Apart from your own health and creature comforts, central heating is good for the health and wellbeing of your property, as well as adding value to your home. Phil Spencer explains: ‘New central heating almost always pays for itself, and is nearly always guaranteed to leave the homeowner with a profit when they sell. The cost from central heating ranges from £1,000 to £3,000 depending on the system you choose, but the value added can be as much as £5,000.’
The varying installation costs (dependent on system) are one element to consider, but also the annual spend of your central heating system. Considering oil, gas, and electricity prices are constantly fluctuating, it’s important that we heat our homes in the most efficient way—using less energy and therefore saving money.
We explore the pros and cons of each type of central heating, to help find the right type for you and your home.
GAS CENTRAL HEATING
The majority of properties in the UK have a mains gas central heating. This is known as a ‘wet-system’, as the gas-fired boiler heats water to provide central heating through radiators and hot water to the taps.
· Gas is highly efficient: you will get a good return on every unit of energy.
· Modern condensing boilers use hot flue gases and have a very high efficiency–some are 90 percent (or more) efficient.
· Replacing a standard gas boiler with a highly efficient modern condensing boiler is relatively easy.
· Being the most widely used heating fuel in the UK, finding a plumber shouldn’t be an issue incase your boiler needs servicing or breaks down.
· Installing a gas system from scratch can be disruptive, and expensive.
· If you’re not on the gas network, connecting your property can also be costly.
· The UK is no longer self-sufficient in gas and must compete with rising demand from other counties.
· As gas is a fossil fuel, it produces carbon dioxide when it’s burned, and is therefore not a clean source of energy.
Cost: The average annual cost for heating and hot water using gas in the UK is around £610, when consuming approximately 13,500kWh per year.
ELECTRIC CENTRAL HEATING
If your home isn’t on the gas grid, using electric central heating is an option as the majority of houses in the UK have access to the electricity grid.
· Electric night storage heaters are much cheaper to install than gas central heating as they require a pipe-work or a flue..
· Storage heaters have very few moving parts, and therefore require very little maintenance
· Storage heaters don’t need to be serviced annually.
· Mains electric is available almost everywhere in the UK.
· Electricity prices are approximately three to four times higher than gas prices per unit of energy.
· Electricity prices are rising in the UK and are likely to stay high.
· There is no instant control over storage heaters–if you haven’t had the heating on for a while and then turn it on, you won’t get heat until the following night.
· Some storage heaters don’t have an automatic charge control, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the weather forecast and set this manually.
Cost: The average cost for heating and hot water using electricity in the UK is around £2,053 based on using 12,500kWh a year.
OIL CENTRAL HEATING
Like with electric central heating, oil is an option for those homes that aren’t on the mains gas network. However, the heating oil is delivered by road and stored in a tank.
· Oil is a highly efficient fuel, resulting in a good return on every unit of energy.
· The price of oil fell dramatically in 2014, meaning it’s one of the cheaper ways to heat your home.
· Some systems monitor the amount of oil in your tank, and can automatically notify your supplier when fuel is low.
· Modern boilers can achieve efficiencies of 90 per cent or higher.
· Despite the prices of oil falling in 2014, there’s no guarantee they won’t rise again.
· Oil is delivered by road—there’s a possibility you could run out.
· The storage tank can ruin the aesthetic of your home (although, there is the option to have an underground tank).
· Most boilers are floor standing, so you may struggle to find a wall-mounted model.
Cost: The average annual cost for heating and hot water using oil in the UK is around £538 when consuming approximately 13,500kWh a year.
Did you know?
The prices of gas and electricity continuously fluctuate, and are more likely to increase in price than to decrease. With this in mind, the government has launched the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. Investing in certain renewable heat technologies, such as heat pumps, solar water heating and biomass boilers could see the government paying you to generate renewable heat, meaning these technologies will become cost-effective.
By generating your own energy at home from low or zero carbon technology, you will be lessening your carbon footprint and will, in effect, become less reliant on sources of energy that are progressively subject to worldwide demand (meaning prices in the future are likely to be high and volatile).