Posted on 2nd March 2018
With over 12 years’ experience of providing Electric Heating and Hot Water products across the UK. EHC have assisted on many projects where Electric Heating and Electrical Infrastructure reviews have been undertaken in high-rise buildings (Flats, Multi Stories, Tower Blocks and Sheltered Housing Complexes). For several projects the driver for an Electric Heating and Infrastructure upgrade has been concerns over the safety of ageing electric night storage heating systems. For example the accumulation of dust and objects in the filters and fans of storage heaters, and the total potential electrical load being placed on the infrastructure of the high-rise building.
EHC recommend regular electrical safety checks are undertaken on all Electric Heating and Hot Water systems. In particular fan assisted Electric Storage Heaters and Unvented Hot-Water Cylinders. The former will ensure that fans and filters on Electric Storage Heaters are not blocked which could lead to over-heating and become a potential fire hazard. A physical visit of a Tenants property would also allow visual inspections to be undertaken to ensure there are no other potential Electrical Safety concerns arising. An example of safety concerns would be clothes or other objects being placed on top of heaters.
As is required by regulations, servicing of Unvented Hot Water Cylinders should be undertaken annually and EHC would recommend Councils and Social Landlords ensure this has been done.
EHC have assisted on projects where the total potential electric load demand has reached such a level that there were concerns on the capability of the electrical infrastructure. Whilst Electric Night Storage Heaters are designed to operate when electrical demand is at its lowest. The increasing amount of additional electrical appliances being operated today will effect the total potential electrical load demand in each property resulting in a possible rise to an unsafe level. With the proliferation of electric appliances, Tenants may have a TV, PC/Games Console, cooker, fridge, freezer, shower, hoover and additional instantaneous electric heating appliances all potentially operating at the same time.
A solution to reducing the total potential electric load demand has been to replace the Electric Night Storage Heaters with a Direct Acting Electric Heating System. This change has been favored as old Electric Night Storage Heaters are often specified such that the electrical heater load (kW rating) of storage heaters is greater than that of a direct acting Electric Radiator. For example, a property with a living room floor area of 16m² and 2 outside walls (no cavity insulation) had 5kW of old electric storage heating installed however a Direct Acting Electric Heating system (using a low insulation factor of 0.045 and standard ceiling height) required a heating load of just 1.75kW.
A Direct Acting Electric Heating system, such as EHC German Electric Combination radiators, can be controlled in the same manner as a gas central heating system. The Tenant can program the system such that it heats only the rooms they require at specific times during the day. This helps manage the electrical load demand at ‘peak’ times during the day and gives Tenants a more controllable heating system. Further, this type of direct acting Electric Heating often allows a Tenant to dispose of expensive Electric Panel Heaters or fires they previously used to augment the temperature of their home.
Safety is also at the core of such a direct acting Electric Heating System as thermal cut-outs built into the Radiator ensure it does not over heat if covered by clothing or other objects.
Finally, as part of any Electric Heating and Electrical Infrastructure review all Councils and Social Landlords should undertake an extensive program of Tenant (re)education on safety in their home and good practice in using Electric Heating appliances. A comprehensive electrical safety check and Tenant education program will go a long way to ensuring high-rise buildings are a safe environment for Tenants to live in and that they have peace of mind living there.
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Once again many thanks from the residents and from myself.
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