How to decide between gas and electric central heating

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November is here and I’m sure everyone else is feeling as cold as I am. We try not to put our central heating on too often or too early in the year, but we’ve now accepted the that the timer is on and the heating is going to be coming on twice a day for the next few months! Let’s face it, when you live in colder climates like the UK, central heating is pretty much essential. Central heating systems provide heating to your entire house, through vents and pipes. Many of us ‘inherit’ our heating system when we move into a house, but what if it needs replacing or we have the luxury of choosing what is installed in a new house? Which kind of central heating is better? Gas powered or electric? Here’s the pros and cons of both types of central heating…  

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Which is most efficient? 

Let’s start with the basics first. It might seem obvious, but gas central heating systems are powered by gas and electric heating systems are electricity driven. So, which one is better in performance? To be honest, gas central heating systems are considered less efficient than their electric counterparts. The reason for this is that electrical systems consume all of the given electric energy and convert it into heat, whereas, gas heating systems convert about 80 to 85% of the gas energy into heat. So, in terms of energy consumption and sufficient deliverability, electric heating systems are considered to be the better option.

Which one is cheaper?

This is the most commonly asked question and the biggest consideration for many people looking to install central heating boilers. In the UK, electricity costs around £15 per KWh, whereas, gas costs around £4 per KWh. So gas is significantly cheaper than electricity. But problems can sometimes arise when people can’t get access to natural gas main lines, due to low pressure in the winter months or unavailability.

In this case, people tend to opt for LPG tanks, which are more expensive than natural gas. Constant usage of LPG tanks can add up, and in the long run, it can become more expensive than electricity. So, the bottom line is that if you don’t have access to a natural gas main line in your area, then it is best to switch to the electrical heating option, rather than LPG powered central heating. 

Which option heats the fastest?

This is another commonly asked question. Gas central heating heats up more quickly than an electrical heating system. This is because gas combusts quickly, so it heats up the house in very little time. Electric heating systems can take a few minutes before the house starts to feel warm.

If you live in an area where electricity breakdowns are common, then it is best to install gas powered central heating systems. One drawback to gas powered central heating systems is that the combustion of gas can emit harmful toxins, like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. So, if you are hesitant about the combustion by-products, then gas central heating might not be a good option to choose. However, regular servicing should minimise any problems.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons of each one and it all depends on your own preference and what works for your home and the area where you live.

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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