Alternative To Gas Boilers Guide
- 1 Electric boilers
- 2 Heat pumps
- 3 Biomass boilers
- 4 Thermal solar panels
- 5 Infrared heating panels
- 6 Hybrid heating systems
- 7 Oil boilers
- 8 LPG boilers
The 2025 UK Gas Boiler Ban is fast approaching. Are you ready for the move from gas boilers to other “cleaner” alternatives? What’s your plan?
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of alternatives. In this guide, we’ll touch on several gas boiler alternatives, their installation and running costs, pros and cons. Continue reading for more.
Besides the ban, we’re sure you are also looking forward to reducing your carbon footprint on the environment. Indeed, not all these options are 100% eco-friendly. Nonetheless, some will help you reduce your carbon emission and save money on heating costs.
We’re aware that there are others who aren’t concerned with the gas boiler ban. At least, not yet. Instead, they’ve found themselves in homes that are off the gas network grid.
Traditionally, most people in such a situation would have turned to oil or LPG boilers. However, these options are detrimental to the environment. We’ll still touch on them, but we’re pleased to announce that you have better options.
Indeed, all boilers use electricity in one way or another. However, we are referring to gas boilers that use electricity mainly as their fuel.
Straightaway, you can already tell that electric boilers are eco-friendly. Sure, one might argue that the production of electricity releases carbon into the atmosphere. Nonetheless, that’s indirect.
All in all, electric boilers are “greener” than conventional gas boilers. Additionally, they are also less likely to experience breakdowns and other boiler-related faults.
Compared to gas and oil boilers, electric boilers are much more efficient. However, that’s not to say that an electric boiler is the most affordable alternative. Electric boilers have one of the highest running costs on the list. Most of it has to do with the ever-rising cost of electricity here in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, electric boilers best suit small households in one-bedroom flats. Unfortunately, they can’t handle the heat requirements for average-sized families in three-bedroom houses. Once again, gas boilers have the upper hand over electric boilers.
The cost of electric boilers vs gas boilers
The initial cost of an electric boiler plus installation is almost similar to that of gas boilers. An electric boiler unit will cost you around £600 to £2,800. For installation, be prepared to spend an extra £500 to £1,000.
Given the current electricity prices, it’s a no-brainer that electric boilers have higher running costs than gas boilers. You might end paying more than twice the amount you are currently spending on your annual heating costs.
Not all hope is lost. You can lower your heating costs by installing solar panels. Not only will they cater to your boiler’s energy requirements, but you can also use the electricity they supply to power other household appliances.
During the day, you’ll be heating your home for free. In the evening or during cloudy days and seasons, you’ll have access to the energy stored in solar batteries. However, note that you’ll have to spend more on the panels, batteries, and their installation.
Pros of electric boilers
- They operate quietly.
- They have fewer moving parts. Thus, they are less prone to mechanical breakdowns.
- Simple installation. For example, they don’t need flue pipes.
- Reduced carbon emission into the environment.
Cons of electric boilers
- Electricity is an expensive fuel. Generally, electric boilers record higher heating costs than gas boilers.
- Electric boilers can’t cater to larger houses.
- Ultimately, most of the electricity supplied to our homes is generated by burning fossil fuels.
Heat pumps are specialised devices that use electricity to absorb heat from cool spaces to warm our homes and domestic water. You can liken their mode of operation to that of your refrigerator or air conditioner. However, the process is reversed. Instead of creating cool environments, heat pumps create hot environments.
“They use electricity? Aren’t they as costly to operate as electric boilers?”
No. Heat pumps can generate up to four times the amount of heat produced by an electric boiler using the same amount of electricity. Additionally, they are more efficient and reliable. Heat pumps will steadily serve your home all year round.
However, heat pumps are way more expensive to acquire and install than electric and gas boilers. Nonetheless, in the long run, they’ll save you more money.
There are three main types of heat pumps:
- Air-Source heat pumps.
- Ground-source heat pumps.
- Water-source heat pumps.
An air-source heat pump operates by extracting heat from the air outside. Did you know that some air-source heat pumps extract heat from air whose temperature is as low as -25℃?
There are two types of air-source heat pumps, the air-to-air and the air-to-water models. Both of them extract heat in the same manner. However, their delivery differs.
Air-to-air modes use networks of fans. On the other hand, air-to-water heat pumps use the conventional wet radiators found in your everyday gas boilers.
