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Central heating broken - what heaters to buy to tide us over?

(18 Posts)
Lilipot15 Fri 18-Dec-15 20:50:12

I won't go into the long saga, suffice to say we are presently without hot water or heating. System made safe, leak stopped.

Luckily it's mild tonight, but please could I have some advice about what heaters would be best to keep house comfortable. At least whilst we get organised for the unplanned stay away for Christmas that is looking likely. Need to find all those pressies, pack up kids things etc and generally get organised so we may be here for a day or so yet. Hoping we might shower at neighbours for a short period!

Wigeon Fri 18-Dec-15 20:56:32

We just had the same thing, and have found that oil filled radiators are good. They aren't that expensive (Argos, Screwfix), and do warm up a room. Also I like the fact that they don't actually blow warm air around and they feel like less of a a fire hazard because you don't have to worry about children draping things on them, or dropping things onto a hot element.

Yes, friends with a hot shower are a god-send! Also going swimming so you can have a shower!!

purpledasies Fri 18-Dec-15 20:58:12

You don't have an emertion on the hot water tank do you? We have one we never normally use but was very useful when the boiler broke.

You can hire the calour gas heaters I think, which might be cheaper. Otherwise electric heaters are fairly cheap. Don't go for ones that say how cheap they are to run. Go for maximum wattage.

Lilipot15 Fri 18-Dec-15 21:07:39

Thank you. I did have an oil filled radiator for just this situation but I think it was one of the things that got binned in the pre-move clear out.

I assume we don't have an immersion as the emergency British Gas home care guy has been out and seemed quite concerned to escalate things so that we might get a repair before Christmas. He wrote that we have "vulnerable people" in the house (I assume meaning the young kids but quite possibly me as I am frazzled and looking like crap grin) so I hope he'd have thought of the immersion heater if it had been there!

purpledasies Fri 18-Dec-15 21:57:01

An immersion heater won't run your central heating I don't think, so it'd still be urgent to get you boiler fixed. I think most hot tanks have one though so it might give you hot water if you do. Worth checking.

Might also be worth seeing if anyone can lend you a heater for a week or two.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Dec-15 22:34:07

if you have a hot water cylinder, it will quite likely have an electric immersion heater. Look for a round, black plastic or grey metal cap with a thick flex coming off it, usually on the domed top of the cylinder. The flex would run to a switch on the wall. A very useful thing to have as it will give you hot water while the thermostat is out of order.

This winter has so far been very mild so the supermarkets and DIY sheds have not yet sold out of electric heaters (in a cold snap, the shelves will be cleared in a couple of days).

Oil-filled radiators are much safer than fan heaters, and give a slower, more even heat. Look for one with a hi/lo switch and a thermostatic knob. 1kW will keep a bedroom reasonable. 3kW will heat an average living room. A heater at each end will keep the room more evenly comfortable than a single heater. Integral timeclocks tend to go wrong.

Check prices and availability in Argos, Tesco and Screwfix.

The brand and price has no effect on heat output. All electric heaters give out exactly the same amount of heat per unit of electricity. Sellers of high priced magic may try to tell you otherwise.

PigletJohn Fri 18-Dec-15 22:35:04

"A very useful thing to have as it will give you hot water while the boiler is out of order."

GinIsTheBestChristmasSpirit Fri 18-Dec-15 22:37:31

We got oil radiator from screw fix. They are brilliant. We have the timer ones and no issues. They were under £50 as well

Lilipot15 Fri 18-Dec-15 22:42:41

Thank you for the advice, especially PigletJohn. I shall be shopping tomorrow and we will investigate. It is a thermal storage tank though and I think it's actually that that is broken rather than the boiler, now I am feeling a bit calmer about the whole situation.

DangermouseandPenfold2015 Fri 18-Dec-15 23:00:41

My Tescos had oil filled radiators for £29 this morning.

bankerror Fri 18-Dec-15 23:04:38

I'm in similar position but only one room (radiator not working). What about convection heaters - how do they compare to oil filled rads?

bankerror Fri 18-Dec-15 23:05:57

Ps I feel your pain - this happened to us one Xmas and it took 3 months to fix. No immersion heater either. We did a lot of swimming ...... Fortunately its not too cold atm.

Floralnomad Fri 18-Dec-15 23:07:07

When my mum lost her gas supply last December ( BG had to dig up pipes on the drive for a leak ) they provided her with 2/3 fan heaters to tide her over ,did they not offer you any ?

PigletJohn Fri 18-Dec-15 23:27:05

ah, a thermal store probably doesn't have an immersion heater.

Katarzyna79 Fri 18-Dec-15 23:45:09

if your rooms aren't too big the oil filled radiators will heat the room quickly go for max watt. Argos catalogue explain how big a room is needed for each type of heater, read their guide in the electric section.

if your rooms are larger or you have high ceilings oil filled ones wont work at all with the cold. Convector heaters work better go for the highest wattage they usually have controls anyway.

fan heaters seem worthless, i always feel cold as soon as theyre off and theyre the most expensive to run, or least that's what i think followed by convectors and oil heaters being the least.

Lilipot15 Sat 19-Dec-15 07:37:16

Thanks all. Will look at Argos info before we shop.

Does anyone know about risks if we go away and leave it unheated? I thought it was advised to leave some heating on to avoid burst pipes? Feel a bit anxious about this, but doubt these radiators we are about to buy have timers....equally no hot water with two kids under two is going to be a nightmare. A neighbour is about to go away so I think I'll just be bold and ask if we can use their bathroom if we stay here!!

PigletJohn Sat 19-Dec-15 11:20:35

if they have thermostatic knobs, turn them down low. Before you go away you can experiment by doing that overnight, to see what temp the room is at by morning.

Put one in the room where your expensive heating pipes are. Hopefully the boiler and thermal store are inside the heated house, which takes a long time to freeze, and not in an outdoor shed or loft.

As the boiler has a flue to the outside, it is possible for cold winds to blow in, so have a heater nearby.

It is a good idea to turn off the main stopcock when you go away in winter. If you have a water meter there will probably be a blue T handle on it that screws down. I presume you do not have a loft tank. If you do, turn off the stopcock first, then turn on the bath tap (preferably the cold one, if it is fed from the tank). Tanks are very big and unlikely to freeze, but this means that in the unlikely event of a pipe bursting, it will not leak out lots of water from the tank. So instead of a major flooding disaster, you just need a minor plumbing repair.

Your house is very unlikely to freeze if it is just unoccupied for a few days, or if the heating is on low while you are away. I've had a burst pipe in the loft, though.

Lilipot15 Sat 19-Dec-15 19:36:00

Thank you PigletJohn, several rooms quite cosy with oil radiators. Neighbours letting us use their bathroom for showering. So we might not go away anyway.

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