Gas vs Electric Heating: Why You Should Switch

If it’s time to replace your boiler, or you’re just planning ahead for when it needs to be replaced, you’ll need to decide which heating system is best for you. Now is the perfect time to switch to a low or zero carbon emission heating system.

Why Your Source of Heating Is Important

Over 50% of the fuel bills are spent on heating and hot water in a typical UK home. Choosing an energy efficient heating system that is easily controllable can help to reduce your fuel bills, and reduce your carbon emissions.

The average household generated 2690kg of carbon dioxide from space and hot water heating in 2020. If we are to reach the net zero carbon emissions target set by the UK Government, we need to reduce this to just 140kg per household by 2050.

Gas Heating Pros and Cons

Gas central heating is a ‘wet system’ – a gas fired boiler that heats water to provide central heating and hot water. Around 86% of homes in the UK have a gas central heating system, however the government have plans to ban gas and oil boilers in new build homes from 2025.

At the time of writing, there are no plans to ban replacement gas boilers in existing homes. The UK Government have said that it plans to phase out gas boiler installation beyond 2035 – but to reach net zero in the UK by 2050, we will have to cut our gas use significantly.

Pros

Doesn’t Take Long to Heat

Pressurised gas systems, such as combi boilers and system boilers, usually heat up within 10 to 15 minutes. These systems force water through your radiators at a much higher pressure than gravity fed systems.

Gravity fed systems typically take around 40 minutes to heat up. These systems operate on a low pressure, and you can expect your upstairs radiators to heat up faster than the ones downstairs.

Boilers Are Easily Replaceable

The lifespan of an average boiler is around 15 years, however usually its efficiency will decrease as it gets older, leading to more expensive energy bills, meaning it’s time to replace it.

If you are replacing a gas boiler but keeping it in the same location, the swap is likely to be completed in just one day. If you’ve taken out an insurance policy to protect your home against boiler breakdown, you may be able to get some help with the cost of a replacement boiler through a Government grant scheme.

Cons

They Aren’t Renewable or Sustainable

While gas is an effective fuel for home heating, it releases carbon into the atmosphere when burned. Increasing levels of carbon in the atmosphere is a leading cause of climate change.

As part of the UK Government’s plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, fossil fuel heating systems are likely to be phased out over time. This will start with a ban on gas and oil boilers in all new homes from 2025. If you’re looking to lower your carbon emissions, you should consider moving away from gas.

Maintenance and Repairs Can Be Costly

To keep a gas boiler running smoothly and safely, an annual service is essential. A one off gas boiler service usually costs between £60 and £100, or a boiler cover package can cost between £200 to £300 per year.

Electric Heating Pros and Cons

Electric heating is any system that uses electricity as the main source of energy to heat the home, and includes electric radiators, underfloor heating and electric boilers.

For many years, gas was considered the best way to heat your home. Over the years, gas systems have largely remained the same with little evolution. Electric heating systems however have evolved into an advanced alternative to gas, with all the advantages of traditional storage heaters but none of the disadvantages.

The shift away from gas is rapidly gaining momentum, supported by Government legislation, technology and sustainability.

Pros

Electric-Sourced Heating Is Almost Completely Efficient

Even an A-rated boiler wastes around 10% of the energy in its flue, and additional heat may be lost through the pipes. Electric radiators turn all the electricity they use into heat.

Electric heating is exceptionally energy efficient as it doesn’t need a connected system to work, meaning no heat is wasted through the pipe work.

Maintenance Is Much Cheaper than Gas

Electric radiators usually require no maintenance, unlike their gas counterparts. Standard gas radiators work by circulating hot water, and won’t work properly if the supply is restricted. This means they need balancing or bleeding from time to time – as well as needing an annual boiler service. Electric radiators have no moving parts, and there is very little that can go wrong as long as the electricity supply isn’t interrupted.

Installation Is Simpler and More Affordable

Installing electric radiators is usually relatively quick and simple, as there’s no pipework needed – just an electricity supply. Electric radiators can often be either wall mounted using brackets, or freestanding using feet or castor wheels.

