Updated on 15th February, 2023 by Martin Astley
Many homeowners find it hard to decide between a gas boiler and an electric boiler.
If you’re currently trying to choose between a gas boiler and an electric boiler, this informative guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the right choice for your home.
What is a Gas Boiler?
Gas boilers burn natural gas to generate hot water for the taps and radiators in your home. They are the most common form of heating in the UK, with approximately 80% of homes relying on central gas heating.
To give you an accurate figure regarding the popularity of a gas boiler, around 23 million homes use gas as a fuel for heating and hot water.
Gas boiler systems can be fueled by natural gas or liquid petroleum gas (LPG). If your gas boiler is powered by natural gas, it will receive its fuel from the local gas network.
However, if LPG powers your gas system, the fuel must be stored in a cylinder or tank and replaced regularly.
What is an Electric Boiler?
Electric boilers, unlike gas boilers, use electricity as their fuel. Fuel combustion does not take place with electric boilers. Instead, they convert electricity into heat, which is used to heat water for your home. This heated water is then sent to your radiators and taps for heating and hot water purposes. Electric boilers are commonly deemed more eco-friendly as no fuel is burned during operation.
A range of electric boilers is available, including direct-acting, electric storage boilers, and dry core storage electric boilers. Each type will be suitable for different homes and needs.
Electric boilers are best suited to properties not connected to the gas network and homes with lower heating and hot water requirements.
Gas Boilers vs Electric Boilers: Pros and Cons
To help you decide on the best boiler type for your home, below we break down the advantages and disadvantages of gas and electric boilers.
|Gas Boiler Pros||Gas Boiler Cons|
|Cheaper to run||System swap installations can be expensive.|
|Popular option – most homes in the UK use gas boilers.||Not available to homes that aren’t connected to the gas network.|
|Can meet higher heating and hot water demands.||Emits greenhouse gas during operation.|
|A vast range of brands, ranges and models to choose from.||Unofficial plans for gas boilers to be banned will be implemented by 2025.|
|Like for like gas boiler replacements tend to be straightforward and easy.||Possible gas leak risk. However, ensuring that the installation is conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer can help to prevent this.|
|Gas supply is mostly always available.||Annual boiler service are mandatory.|
|Modern condensing gas boilers are designed to be over 90% efficient.||Systems have more moving parts so they are more susceptible to faults and errors.|
|Electric Boiler Pros||Electric Boiler Cons|
|Installations are often cheaper.||Typically more expensive to run.|
|Usually compact in size.||Usually not recommended for homes with higher heating and hot water demands.|
|Quiet operation.||Unless paired with a renewable energy source, the production of the electricity used as fuel emits greenhouse gas. This process is considered carbon-intensive.|
|Eco-friendly option – no gas is emitted during operation.||Power losses can impact access to heating and hot water.|
|Fewer moving parts so reduced risk of faults and errors.|
|No risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as gas is not emitted.|
|Annual services are recommended but not required.|
|As there is no flue or gas waste pipe, these systems do not need to be positioned against an outside wall.|
Installation Prices and Running Costs
Generally, gas boiler installations tend to be more expensive than electric boiler installations; however, overall costs will depend on the complexity of the fitting process. Gas boiler swaps can be inexpensive.
The cost of electricity is higher than the cost of gas, so running costs for electric boilers are typically higher. It is estimated that gas can be 3–4 times cheaper per kilowatt-hour than electricity. This is one of the main reasons gas heating is the most popular choice in the UK.
The best way to weigh up the costs of your new boiler installation is to get a quote. Why not try our free online quote tool today to get a personalised estimate for your new gas boiler?
If not, the table below can give you a fair idea of the cost model. We have provided the electric boiler’s running cost, as installation varies depending on your provider and area. On the other hand, we have provided installation costs for gas boilers.
Cost of Running an Electric Boiler
|Power Output||Power Consumption||Total Annual Running Cost|
|4 KWH||13000 BTU||£1900|
|6 KWH||20000 BTU||£2100|
|9 KWH||30000 BTU||£2300|
|11 KWH||38000 BTU||£2600|
|12 KWH||41000 BTU||£2700|
Cost of Gas Boiler Installation
|Power Output||Type of Boiler||Cost|
|12kw-24kw||Combi Boiler/System||£1,775 – £2,500|
|20kw-64kw||Combi/System/Heat only Boiler||£1,605 – £4,000|
|25kw-32kw||Only Combi Boiler||£2,144 – £2,950|
All modern gas boilers are built with condensing technology. This means they can recover the latent heat and use it to provide further heating instead of letting the energy go to waste. Condensing boilers can reach efficiency levels of over 90%, and all boilers installed within the UK are legally required to be A-rated.
Electric boilers are considered more energy-efficient than gas boilers, as they do not waste any energy and fuel combustion does not occur during their operation. However, the production of the electricity used to fuel electric boilers is considered carbon-intensive and thus reduces the overall energy efficiency of this form of heating.
