March 16, 2021
Most homes in the United Kingdom have been relying on gas for heating and hot water for decades, so anything new can seem daunting.
However, as our needs change and demands for better climate control are coming from all generations, it seems as though gas boilers are being fazed out.
Even though many of us have been using gas boilers for a long time, there is a better option out there. Electric boilers can be a much better option for so many properties, whether you are concerned about your carbon footprint or have no other option.
For some homes, being connected to the National Grid is not possible, which means that they cannot use a gas boiler.
If you are looking to replace your boiler, which needs to happen every 10 to 15 years, then an electric boiler may be the best option.
In this guide, we are going to talk about electric boilers, addressing the pros and cons of this boiler system to help you decide whether this is the best option for you.
First things first, we need to talk about what an electric boiler is before we can help you decide whether this is the right system for your home.
Electric boilers may be the next generation of heating and hot water in the United Kingdom because gas boilers are no longer efficient for our current climate.
Some people do not have the option of gas boilers because their homes are not connected to the National Grid, which makes electric boilers the best option for a wide variety of properties.
Even though over 25 million homes across the United Kingdom rely on either gas, or oil, for their boiler systems. These kinds of boilers will either ignite gas or oil to heat the water which can then be used as hot water or in central heating.
Electric boilers instead run the water through an electrical current to get it hot, and they are becoming increasingly popular across the country.
These kinds of boilers can produce enough hot water and central heating for small to medium homes and have the added benefit of being compact, making them easy to install in the majority of properties.
There are several types of boiler systems available, but electric combi boilers are perhaps one of the best for those who are thinking about reducing their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment, without compromising access to hot water or heating in your home.
Even though electric combi boilers are the most popular in 2021, they are not the only option.
If you are interested in getting a new electric boiler for your home, then it is a good idea to get familiar with the different types of boiler systems available, so you can find which is going to be the best for your needs.
The best boiler system for you, will be one that can provide enough hot water and central heating based on the demand of your household, which is determined by how many bathrooms and bedrooms the property has.
Another way to find the best electric boiler is to consider whether it gives instant access to temperature control or hot water, like an electric combi boiler, as this is something most people expect nowadays.
The following are the different types of electric boilers that are available in the United Kingdom:
As aforementioned, a combi boiler is the most popular type of electric boiler – and this is also the case for classic gas boilers too.
In some cases, an electric combi boiler is also known as a direct system because it is a single system that provides both hot water and central heating. These kinds of boilers also allow for instant control of the temperature of your home, which is why they are a great option for most people.
An electric combi boiler works by using a heating element to warm the water on demand.
Combi boilers, whether they are electric or gas, are the cheapest and easiest to install because everything is included in one system. Unlike a regular or traditional boiler, electric combis do not need a separate hot water tank to provide hot water to your home, which makes them easy to install into a wide range of properties.
Not a lot of space is required to have an electric combi installed, making them suitable for even the smallest homes.
Even though this kind of boiler is the most popular in the United Kingdom, it is important to note that there are some downsides. As an electric combi boiler does not have separate storage for water, those who have them in their home cannot take advantage of the Economy 7 tariffs which are offered to make it cheaper to heat the water overnight.
This is because the heating of water from an electric combi boiler is instant, and water is not stored within the system.
An electric storage boiler is one that is eligible for the Economy 7 tariff because it comes supplied with a hot water tank.
This tariff can help reduce your water bills, as an electric storage boiler has a hot water tank that is either a separate unit or within the boiler. As they store water, these kinds of electric boilers can be more expensive to run when compared to the direct-acting combi.
These kinds of electric boilers are similar to storage boilers, and they can also work with Economy 7 tariffs to make them cheaper to run at night.
This kind of electric boiler works by heating the bricks of your home overnight. The heat from the bricks is then released into the water tank where it can then be used for central heating or hot water.
Dry Core Storage boilers work differently from combis and other forms of boilers because the heat is not circulated.
The combined primary storage unit (CPSU) is best for homes with high demand for hot water, and it operates quickly. This is because it stores a high level of hot water within the boiler tank, meaning it can provide hot water at a faster speed than other kinds of electric boilers.
They also provide a higher water pressure than other models too.
However, these kinds of electric boilers are not necessary for most homes in the United Kingdom because they can provide such a high amount of hot water. They are more suited to commercial buildings, such as hotels.
Solar compatible boilers are those that have an immersion heater, as this can be connected to solar panels.
