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Energy cost: Is it worth buying a back-up heater?

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Rush on electric heaters

Since August, several large appliance chains have noticed an increase in the purchase of electric convectors and oil-filled radiators. At Krëfel alone, on average, purchases for this type of product would be 2.5 times higher in August 2022 than in August 2021. Many made this choice on the assumption that the average annual gas bill (5,900 €) is still slightly cheaper than electricity (€3,200). So, is buying a back-up heater in anticipation of winter very useful in dealing with rising energy prices? We asked an expert.

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Auxiliary heating yes, but temporarily

“A back-up heater is very energy-intensive”explains Raphaël Beeckmans, technical director at Deridder, which specializes in the renovation and installation of heating, oil and gas boilers. “Obviously, since it is not an integrated, well-thought-out and well-considered solution, which uses renewable energies”. The choice is therefore not very rational according to him. However, he tempers that this kind of device can be useful during the off-season, for a temporary solution when you don’t want to turn on the heating yet.

Auxiliary heating can also be a good solution for those who have large volumes to heat. Just use it in a specific room like the bathroom, five minutes before taking a shower, or in the bedroom, just before taking refuge under the duvet, to have an instantly heated room. Especially since, according to the expert, heat loss occurs as quickly as with a conventional radiator. “But it is of course useless to connect auxiliary electric heaters to all-go to replace its radiators”he concludes.

Which model to choose?

Electric convectors and oil-filled radiators generally cost the least, have sufficient power to heat quickly locally with relatively low inertia. The best thing is to opt for convectors with the possibility of adjusting the power, so as not to have a default nominal power of 1,500W for example, but to be able to vary its consumption by starting at 750W, then 1,000W, then 1,500W and therefore decide on the emission power of its convector according to the temperature outside.

On the budget side, Test Achats reminds us that there are devices at all prices, from €10 to €400 depending on the type of device, the options (remote control, electronic screen, etc.) and the brand. As these devices are intended for occasional use, he does not advise investing in expensive and sophisticated models. “Appliances at €10 are perfect for living rooms, and at €20 for bathrooms”summarizes the site.

And on an environmental level? “You will consume electricity, a lot of electricity”warns Raphaël Beeckmans. “Because there is going to be a very high power call for a longer or shorter period of time, so obviously it’s not ideal.”

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