According to thisismoney.co.uk, a new central heating system can add over five percent to the value of your home, and with energy prices constantly changing it’s important that you source a system that delivers on performance and cost. Here, we look at the main types of central heating and analyse their benefits and drawbacks.
Gas central heating
How does it work? One of the most popular types of central heating in the UK, a gas-fired boiler heats water to provide heating via radiators and hot water through the taps in your home.
Running costs: The average annual cost for running a gas-fired central heating system is £609 when consuming around 13,500 kWH a year.
Pros: You’ll get a good return on the energy you use as gas is a very efficient fuel, and as it’s piped directly to your home you won’t need to store it yourself.
Cons: It can be disruptive and expensive to install a gas central heating system from scratch. It’s also costly to connect your property to the gas network. A gas-fired boiler will need to be serviced annually.
Electrical central heating
How does it work? You can use electricity to heat your home if your house isn’t on the gas grid. The most affordable form of electrical central heating uses night storage heaters, which use electricity supplied at a cheaper ‘night-time’ rate to warm specialist heat-retaining bricks that can then be used to keep your home warm during the day.
Running costs: On average you can spend £2,053 when consuming around 13,500 kWh a year.
The pros: An electric night storage heater is much cheaper to install than a gas-fired system. They also have very few moving parts so there’s no need for maintenance and they don’t need to be serviced annually. Mains electricity is also available almost everywhere in the UK, unlike gas.
The cons: As you will see from the running costs, electrical central heating is considerably more expensive than other heating systems.
Liquid petroleum gas central heating
How does it work? If your house isn’t connected to mains gas then you can use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to heat your home. The key difference is that LPG is stored in a tank that you’ll have to buy or rent from a supplier. LPG is typically used to heat a boiler that in turn heats water, which provides central heating through radiators and hot water in your taps.
Running costs: The average annual cost is £798 when consuming around 12,500 kWh a year. Pros: Prices for LPG used to be higher than oil or gas, but in the last year the price has dropped. It’s a very efficient fuel, so you get a good return on every unit of energy.
Cons: The price of LPG is still high compared to other fuels. Also, as it’s delivered by road there’s a chance you could run out of fuel while waiting for your next delivery. Installing an LPG system can be expensive and disruptive, and storage tanks can be unsightly, unless you install them underground. LPG boilers need servicing annually.
See also: Planning for Winter Warmth
Oil central heating
How does it work? An oil-fired boiler heats water that provides central heating via radiators to your home. Like LPG, oil is delivered by road and stored in a tank that you’ll have to buy or rent from a supplier.
Running costs: The average annual cost is £368 when consuming roughly 12,500 kWh a year.
Pros: Since 2014 the price of oil has fallen—in January the price was 32p per litre, making it a more cost-effective means of heating your home. It’s also highly efficient.
Cons: As with LPG there’s always the chance that your oil could run out before more is delivered by road. However, for both LPG and oil tanks you can install systems that monitor how much fuel is left and automatically notify your supplier if a refill is needed. Again, as with LPG installing an oil-fired heating system can be expensive and disruptive. Oil-fired boilers and storage tanks will also need annual servicing.
Make the switch
When it comes to costs there are several different factors that will affect your energy bill including the age and size of your house, your insulation, where you are living in the UK and the efficiency of your heating system. If you’re concerned about your bills then use an energy switching service like Which? Switch to see if you’re on the right energy tariff.
See also: Down to Earth: Geothermal Heating