    • Post Points: 35
  •  Thu, Nov 05 2009, 8:59 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    babzie94:

    it is absolutely freezing in our house

    From what you say about your house being "freezing" its clear that the main problem is poor insulation. Gas heating work fine with poor insulation, it just costs, storage heating does not work with poor insulation.

    It has already been suggested that the old heater should be replaced with a new version. The improved output control in newer models is much better, however I cannot promise that you will be happy with the result.

    Would be worth doing a comparison test with your other heater(s). Set input to max and output to min and see how long they keep their heat. If longer, a new heater would be at least as good.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Wed, Nov 04 2009, 10:22 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Thanks for you advice, I now have another question...We decided to only put the living room storage heater on which is cooling down by about 9 oclock at night, and It then gets freezing in our house. It has been a bit colder weather over the past few days, but it is absolutely freezing in our house. The storage heaters get quite warm so they are hot to touch but not too hot to touch, the best heat is mid day but obviously we are at work and arnt getting the benefit? Lots of people tell me that storage heating is a good way to heat your house but we are finding it VERY difficult to use and actually impossible to keep our house livable, nevermind warm?? Are storage heaters not suppose to retain their heat for longer than what ours are? We are getting very tired of being freezing all the time. Your advice on this matter would be very helpful.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Mon, Oct 26 2009, 11:08 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Sorry i've not replied sooner, but after working all day with energy, I tend to take the weekends off or i'd go crazy (well more so than I am already). Very solid advice from Jalexa and Conman, not too much I can add, aside froms tressing the importance of replacing/updating the large Storage heater. The Input and Output controls are very important for managing your energy usage effeciently.

    Back when E7 was first established in the market, energy conservation was almost unheard of so there was little worry about storing 7 hours of heat and only using 1, which is why as you've seen on thsi older heater there aren't the required controls.

    With a new storage heater, not only will it be far more efficient, you'll have far greater control on the amount of heat you store (and thus pay for) as well as the energy your able to release. I suspect you'll see a drastic reduction from this one measure alone, let alone the other great advice and tips offered so far.

    You may (or maynot) be able to get grants and funding for the replacement depending on your personal circumstances, try googling for grants in your local area as well as looking up an organisation called warmfront, who may (or maynot) be able to help.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 8:39 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    thank you very much you have been an absolute star :)

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 8:31 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    I remember really cheap rubber ones my mum used to have when I was small and we didnt have a shower??Is there a more modern version of this?

    Argos £12.99

    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/8323703/c_1/1%7Ccategory_root%7CHome+and+furniture%7C14417894/c_2/2%7Ccat_14417894%7CBathroom+furniture%7C14418043/c_3/3%7Ccat_14418043%7CMixer+showers%7C14418052.htm

    Possibly even cheaper in your local open air markets.?

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 8:08 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Thank you very much for your advice and links. Especially the information about the hot water cylinder, we actually have a brand new insulation jacket still in the packet that my husband has still to put on the cylinder, so will get that done as soon as possible.

    The loft is very well insulated and all windows were new double glazed windows.

    We currently have an electric shower but may want to change this to use the water coming from the water cylinder? Is this possible, and is there any way for a quick fix to this where we can attach some kind of shower hose to the bath taps? I remember really cheap rubber ones my mum used to have when I was small and we didnt have a shower??Is there a more modern version of this?

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 7:30 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    babzie94:

    Our living room radiator has an 'input' control and a 'boost' control but no 'output' control. It also does look a bit older than the other two which have the 'input' and 'output' controls? Would this be costing us more?

    I think the boost is just an older name for the output control. Though it's probably a different model read about input and output (or boost) controls here...

    http://www.dimplex.co.uk/assets/product_instructions/XLS_N_Operating_Instructions_Issue_12.pdf

    The term "output" is a bit of a con. What the output control tries to do is to reduce the amount of heat released until later in the day or early evening when it is really wanted. If you find that the heaters are losing heat by early evening either the input is not high enough or the output is not low enough. Unfortunately I cannot say which.

    Regarding the hot-water cylinder, you only pay for the heat lost every day, not heating the whole cylinder. How good is the insulation jacket? In winter the heat is not wasted as it heats the room the tank is in.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's really important that the house is well insulated when using storage heaters. There are grants available from your energy supplier if it needs improving.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 6:42 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Our living room radiator has an 'input' control and a 'boost' control but no 'output' control. It also does look a bit older than the other two which have the 'input' and 'output' controls? Would this be costing us more?

    Also our water heater is automatically set to heat on the offpeak time but it heats an enitre huge tank of water, which we only use to wash our dishes, and for the very occasional bath, so it seems a bit of a waste of electricity to heat up something every single night to get very little use out of it?? Or would this not be that much money??

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 12:53 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    babzie94:

    what would be the best way to use these storage heaters?having all 3 on, or just 2?? it is just a small 3 bed house with only 2 of us living here.

    At the end of the day its partly about how warm you want to be and how much you want to spend.

