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11 Gas Boiler Ban Myths Debunked

In 2019, the UK government made a startling announcement: there would be a ban on gas and oil boilers. The ban was set for 2025 however, it applies only to new build properties. Properties that already have an oil or gas-powered boiler installed are not affected by this ban at this time.

The government stated that the purpose of the ban is to send the UK on its way to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions - a goal for 2050. Gas boilers are big culprits of CO2 emissions in the UK, where a whopping 78% of fuel used to power boilers in the UK is sourced from Gas.

The announcement by the government has brought about confusion amongst property holders who have been rushing to replace their gas boilers to meet the boiler ban deadline, usually unnecessarily.

With so much speculation circulating, a lot of myths regarding the boiler ban have surfaced. Don’t despair! We have debunked some of these myths circulating about the ban and have compiled this handy guide to assist in setting any anxiety you may have.

1) Gas boilers are being banned

2) You have to get rid of your current gas boiler by 2025

3) Gas boilers are slowly being phased out

4) I will be fined if I do not replace my boiler by 2025?

5) You must switch to a new boiler (even if the ban does not apply to your boiler)

6) Gas and oil boilers are no longer for sale

7) You can only switch to electric boilers

8) You can simply switch to hydrogen boilers

10) Heat pumps are affordable alternatives to gas boilers

11) When you eventually replace your gas boiler, it will be very expensive

Final Thoughts

11 Boiler Ban Myths and the Realities Behind Them

1) Gas boilers are being banned

FACT: You can still purchase a new gas boiler; there is no current ban on the sale or installation of gas boilers.

The current plan that forms part of the gas boiler ban is that no new homes will be built with oil and gas boilers beyond 2025. This is not expected to affect many people, as there are around 25 million existing homes for people to purchase or rent, and not that many new homes are constructed a year in the grand scheme of things.

If you plan on buying or purchasing a newly constructed property within the next few years, you may not find a gas boiler installed.

There is no current ban on gas and oil boilers. You can still purchase new gas and oil boilers. This means you can still replace your old gas boiler with a new one.

New gas boilers are being produced as ‘hydrogen ready’, meaning that the only real solution to reducing energy has already begun. The more realistic process of converting what we already have in place couldn’t be easier for most homeowners. 

2) You have to get rid of your current gas boiler by 2025

FACT: You do not have to get rid of your existing gas boiler by 2025.

The biggest myth that has everyone in a panic is that they must replace gas boilers that are currently in their homes by the 2025 deadline.

The Gas Boiler Ban only applies to new boilers installed in new-build homes; not to any existing homes. New homes from 2025 must be constructed with an alternative heating system. Solar power electrical boilers are the new efficient alternative in most cases.

The reason for this confusion regarding existing boilers is due to the announcement from the International Energy Agency (IEA); “no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold from 2025 if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of this century.”

This statement is not yet made law, and the UK government is only considering enforcing the IEA plan from 2040 onwards. 

Although there is no current legal requirement to replace gas boilers, there are government incentives to install renewable energy heating solutions. The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is one scheme that releases quarterly payments to homeowners who rely on renewable sources for home heating.

However, grants and incentives for renewable energy sources can be limited in terms of cost and time scales and can restrict the support many need to actually make a drastic change to non-gas central heated homes. 

3) Gas boilers are slowly being phased out

FACT: The current plan by the government is to install non-gas or oil boilers in new properties, not to phase out existing boilers.  

Most new builds are extremely well insulated and can retain heat much better than older buildings. This means new properties are much better suited for a renewable heating system, an air-source heat pump, or a ground-source heat pump. 

When the house is being built, the size of pipes and radiators can be sized to work well with a lower temperature heat pump, allowing an easy switch to a greener heat source.

There is currently no plan to "phase out" existing gas boilers in older properties, they plan to simply tweak the way they work and the type of gas they burn. 

The Renewable Heat Incentive (as well as the previous Green Homes Grant), offers motivation for property owners to switch to green heating alternatives - but there is no forced removal and replacement of gas or oil boilers. Property owners who have the financial capacity should consider renewable heating systems. 

If the UK wishes to reach its goals of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, these changes are necessary. There may be an eventual phasing out and complete ban on new and old gas boilers. But before this happens, there will first have strong movement towards better insulating existing UK properties and what infrastructure we currently use and how we can adapt it.

4) I will be fined if I do not replace my boiler by 2025

FACT: You will not be fined if you do not replace your gas boiler by 2025.

Because of the IEA announcement that boilers need to be phased out by 2025, a lot of people are scared that they are facing fines up to £10,000. Although the government is considering the IEA recommendations (but only after 2040), there are not currently any fines envisioned for people who are not planning on replacing their gas or oil boilers.

The current outlook of the National Carbon Emissions goal does not mean that there is no possibility of fines in the future. Currently, you will not be fined if you do not replace your gas or oil boiler. Instead, the government is focusing on incentivising homeowners to switch to renewable energy heating solutions.

5) You must switch to a new boiler (even if the ban does not apply to your boiler)

FACT: You do not have to switch to a new boiler.

Although it isn’t compulsory to switch out your gas boiler, there are many reasons that you should make the switch.

The green option is to opt for electric boilers, ground and air source heat pumps, solar panels or even biomass boilers. Being environmentally friendly is important to many households, so this is one of the many ways of reducing your carbon footprint as a family.

These options have a whole host of pros and cons, but mainly switching to green alternatives can be a very slow and expensive process.

