GEC Nightstor boilers....
For years I've looked at old fashioned electric night storage Storage heaters
and thought they were a fundamentally good idea, spoiled by the lack of control
they offer. I've always thought it possible to use the same principle of using
ceramic bricks to store heat energy from low cost off peak electricity but to
use the energy to heat conventional water filled central heating radiators, but
I'd never seen it done. Then I was called in to repair a boiler called a
"GEC Nightstor". It turned out to be about 20 years old and exactly
the product I've been musing about all these years.
A large container of high density ceramic blocks in the GEC Nightstor is
heated by electric heater elements overnight, and during the day a fan runs to
transfer the heat energy into water via an air-to-water heat exchanger. The hot
water is then pumped around ordinary central heating radiators and the house
appears to the user to be heated in just the same way as if it had a gas boiler.
Here's a photo of one. The boiler is the large box about the size of a fridge
and the timer and control panel is the smaller box on the wall to the
The GEC Nightstor was made by GEC Engineering (Acrington) ltd. Sadly no-one
else thought the Nightstor was a brilliant idea and the company went into
administration long ago.
However, there is better news! A company called Hyndburn
Engineering Services Ltd appears to have been set up by ex-GEC
employees in Lancashire. They specialise in the GEC Nightstor and
one or two other electric thermal stores, and in particular their website offers
a national repair service for GEC Nightstor boilers for the astonishingly low
price of £85 plus parts and VAT. I can't imagine how they can do that and still
turn a profit...
The Hyndburn Engineering Services Ltd website
also says they supply spare parts for the GEC Nightstor which means that even if
it turns out they cannot send an engineer to your particular neck of the woods,
a repair by an interested local technician is probably still possible.
Here's a link to a page on the Hyndburn website that explains how the
Nightstor works in more detail. Link.
Has a nicer picture of one than mine, too!
Anyway I'm very taken with the idea of these. They would make a most
excellent replacement for the Gledhill Electramate. I make a good living from
repairing the Electramate (and similar) but as they grow older I see more and
more Electramates in absolutely dire condition. Until now I've found it difficult to think of
a viable boiler to suggest replacing a dying Electramate with. (Ok terrible
grammar, I know; "a preposition is something you should never end a
sentence with", as my dear English teacher Mrs Williams delighted in
reminding us constantly at skool. I expect she is dead now, sadly. Thank you Mrs Williams for learning
me to appreciate and even write proper English, when I can be bovvered)
Hmmm too much Beaujolais already tonight. Can you tell?