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Electric Boilers Vs. Gas Boilers: The Pros & Cons Of Each

There's nothing more terrifying than being told your boiler has come to the end of its life or for it to just suddenly stop working one day and be faced with an expensive repair. 

A boiler is key to your heating system and keeps your taps running hot and your radiators heated to provide warmth to the home. 

But as the government continues to promote greener energy initiatives, there’s an increasing interest in moving away from gas boilers and considering options such as electric boilers. But what many aren’t sure of is whether or not these are suitable for their home, the costs and any other factors that help make the decision.

Deciding whether an electric boiler or gas boiler is the best option for your home is important to consider carefully. If you're already without a boiler, you’ll undoubtedly want to act fast to get your heating system back on its feet, especially if this happens during the colder months.

This article will explore the differences between electric boilers and gas boilers.

What are the advantages of each, and what can you expect to gain from them? 

At the end of this guide, you should be clearer about which option is best for your home.

Electric Boilers Vs. Gas Boilers: The Pros & Cons

To start with, it's useful to cover some of the main benefits and disadvantages of both electric and gas boilers. 

What are the uses of an electric boiler, and does a gas or oil boiler offer more functionality? 

Here are some pros and cons to each:

Electric boilers

There are a number of benefits to using electric boilers for your heating and hot water demands.

Pros

Cons

Electric boilers are better for the environment than those powered by fossil fuels.

Electric boilers tend to be more expensive to run.

They tend to be a lot quieter when in operation.

Most electricity is made by burning fossil fuels.

No risk of carbon monoxide leaks or poisoning.

Some electric boilers may not meet the demands of a larger property.

The installation of electric boilers is more flexible.

A power cut may impact access to heating and hot water.

There are no emissions as it heats a home.

They lack the industry support that gas boilers have due to them being uncommon. 

They don’t require a chimney or flue. 

Most are expensive compared to the gas boiler alternative.

Gas boilers

Gas boilers burn natural fossil fuels, whether natural gas or oil, to generate heat for the home. When it comes to assessing electric vs gas boilers, there are a few pros and cons to gas boilers that are worth knowing about.

 

Pros

Cons

Gas boilers are cheaper to run than electric boilers.

It's necessary to get an annual boiler service to help maintain its efficiency and health.

There are plenty of gas boilers on the market, meaning more choices.

With more moving parts, it's common for problems to arise over time.

These are the most affordable option for those on a budget.

Flue to the exterior of the property needed..

Can meet the heating demands of more extensive properties for hot water and heating.

Gas boilers are larger to install than electric boilers.

Boiler replacement is often simple and straightforward.

Not all homes are connected to the gas network. 

New gas boilers are all energy-efficient.

 

Safety

Safety is at the forefront of all households, and keeping the home safe from harm can be done in several ways. It's something to factor in when it comes to boilers, as electric boilers and gas boilers differ in their levels of safety.

Electric boiler

Electric boilers don't directly use fossil fuels, which is great for those trying to reduce their carbon footprint. 

As they don't use any gas, there's no worry or concern about gas leaks. 

At the same time, ignoring problems with your boiler can still make it problematic if you don't get the necessary fixes or repairs when needed.

An electric boiler will still need all the necessary checkups to maintain its efficiency and performance over time.

Gas boiler

When heating with hot water, gas and oil boilers are somewhat more efficient, especially for larger properties. However, gas and oil boilers do present more risk when it comes to safety.

If a natural gas leak is coming from your boiler, carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant risk. This natural gas is odourless, making it undetectable to most, and the symptoms can often be confused with other illnesses.

In this instance, an electric boiler might be seen as safer, yet it is important to remember that the risks of a well-maintained gas boiler are very, very low.

Pricing

The cost of a new boiler can be expensive, regardless of whether you choose an electric or gas one. 

You've also got the addition of installation costs and the labourers needed to do the work. 

So which type of boiler is more budget-friendly? 

If you're looking to get a quote or have questions about the right kind of boiler for you, give a professional engineer a call today!

Electric boiler

Electric boilers are typically more expensive to buy and run compared to their gas counterparts. 

For a new electric boiler, you're likely to spend upwards of £1,500 before installation, depending on the make and model.

There are annual running costs to factor in, and electricity can often cost 3 times more than gas. However, electric boilers consume half the energy of a gas boiler. 

Yet, an electric boiler is a more expensive option when it comes to the overall costs you pay for it.

Gas boiler

A gas boiler is more affordable, with most new boilers costing between £1,500 and £3,000.

Running costs for gas boilers will typically cost around £600 per year but may be more, depending on how much usage you get out of it and the size of the property.

Capability

When it comes to capability, you want a boiler that will deliver heating to your home effectively and without any cold spots. Some boilers can vary in size, and depending on the property size, this may influence the boiler's effectiveness.

Electric boilers and gas boilers are capable of heating a home, but what are the extra benefits or differences between the two?

Electric boiler

An electric boiler requires no moving parts, so there's a reduced chance of breaking down too often. There's also more flexibility in how they can be installed, making them functional within more homes, regardless of their layout.

An electric boiler has a high-efficiency rating compared to gas options, and therefore there's very little wasted energy when it comes to the money you spend each month.

Electric boilers are also part of the renewable energy types, making them a modern appliance that will certainly stand the time when investing in them.

Gas boiler

Although they are less healthy for the environment, a gas boiler is more capable of heating larger homes than electric ones are. 

In the UK, most modern gas boilers are now A-rated for energy efficiency, making them much more efficient than older gas boilers. 