Many manufacturers are making their boilers ‘hydrogen ready’, which for most households will be the most accessible, affordable and least disruptive option for heating a home.

6) Gas and oil boilers are no longer for sale

FACT: You can still purchase gas and oil boilers.

If you have an older gas or oil boiler in your home, you can still purchase a modern gas boiler or an oil boiler. Modern gas boilers are very efficient - up to 95% more so than their predecessors - so you would do well to consider replacing an old gas boiler with a modern one.

High-efficiency boilers use fewer fossil fuels and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. They are also more affordable to maintain, and you may be able to save some money on your monthly heating bills.

Modern boilers can be easily linked to smart thermostats, making your central heating even more efficient. Most modern boilers are now also hydrogen ready, making them suitable for the next phase of the government's plan to make the country greener.  

7) You can only switch to electric boilers

FACT: Electric boilers are not the only option when it comes to replacing your gas boiler; there is a long list of alternatives, including a new gas boiler. 

There are plenty of other central heating systems which are environmentally friendly.

Central heat pumps are one such option, but they can be expensive to install - somewhere between £6,000 and £8,000.

Then there are biomass boilers. These burn renewable fuel sources, like wood chips or wooden pellets, and have recently increased in popularity. A biomass boiler may cost about £5,000 (excluding installation costs), so it is not the most cost-effective solution in terms of the lump sum and installation however, it is an eco-friendly alternative and may cost you less in terms of fuel and maintenance.

Electric boilers are a great choice for some homes, as they don’t produce harmful waste gasses, don’t burn fossil fuels directly and in turn, don’t require a flue system to vent gasses out of the building. An electric boiler paired with a renewable energy source like solar makes a great pairing. 

8) You can simply switch to hydrogen boilers

FACT: Most new boilers are already set up to run from a hydrogen / natural gas mix.

Hydrogen is a green-burning, low-carbon option that could be used to replace the current national gas grid. Most modern gas boilers have the potential to use hydrogen as well as natural gas, but there are a couple of setbacks when it comes to using hydrogen gas in UK properties.

The benefits of using hydrogen are undisputed; adapting the current gas grid to be suitable for hydrogen is straightforward. 

However, there are some limitations to hydrogen. If we switched every natural gas appliance to hydrogen, this would be very costly. 

Although electrolysis powered by renewable energy sources can be used - where water is split into its oxygen and hydrogen molecules - it cannot yet be done at a scale to meet the demands of the population.

Property owners who have relied on gas boilers will be familiar with using a similar type of hydrogen boiler, except now they will be using much cleaner fuel. Gas Safe Registered Engineers will also already have the skills to install hydrogen boilers.

9) You have to install a heat pump instead

FACT: There is no obligation for you to install a heat pump, and more UK homes will have to be better insulated before this can become a sensible option.

Our government wants to sell and install about 600,000 air-source heat pumps annually. This is a lot of heat pumps, but not all homes are well-suited for this type of heating system since plenty of UK properties are not yet adequately insulated

One problem with heat pumps is that they work at a lower temperature, meaning that the building cannot have a high rate of heat loss as the amount emitted by the heat pump will not be able to cope. 

Heat pumps can also be costly to install - £6,000 to £14,000 - meaning it is not an option for some households. They also require more space than electric or other boiler types. Heat pumps include an outdoor unit, plenty of pipes, a hot water storage tank, a control panel, and often even a buffer tank.

The UK's Department of Business and Industrial Strategy has concluded that the high costs of heat pumps, additionally the requirement for additional space, mean it is not feasible to install heat pumps in most UK properties. UK property owners are reluctant to switch to heat pumps for the same reasons.

10) Heat pumps are affordable alternatives to gas boilers

FACT: Despite claims that heat pumps can save homeowners more than £1,000 per year in heating costs, the initial installation is expensive.

Although ground source heat pumps are often more efficient than gas boilers and will have reduced maintenance costs, this heating system will still be costly to run.

Heat pump technology uses electricity to run, and electricity costs significantly more than gas - up to 4 times more! Gas can cost up to 7p/kWh, whereas electricity prices can be up to 28p/kWh, based on the April 2022 price cap.

Heat pumps are an efficient and eco-friendly alternative, but with the higher initial cost for installation, in addition to rising operating costs due to the increasing price of electricity, they’ll work out more expensive in the short term.

11) When you eventually replace your gas boiler, it will be very expensive

FACT: You can expect to pay an upfront cost when purchasing and installing a new boiler, but it will save you money in the long term. 

Replacing your old gas boiler with a modern gas boiler can cost you less than £2,000. Installing an environmentally friendly alternative will cost significantly more and you may have to make changes to the existing infrastructure in your home as well.

Costs will also depend on the type of boiler you get. A normal hydrogen-ready gas boiler could cost anywhere between £1800 and £4500 which could be significantly cheaper than the alternatives. 

And although the upfront cost of purchasing the system and having it installed can be costly, we offer brilliant advice in directing and installing the most suited boiler for your needs. Our modern boilers are much more energy-efficient, which will reduce your energy bills in the long run.

Final Thoughts

The announcement of gas boilers being phased out has had the population stressed and confused as many UK property owners depend on gas boilers to heat their homes.

There is no legal requirement for people to get rid of or replace their existing gas boilers, so we hope you can breathe a sigh of relief!

However, if you have the funds available, it may be beneficial to you and the environment to switch to a greener alternative like the low-carbon heating systems. Rest assured, you can still purchase a new gas boiler and keep your house warm using natural gas.

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