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8 Green Alternatives to Gas Boilers

Alternatives To Gas Boilers

Until now, gas boilers have been the primary source of heating, with a huge 80% of British homes using natural gas as their primary source of heating. 2019 alone saw a record number of 1.67 million gas boilers sold compared to 2018, resulting in 22 million homes across the UK having gas central heating today.

While gas boilers have long been the go-to solution for heating British homes, the demand for alternative central heating systems is growing rapidly as people opt for heating solutions that can reduce CO2 emissions and the ongoing creation of greenhouse gases.

As we collectively become more eco-focused as a nation, many consumers are increasingly looking to greener, low carbon alternatives to gas. Governments are supporting this transition too, unveiling net zero initiatives that empower consumers to adopt low carbon heating as part of a nationwide goal to cut emissions and become net zero in the coming years. Due to this shift, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to provide gas alternatives in the form of electric heating.

Not only are electric heaters better for the planet, they’re better for home heating too. They are safer, cheaper and programmable, eliminating excess heating bills in favour of customisable heating for consumers as and when they need it.

What is a Gas Boiler?

Gas boilers burn gas fuel to heat water that is then sent via pipes to your home’s radiators to provide heating. For hot water, these pipes connect directly to your taps or via a cylinder, depending on your type of boiler. These boilers can be powered by natural gas or liquified petroleum gas, which they receive through underground pipes or from refillable cylinders that have to be topped up regularly.

Why do you need an alternative to your old gas boiler?

A gas-powered central heating system requires expensive installations and upfront costs, annual maintenance and are far less efficient for your purse and the planet.

Pros:

  • Gas heating can meet high demands for heating and hot water
  • There is typically more choice in units due to the popularity of gas heaters and more manufacturers creating them as a result
  • Gas supply is typically always available compared to electricity

Cons:

  • Expensive installation fees and yearly maintenance
  • Risk of gas leaks
  • Not all homes are connected to the gas grid network

So, why should you consider an alternative to a gas or oil boiler? For those looking to replace their gas boiler, electric heaters can be far less costly alternatives from installation to monthly heating bills. These alternatives also offer a low carbon alternative to a gas heater, wasting little energy to heat your home.

Is the government banning gas boilers?

Yes, but not quite yet. In 2019 the UK government set a target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions from UK homes by 2050, which has meant that gas boilers will no longer be allowed to be installed in new homes from 2025 onwards. By 2035 no fossil fuel boilers will be allowed to be installed in any UK homes.

The 2050 Net Zero target looks to combat climate change by cutting carbon emissions from gas boilers and making low carbon alternatives more accessible for UK households. Anyone looking to replace their gas boiler should explore greener alternatives to ensure they future-proof their home ahead of these new requirements.

Benefits of Green Alternatives

  • Cost-efficient
  • Government subsidies
  • Energy efficient
  • Low maintenance
    Better for the planet
  • Smart heating controls
  • Future-proof
  • A wide range of alternative products

For more information on available grants, loans and subsidies towards renewable energy, click here.

Gas Boiler Alternative

1. Electric Radiators

Modern electric radiators are energy efficient, powerful and are even available in sleek and stylish designs to complement your home aesthetic. An alternative to traditional oil heaters, electric radiators save unnecessary costs, can heat the largest of rooms, and have the added benefit of being completely silent, making unwelcome cracks and bangs from your boiler a thing of the past.

Compared to traditional gas-powered radiators, electric radiators are highly customisable, allowing you to programme the exact heat schedule you need with no energy wasted in the meantime. With an electric heater, you can rest easy that you’re avoiding unwanted costs and saving the planet at the same time.

Electric radiators are also quick and easy to install. Available in cool, compact designs, electric radiators can go from the box to your wall in a matter of minutes. You can set them up easily yourself, meaning no time-and-money-consuming installation booking process. Free-standing or wall-mounted, electric radiators can also be installed in conservatories, sheds, and other places where installing a boiler heating system can be a messy and expensive process.

2. Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters are a great alternative for those looking to speed hot water availability in their home. Compared to boiler-heated water, hot water for showers can be ready far quicker via an electric water heater. Through a process known as stratification, electric water heaters also reduce uneven heating so homes get more hot water for their money.

In terms of upfront costs, electric water heaters are also the most affordable option available today with installation costs reflecting only the size and type of water heated and not how it’s powered. This is a cheaper, simpler process compared to gas heaters which require new piping, ventilation systems and more to get up and running.

Similar to electric radiators, electric water heaters are far more efficient when it comes to energy. While traditional gas water heaters’ EF numbers are around the 0.5 mark, electric alternatives boast EF numbers of 0.9 or higher, making them the efficient choice. In traditional gas water heaters, energy is lost through the venting process, which isn’t an issue for electric water heaters.

Most electric water heaters come with a warranty of up to 5 years, meaning they require far less maintenance than gas water heaters, which means fewer repairs and cheaper running costs.

A combination of electric radiators, electric water heaters and electric towel rails is a perfect alternative to a gas boiler. It could make your home far more energy-efficient at a cheaper monthly cost.

all electric home heating

As well as electric-powered heating, there are several other alternatives to traditional central heating systems:

3. Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps absorb heat from either the ground or the outside air to heat your home. The heat is absorbed as a fluid which is then pumped around your house to increase the temperature and can be extracted at temperatures as low as -15°C. Heat pumps don’t have to source heat from the ground of course – there are also air source heat pumps that perform the same task by extracting heat from the air.

Pros:

  • Low running costs
  • Low maintenance
  • Reduced carbon emissions
  • Eligible for government subsidies

Cons:

  • High installation cost
  • Difficult to install
  • Unreliable in cold weather
  • Planning permission required

4. Hybrid heating system

Hybrid heating systems (often referred to as duel fuel systems) combine an air-source heat pump with an auxiliary combustion furnace to heat your home, which takes over if outside temperatures become too low to extract heat from.

