As time passes the Electramate is proving to be unreliable and expensive-to-fix, with many dissatisfied owners. I am frequently asked with what to replace an Electramate to improve reliability. There are several firms making thermal stores now to compete with Gledhill but like the Electramate, they all seem to be rather clumsily designed and complicated to either install or to use (or both), so I'm not inclined to recommend any of them.
Now one thing I notice about Electramates is how often users tell me they rarely or never use the central heating function. This appears to be because they are nearly always installed in modern apartments with first class insulation and a degree of solar gain, which leads to very little heating demand. Consequently, when replacing an expired Electramate my thinking has moved on from recommending a 'like-for-like' replacement, and now I think the best option is a simple Gledhill Pulsacoil ECO Stainless thermal store to provide off-peak low cost high performance hot water, along with a 'direct heating' electric boiler to heat the central heating radiators if and when required.
The direct-heating type of electric boilers have a reputation for being fearsomely expensive to run because they burn daytime price electricity during the day (instead of storing off-peak energy like the Electramate), but given the low heating demands of a typical modern apartment although the running costs will be higher, they will still be low in absolute terms. The benefit of the direct heating electric central heating boiler being simplicity, a feature sorely missing from the Electramate!
So, which direct heating electric boiler do I suggest pairing with a new Pulsacoil ECO Stainless when replacing an Electramate? There are plenty of them out there on the market but many are by companies I've never heard of. No problem while they are working correctly but when a boiler by a smaller firm breaks down, it's not uncommon the find the firm no longer exists so neither technical support nor spare parts can be obtained. This narrows down the field substantially, leaving only the Trianco Aztec electric boiler and the Heatrae Sadia Amptec to choose from.
There is also the “Heatrae Sadia Electromax” as a possible candidate. This is a combined unit providing both central heating and mains pressure hot water so at first sight seems a good option. Unfortunately the hot water is provided by an unvented hot water cylinder inside which usually cannot be installed easily due to the requirement for a large diameter metal overflow pipe (or more accurately a 'safety discharge pipe) running to outside. Electramates are usually installed in the middle of the flat so installing the safety discharge pipe can prove impossible.
Heatrae Sadia Electromax
Copyright Michael Bryant 2020
Site first created 31st December 2006
Last updated 2nd February 2020
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