Mike the Boilerman -
Your Gas Safe Registered boiler
and central heating repair technician for
London, Thames Valley and south coast
(Please note I don't repair this boiler. I write about it purely as an obsolete curiosity.)
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. Brilliant!
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 right.
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!
However, if you have one of these please don't call me, I don't repair them or carry any parts in stock. Call the people who know them in detail, Hyndburn Engineering Services Ltd. Click the link above for their contact details. (I have no connection with them other than having spoken to them on the phone once, to check they are still trading.)
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Copyright Michael Bryant 2019
Site first published 16th January 2004
Last updated 7th March 2019
Gas Safe Register 197499, CIPHE registration number 56207