Gas or Electric Central Heating?

Apologies in advance for the dull question.....

I'm renovating a property to live in. At the moment it's on gas, but not central heating in the conventional sense, rather it is gas heaters in each room which need to be manually ignited.

To modernise I want to install a central heating system but I'm unsure whether to go for a conventional gas central heating system, pumping hot water to radiators, or a number of electrical radiators controlled by a thermostats on each unit.

My bias is towards electric radiators as I understand gas boilers are being phased out, and in my experience boilers, new or not even when regularly serviced tend to have a high rate of breakdown.

In addition, I think installing electric radiators and hooking them up to the supply would be less hassle and cheaper than running a load of copper pipe through the building.

Any thoughts appreciated.
 
Look at heat pumps.

The efficiency used to be rated at 5 pence worth of electric equivalent heat for every 1 pence spent actually running the thing. Very efficient and would last you a lifetime.
 
Apologies in advance for the dull question.....

I'm renovating a property to live in. At the moment it's on gas, but not central heating in the conventional sense, rather it is gas heaters in each room which need to be manually ignited.

To modernise I want to install a central heating system but I'm unsure whether to go for a conventional gas central heating system, pumping hot water to radiators, or a number of electrical radiators controlled by a thermostats on each unit.

My bias is towards electric radiators as I understand gas boilers are being phased out, and in my experience boilers, new or not even when regularly serviced tend to have a high rate of breakdown.

In addition, I think installing electric radiators and hooking them up to the supply would be less hassle and cheaper than running a load of copper pipe through the building.

Any thoughts appreciated.


Gas is cheaper than electric. As for phasing out gas boilers, it wont happen any time soon, to much politics and big money involved. Modern boilers are infinatly more reliable and economical today than they have ever been. We had a new top end boiler, with all the added on bells and whistles fitted 2 years ago, cheaper to run, and so much quicker than the 40+ year old one it replaced. Electric radiators are horrendously expensive to run, unless you have night storage types, and even then they cost, and can fail. with a gas boiler, and with thermostatic valves fitted to control individual rooms the central on -off point is the stat on the wall.

Copper, or now they favour Thermo plastic, pipework is a small price to pay for a more reliable system, and once in, its in for many many years. Your choice. Get quotes for both systems.

Late edit:- To Add, get a heat only boiler, one that also heats up water in a copper cylinder fitted with an immersion heater, then when and if your boiler fails, you have many gallons of hot water on tap, and the cylinder can be heated independently of the boiler. With a Combi boiler, you do not have that facility.
 
Last edited:

Blogg

LE
Get in quick for heat pumps
Most important bit which has caught brother and sister in law out a bit.

"Most air source heat pumps will only heat a standard radiator to 40-45C, compared with the 60-80C"

Also much longer flash to bang time in terms of heat delivery

Same goes for hot water, which is why they ended up with solar heat collectors on roof as well. Which are fine in summer but shit all use in winter so then they have to stagger hot water use and fire up immersion booster if it is more than just two of them in house.
 
Unvented hot water cylinder with system boiler and flexible small bore tubes to radiators - gives near mains pressure hot (no dribbly showers, no shower pumps and no cold mains fed electric heater showers) and no cold water storage tank needed.

Hive room stat is great and Hive Rad valves give you micro control and scheduling over every rad to which they are fitted. Alexa etc compatible too.
 
Gas is cheaper than electric. As for phasing out gas boilers, it wont happen any time soon, to much politics and big money involved. Modern boilers are infinatly more reliable and economical today than they have ever been. We had a new top end boiler, with all the added on bells and whistles fitted 2 years ago, cheaper to run, and so much quicker than the 40+ year old one it replaced. Electric radiators are horrendously expensive to run, unless you have night storage types, and even then they cost, and can fail. with a gas boiler, and thermostatic valves fitted, a central on -off point is the stat on the wall.

Copper or now they favour thermo plastic, pipework is a small price to pay for a more reliable system, and once in, its in for many many years. Your choice. Get quotes for both systems.