A ground-source heat pump extracts heat from underground. In case you didn’t know, the sun is constantly heating the ground beneath our feet. Dig a few metres into the ground, let’s say two metres, and you’ll find that the temperatures down there are consistently between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. A ground-source heat pump extracts that heat and uses it for central heating and domestic hot water.
Water-source heat pumps aren’t the most practical for “normal” households. They operate by extracting heat from water bodies like rivers, lakes, and oceans.
The cost of heat pumps vs gas boilers
Air-source heat pumps are the cheapest of the three options. A three-bedroom unit will cost you around £7,000 to £12,000. After installation, you should expect to spend around £1,200 on your annual heating expenses. Of course, its efficiency and cost is dependant on other factors like your home’s insulation levels and your household-specific heat requirements.
Water-source heat pumps take second place. A unit will cost you around £10,000 to £15,000. On average, your annual heating costs will cost you around £800 to £1,000.
Ground-source heat pumps are by far the most expensive to acquire and install. A three-bedroom unit will cost you around £10,000 to £15,000. For the running costs, expect to spend £800 to £1,000 annually.
Immediately, you can tell that heat pumps cost way more than gas boilers. However, you’ll save more money in the long run in terms of heating expenses.
Before you right off heating pumps, you’ll be happy to know about the government’s Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI).
If you set up your renewable gas boiler alternative by 31st March 2022, you may qualify for the government scheme that promises to refund the money you’ve spent on the system. They’ll refund all the money you’ve spent in quarterly instalments over 7 years.
Pros of heat pumps
- Heat pumps are extremely efficient.
- It’s among the few green alternatives with almost zero carbon emission.
- Heat pumps will save you a lot of money in the long run. In just a few years, your annual savings will offset the initial high purchase and installation costs.
- They are legible for the government’s Renewable Heat Initiative.
Cons of heat pumps
- We’re not going to kid you. A high-quality heat pump is quite an investment with high upfront costs.
Biomass boilers are very much similar to conventional boilers. They operate in the same way. However, instead of using fossil fuels, they use biological materials like wood logs, pellets, and chips. Some might argue that biomass boilers are somewhat responsible for deforestation. However, that is far from the truth. Biomass boilers use waste wood as fuel.
Did you know that we’re currently sending thousands of tonnes of waste wood to landfills? Instead of throwing away all that wood, we can use it to heat our homes.
Others suggest that biomass boilers still emit carbon into the atmosphere. We’re not suggesting that biomass boilers are 100% carbon-free. Instead, they are carbon-neutral gas boiler alternatives. When the boiler burns wood to produce energy, it only releases the carbon that was stored in the tree during its lifetime.
Indeed, there are a couple of biomass boiler manufacturers in the market. As a result, there are several models available. That being said, there are two main types of biomass boilers:
- Manually-fed biomass boilers.
- Automatic biomass boilers.
Just as the name suggests, manually-fed boilers, despite being more affordable, require more human input. All biomass boilers, in general, require a lot of maintenance. Not only do you have to feed the boilers with fuel, but you also have to remove the ash produced after burning wood.
Also, biomass boilers need more space than conventional gas boilers. Not only will you need to find space for the unit, but you’ll also have to figure out where you’ll store the fuel.
The cost of biomass boilers vs gas boilers
Biomass units are more expensive than gas boilers.
One unit will cost you around £5,000 to £13,000. The price will vary depending on the model’s quality and automation.
In the case of a three-bedroom house, you should expect to spend, on average, around £900 annually. Of course, you can always reduce the heating costs by pairing the boiler with a thermal tank or solar panels.
Fortunately, if you install the unit by 31st March 2022, you’ll have a chance of qualifying for the Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI). It’s a government scheme that promises to refund the money you’ve spent purchasing and installing your gas boiler alternative.
Pros of biomass boilers
- They are legible for the government’s Renewable Heat Initiative.
- It’s a carbon-neutral alternative. It doesn’t emit unnatural levels of carbon into the atmosphere.
- You can annually save up to £800 on heating costs.
- Biological materials like waste wood are cheap fuels.
Cons of biomass boilers
- They require up to four times more space than conventional boilers.
- They require a flue to redirect the waste gases emitted during heat production.
- They are labour intensive and high maintenance.
- Their initial unit and installation costs are higher than the ones for gas boilers.