As electric radiators aren’t joined together like a gas system would be, you don’t need to upgrade your whole home in one installation, helping create a more affordable system.

Reduced Noise

Traditional gas heating systems are notorious for the amount of noise they can make: the gurgling of air through the pipes, the expanding of the radiators and the rumble of the boiler itself. Electric systems are generally much quieter, at most making an intermittent click as the thermostat engages or whenever the heater housing gets warm. The sounds that may come from an electric heating system easily fade into the background along with the other ambient noises of the home.

Better for The Environment

It’s hard to miss the wind and solar farms appearing across the UK landscape. Electricity is becoming an increasingly low carbon form of heating, as more renewable sources are connected to the grid, replacing existing gas and coal power stations. Electric heating, when coupled with sun or wind energy generation, can give you total energy freedom away from polluting fossil fuels.

The actual conversion process doesn’t typically emit any harmful greenhouse gases or environmentally hazardous by-products, whereas many other fuel sources are harmful to the environment in some way when being converted to heat energy.

Cons

May Take Longer to Heat Your Home

Some forms of electric heating can be slower to heat up than traditional gas systems. While electric heating operates at near 100% efficiency, you may find that your living area will take longer to feel warm than with a gas powered system – just like how usually it takes longer to heat something on an electric hob vs a gas ring.

Generally speaking, oil filled electric radiators retain heat for a long time but are slower to respond to changes. Some electric radiators that use dry thermal elements can be quick to heat but also quick to cool down.

Electric Can Be More Expensive than Gas

From appearances, gas is cheaper than electricity. A single kilowatt hour (kWh) of gas costs on average around £0.07, whereas the average price for a kWh of electricity is 28p. This doesn’t mean that electric heating running costs are four times those of gas. Thanks to electric heaters being essentially 100% energy efficient, when used in conjunction with an off-peak electricity tariff and smart controls, it doesn’t have to be more expensive to heat your home using electricity.

Our Verdict

Here at Northwest Heating Solutions, we see that home heating is changing and moving away from fossil fuels: the days of gas or oil heating systems are numbered. The future is in renewable energy sources to hear our homes with electricity.

Gas and oil are slowly but surely being phased out over the next decade. With wet heating systems known for their unsightly pipes, expensive servicing and limited lifespan, they’ve more than outstayed their welcome. Not to mention how they tie us in to the big energy providers!

We believe electric heating is the future. It’s quiet, safe, can be instantly warm and, most importantly, it’s sustainable in a modern world.

Upgrade Your Heating with Northwest Heating Solutions Today

Northwest Heating Solutions are specialists in ultra-modern and efficient electric heating. We’re proud to be a Which? Trusted Trader for our high standards of customer service, value and quality, and our NAPIT accredited installers work to a no mess, no fuss policy when fitting your stylish new heating system.

ELKATHERM® lead the way in quality German engineering. Their electric radiators use a super dense ceramic fireclay core, into which the element is directly embedded for rapid heating of your home. They stay warm for hours with minimal additional power, meaning more warmth for your money and greater control than traditional storage heating. ELKATHERM® electric radiators use a massive five times surface area to provide superior radiated heat and spread convected warmth around the room, ensuring you aren’t left with cold spots. There’s no need for a noisy fan, so you won’t get uncomfortable dry air associated with other forms of electric heating. Once your ELKATHERM® electric radiator is up to temperature, it will typically draw between 15 and 17 minutes of electricity per hour to top up the core and maintain your cosy home.

Our heating systems put you in control. You can control each room individually, selecting the times and temperatures to best suit your lifestyle, and ensuring you don’t waste heat in rooms you aren’t using. We offer a range of control options, including our latest smartphone app which allows you to control your heating remotely.

Our ELKATHERM® electric radiators also come with a 4-year guarantee for electronic components, and a massive 25-year guarantee for the internal heat core. They are completely VDE approved and LOT20 compliant.