Friday Faithfuls: Bricks as Energy Storage Devices

Green Energy is Jim’s subject today and you can read his post here

Here are my thoughts:

The original night storage heaters were bricks that retained the heat after ‘charging’ at the cheaper periods called Economy 7, though those seven cheaper hours varied per supplier. I’ve never had NS heating so cannot comment as to whether it was efficient or not, though from my understanding, your home would be warmest at night and cooling down during the day until the recharging started again at 11pm or whenever at night.
It was not on the tick list when we looked for property though, especially as it was expensive to replace for a system with radiators and a boiler.
Our house is brick and very well insulated so it is cheap to run. In the Summer, it can be like an oven, but we have gas central heating, and set our temperature for 18 degrees C in the winter which is perfectly comfortable for us.
With the current energy crisis, we are thinking of an alternative, and bottled gas is being considered as both our boiler and cooker can be converted. Electricity is expensive, and our weekly consumption is only 23 Kwh all year. Having electric central heating is out of the question and the heat pumps the government are pushing are expensive to install, not as efficient as gas or oil, if they work at all, and even more expensive to run.
We had oil heating in the cottage and it was efficient as well as economical for us, so we could explore that.

Solar panels are also expensive to install, and if you invite a company to install them, you need to read the small print on the contract as you may not own the panels, won’t get free electricity which so many people were led to believe as it goes to the National Grid which you then buy back at a discounted rate, and you may not even own your roof anymore that the panels are installed upon.
However, should you own the solar panels and are not tied into a company contract, this can work out quite cheaply once you have the necessary addition of an intelligent inverter (like we had on the boat). You would also have an automatic switch that would divert any surplus to the National Grid after your home took priority, or if your solar panels were not generating enough energy, then the switch would allow energy from the National Grid into your home and that is what you’d pay for. (This is Hubby’s input as it’s something he has looked into and there are different types of systems, so it’s not as straightforward as one might originally think and the kit required is quite sophisticated).

IMO Green energy is a misconceived and impractical idea in current times. Our shoreline is a mass of wind turbines, well over 300 at the last count, but if the wind doesn’t blow, no power is generated. If it blows too much, they turn the damn things off!
Inland less than a mile away, we have 16 turbines and groups of 8 to 14 elsewhere in the area.

TPTB are not thinking it all through and the knock on effects of supply and demand, availability, infrastructure, or cost to consumers has not been considered. That is not to say it cannot be achieved, just not in the timeframe TPTB are intending. Too little has been done too late, and ‘catch up’ isn’t going to work.

We have a perfectly good boiler and central heating system which on our current tariff costs us £350 a year to run (we are fixed until October 2023, but even allowing for the horrendous hikes of 54% this past April and another 64% planned in October this would be around £890 pa) so why rip it out and replace it with something that will cost us £15000 – £20000 to install in the first place and twice our projected costs to run?
Our electricity, again fixed, is about £300 pa, so applying the same increases will be about £760, so our energy bill will equate to £1650 at least compared to £650 combined now. My budget for 2023/24 is £1800 but I will have to do some tweaking on other things to achieve that.
We don’t have that kind of money to spare for such installations and the government aren’t going to help us, as their grants, if they still exist, don’t come close to cover it.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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9 Responses to Friday Faithfuls: Bricks as Energy Storage Devices

  1. willowdot21 says:

    It’s a real conundrum isn’t it. We had night storage heaters when we lived in Devon….they were useless. 💜💜

  2. You need to be commended Di for all of the research that you put into writing this post.

    • To be honest, it’s things we’ve looked into or experienced over the years. When we lived in the cottage, a guy a mile down the road had a single wind turbine in his garden. He needed planning permission to put it there, and could only run it dawn to dusk.
      We had a small multi fuel burner in the cottage which generated 5 kw of heat. It was brilliant for keeping the lounge cosy and as the bedrooms were all off the lounge, those too. We didn’t burn wood because of the tar factor, but smokeless pellets which were great. We’d bank the fire up for the night and it would last for about 14 hours, the pellets keeping their shape even when just ash. We’d love to put one in here, but there’s no room plus we’d have to have it installed by an expert which would set us back about five grand.

  3. Carol anne says:

    I had electric heaters when I was living in an apartment for 3 years, before I moved in to my bungalow. I hated them. Xx

    • In the council house where I was born, we had a coal fire in the lounge and that was all. We kept warm in the winter with loads of blankets and an electric fire which was put on half an hour before we went to bed.

  4. Nope, Not Pam says:

    We had solar installed recently, but yesterday we were notified that they are increasing our evening rates and decreasing our rebate rate. Hubby is furious and talking about disconnecting and going off the grid 🙄

  5. murisopsis says:

    We are at the point of unplugging everything when not in use! (exception is the refrigerator and TV) everything else is unplugged as they all draw a little bit of electricity even when not in use!

    • Don’t keep your TV on standby as that takes quite a bit too.
      Hubby has just read that energy bills could soar to £4000 in October. This is just getting so out of hand. They will kill us all as no-one except the very rich will be able to heat their homes.

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