This is a way to make your home more energy and environmentally efficient, as solar panels can rely on daylight to heat the water in the immersion heater and provide heating to your home.
One of the biggest concerns people have when deciding whether they want to install an electric boiler into their home is the increased cost. There is no denying that the cost of electricity per unit is higher than gas per unit, which can put some people off.
However, there are some advantages that come with electric boilers that can tip the scales and might influence your decision. We are going to discuss the biggest advantages of electric boilers in this guide to help you make the decision of which is the best one to have installed in your home:
Electric boilers are one of the cheapest to have installed into any property because they do not need a flue or condensate. This is because, as the water is heated using an electrical current, there is an absence of waste gases which means that not as much installation is required.
This makes the installation process easier and therefore, cheaper than a gas boiler will cost.
Electric boilers are one of the most efficient systems available, which is why many homes across the country are having them installed.
When you use electricity, you will get what you put in. Using electricity means that the unit does not require fuels to be burned to provide power or in this case, heating. As they do not burn fuels, energy is not going to be lost through waste gases making electric boilers more efficient than the gas boilers that many of us have been using for decades.
On average, electric boilers have an energy efficiency rating of 99% compared to the 89%-95% given to most gas boilers.
The reason why electric boilers are becoming more popular is the fact they are considered to be ‘greener’ than gas boilers. This is because they do not need oil or gas to run, as they do not burn fossil fuels to generate heat.
Instead, with this kind of boiler, the water is heated using an electrical current generated by the unit itself. Electric boilers also do not release waste gasses because they do not use fossil fuels.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, installing an electric boiler into your home is a great way to go.
Unlike gas and oil boilers, electric units do not need an annual service to ensure that they are running well. To prevent breakdowns, oil and gas boilers need to be checked over regularly by an engineer and each call out can cost between £50 to £160 depending on your gas company.
This means that having an electric boiler can actually save your household money over time.
The only time maintenance will be required for an electric boiler is in the unlikely event of a breakdown. Oil and gas boilers can become blocked when they are not used, which is why an annual maintenance appointment is required.
Even when an electric boiler is not in use, it will not become blocked because it relies on an electric circulation pump which runs all the time.
As electric boilers do not rely on gas or oil, they do not cause the same risks as older models.
Gas boilers, as their name suggests, produce gases during operation and sometimes these are harmful. With an electric boiler, there is no risk of carbon monoxide leaks or poisoning, which makes them safer to have in your home than older models.
There are no moving parts inside of an electric boiler which makes them run almost silently, which allows you to keep heating your home overnight without disturbing your family.
Electric units are smaller than other boilers, and most of them have everything contained in one unit, which makes them suitable for even the smallest homes.
As they are smaller, electric units can be installed almost anywhere in the home, which makes them more versatile than gas or oil boilers.
Not all homes are suitable for traditional gas boilers, as they may not be connected to the National Grid.
If you are based in a remote or rural location, then your home may not be connected to the National Grid which can limit the kind of power you can have supplied to your property. With an electric boiler, you can still have heating and hot water on demand without needing to be connected to the National Grid.
While some homes may opt for an oil boiler, as these also do not need to be connected to the grid for power, they have some limitations.
With an oil boiler, you need to have room on your property for the oil tank as this is where the oil will be stored, and the boiler will get its power from this. This problem does not exist with electric boilers, and they also have the added bonus of being compact so they can be installed almost anywhere in your house.
While electric boilers have their own benefits for the environment, they are also solar compatible. This means that solar panels can be connected to your unit so you can rely on natural sunlight as a power source, making them even better for the environment.
If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, an electric boiler that is solar compatible is the best way to go. This kind of boiler will be powered with a solar battery which gets its energy from sunlight.
As well as having solar panels installed, there are also options for solar thermal boilers where the hot water will be stored in a separate cylinder.
Electric boilers offer a lot of advantages to homes across the United Kingdom, but they are not perfect.
To provide a complete guide to electric boilers, we need to also address some of the disadvantages that electric boilers have such as:
While electric boilers are more efficient, cheaper to install, and do not require regular maintenance, they are more expensive to run than gas or oil boilers.
Electricity is slightly more expensive to run than gas which means that your energy bills will increase over time. Even the cheapest energy supplier has a slightly higher margin for electric boilers compared to gas, on average about 10p per unit.
Complete power cuts are rare, but this is a risk for those with electric boilers. If you experience a power cut, then you will also be left without heating or hot water at home until you are connected again.
On a similar note, there is also a low risk of blowing the property fuse because of how high power they are.
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