Some homeowners struggle to choose whether to get a gas boiler or an electric boiler installed. Here we’ll help you understand how both boiler types work and outline some of their main pros and cons.
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 to provide heating, and to either a cylinder or directly to your taps to provide hot water (depending on the type of boiler installed).
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 into bottles or cylinders – these will 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
- Typically cheaper to run
- Popular – the majority of homes within the UK are heated using natural gas
- A large amount of brands manufacture gas boilers
- Gas supply is generally always available
- Large demands for heating and hot water can be met
- Boiler replacements are usually simple
- Condensing gas boilers are energy-efficient
- Installations can be expensive
- Potential risk of gas leaks but this can be prevented by ensuring that the installation is completed by a professional and competent Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Not every home is connected to the gas grid network
- Installations can be cheaper
- They can be more energy efficient as no fossil fuels are being burnt during operation (although they may be used to generate the electricity)
- Compact in size
- Quiet operation
- May not require annual services (though they are often recommended)
- They don’t need to be placed against an outside wall as there is no flue or gas waste pipe.
- 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
It is claimed that gas boiler installations tend to cost more than electric boiler installations; however, this can depend on the complexity of the job.
Gas boilers are generally less expensive to run. Per kilowatt-hour, gas can be up to 4 times cheaper than electricity*. According to USwitch, natural gas is the cheapest option available to consumers, so getting a gas boiler installed into your home could be cheaper 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 boiler brands
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. They are typically built with less moving parts, so ensuring that repairs are conducted when needed tends to be the only maintenance that is required.
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.
Get a free quote today to find out how much a new boiler installation could cost – you’ll also receive a recommendation for the best boiler for your home.