Late edit:- To Add, get a heat only boiler, one that also heats up water in a copper cylinder fitted with an immersion heater, then when and if your boiler fails, you have many gallons of hot water on tap, and the cylinder can be heated independently of the boiler. With a Combi boiler, you do not have that facility.

Combi boilers were originally designed for Italy, I'm talking originally, way back in the mists of time. They were ok for that with the warmer climate of a Mediterranean country and not having to fight the colder temperatures of a northern European climate to get up to working temperature. They used to have these Italian type council housing flats with the long balconies that run the entire length of every floor like an outdoor corridor. Well the combis used to be mounted outside each flat on the balcony run.

When combis started to appear in the UK they were basically re-branded Italian items - combis were marked as not too reliable in the UK for a fair few years, mainly because they were constantly having to work in the northern euro climate vs. the softer Italian climate. I did a couple of boiler courses at Ideal up in Hull and was shown around the place and was told the Italian story. To underline his story the bloke running the course showed us the latest shipment of boilers from Italy.

I also did a couple of courses at Ravenheat in Morley, Leeds, and met the top man who was strutting around in his Saville Row suit, sleeves rolled up taking apart a boiler he was testing. He started out as a plumber fitting boilers and once he made some money he decided to start importing boilers from Italy. Drove down in his van and did the business - when I met him he was commuting in his own helicopter. Ravenheat actually make some very solid and useful condensing boilers. Sorry, I digressed, he also told a similar story about combis.

If I were building, or renovating from scratch in the UK nowadays I would be using plastic plumbing/pex pipes and a heat pump system. They do cost more to install at the front end, but that is basically them knowing how much you are going to save by running it. I would also stick some solar water heating panels up. Both of those would feed into a BFO hot water cyclinder with about a foot of fibreglass around it to keep in the heat. Side note: I saw one place in Switzerland where they had a swimming pool sized hot water cyclinder in the cellar with over one metre of insulation around it - they collected enough heat during the warm 6 months to have a thermal mass capable of providing hot water and heat for the rest of the year.
 

anglo

LE
Apologies in advance for the dull question.....

I'm renovating a property to live in. At the moment it's on gas, but not central heating in the conventional sense, rather it is gas heaters in each room which need to be manually ignited.

To modernise I want to install a central heating system but I'm unsure whether to go for a conventional gas central heating system, pumping hot water to radiators, or a number of electrical radiators controlled by a thermostats on each unit.

My bias is towards electric radiators as I understand gas boilers are being phased out, and in my experience boilers, new or not even when regularly serviced tend to have a high rate of breakdown.

In addition, I think installing electric radiators and hooking them up to the supply would be less hassle and cheaper than running a load of copper pipe through the building.

Any thoughts appreciated.
Do a good job Insulating your house and go with gas, electricity prices are going to rocket,
Gas is here for a good few years yet
The greener the country goes the higher the electricity price will go,
Those wind turbines won't pay for themselves.
 
Last edited:
Unvented hot water cylinder with system boiler and flexible small bore tubes to radiators - gives near mains pressure hot (no dribbly showers, no shower pumps and no cold mains fed electric heater showers) and no cold water storage tank needed.

Hive room stat is great and Hive Rad valves give you micro control and scheduling over every rad to which they are fitted. Alexa etc compatible too.

Unventeds are the way to go. Make sure you have a registered and certificated unvented installer do the work though...........like me, well, if you want to pay the fare over from the US.

Unventeds are what they have in germany, and most of the rest of continental europe and it is the reason you get excellent water pressure there.
 
I'm settled on hot water gas powered with a new normal gas condensing boiler.
I've seen much of the end of fossil fuel argument and some new builds having no gas provision which I think is a non starter if they expect to sell them.
I also glanced an article that mentioned CNG and Nitrogen powered domestic heating boiler alternatives although I can't be arsed finding it. It does seem a bit dumb to ignore gas produced as a natural side effect of decomposing fossils.
Seriously, go gas, much cheaper and controllable...eta: for the time we have left on the planet.
 
