So, you’re looking at alternatives to gas central heating. Maybe you want to cut your energy bills or would like to explore more environmentally-friendly options. We know that there are plenty of alternatives to gas central heating available today – but do they measure up? We’ll take a look at some of the most popular options and show why, for now, it’s usually best to stick with a traditional gas boiler installation.
Gas boilers – Your best option?
Gas boilers offer several benefits – they’re efficient, cost-effective, and the easiest to maintain. Gas boilers are also the most common type of central heating in the UK, so it’s easy to get them installed and serviced.
You might be wondering why we recommend a gas boiler over more sustainable options such as an air-source heat pump (ASHP) or ground-source heat pump (GSHP). If you live in a house with no mains gas supply and are currently using an oil or LPG system, then a GSHP could be a good alternative. However, they are expensive, so if you have mains gas, it is still the most economical option for now.
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps work by pumping refrigerant through pipes buried in the ground, which absorbs heat from the surrounding earth and then transfers this into your home. This means that they don’t use any fossil fuels to function, which can save money on bills and help reduce carbon emissions at the same time. However, ground source heat pumps are much more expensive than traditional boilers and can cost between £15-25k for the initial installation. If you can afford one, they are an excellent long-term investment because they are efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly and will keep working for decades without requiring maintenance or repair work.
Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a little less expensive than ground-source heat pumps due to them not needing such extensive work for installation; typically, they will cost around £10k. Air source heat pumps use electricity to power an air-to-water heat pump that transfers heat from the outside air to water, which heats your home as it passes through radiators and into a water tank for hot water. There’s no doubt about it: an air source heat pump is an excellent option if you want something eco-friendly and low maintenance; however if your budget is tight, we recommend sticking to a gas boiler.
Electric heating is the most expensive option and is less energy efficient than gas. Electric heaters can take a long time to heat your home, and you will still require an alternative solution for hot water, such as an electric or solar-powered system which requires a bulky storage tank, so you’ll need to factor that in when deciding whether or not an electric system is suitable for your home.
Biomass boilers use wood pellets or chipped wood as fuel, which is burned in a furnace and heats water to provide heat for your home. Biomass boilers require very little maintenance and can last many years; however, they are expensive to install at around £12-33k. Although they are more eco-friendly than their fossil fuel counterparts, biomass boilers still emit a large amount of CO2. If you have the means to fund the initial installation outlay, you may be better off spending the money on a ground-source or air-source heat pump.
Oil boilers are generally best for those off-grid without any other options. If you have mainline gas available to your home, it may not make financial sense to use oil because it still requires paying for regular fuel deliveries on top of installation costs. Oil systems also need you to store a large amount of oil on your property, and the cost of replenishing your oil stock can vary depending on wholesale prices. Oil is also a fossil fuel.
Why gas boilers are still the best option
For now, gas boilers are the most efficient, cheapest and easiest-to-maintain option for heating your home. In the future, as the world moves towards more energy-efficient solutions, the cost of other systems, such as heat pumps, may reduce, but until that happens, gas will be the way to go.
If you live in Essex, London, Kent, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire or Hertfordshire and have decided a new gas boiler is the best option for you, get in touch with the Prime Time Boilers team. For a quick quotation, you can use our online form or if you would like to discuss your requirements further, give us a call on 0808 134 9496 (freephone) or 01992 238 002 (local).