Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Electric heating vs. Gas central heating systems in 2019.
Heating our homes has never been more complicated, with so many options available to us all. Most homes across the U.K currently will make use of a conventional gas central heating system and have been told that these are still the cheapest option for the household. However, does this still stand true in todays world with the amount of technological advances available to us?
If we take a look at the numbers, over 8 million gas boilers are sold every year within the United Kingdom. These types of systems would normally consist of a single boiler that’s primary function is to heat up water which is then pumped through piping within the households walls and ceilings and distributed to the hot water taps and radiators throughout the house. This principle has not developed or seen an evolution in technology over the many years it has been in place. In truth, it would be difficult to see how this very basic method could be made anymore efficient that it already is.
In contrast if we look at an electric heating option, it has historically always been considered far more expensive than its gas counter-part. Largely because in the early stages of electric heating it was more expensive, a lot more expensive in fact. Electric heating was seen by home owners and installers as a last resort to areas of the country that either couldn't receive a gas supply, or where extending a gas supply to the property was so expensive that it was deemed uneconomical. In this event, the installer would usually opt for a well recognised and disliked storage heater. This heater works on a principle of pushing an electric current through elements to heat bricks. These bricks have a high level of inertia that enabled them to retain the heat and slowly release the heat over the course of a period of time. There are a few key elements to this that make it not only impractical but also very expensive. They list as follows:
- To heat the bricks during high tariff times costs an absurd amount
- To heat the bricks within off-peak hours would mean that the storage heater would run out of inertia by the evening, leaving the homeowner cold in the evenings.
- The addition of a boost to enable the homeowner to "top their heat up" during situations as above again creates a large surge on the circuit and costs the homeowner a lot of money on their energy bill.
- Servicing the storage heaters regularly is a must as they lose their inertia over a period of time and then become even more inefficient. All a cost to the homeowner.
So, what is the answer in 2019.
Electric heating since the storage heater has evolved almost as much in this time as your mobile phone. 10 years ago, you had storage heaters, WAP internet and the idea of a smart phone didn't really exist. the iPod wasn't even touch screen at this point.
Electric heating as with your smart phone has evolved to be an extremely energy efficient alternative to gas, without any of the disadvantages faced by its early ancestor, the storage heater. It is because of this that the market has seen a huge shift away from gas towards the renewable electric alternative. This is supported by many critical factors:
Installation costs of an electric system are far lower than their gas counter parts and a lot simpler as well. With no central boiler to install or piping to run or extend, an electric heater will run simply off your current electrical supply to the home. The electric heater will usually have a longer life span than a boiler with no servicing required either. The ASCOT products, for example, can run off a pre-installed 13A socket in your house and comes complete with a 10 year warranty.
The cost of electric heaters now are also less than was once expected for a storage heater, making the unit cost a lot more competitive.
The technological advances in electric heating are vast. From a simple on/off situation that most people have become accustomed to, electric heaters nowadays such as the ASCOT range boasts abilities such as open window sensor functions, smart home abilities compatible with products such as ALEXA, low surface temperature settings to protect people from scalding, 7 day programmable, predictive warm-up times and eco settings to reduce the cost of heating your home, just to name a few.
3) Ecological awareness in 2019 and beyond
Sustainability has rightly become a forefront conversation with the growth of eco-alternatives being sourced for all areas of our lives. It goes without explanation that electric is a renewable source of energy over its gas counterpart enabling you to reduce your carbon footprint significantly every year. This type of situation lends itself perfectly for those considering such energy sources as a PV system.
4) Legislation & Government objectives
There have been many government support legislation changes that all lend themselves to electric and renewable sources of heating. Most recently there have been two major ones. The first is that all homes should have a minimum EPC rating of C. The second (created to push electric heating to support this) was the LOT20 legislation.
Still not sure? No problem, here is a detailed list of benefits that electric heating holds for you