Struggling to choose between a gas boiler or an electric boiler? We’re here to help you understand the differences between these boiler types—including how they run, and some pros and cons to help you decide.
What is a gas boiler?
A gas boiler is a heating system that burns gas fuel to heat water for your home. This hot water is then transported through pipes to your radiators, and to either a cylinder or directly to your taps—this provides both heating and hot water to your home.
Gas boilers can either be powered by natural gas or by liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Natural gas boilers get fuel fed through to them from an underground network, whilst LPG boilers have gas stored in bottles or cylinders which need to be replaced regularly.
What is an electric boiler?
Unlike gas boilers, electric boilers use electricity to heat the water that is supplied to your taps, cylinders and radiators. These systems can come in the same boiler types as gas boilers, so electric combi boilers are also available.
Gas boiler vs electric boiler: Pros and cons
Pros of installing a gas boiler
- Gas boiler are typically cheaper to run than electric boilers
- Popular – the majority of homes within the UK are heated using natural gas
- A large number of brands manufacture gas boilers
- Gas supply is generally always available, meaning large demands for heating and hot water can be met
- Gas boiler replacements tend to be simple and easy
- Condensing gas boilers are energy-efficient
Cons of installing a gas boiler
- Installations can be expensive
- Potential risk of gas leaks—can be prevented by ensuring that the installation is carried out by a qualified, Gas Safe registered engineer
- Not every home is connected to the gas grid network
Pros of installing an electric boiler
- Electric boiler installations can be cheaper than gas boiler installations
- They can be more energy efficient—no fossil fuels are being burnt during operation, although they may be used to initially generate the electricity
- Electric boilers are compact in size and quiet in operation
- May not require annual services—though they are often recommended
- No need to be placed against an outside wall as there is no flue or gas waste pipe
Cons of installing an electric boiler
- Electric boilers can be expensive to run
- Not recommended for larger homes or homes with high heating and hot water demands, due to limitations on boiler input ratings
- The production of electricity can produce a large amount of carbon
- Power cuts can impact access to heating and hot water
Installation and running costs
Gas boiler installations often cost more than electric boiler installations. There are, however, a number of factors that may increase the price, including the complexity of the job. For example, moving the location of your boiler within your home will increase the price of installation.
Gas boilers are generally the cheaper option to run. Per kilowatt-hour, gas can cost up to 4 times less than electricity*. According to USwitch, natural gas is the cheapest option available to consumers, so getting a gas boiler installed in your home could save you money in the long run**.
As electric boilers waste little energy, some may deem that they are more energy efficient. However, the work that goes into producing the electricity that fuels these boilers is carbon intensive and can thus ultimately cause more pollution than gas boilers.
When used efficiently, gas boilers could save you up to £200 on your annual energy bill***.
Gas and electric upkeep
Gas fuelled boilers require a yearly service to ensure that they are working safely and efficiently. Most manufacturers make annual services a requirement of their manufacturer-backed warranty. Getting a yearly service can give you peace of mind in knowing that your heating system is working effectively.
In contrast, electric boilers do not require a yearly service, though some manufacturers may recommend it. They are typically built with fewer moving parts, so ensuring that repairs are conducted when needed tends to be the only maintenance that is required.
Your new boiler installation
HomeServe can help you decide on the best heating system for your home. With a range of gas boilers available from leading brands, a qualified HomeServe engineer could provide you with a first-class boiler installation.