Winter is here, and with it comes the increased risk of a boiler breakdown. As the temperatures drop, the likelihood of your boiler breaking down rises, most typically due to prolonged use through the colder months or frozen condensate pipes.
The troubles brought by gas boilers and central heating systems are not limited to these breakdowns, however. There are a variety of environmental and cost-related issues that come with running a gas boiler, which the UK government is hoping to tackle with legislative measures such as the fast-approaching ‘boiler ban’.
Keith Bastian, CEO of renewable home heating provider Fischer Future Heat, shares his top reasons as to why homeowners should consider switching from gas boilers to an electric or renewable system.
Futureproofing your central heating
While the ban on gas boilers only applies to new-build homes from 2025, the legislation is indicative of a wider trend. The government has pledged that the UK will reach its net-zero targets by 2050, and with gas heating contributing to roughly 30% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, it would be naïve to think that already-installed gas boilers won’t be phased out in the future.
In fact, the government has already begun incentivising the switch from gas boilers to more renewable options through the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a grant system launched to encourage homeowners to help the UK reduce its carbon emissions.
Though it has been reported that electricity can be as much as three times more expensive than gas per kilowatt-hour, there are ways in which electric central heating systems can actually prove more cost-effective than their gas counterparts and it is this, that we should be focusing on. Electricity is more efficient than gas and 1kWh of energy produces 1 kW of heat, with gas and oil you need twice the amount of energy to produce 1 kW of heat.
Electric radiators don’t have any moving parts, making them far less likely to need repairs than gas boilers. Centralised heating systems, moreover, need annual service check-ups to ensure they are working safely. While this is only a recommendation for homeowners with gas boilers, private landlords are required by law to produce gas safety certification and must update this once per year – and no such requirements exist when it comes to electric heating.
Electric heating is also 100% efficient, whereas conventional gas boilers generally only reach between 70% and 80% efficiency. This means that, while electric heating is more expensive up-front, there is no money being wasted on lost energy and renewable options can not only be cost-effective in the short-term, but in the long-term, too.
With electric radiators, there is considerably less pipework to contend with in comparison to that of a centralised heating system. This means that electric radiators fit in much better with the aesthetic of homes, are much more discreet and take up far less space.
The matter of how ‘hideable’ your boiler is isn’t merely a superficial concern, though, as it is estimated that an unhidden boiler could be unsightly enough to knock £5000 off the sale value of your home.
Since an electric radiator has fewer parts to it than a gas boiler, keeping it hidden will cost less. You won’t need to fork out for flue pipe casing, meaning homeowners can retain a portion of your house’s value for a much smaller investment.
Reducing damp and mould
The colder months often bring with them an increase in damp and mould, brought on by the condensation of hot air on cold surfaces. While damp and mould issues can be solved through the use of a dehumidifier, the problems could be solved at the root in a more permanent way by switching to an electric heating system.
If homeowners find specific rooms are prone to condensation, consistent heating and ventilation is the solution. The localised control offered by electric radiators means that homeowners can keep problem rooms at optimum temperature.
In doing so, homeowners can reduce the chances of mould, damp and condensation occurring by controlling the temperatures of specified, individual areas, without impacting the temperatures of other rooms within their home.
Electric heating systems provide far more capacity for control of your energy use than gas systems do. Switching to electric radiators, for example, allows you to control the heating of your home on a room-by-room basis from a central, wireless thermostat, or in some cases, a smartphone app.
Of course, in theory, gas central heating can be controlled room-by-room, but the time and effort required to adjust each individual radiator valve makes gas heating far less convenient than electric.
Electric radiators never need to be bled like traditional, gas-powered ones, giving you even more scope to save time.
A thought for the future…
Keith Bastian says: “While there is no immediate requirement to swap your gas boiler for a more environmentally friendly alternative, the trends are clear. The UK government is phasing out gas central heating and incentivising renewable alternatives – though gas boilers aren’t being outlawed immediately, there is enough reason to believe that switching to electric or renewable heating systems will be a requirement in the future.
Switching to an electric or renewable heating system will reduce the size of your carbon footprint significantly, so you can rest easy knowing you’re doing your bit in the fight against climate change.
Beyond the ecological benefits, there is a plethora of ways in which switching to electric heating systems could make your life easier. Controlling your more efficient home heating system from your smartphone, reducing damp and mould through the winter months and cutting the hidden costs of gas boilers to name but a few.
The advantages are obvious, and you will be sure to save yourself a headache later down the line.”
For more information on electric radiators and heating systems, please visit: https://www.fischerfutureheat.com/