- Even though bio-fuel is cheap, its price isn’t stable and might vary with suppliers.
Thermal solar panels
Thermal solar panels are designed to convert solar energy to heat energy for domestic use. We even have photovoltaic solar panels that can absorb and convert solar energy in any weather as long as they are sun rays. On top of that, you can even use that energy with any other house appliance.
Nevertheless, solar panels alone can’t deliver on all the heating demands of a household. You might have to pair it with another gas boiler alternative like a heat pump or electric boiler.
The cost of thermal solar panels vs gas boilers
Thermal solar panels are quite an investment. To comfortably heat a home, you’ll need at least 300 square feet of solar panels. On average, it will cost you around £3,000 to £6,000 to purchase and install. However, if done correctly, it will save you more money in the long run.
Pros of thermal solar panels
- Solar energy is an eco-friendly fuel.
- You can use the energy acquired with other household appliances.
- Thermal solar panels require very little maintenance.
- They are legible for the government’s Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI).
Cons of thermal solar panels
- High upfront purchase and installation costs.
- Thermal solar panels alone can’t satisfy the heating demands of an average family household. You’ll have to pair it with another alternative.
- They’re not reliable all year round. For example, energy production will be low during the cloudy winter months.
Infrared heating panels
Infrared heating panels operate differently from all other gas boiler alternatives we’ve mentioned. They don’t use radiators like conventional boilers. Additionally, instead of warming the air in the room, they directly warm the people and objects.
The cost of infrared heating panels vs gas boilers
Fortunately, infrared heating panels are cheaper to acquire than gas boilers. One unit will cost anywhere from around £125 to £180. However, you have to be careful with their electricity consumption. Since they directly heat people and not the air in the room, the room will immediately feel cold after switching off the panels. In the long run, they might cost more than gas boilers.
Pros of infrared heating panels
- They operate quietly.
- Zero carbon emission into the atmosphere.
- They occupy little space.
- Infrared heating panels require little to no maintenance.
Cons of infrared heating panels
- They have a short range of approximately 3 metres.
- They might not be as efficient if there are objects between the panels and people.
- They don’t heat the air in the room. Therefore, the room will immediately feel cold once the panels are switched off.
Hybrid heating systems
Hybrid heating systems are a combination of any of the renewable alternatives with a gas boiler. For example, you can merge your heat pump with your conventional gas boiler. That way, you’ll enjoy the benefits of using a renewable energy heating system without sacrificing the familiarity that comes with gas boilers. Depending on which alternative is the most efficient at a time, you can switch from one system to another.
Oil boilers are almost, in every way, similar to gas boilers. However, despite both of them using fossil fuels, gas boilers use natural gas. On the other hand, oil boilers use oil. On top of that, oil can be stored on-site. That is why it’s most popular in off-grid households.
Price-wise, oil boiler units cost the same as gas boiler units. On top of that, even the annual running costs aren’t that different.
Pros of oil boilers
- They might be the cheapest solution for off-grid households.
- Modern oil boilers are quiet.
- Oil as a fuel is much cheaper than LPG.
- Oil boilers have almost the same efficiency as gas boilers.
- Some oil boiler models allow you to install them externally. You end saving on indoor space.
- Their performance is reliable during the harsh winter months.
Cons of oil boilers
- Oil boilers emit carbon into the environment.
- Oil is smellier than LPG.
- During installation, you’ll spend more because of the storage tanks.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) boilers are similar to gas and oil boilers. They all burn fossil fuels to produce energy. However, LPG boilers use liquefied petroleum gas as fuel.
Pros of LPG boilers
- LPG boilers are cheaper and easier to installer than oil boilers.
- You can store LPG in smaller cylinders compared to the oil tanks required by gas boilers.
- Their carbon emission is 12% lower than that of oil boilers.
- You can also use LPG fuel with other cooking appliances.
Cons of LPG boilers
- In the long run, LPG boilers are more expensive to fuel than oil boilers. You’ll spend more on heating costs. One litre of LPG produces about 7kWh of energy. On the other hand, one litre of oil records about 10kWh of energy.
- You need more LPG than oil to produce the same amount of heat. LPG boilers are less efficient.
Fortunately, you have several gas boiler alternatives available for you. It’s a matter of deciding the one that best satisfies your financial, environmental, and lifestyle requirements.
Do you need help? Contact us today, and we’ll help you with your gas boiler replacement.