Is it Possible to Convert a Gas Home to All Electricity?
The simple answer to this question is: yes! It’s certainly possible to convert a home that’s powered by gas to all-electric.
There are many reasons this is such a hot topic right now. We’ve long known the dangers posed to the environment by burning fossil fuels, but there’s also the threat of dwindling supplies. As a result, the Government and energy companies have been investing in developing green alternatives, and how to harness energy from sustainable sources to power our homes and lives.
This drive for clean, efficient energy has focused on sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power and has so far seen some amazing results. Indeed, during 2019, for the first time ever renewable energy delivered more electricity than fossil fuels in Britain. As a result, the shift from gas to low carbon, sustainable alternatives is gaining momentum.
Indeed, here in the UK the drive for energy efficiency has resulted in a directive that bans the installation of boilers and gas hobs in new builds from 2025 onwards. Ofgem also recently supported this, predicting that the way we power our homes and cars will be revolutionised from 2050 onwards, with ‘decarbonised’ energy replacing our reliance on natural gas. So in the very near future, we could see gas heating systems and appliances become obsolete, making the move to electricity the wisest option, right here and right now.
Going All-Electric in the Kitchen
Within our homes, we use gas for heating – our food, our rooms and our water. A simple fix for cooking is to replace a gas hob and oven with an electric alternative. There are some fantastic options available, including induction hobs. These use electromagnetism to instantly generate heat that miraculously won’t burn your hand. Likewise, an electric convection oven is far superior to gas ovens, both in terms of efficiency, but also safety.
We all love a living flame, and for a long time this is what held back the electric fireplace. However, there are now numerous beautiful, aesthetically pleasing electric fireplaces available. What’s more, you won’t require a flue and the units are cost-effective and easy to install.
Electric Heating Systems
Electric heating has come a long way from the night storage heaters of old. There are now several options available, including:
- Electric radiators
- Electricity-powered heat pumps
- Underfloor heating
The best time to install an all-electric system, including an electric boiler for instant hot water, is in a new build. However, it is possible to rip out that old gas boiler and replace it with an all-electric system.
When it comes to retrofitting an all-electric system, the two most popular heating options are underfloor heating and electric radiators. Underfloor heating is pleasing underfoot and invisible, but it can be costly to install in an older home. When it comes to electric radiators, these are definitely more aesthetically pleasing than traditional radiators. Each unit runs independently of each other, using power from a standard power socket, meaning easy and mess-free installation and no unsightly pipework.
In fact, a mix of both systems can work well. Underfloor heating suits bathrooms, but can take a while to heat up so you’ll need to run it on a timer. It also can’t be used under certain items of furniture. In contrast, all an electric radiator requires is a power socket and they’re suitable for every room in your home. Electric radiators are also 100% energy efficient, meaning that all the energy is instantly converted to heat, none is lost in pipework travelling from room to room, or floor to floor. If you need an option for your bathroom and can’t face ripping up the flooring to install underfloor heating, then an electric towel rail is a great option for ensuring your bathroom is nice and warm, even on the coldest of winter mornings!
Benefits of an Electric Heating System
So we’ve already covered the ecological and environmental reasons for going all-electric, but there are many reasons this form of energy is superior to gas heating systems.
- Energy efficiency – as we’ve already stated, electric radiators are 100% efficient. What this means is that any energy used is instantly transformed to heat output. In contrast, a gas boiler uses energy to heat water that is then piped through the house, with lots of heat and energy being lost on the way. With energy bills eating into a massive proportion of household budgets, it’s more important than ever that your home is energy efficient.
- Safety profile – natural gas comes with an inherent risk. If your boiler or gas appliance becomes faulty you’re at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This odourless gas is produced when gas doesn’t burn completely. It can lead to dizziness, confusion and nausea, and every year causes around 60 deaths here in the UK. So if you have use gas for any form of heating, you’ll need to install a carbon monoxide monitor, which itself will have to regularly be tested and require battery replacement. In contrast, as electric heating systems don’t burn fuel to produce heat, there’s no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and they have a far superior safety profile.
- Cheaper installation – with no flue or pipework, electric heating systems are definitely cheaper to install than their gas alternative. Moreover, there are no planning issues and homeowners themselves can install an electric radiator, so there’s no need to call in an engineer.
- Minimal maintenance – as opposed to gas powered radiators, electric heating options won’t require annual servicing. This means a considerable cost saving in maintenance costs. In addition, if a single electric radiator fails, you’ll lose heat only in one room and can simply replace that unit. If a gas boiler fails, you’ll lose heat in the whole house. With a gas boiler, you’ll also require an engineer call out, which can be expensive if you don’t have an annual servicing contract.
- Reliability – there are less moving parts with an all-electric system, so there’s less to go wrong. There’s no risk of limescale or sludge build up, both of which can slow down the system and mean you need to do a power flush. Electric heating options also won’t require bleeding. Finally, with an electric heating system, there’s no water flowing along pipes so there’s no risk of pipes bursting and water damage within your home.
- Quieter system – ah, the sound of silence. This is what you can expect from going all-electric. No more creaky, noisy pipework and churning, banging noise as the boiler fires up and pumps water through those ageing radiators.
- Programming – precise digital controls, WiFi connectivity, built-in timers, 24/7 programming and climate control mean that an all-electric system beats a gas central heating system hands down. You can control each room individually, having the heat where and when you need it most, as opposed to one thermostat governing the temperature for the whole house. Let’s face it, how many of us have the thermostat in the hallway, the one room we don’t sit or sleep in?
How to Move Forward
If this article has swayed you to make the leap to all-electric heating then we’re sure you’ll never look back. However, make sure you do your research and select the right electric heating system for you.
In order to cap your gas supply and remove a gas boiler, you’ll need to get in touch with a Gas Safety Registered engineer. While a good builder will be able to remove any unnecessary pipework and renovate the walls and floors, it’s important to get in touch with a specialist electric heating company to ensure you invest in the most efficient system, with the functionality you need. Also, make sure your circuit board is up to code and can cope with the draw on electricity. While a builder or homeowner can install an electric radiator easily, for more complex installations you should employ the services of a properly certified electrician.
Finally, make sure you’re on the best energy tariff. This is something that needs to constantly be monitored, as tariffs and deals regularly change. Even if you’re locked into a deal, it can be worth paying a fee to move to a cheaper, longer-term tariff when energy prices are down. Use a good comparison site such as Uswitch to find the best deals and ensure you power your home for the best price possible.