Last edited:
Unventeds are the way to go. Make sure you have a registered and certificated unvented installer do the work though...........like me, well, if you want to pay the fare over from the US.

Unventeds are what they have in germany, and most of the rest of continental europe and it is the reason you get excellent water pressure there.
Going into new builds here these days.
 
I would also stick some solar water heating panels up.
Domestic Solar has quickly lost a lot of ground here - Mis-selling claims are plentiful. Systems are unlikely to ever provide a return on the capital outlay and if the heavily pushed batteries are added... not a chance.

Our feed in tariff (FiT) scheme closed to new entrants fairly recently - for twenty years it pays a sum for every kWh generated, paid an additional sum for 50% of every kWh generated and get to use every last kWh you can for free.

For new installations it is now the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme which only pays for kWh actually fed into the grid. (generation minus consumption). It has killed the 'roof rentals' where panels were installed free of charge, the roof owner got the free electricity and the panel owner collected the FiT payments.



I have a 4kWp split (40% east/ 60% west) pv array which pays me between £600 & £650 under the FiT scheme plus the commensurate reduction in grid consumption. Any energy coming off the roof that is not used gets to heat the water (thus reducing the gas bill too). It is mainly a summer thing though - in the foggy overcast days we have, some days the generation is down to under 1 kWh.

I estimate that the break even point for my system with FiT is between 10 and 12 years leaving 8-10 years of real benefit assuming no major repair or replace items. I certainly wouldn’t be entertaining a new domestic PV installation these days.
 
Last edited:
Most important bit which has caught brother and sister in law out a bit.

"Most air source heat pumps will only heat a standard radiator to 40-45C, compared with the 60-80C"

Also much longer flash to bang time in terms of heat delivery

Same goes for hot water, which is why they ended up with solar heat collectors on roof as well. Which are fine in summer but shit all use in winter so then they have to stagger hot water use and fire up immersion booster if it is more than just two of them in house.
Air-source heat pumps are best configured with low temperature heating systems like under floor heating or with warm air circulation systems. Radiators are not a particularly efficient way of heating a room; they rely on heating the transfer medium (ie water) to high temperature and are therefore prone to higher losses.

If you have underfloor heating driven by a heat pump, then the problem of slow flash to bang time doesn’t arise as you don’t need to let the house go cold.

As for hot water, the ability to provide adequate water for the household depends on tank size, not the method of heating. Most British houses have a small hot water tank because the hot water demand is rapidly met by the boiler.
 

Sabretooth

War Hero
Do a good job Insulating your house and go with gas, electricity prices are going to rocket,
Gas is here for a good few years yet
The greener the country goes the higher the electricity price will go,
Those win turbines won't pay for themselves.
I don't have those problems My whole house is solar-powered. my Initial cost was paid back in 12 years..
 
Look at heat pumps.

The efficiency used to be rated at 5 pence worth of electric equivalent heat for every 1 pence spent actually running the thing. Very efficient and would last you a lifetime.

Don't these have a box of tricks with almost as much to go wrong as a gas boiler?
 
Apologies in advance for the dull question.....

I'm renovating a property to live in. At the moment it's on gas, but not central heating in the conventional sense, rather it is gas heaters in each room which need to be manually ignited.

To modernise I want to install a central heating system but I'm unsure whether to go for a conventional gas central heating system, pumping hot water to radiators, or a number of electrical radiators controlled by a thermostats on each unit.

My bias is towards electric radiators as I understand gas boilers are being phased out, and in my experience boilers, new or not even when regularly serviced tend to have a high rate of breakdown.

In addition, I think installing electric radiators and hooking them up to the supply would be less hassle and cheaper than running a load of copper pipe through the building.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Gas, no question.

If it is your experience that "..boilers, new or not even when regularly serviced tend to have a high rate of breakdown..", I'd suspect you've grown accustomed to the work of half-wit plumbers. There're a lot of them about.

If you're thinking of electric radiators, you'd do just as well to plug in electric fan heaters in every room, they're equally efficient. When you get the central heating installed you can chuck the electric heaters out.
 

Latest Threads

Top