As our energy bills are becoming more and more expensive, most of us are looking for ways to reduce them.
There are two major ways to heat your home. Either with electric or with gas heating.
Both have their pros and cons, but one of them tends to be cheaper than the other.
This article looks at the cost of each type of heating and how to make sure you get value for money.
- 1 Electric Heating vs Gas heating: what’s the difference?
- 2 Pros And Cons Of Electric Heating
- 3 Pros And Cons Of Gas Heating
- 4 Which is better for the environment?
- 5 What about heat pumps and hybrid systems?
- 6 What’s The Best Way To Compare Electric And Gas Heating Cost?
- 7 Gas Or Electric Underfloor Heating?
- 8 So, Is Electric Or Gas Heat Cheaper?
Electric Heating vs Gas heating: what’s the difference?
I’m sure you know what the differences are, but I’ll briefly explain it here for anyone who doesn’t.
Electric heating uses electricity to generate heat, while gas heating uses natural gas.
Gas-based heating systems (and LPG or oil-based systems) usually use a boiler to burn the fuel and heat water.
This water is then circulated through radiators or in pipes beneath the floor to warm your home. The air in your rooms is warmed via convection as the floors or radiators warm up.
An electric heating system comes in a variety of different options. The most common are storage heaters, night storage heaters, and electric boilers.
Storage heaters work by storing up heat during the day (when electricity is cheaper) and releasing it at night.
Night storage heaters are similar but you can control when they come on, so you don’t have to use them during the day. Electric boilers work like a typical boiler would, by heating water that is then circulated around your home.
Pros And Cons Of Electric Heating
Advantages of electric heating
- The temperature can be controlled easily room by room or zone by zone.
- Electric heating is less expensive to install, has no scheduled maintenance requirements, and lasts up to 50 percent longer than a standard gas boiler. It’s also 100% efficient, which means that all the electricity you consume and pay for goes towards generating heat. When you take into account all of the variables, electric heating outperforms gas by a long shot.
- Electric heating is safe and reliable.
- You can also easily add zones to an electric heating system, making it incredibly flexible and easy to manage.
Disadvantages of electric heating
- Slower heating times and higher energy bills over time.
- The system has to work harder to reach the desired temperature.
- If you’re not on a time-of-use plan with your electricity retailer, you’ll pay higher energy bills.
- Portable electrical heating units, such as space heaters, can also use a lot of energy heaters and be a potential fire hazard if you hang anything on them.
Pros And Cons Of Gas Heating
Advantages of gas heating
- Upfront installation cost is a lot cheaper.
- An indoor gas heater will typically be cheaper to run than an electric heater.
- Gas is more affordable than electricity, and your bills will be lower as a result.
- A gas boiler heats water much faster than an electric one, so you won’t have to wait as long for the hot water to kick in.
- Gas provides a reliable source of heat for your home and is easy to control.
- You can also install a gas heater or boiler just about anywhere in your house, including basements and out-buildings.
- Great for modern houses as the sleek designs of gas heaters can enhance the look of a room.
- Disadvantages of gas heating
- You will need to have access to natural gas or LPG, which isn’t available everywhere.
Disadvantages of gas heating
- Not as environmentally friendly as electric heating – it creates air pollution and contributes to climate change.
- Gas boilers require regular maintenance, otherwise they can become less efficient over time or develop leaks that could pose a fire hazard in your home. You’ll need to have the boiler serviced annually by a qualified, licensed professional.
- Gas boilers are scheduled to be phased out in the UK by 2023, although this date may be moved forward.
- Upgrading a boiler is expensive, so you may need to factor this cost into your decision.
- Old boilers may leak carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
Which is better for the environment?
Since gas is a fossil fuel and produces carbon dioxide when burned, it’s not as environmentally friendly as electric heating.
Electric heating is better for the environment at a lower cost to you over time.
Overall, there are many factors to consider when choosing between an electric or gas heating system for your home.
Electric systems offer greater control and flexibility, but may require higher energy costs in the long run.
Gas systems are more affordable upfront, but carry additional risks and maintenance requirements.
Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences and budget, so it’s important to do your research and carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a final decision.
What about heat pumps and hybrid systems?
There are many new advances in heating technology, including heat pumps and hybrid systems that combine both electric and gas heating.
These technologies can offer the best of both worlds by reducing energy costs, improving efficiency, and providing a reliable source of heat for your home.
If you’re considering upgrading to a newer system or are thinking about switching to electric heating from gas, it might be worth looking into these new options to see which one is the most suitable for your needs.
Air-source heat pumps
Air-source heat pumps (ASHP) and ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) both get their heat from the outside air or ground. They are a renewable energy source that can be used to heat your home and hot water.
ASHPs are easier to install than GSHPs as they don’t require any digging, but they may not be as efficient in very cold weather.
GSHPs are more expensive to install, but they are more efficient and can provide heat even in sub-zero temperatures.
Hybrid systems combine both electric and gas heating, so you have the option to use either one depending on the weather conditions and your heating needs.
For example, you might use gas for the main source of heat in your home, but switch to electric when it’s colder outside to save on energy costs.
Or you could use a heat pump to supplement your gas heating, which would help reduce your carbon footprint.
Hybrid systems can be a great option if you’re looking for flexibility and want to reduce your energy costs.
What’s The Best Way To Compare Electric And Gas Heating Cost?
There are many factors that go into calculating the cost of heating your home, including the type of system you have, the size of your home, the climate you live in, and how much heat you need.
To get an accurate estimate of how much it will cost to heat your home with an electric or gas system, it’s best to speak with a qualified professional who can assess your needs and provide a personalized recommendation.
Gas Or Electric Underfloor Heating?
If you have underfloor heating installed, they need to run a series of pipes around your home, which can be costly.
You also need to factor in the cost of the gas or electricity you’ll need to power the system.
Underfloor heating has the benefit of covering a great deal of surface area. As a result, it does not need to be as hot but instead delivers an even, comfortable heat. Underfloor heating is a good match for heat pumps because they are better at generating low, constant heat rather than high temperatures.
So, Is Electric Or Gas Heat Cheaper?
Off-peak electricity costs twice as much as gas heating to operate, according to Energy Saving Trust. And here’s why: electric heaters are virtually 100 percent efficient in terms of energy usage. In other words, all the power they consume is converted into heat.
A gas or oil-fired central heating system, on the other hand, does not. Even an A-rated boiler consumes around 10% of the energy in its fuel. From the pipes themselves, a little extra heat may be lost. To operate the boiler and its pumps, a tiny amount of electricity is required.