Category - Boilers
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

20 Mar : Updated 4 Apr ● 6 min read

Does a gas boiler use electricity?

Think that your gas boiler doesn’t use any electricity? Think again!

Yes, it’s a common misconception that gas boilers don’t use any electricity in order to function, with the majority of people believing that gas boilers run solely on the mains gas supply. In reality, gas boilers do need a small amount of electrical energy in order to operate.

And this is something that’s more relevant for many of us now than ever before.

There’s no getting away from the fact that we’ve all got a close eye on our smart meters and heating bills at the moment. With the cost of living skyrocketing and simple things like turning the heating on getting increasingly expensive, we’re all wanting to get on top of our energy usage. If you’ve noticed your electricity usage creeping up throughout the day, even when the lights are off, you’ll want to find out why!

To help make things clearer, BOXT’s team of experts is here to answer all your important questions about gas boiler electricity consumption.

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So, do gas boilers use electricity?

Yes, cutting right to the chase, if you’ve got a gas boiler in your home then it’s going to be using some electricity too. Don’t panic, though! The amount of electricity used by your gas boiler is minimal, meaning it isn’t going to be sending your energy bills through the roof. 

Gas boilers require a small amount of electricity in order to fire up and keep running throughout the day. Even if you haven't turned your heating on, your boiler is still running in the background to get ready for the moment you turn your heating on so it can deliver hot water to your taps and radiators.

And, electricity isn't just required for turning your boiler on, it’s also essential for helping specific parts and mechanisms of central heating systems function properly.

What parts of a gas boiler require electricity?

So, we know electricity is required to keep your boiler running. But what parts of a gas boiler depend on electricity? Here are the main boiler components that require electricity in order to operate effectively.

The boiler’s ignition

Have you ever heard a clicking noise when your boiler starts up? This is the ignition. This creates a spark to light the gas and creates a flame. The electricity consumed is only minuscule, but if the power supply does cut off, the boiler cannot start.

The central heating pump

Although older boilers make use of a gravity system, more modern gas boilers use a central heating pump to push heated water through the system to your home's radiators, shower heads and taps can use shower pumps usually located in your airing cupboard. 

Without this pump, the hot water wouldn't be able to travel throughout your home.

This pump only requires electricity when it's first switched on, so it won't be driving up your energy bills the whole time it's running.

A standard central heating pump usually uses around 60 watts of energy, although this can vary depending on the pump. This amount is less than your standard kettle, which requires between 2-3 kilowatts on average.

Boiler fan

A boiler fan is another feature that requires a small amount of electricity. Many presume that a boiler fan's job is to cool down the components, but this isn't the case. Instead, a boiler fan extracts flue gases outside the home. The fan has to start up before the boiler ignites, otherwise, gases created during combustion won't be able to leave your home sufficiently.

Boiler gas valve

A boiler gas valve directs gas flow to the pilot light and burner, controlled by a motor and requires a small amount of electricity to operate the valve.

Digital display

Boiler display screens vary between boilers, but each will use a small amount of electricity. This usually indicates the time, temperature and any boiler fault codes.

Boiler automation

Boiler automation includes temperature, pressure and water level monitoring using various sensors that require electricity. The electricity consumption depends on how complex the automation is, but it usually only requires a small amount.

Can a gas boiler work without electricity?

Despite being a gas boiler, many different components require electricity to function. And most importantly, your gas boiler will need electricity even to turn on.

So, in the event of a power cut or electricity outage, your central heating system will not work. Instead, you'll need to wrap up warm or use another heat source temporarily, like a log burner. 

How much electricity does a gas boiler use?

Gas consumption is likely your primary interest when considering how much energy your central heating system uses, since these boilers rely mostly on gas. But how much electricity do gas boilers consume?

Gas boilers use around 100-200 watts, based on daily electrical consumption in average climate conditions. However, it should be noted that your boiler's electricity consumption will vary depending on how frequently you turn on your central heating. This figure will likely be much lower in the warmer months when you rarely turn your heating on.

Gas vs electric boiler energy consumption

Gas boilers only rely on a small - albeit essential - amount of electricity to function. But how does the electric consumption of a gas boiler compare to that of an electric boiler?

Electric boilers are typically more expensive compared to gas boilers. To purchase a new boiler for your home, you're probably looking at upwards of £1,500 before installation, depending on the make and model. In comparison, a gas boiler will likely cost between £1,500 and £3,000 with installation.

You'll also need to factor in running costs. Whilst electric boilers are more efficient and environmentally friendly than gas boilers, the running costs can add up.

Electricity typically costs three or more times the amount of gas. The current average capped rates (as they stand in October 2023) are £0.30 per kWh for electricity and £0.07 per kWh for gas. Even though electric boilers use around half the energy of a gas boiler, estimations still suggest that gas boilers are 3-4 times cheaper to run each year compared to their electric counterparts.

For a more in-depth rundown on electric boilers vs gas boilers, the team at BOXT have created a guide telling you everything there is to know.

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