25 October 2011

Typical night storage heating system by Sparks

PHOTOS OF a night storage heating system with three radiators that I installed in October 2011.

The storage radiators are supplied by a Spanish electrical manufacturer called Elnur, the models pictures are the Gabbaron ADS 168/14 especially designed to be used with a time-of-day rates tariff such as Iberdrola´s Day And Night Energy Plan. There are seven models in the ADS/14 range and they come in variety of widths up to 99 cm wide (twice the size of the ones in photos) and look very stylish. The ADS 168/14 is the model generally suitable for average size room, the dimensions are 54 cm wide, 72.5 cm high, and 16.5 cm deep. They are controlled very simply by setting the charge and discharge controls on the top.

Note how no cabling is exposed. The system is wired completely separately to everything else in the house because the radiators are controlled by a time clock. I use the existing conduit network installed in the property to wire the additional cables to an electrical point or junction box. This avoids any exposed cabling. Then I mount the radiators at that point. Only when a radiator is required where there is not an electrical point available does the client have to consider chasing the wall or alternatively mounting surface PVC trunking.

The bottom photo shows a newly installed electrical box above the radiator fitted next to the existing Consumer Unit on the right side, used for the switches and controls. Sometimes there is space available in the Consumer Unit to mount these, but generally I have to fit an additional box.

A standard Sparks night storage central heating system with 3 x Gabbaron ADS168/14 radiators includes the controller and wiring. The radiators are timed-controlled to come on only during the off-peak times, when electricity is half price. During the off-peak period the radiators heat up and store ample heat to thoroughly heat your property 24/7. 

27 March 2011

Iberdrola's zero tolerance policy for non-payment of electricity bills

IBERDROLA'S ZERO tolerance policy with overdue electricity bills is simply ruthless. Iberdrola don't mail warning letters or disconnection notifications, they simply cut you off. 

It's no good pleading ignorance or "it's the banks fault!". If Iberdrola do not receive payment they disconnect your electric meter and leave you with a little orange sticker. In the centre of the photo is where the electricity meter once resided, unfortunately, this was the second time round in little over a year for this household. The collection of orange stickers is testament to non-payment.

The consequence of non-payment and having your electric meter disconnected is that Iberdrola will require a new contract for an electricity supply. This may involve obtaining a new boletin (electrical installation certificate). The worst case scenario is you could end up having to rewire your home just because your didn't pay the electricity bill

Don't get caught out, don't take a direct debit for granted. Regularly check your bank account to ensure the electricity bill has been paid.


POST SCRIPT ... a few days later, International Sparks to the rescue, and we arranged for a new Smart Meter to be fitted for our client

18 February 2011

Night Storage Central Heating

A NIGHT storage heating system is designed to take advantage of the economic benefits of the Day And Night Energy tariff. The storage heaters consume electricity only during the low-rate period providing 24/7 of controllable heating. 

Advantages of a night storage central heating system;

● Provides heating 24 hours a day – fully automated 

● Instant savings – using the night tariff reduces electricity by shifting consumption of washing machines,
fridge freezers, dishwashers, water heaters, pool pumps, lighting, etc. to the cheaper night rate 

● Heaters are specially designed to adapt to the new Day & Night Energy tariff – low power consumption, high energy output. 

● Easy installation, no building work required – cables are installed in existing conduit networks, no exposed cables. 

● Green – uses clean energy, heaters do not emit fumes 

● Aesthetically very advanced 

● Virtually no maintenance 

Running Cost

The Day And Night Energy tariff offers cheaper electricity for 14 hours per day at 6.09 cents per kWh, compared to the standard rate of 14.01 per kWh... THAT'S 56.53% LESS. The remaining 10 hours are charged at 16.87 (charges do not include IVA). Offer valid up to 31st March 2011.

Night Tariff Times (cheap rate) 
22:00 – 12:00 during the winter. Forward one hour during the summer. 

The ADS Night Storage Heater 
The Gabarron ADS night storage heater with dual sensor is the model of choice installed by Sparks. They
are equipped with high density refractory accumulation bricks, allowing them to accumulate maximum energy at night and effectively emit heat during the day. 

A wide range of models are available, all are only 16.5 cm deep, with seven sizes to accommodate the thermal needs of any room. Charging and discharging of the heat is regulated by controls on the top of the heater. A thermostat controls the electricity to switch off once the bricks are heated to the desired temperature. Used properly in a well planned facility it is able to maintain the desired comfort level throughout the day. 

All models come with a 2-year guarantee 

A general installation for a 2-3 bedroom house consists of 3 x Gabarron ADS-168/14 storage heaters, a time controller together with all the associated wiring, plus arranging the Day And Night Energy contract with Iberdrola 

Power consumption 2.7 kW, running cost 16.44 cents per hour ... compare that to a 3 kW electric heater on the standard kWh rate for 42.03 cents per hour.
(all costs calculated on the kWh rate at the time of posting)

11 February 2011

Upgrading an Electricity Supply

More ICP Switch concerns

IBERDROLA ARE writing to their customers instructing them to fit an ICP (power control switch) or face being charged a higher electricity tariff. A Royal Decree (Order ITC/1.857/2008) passed on July 1st 2008 declared that by law all electrical installations must have a device for controlling the contracted power. In domestic dwellings that means an ICP must be fitted. I previously posted an article explaining the whys and what's, plus the costs involved.

The Iberdrola website is reasonably clear about the new requirements. Unfortunately, there has been some cases of “the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing” when it comes down to informing their staff about the new legislation. One of my customers visited the Iberdrola office in Pilar de Horadada only to asked if they could photocopy the article that I produced for the RTN newspaper so they could “check up on it”. 

Further to the FAQ's posted on the Iberdrola website, there is one useful piece of information they omitted; if you have a power limiter (ICP-A reenganche automatico) in your meter cupboard you may not need to fit the new ICP switch. These 'old' limiters are now obsolete, and can be easily identified by the manufacturers name, Lemag, on the front cover. The ICP-A was first introduced in 1980 (Mo de Industra Energia, 5 Mar 1980) and was fitted in meter cupboards up until the mid 90's (est.). One method to identify whether or not you have an ICP-A type power limiter fitted to your installation is; if you have a lot of appliances switched on at the same time and the electricity cuts off, but then comes back on automatically after few minutes like an Act of God without any 'tripping-out' in your Consumer Unit, then you have a remote power limiter, which should satisfy Iberdrola. 

In order to fit the new ICP (sometimes referred to as an ICP-M) you must have a standardised box. This maybe a dedicated compartment in your existing Consumer Unit, or a separate box mounted next to your Consumer Unit. In both cases, Iberdrola must be able to seal the box, ensuring the ICP is tamper proof. 

For properties with a digital meter, Iberdrola have no plans to use a power control facility incorporated with these meters, therefore they do not qualify as an ICP switch. A national plan to to replace all existing mechanical meters with digital meters in Spain by the end of 2018 has no bearing on ICP's. 

A possible consequence of installing an ICP is that insufficient power maybe contracted, if you need additional power you will need a new upgraded contract.

If you have not received a letter but want to find out if you need to have an ICP fitted, contact Iberdrola tel. 901 10 22 10, and quote your contract number on the top right-hand corner of your electricity bill.