Richard Brown, MD of Electrorad, talks us through the latest trends in electric panel heaters and radiators, and explains what electricians need to be aware of to keep up with the pace of change.
Not too long ago, electric panel heaters and radiators were viewed merely as functional appliances used to heat our homes and to take the chill off draughty spaces. However, times have changed, and having evolved rapidly over recent years, today’s models not only provide a stylish addition to any home – thanks to a wealth of designs, sizes, and colours – they provide freedom, flexibility, and the ultimate in energy management too.
Ever since homeowners first bought into the concept of being able to wirelessly control key aspects of their home and mirror their lifestyle, electric radiators in particular have been quick to offer the flexibility of smart controls and energy savings. And, with statistics from MTW Research suggesting that 50% of consumers are likely to install smart heating products in their homes over the next five years, this trend looks set to continue.
However, it’s the impact of forthcoming legislation that’s setting the pace for new product trends and technologies, with products becoming even more advanced and sophisticated.
That’s your Lot
The new legislation, or namely Eco Design Lot 20, comes into effect on 1st January 2018, and will dictate that all local space heaters (electric panel heaters and radiators included) must feature intelligent timers and controls in order to comply with a minimum efficiency standard. Any heaters or radiators manufactured after that date must be compliant, and must provide percentage compliance scores based on the amount of energy saving features they have quite simply, the more features, the higher the score.
In order to meet the deadline, manufacturers are working hard to modify and develop their products to ensure compliance. This translates into more energy saving and control features to be incorporated as standard. These will include: accurate room thermostat controls, 24/7 timing controls, virtual open window sensors, adaptive start control (learning when to turn on to achieve optimum comfort), and distance control – a WiFi based app control.
Reputable manufacturers such as Electrorad have been working well ahead of the legislation to ensure products are compliant in advance of the deadline. As a result, they’re set to take radiators to new technological heights with the launch of a new range that will include voice control compatible with Amazon’s Alexa – the voice server and intelligent personal assistant that enables voice interaction and connectivity with other devices. For the ultimate in remote control, the new range can be controlled simply by asking Alexa to turn a radiator on/off and even change temperatures.
Other smart features that will be included in the range are: Geofencing, which automatically activates the radiators when the homeowner is a set distance from the home; an Adaptive Start function that learns when to activate the heating to the required temperature at the required time; and an inbuilt RF chip with a signal can that can ‘hop’ four times to increase the range and reach remotely-sited radiators.
Panel heaters are becoming more sophisticated too. Still retaining all their appeal of an affordable heating solution, they’ll now include more intelligent controls and energy saving features in order to meet Lot 20 compliance.
Over to the panel
With this in mind, Electrorad is set to unveil a range of panel heaters that will include energy management controls and, unlike most other models, they can be programmable to switch on at various times throughout the day, and at different temperatures too. Also aiding the efficient consumption of energy, the new range will feature an Intelligent Control System to enable the heater to configure its connection times by adapting to the temperature of the home according to the season. Top-placed digital programmable controls, an energy consumption monitor, open window function, and a Proportional Regulating System for high performance, are just some of the sophisticated features that will star in this latest range.
Therefore, as products become more advanced, greater care will need to be given when choosing electric radiators. Whilst some will incorporate just a few of the energy saving functions, others will include all of them – the key will be to look for the highest possible compliance score and help your customers to enjoy improved comfort and control, with reduced energy bills too. Now that’s smart!