Pros:

  • Programme the exact temperature that the
  • Low running costs
  • Reduced carbon emissions

Cons:

  • High installation cost
  • Difficult to install
  • Planning permission required

5. Solar Thermal Panels

Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy and use it to heat your home’s water, providing up to 70% of a home’s hot water for free and taking a huge strain off the existing boiler.

Pros:

  • Low maintenance
  • Low running costs
  • Reduced carbon emissions
  • Eligible for government subsidies

Cons:

  • High upfront cost
  • Specific installation needs
  • Difficult installation
  • Not suitable for all heating systems

6. Infrared Heating Panels

Compared to traditional heaters that heat an entire space, infrared panels emit radiant heat to warm objects and people rather than the air itself.

Pros:

  • Energy efficient
  • Faster heating capabilities
  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • Require significant space
  • Expensive
  • Does not cover water heating

7. Solar Powered Electric Heating

Like solar thermal panels, solar-powered electric heating converts the sun’s energy into a means of heating your home.

Pros:

  • Cheaper electricity costs
  • Low carbon emissions
  • Low maintenance

Cons:

  • Weather dependant
  • Storing converted solar energy is expensive
  • Requires significant roof space

8. Biomass Boilers

A biomass boiler, which uses natural materials sourced from plants, wood and other living organisms, can be used alongside combustion to produce heat, or can be converted into fuel to power boilers.

Pros:

  • Biomass fuel is environmentally friendly
  • Carbon-neutral
  • Low cost

Cons:

  • Requires significant space
  • High maintenance
  • High upfront cost

Advantages of Gas Boiler Alternatives

Compared to traditional boilers, electric alternatives such as electric radiators and electric water heaters (and even electric towel rails!) offer several key advantages.

  • Ease of installation: Because they don’t need to be fitted into your home’s piping, electric heating appliances are simple and easy to install. In most cases they can be installed in a matter of minutes straight from the box.
  • Returnable: Electric radiators and water heaters have a long lifespan, and just like any other electronics in your home, they can easily be returned or sold on in future.
  • Low maintenance: Electric radiators come with up to 10-years warranty, while electric water heaters come with up to 5-yeas. This means significantly less maintenance compared to fuel boilers that typically require yearly checkups.
  • Energy-saving: Electric heaters use almost all of their energy on heating your home and can be programmed to come on at the exact hours you need them. Traditional boilers, meanwhile, are far less efficient and therefore waste more energy – which means higher monthly energy prices.
  • Better for the environment: Not only are electric heaters energy-efficient, but they also don’t require oil or other carbon-heavy fuels to run, making them a far greener alternative.
  • Future-proof: By opting for electric heating, you can ensure your home is in line with the government’s Net Zero 2050 target.

Challenges of Switching to Gas Boiler Alternatives

When switching to an alternative, there are several factors to consider. These may make some heating options difficult or impossible, depending on the amount of space you have available, how much you’re looking to spend upfront and other factors.

For solar-powered heating, the orientation of your home plays a big role. If you don’t regularly receive sun, or your home is positioned in a way which makes it difficult for the sun to reach your panels, this may not be the option for you.

For heat pumps and biomass heating, maintenance, reliability and a high upfront price tag can be deciding factors as these alternatives require significant investment – in both time and money – upfront.

Unlike electric radiators and water heaters, these alternatives are also non-returnable should you wish to swap them out in future, and are often expensive to fix.

How much is the cost for an alternative to a gas boiler?

Opting for an alternative to a gas boiler could mean cheaper monthly energy bills, a more efficient heating solution and a lower carbon footprint.

Heating solution Potential cost
Electric radiator/water heater £650 – £2,500
Oil boiler £1,000 – £3,000
LPG boiler £500 – £2,500
Biomass boiler £4,000 – £21,000
Air source heat pumps £4,000 – £11,000
Ground source heat pumps £8,000 – £12,000
Solar thermal system £3,000 – £5,000
Infrared heating panels £150 – £500 per panel
Hybrid heating system £5,000 – £10,000

How can I replace my old gas boiler?

While a professional must remove your old gas boiler, setting up your new electric radiator is quick and simple and shouldn’t require additional help. With our easy DIY instructions, we’re confident you can have your new electric heater up and running in a matter of minutes.

How to get the best quote for replacing your gas boiler?

Electric radiators and electric water heaters can be purchased easily online. We advise comparing different electric radiators and electric water heaters on our online store.

Frequently Asked Questions

●     What can I use instead of a gas boiler?

Electric radiators, towel rails and electric water heaters are great alternatives, as well as biomass boilers, heat pumps, solar-powered or thermal heating panels.

●     What will replace gas boilers in the UK?

Following the UK’s pledge to reach net-zero by 2050, all gas and oil boilers will eventually be replaced by carbon-friendly alternatives, such as electric heaters, biomass boilers, heat pumps, solar-powered or thermal heating panels that don’t require fossil fuels.

●     Can I replace my gas boiler after 2025?

Yes – the gas and oil ban in 2025 only applies to newbuild properties, though by 2035 all gas boilers will be banned in any homes across the UK in line with the UK government’s pledge to become net zero.

●     Which is cheaper, running on electricity or natural gas in the UK?

At face value, gas is cheaper in the UK, but electricity is far more efficient and can be tailored to take advantage of off-peak tariffs and can be switched on and off remotely, saving you money on wasted energy.

Conclusion

There are big changes coming to the UK’s energy consumption as a result of the government’s net zero pledge. If you want our heating advice, now is the time to upgrade your old gas boiler in favour of an energy-efficient, cost-effective alternative that will help the UK meet its green goals.

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