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DiscreteHeat: The overnight success that took 15 years

Ethan Wadsworth, Director of Sales and Marketing at DiscreteHeat, talks about how consumer interest in sustainable heating is creating a burgeoning market for the business.

Ethan Wadsworth
Director of Sales and Marketing
DiscreteHeat

People have said I must be so proud that ThermaSkirt has become this overnight success! I laugh and say: “I know! It’s only taken us 15 years!” Well, now is its time. All those years of hard work, toting a sample case from merchant to merchant and demonstrating the product at installer evenings, is finally paying off.

Back in 2011, I was driving round the country, and people thought a heated skirting board was a novel idea – a niche product to use when there was no alternative. All the hard work, the demonstrations, and trying to get our message across, taught me some pretty valuable lessons in winning hearts and minds.

The product has become easier and easier to sell because we now know what the industry needs, and because there’s been a huge shift in the market with all the talk of decarbonisation of the grid, net zero, removal of fossil fuels and getting rid of gas boilers. And that has put heating and hot water at the front and centre of the agenda for how we construct houses, plan renovations and update our existing heating systems, because it accounts for a large proportion of the energy use of any building.

Heating is at the top of the list because flow temperatures are coming down, and as with many heat pump installations, emitter sizes are increasing. Whilst we at DiscreteHeat have always said that radiators are an impractical way of heating a house, it’s been something that householders are used to, so they’ll live with it for now.

However, when you need to increase the size of radiators so they’ll work with the lower flow temperatures of a heat pump, it’s going beyond the threshold of what people can stomach, which is where ThermaSkirt comes into its own. As well as working brilliantly from an engineering perspective, it is also extremely aesthetically pleasing.

And it’s not just installers who are interested in finding out why ThermaSkirt is such a great product. We put up a video on Instagram recently that’s had nearly 20 million views, which means that householders are watching it too! Of course there are comments from detractors, but, you know, I’m happy to be ‘Marmite’, because Marmite still sells! When people actually understand how it works – a bit like underfloor heating, but without the disruption – they are pretty impressed and think “I’d like that in my house”!

Recently, installers have been asking me a question I’ve never heard before: “What’s the catch?”. That question tells me they’ve looked at the product but can’t find a fault with it, so there must be something else they’re missing. If I say it’s a bit more expensive than radiators, they say that’s not an issue, because bigger radiators are more expensive and also more difficult to hang because they’re heavier and need more space and stronger walls.

They have also asked why nobody else has thought of this? We’ve got the patent on the product in UK, Europe and America, which makes it a bit difficult for people to copy. Of course, we’re not so naïve as to believe that we won’t get copied eventually, but we have over 15 years of experience and are continually developing and innovating our technology.

Not too long ago, suitcases didn’t have wheels. Then someone said: “Wheels would make this heavy suitcase much easier to use”, and now it’s almost impossible to find a suitcase without wheels! I can see ThermaSkirt doing the same thing! I know it’s quite an audacious goal, but I’d like to think that, in the same way that we tell our grandchildren today about a phone that was in a fixed place with a rotary dial that you had to put your finger in and turn for each number, I’d like to have my grandkids on my lap and say “we used to have these things on the walls in houses called radiators”! And they’d laugh and wouldn’t believe us!

Our success is down to a little bit of luck, a little bit of timing and a lot of hard work and determination.

Find out more here or head to stand 5H25 at InstallerSHOW.

Register for your free ticket here.
 

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