Best Heating Options Going Into 2021
It’s January, and here in the UK we’re now in our third lockdown. With schools and businesses closed, and everyone working and studying remotely, now more than ever we need reliable, effective heating within our homes.
If you’re struggling with an aged boiler and radiators, then it’s probably time to start thinking about upgrading your central heating system. However, with budgets constrained, it’s vital to focus on energy efficient, cost-effective and sustainable heating options.
But where do you start? With central heating systems costing anything from £2,250 upwards to install, it’s not a small investment. Once the biggest dilemma faced by homeowners was ‘do I go for a condensing boiler or not?’ However, with energy from renewable sources now taking centre stage, electric heating is coming to the fore, displacing the traditional gas boiler. But it can be difficult to understand why, and what options are available to you. So we’ve written this article to help guide you to the best heating options for 2021, and an all-electric, greener future.
Why it’s time to move away from gas
Traditionally in the UK we’ve relied on natural gas boilers to deliver heating and hot water to our homes. However, given the devastating impact the burning of fossil fuels has on the environment, there’s a global push to transition to a low carbon future. Indeed, our Government has set a target of 80% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and gas heating will be banned in new builds from 2025.
For this reason, you should steer clear of investing in a new gas boiler and consider switching to a clean energy source, one which requires no burning of gases and – best of all – is free. We’re talking about electric heating systems, using energy from renewable, sustainable sources. Indeed, over time, we predict that fossil fuel costs will rise and incentives for a switch to clean energy will make alternative heating systems far more attractive for homeowners, tenants and those buying properties.
Why the future’s electric
It’s all about renewables
Here in the UK we have an abundance of natural, renewable energy sources. These include solar, wind, wave, marine and geothermal fuel sources. Indeed, energy from renewable sources contributed to 47% of the nation’s electricity in the first quarter of 2020, demonstrating the reliability of energy from renewable sources.
Think energy efficiency
Moving to an all-electric heating system isn’t just about cleaner air and protecting the environment, but it’s also about energy efficiency. Whereas gas boilers heat water that’s pumped to radiators around the house, losing heat and efficiency in the process, electricity converts energy to heat immediately, making it 100% efficient. This not only means the home will warm up far faster, but it also means household bills are kept to a minimum. With more of us at home than ever before, energy bills are set to spiral this year, so this is a really important issue for homeowners and tenants alike.
Improved safety profile
When you use a gas appliance, be that a boiler, fireplace or hob, you run a safety risk. Not only is there an issue of flammability should there be a gas leak, but there’s also the silent, insidious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is created when gas doesn’t burn fully, or the area around the appliance isn’t adequately ventilated. It’s odourless and tasteless and is invisible to the human eye, and can lead to the following symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Dull headache
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
In extreme cases, it can be fatal. For this reason, any home with a gas appliance will require a carbon monoxide monitor. The monitor as well as the boiler will need to be regularly serviced. However, with electric heating you run none of these risks, as there’s no combustion required.
Whereas individual controls on traditional radiators are rudimentary at best, electric radiators and heaters come with a host of features that mean that heat is delivered exactly where – and when – you need it most. These include:
Individual controls – each unit runs independently of each other, meaning the heat can be directed to the rooms you’re occupying, without having to heat empty areas of the home.
Built-in timers – not only can you decide which units to turn on, but you can also set individual timers, so heat is delivered to the bathroom and the kitchen before the front room, fitting in with the way you live your life.
Climate control – each unit can be set to a specific temperature, ensuing a constant climate.
WiFi connectivity - gas companies may have brought out smart thermostats such as Hive, but with electric heating, you can use voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Echo and Alexa to control your home heating and monitor your energy usage.
Cheaper installation and maintenance costs
Electric heating doesn’t require a flue, pipework or ventilation measures, so it’s far less expensive to install than a traditional gas central heating system. Moreover, if you opt for electric radiators, these can be installed by a homeowner or landlord with even the most basic of DIY experience. The cost savings don’t end here, however, as electric heating won’t require annual servicing. Also, as each electric radiator unit runs independently of each other, any failure will only affect one unit (which can easily be repaired or replaced) and won’t stop the rest of your home from receiving heat. This means no more expensive call out charges or engineer fees.
Types of electric heating
So you’ve made the decision to switch to electric. But how can this be achieved? It is possible to convert a gas home to all electricity, and here’s how:
Installing electric heating options
There are some great electric heating options available for the home. These include:
- Electric radiators – slimline, cost-effective and extremely efficient, these units are the most popular type of electric heating available today.
- Underfloor heating – for the ultimate in luxury, underfloor heating is incredibly popular in small spaces such as bathrooms.
- Heated towel rails – space saving and extremely pleasing to the eye, towel rails are a nifty way to boost heat in bathrooms and kitchens.
Replacing a gas boiler with an electric boiler to heat water
Of course, if you’re removing your boiler then you’ll also need to invest in an alternative hot water source. Here are some options for electric boilers:
- Electric combi boiler – this is comparable to a gas combi boiler and provides hot water as well as central heating. It supplies hot water on demand, so doesn’t require a tank.
- Electric storage boiler – these are a more expensive way of supplying hot water, so tend to be suited to Economy 7 tariffs.
- Solar compatible – use free energy from the sun to supplement the heat to your storage tank, if you have an immersion heater.
Upgrade your fireplace
Clean, safe and user friendly, electric fireplaces can also make a great style statement. They don’t require a flue so are also really easy to install.
Boost heat with portable electric heaters
If funds are limited, or you’re looking for a more portable option for home heating, then you can invest in electric heaters. There are several types on the market, including:
- Fan heaters
- Oil-filled heaters
- Radiant (infrared) heaters
If you’re considering making the leap to an all-electric home, we hope this article has helped. With the right amount of planning, it is possible, and will help move your home into a cleaner, energy-efficient future. Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but you’ll also be saving on energy bills and future proofing your home. For further help, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact us at enquiries@electricheatingexpert or call us on 01252 560770 for friendly, expert advice.