On the other hand, when paired with a renewable energy source like solar panels or an air-source heat pump, electric boilers could be 100% efficient.
To help the UK meet its strict net-zero energy efficiency targets, the government has proposed a potential gas boiler ban in 2025. This move could see a rise in the use of electric boilers. Find out more about the potential gas boiler ban here.
How would I know whether I have a gas or electric boiler?
To know whether you have a gas or an electric boiler, first look for labels or other documentation on the boiler that will indicate its type. Secondly, the pipework and the wire connections will also determine the difference between gas and electric boilers.
Another way to determine what type of boiler you have is to remove the access panel of the heater from the side of the boiler and look for the pilot light. If you can easily see the pilot light, then you have a gas boiler, as an electric boiler does not have this kind of light.
Type of Electric Boiler
1- Electric Combi Boiler
An electric combi boiler is a cost-effective way to provide your home with central heating and hot water. Apart from cost effectiveness, their compact design makes them easy to install and maintain. Plus, they are available in multiple sizes, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Electric combi boilers are also space-efficient, as they don’t require any additional fuel storage tanks. They are also environmentally friendly, making them a great option for reducing their carbon footprint.
2- Electric Storage Boiler
Another reliable, efficient, and cost-effective way to get hot water and heat for your home is by using an electric storage boiler. Although they are not that space-efficient, they include an insulated tank or hot water storage to store the heated water. They are also ideal for reducing your energy bills because of their lower demand for electricity.
3- A Dry Core Storage Boiler
Like storage boilers, a dry-core storage boiler operates by heating the bricks of your home. After heating the bricks of your home overnight, they take the heat from them and transfer it to the water tank to provide you with heating and hot water. What makes them unique is that they don’t circulate heat.
4- Electric CPSU
Combined primary storage units, called electric CPSUs, are ideal for fulfilling high hot water and heating demands. Their tremendous pressure and enhanced capacity to supply hot water and heat make them suitable for commercial buildings.
Type Of Gas Boilers
Combi gas boilers are now popular among UK homeowners for central heating and hot water. The reason behind that is that they are highly efficient and provide you with hot water on demand. Plus, they are very space-efficient and waste less energy, resulting in reduced costs on your energy bills.
System Gas Boilers
The System gas boilers are traditional yet a little advanced compared to regular boilers. Their controls are straightforward, plus they only require a separate hot water storage tank to provide your home with continuous hot water and heating at multiple bathrooms simultaneously. They are long-lasting, and their controls are not that complex, providing uninterrupted comfort in your home.
Regular Gas Boilers
Regular Gas Boilers, known as heat-only boilers, are the most traditional heating method. They are economical, provide precise control over temperature, and consume relatively low levels of gas or any other fuel. The only demerit is that it consumes a lot of space as it requires two storage tanks, meaning you will need a separate room.
Apart from that, they are highly effective and long-lasting, and their overheating protection features provide you with the ultimate peace of mind regarding the safety of your home.
Which fuel type is more environmentally friendly: gas or electricity?
Out of gas and electricity, if we consider which fuel type is more environmentally friendly by a considerable margin, electricity is more sustainable than gas. Although gas is relatively cheap, when burned to generate heat, it releases more CO2 into the environment than electricity. On the other hand, electricity is more expensive than gas.
Still, the good part is that it can be generated from renewable sources, such as solar panels. You can also store electricity for later use at night by investing in a solar generator. So, to summarize, if you want to contribute to the environment, electricity is the fuel type to choose.
When should I consider getting a gas boiler?
If natural gas is readily available in your area, choosing gas as your fuel type is an excellent decision regarding price and value. If you buy a boiler with an efficiency rating of 80–90%, then gas will not only be cheaper, but your carbon footprint will be drastically reduced.
When should I choose an electric boiler?
Firstly, you will need to assess the size of your household and the quantity demanded. This will determine whether an electric boiler can effectively meet your demands for hot water and heating. Plus, if you live in an area where electricity is inexpensive, choosing electricity as your fuel type will be cost- and space-saving and reduce your carbon footprint.
Gas vs. Electric Boilers: The Result – Which option is better for your home?
All in all, both gas and electric boilers have several benefits. The best option for your home will depend on your needs and property type. Although this will help you out, you will have to pay 34.0 p/kWh (pence per kilowatt hour) for electricity and 10.3 p/kWh for gas, including VAT.
But both have their own merits and demerits, as mentioned above. So ultimately, there isn’t any winner, and it all depends upon your decision.
Here at 247 Home Rescue, we can help you make the best choice for your home and needs. Try our free online quote tool today to find out how much it could cost to install a brand-new gas boiler in your home. Or get in touch with us at 0345 3192 247 to further discuss your needs.
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