    Only you can decide if its worth using a storage heater in the hall but I expect that heat lost from the living room would keep the chill off the hall. You can use the same argument about the storage heater in your bedroom. Do you really want to pay for heat all day when you are under a duvet for 8 hours and mostly out of the room. Nobody with gas central heating would have their radiators hot all night. Perhaps a (full price lecky) panel heater on a timer would be more cost effective. Up to you.

    Storage heaters available for at least the last ten years have had improved output controls which delay (well slightly) the release of the heat. Its not ideal that the living room heater is still charging at 04:30 because its really not that cold yet. I'm slightly worried from your description that your living room heater is on older model without output control. If so, it might be beneficial to replace it with a new model.

    There is not a simple answer, but its important to keep on top of the meter readings until you understand what it all costs.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 12:14 PM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    we have three storage heaters, one in the living room...a very big one, that is different to the other 2. We then have one very close next to the living room in the hall that is exactly like the one upstairs in our bedroom. We turned off the big one in the living room at half 4 this morning when we got up as that stopped the red light flashing so quickly, infact it went from flashing every 2 seconds to flashing every 20-30 seconds. But I reckon by this point the other 2 storage heaters had finished heating them selves up because they were smaller so they werent using any electricity.

    what would be the best way to use these storage heaters?having all 3 on, or just 2?? it is just a small 3 bed house with only 2 of us living here.

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 11:58 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Good news, at least you have an appropriate meter and tarriff for your heating requirements, that's once probelm avoided. Switching times are generally midnight to 7am but cna vary but as much as two either side. so long as the storage heaters have been wired up correctly it won't make a difference to the cost of their charge as they should only charge when the timeswitch in your clicks over to the off-peak rate.

    Equally great news regarding the provision of a new key, this would have as you said given you a clean slate so we're down to consumption and pricing. Can you take your meter readings at roughly the same time between now and monday so that we can get a rough idea of your usage.

    Additioanlly do you know how to effectively use your storage heating system? You will have two controlls on each heater an input (regulates by how much the heater charges) and an output (regulates how much of the stored heat is distributed over a given time). It is important that you balance each of these to your own needs.

    If you're not using the full heating potential of the heat you have stored then turn down the input so your not wasting electricity on storing heat you are not using.

    How many storage heaters do you have in the property?

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 11:50 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Yeh it is an Economy 7 tariff we are on. We were up at about half 4 this morning so had a check of the meter which is when we found out about the red light going wild with our bigger storage heater. By checking the meter this morning I found out we are being charged 16.71p per kwh during peak times and 6.42p per kwh during the economy 7 time...how do you find out exactly when this time happens??

    My husband phoned our supplier when we moved in, sorted out all the debts that were on it and got us a new key for the meter so started with a clear slate. According to the meter this morning when I checked there are no debts or anything left on the meter, and we are not being charged a daily or weekly rate. So is it just down to the kwh rate we are getting??

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 10:58 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    Did you contact your supplier to advise you were moving in? It is possible that the previous occupier left owing money to them which was being managed by the meter, it is also likely that if the property has been empty for a while prior to your occupnacy that a standing charge has beena ccrued but not cleared.

    Your supplier will be able to send or make arrangements for you to collect cards and keys to reset any debt that you are not entitled to pay. So if you haven't contacted them already do so immediately. (and don't rely on landlords/letting agents to do it for you).

    The flashing red light on your meter shows electricity being consumed in the property the faster the flash the more energy being used. I would also check with your supplier that you have some form of off-peak electrcity. Your storage heaters should charge over this time. (generally midnight to 7am on an economy-7 meter) so that the energy can be released during tyhe day i.e. they should not be drawing electrcity during the peak part of the day. If they are it might be worth contacting your landlord (or highing an electrician if you own the property) to ensure that the heating system has been wired correctly.

    There are other possible causes for this problem as well but are a little less likely, try these for now if they do not work report back :D

    How many readings to do you get on your meter? (you may have to push a button to see the other readings)

    • Post Points: 50
  •  Fri, Oct 23 2009, 10:53 AM

    Re: Prepayment meters taking loads of money??

    babzie94:

    We have organised for the prepayment meter to be changed to a monthly direct debit bill, will this make much of a differnce or will we just be usingt he same amount of electricity?

    The technical answer is you will be using exactly the same amount of electricty but I presume what you want to know is will it cost you less.

    A. Probably but to answer accurately you need to work out how many kWhrs you are using and the price per unit (or kWhr).

    You should be able to interrogate your prepayment meter to find out the answer to these questions. Ask your supplier how if you are stuck. The credit meter rates are found from the tariff you are going to switch to. Again ask the supplier if you are stuck.

    £100/month is not necessarily an untypical cost for an all-electric house. Depends a lot of how warm you keep it and how well (or badly) the house is insulated. Get into a habit of taking regular meter readings until you get a handle on your consumption.

    Since you have storage heaters you should be getting an Economy 7 tariff.

    • Post Points: 35
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