This question has no easy answer. It depends on what expensive means to you and a lot of other factors we’ll discuss below in this article.
We can’t give you a straight figure right now that would apply to any UK home, but we can help you with an easy to make cost analysis that you can apply for your own needs. That way, you can estimate the end costs depending on particular details that regard your own home.
However, we assure you will get an answer by the end of this article, with plenty of examples and figures to satisfy your hunger for numbers.
Why Can’t I Get A Straight Answer Now?
Electric radiators entail unpredictable costs because they work differently than other household appliances.
How do electric radiators work compared to your washing machine, computer, or TV?
These three other appliances use up energy only when you turn them on. You turn them off, and they stop using electricity.
Electric radiators start and stop by themselves at hard to predict times.
These appliances have internal thermostats that activate to maintain a set temperature in your home. If you could anticipate their working time over 24 hours, you could deduce whether they’re cost effective or not.
How Much Do Electric Radiators Cost to Run?
You won’t get an exact figure here either, but you will understand how you can calculate one for your own.
The problem with this question is that it’s too general to get a good answer. A better question would be “how much does an electric radiator cost to run in the small insulated living room of my detached house, where I prefer a constant temperature of 20ᵒ?”
Now you’re beginning to see the factors that influence how efficient are electric radiators.
Older properties have less insulation when compared with newer properties, so the radiators in these homes have to start more frequently to compensate for the heat loss.
Room Area And Height
There are two things to take into account here:
For a constant room area, a high ceiling can make all the difference because hot air travels up, so it takes longer to mingle with the cold air and create a pleasant overall temperature.
A huge room area takes longer to get warm because heat travels in circles in a convection spiral.
Many people with big rooms and tall ceilings think that electric radiators are not efficient, when, in fact, they need a bigger-wattage radiator or need to wait more time for their rooms to become warm enough.
What “Warm” Means To You
Your idea of comfort influences how cost-efficient a radiator will be in your home:
When You Turn It On
If you’re working a 9 to 5 job and only turn the radiator for a few hours during the evening before squeezing under a warm blanket, you will pay less.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent, a freelancer, or simply someone who wants to be greeted by a warm home, you will pay more.
Also, take into account that your radiator will probably be turned on more during the weekend if you like sitting around the house.
During the warm months of summer or spring, electric radiators cost less because you either turn them on less frequently, or they achieve a pleasant temperature faster.
During winter, electric radiators will start more frequently to outbrave the freezing temperatures outside that account for an increased heat loss.
Your electric radiators will consume more energy even during the warm months, especially when it’s raining or windy for a few days.
How Much Exposure Your Home Gets
Your home is a fortress. And, much like a medieval fortress, it can get very cold if it’s set on a north-facing hill where the cold air can get to it from all sides.
The radiator will cost more to run if:
The radiator will cost less to run if:
Are Electric Radiators Any Good? How To Calculate Their Costs
Now you’re getting to the good part. Let’s see how you can estimate the monthly fees for your radiator:
Radiator’s kW * hours * price of kWh * 30 = monthly cost of your radiator
Now it’s all up to you. How many hours will you keep the radiator on? How often will it turn on and off to adjust to the temperature in your room?
The “Hours” variable is a subjective one because it takes into account all the factors we discussed above.
Let’s take an example.
You buy an 800W radiator. You turn it on four hours every day after getting back from the office during the weekdays and eight hours every day during the weekend.
The price of a kWh is currently approximately 12p to 13p depending on the provider.
So the potential cost of your radiator will be at least 0.8 * 4 * 12 * 30 = 11.52 GBP and at most 0.8 * 4 * 13 * 30 = 12.48 GBP.
However, the radiator costs more during the weekends. You have at least eight weekend days per month, during which you pay double. So add at least 0.8 * 4 * 12 * 8 = 3.07 GBP and at most 0.8 * 4 *13 * 8 = 3.32 GBP to the end result, which gets you an interval of 14.59 GBP to 15.80 GBP per month.
15 GBP per month to get your home warm tells you that electric radiators are an affordable way to keep warm.
Remember that your preferred room temperature and the season will also influence how often the radiator will automatically start during the intervals in which it’s on.
As such, you might get to pay as little as 3 to 5 GBP per month for a warm home.
You can also work in different ways to get your home more insulated or to change your daily habits to reduce the overall electricity costs.
But now that you’re here, what do you think? Is an electric radiator expensive to run for your home? Which radiator are you thinking to purchase?