For a gas option, its advantage comes with the scale it can offer in comparison to what some electric boilers fail to achieve.

Installation

Installing a boiler can often be a nuisance, especially during the periods when you have to wait for your existing boiler to be removed and your new one put in.

Electric boiler

For an electric boiler, installing the appliance can be simpler than installing a gas option. Whether you're choosing to transition from a gas to an electric one or throwing out your old electric boiler for a new one, it should only take one to three days in most cases.

The installation costs will depend on the location, boiler size and the rates of the installer. Whether it's gas or electric, you'll see variations in the cost regardless. Electric boilers are generally quicker to install because they don't require a condensate pipe, flue or gas pipe/line.

Gas boiler

If you're looking at gas boiler installations to provide heating and hot water to your home, these are likely more familiar to most installers. However, with electricity being part of more modern homes nowadays, that advantage is closing in.

With a gas option, you may find that it takes longer than the electric boilers to install. This is because there are more moving parts, and therefore the engineer may need more time to disassemble the existing one and assemble and fit the new one.

Typically, this type of boiler may take around 1-2 days to install, although more complex installations can take longer. 

Life Expectancy

Which comes out on top in terms of life expectancy in the battle of the boilers? 

A lot of it is about proper maintenance of the appliance to live for longer than expected. But is there any difference between the two regarding their lifespan and how long a boiler should last?

Electric boiler

Depending on the boiler's quality, electric boilers will typically last between 15 and 25 years. You wouldn't typically need as much maintenance on these boilers as you would gas. However, we would always recommend you get an annual check-up regardless.

Electric boilers end up lasting somewhat longer than gas due to not having as many parts that make up the appliance. As a result, fewer problems are likely to occur, from general wear and tear to specific issues with parts.

Gas boiler

A natural gas heating system will likely last around 10-15 years. 

This is a lot less than most electric options and is due to the complexity of the appliance. 

Other types of gas boilers may have a slightly longer shelf life, but when it comes to electric and gas boilers, electricity reigns supreme.

Running Costs

Running costs are an important part of your central heating system because you may need a boiler that keeps up with the demand of the home without breaking the bank. Here are some ballpark figures when it comes to running costs.

Electric boiler

Depending on your usage, you may find that most electric boilers will typically cost around £500-£1500 over the year. 

However, that amount could increase if you're a bigger household or simply have a big property that takes more time to heat and has more appliances.

For example, a five-bedroom house may be substantially more expensive to run than a two-bed flat. Whilst electric boilers are more efficient, they tend to be the most expensive for running costs.

Gas boiler

A gas option is a lot cheaper to run than an electric one. This is because the cost of electricity is higher than that of gas, especially with many modern-day houses needing a lot of electric power to run their appliances in general. The average homeowner spends approximately £636 per year on heating their home with gas. However, this will be more for a larger home.

Estimations suggest that gas boilers can be 3-4 times less expensive to run each year than electric. That's an important consideration if you're a household on a budget.

Energy Efficiency

How energy efficient are these boilers? In a world where we're more conscious of our carbon footprint and its impact on the environment, efficiency in energy consumption is important to many.

Electric boiler

Electric boilers are a renewable fuel source, particularly when combining other renewable energy sources like solar panels.

As a result, an electric boiler is very energy efficient and often has the highest rating out of all the boilers out there. For the environment, that's a big tick!

Gas boiler

Although new boilers are now all A-rated for energy efficiency, gas boilers are not as great for the environment as electric ones are. However, one thing to remember is that these boilers tend to be more energy efficient in heating larger homes, a requirement that you might need for your property.

Maintenance Costs

Finally, maintenance costs. What can you expect to pay when it comes to boiler repairs and replacements?

Electric boiler

With fewer moving parts, you're less likely to need to spend much on maintenance costs.

Whilst they're more expensive, you could save your money on maintenance with these boilers.

Gas boiler

Gas boilers will require some extra maintenance, especially as they can be prone to having more faults or repair work needed. The nature and scale of any faults will impact on the cost of repairing and maintaining them. It's worth remembering that gas boilers are to be phased out when making your decision.

Electric Vs. Gas Boiler: Which Is Best For You?

The best heating system for you is all down to your household needs. Do you need something affordable, or is budget not an issue for you? Do you need something more efficient energy-wise, or is greater capability required when heating the home effectively?

When it comes to gas and electric boilers, they're very similar in their performance but differ in ways that often come down to personal preference, your home and the costs involved.

We'd recommend researching different boiler types and weighing up the pros and cons about what you are after for your home.

Our team will be more than happy to discuss your requirements with you, or why not go ahead and get a quote today by answering a few simple questions. 

FAQs

Can I replace a gas boiler with an electric boiler?

When it comes to replacing a gas boiler with an electric boiler, it's not that difficult. The plumbing can be adapted to fit the new electric boiler you intend to install. So if you're looking to transition from a gas boiler to an electric option, then it's easy enough to do.

If you're replacing your gas boiler with an electric one, make sure that you get a qualified engineer to do it safely. 

Can solar panels run an electric boiler?

As electricity is already a great alternative to fossil fuels like gas and oil, you're already making a real difference to the environment around you. Electric boilers can also operate using solar panels if this is something that you would like to do.

Of course, the cost of solar panels is fairly steep, so you may want to factor this in when deciding whether it's the right option for you.

Can you run radiators off an electric boiler?

Electric boilers will use the electricity to supply hot water to your taps and radiators. Yes, you can run radiators off an electric boiler in the same way that a gas or oil boiler does.

It's the same setup, and nothing changes when hot water is heating up inside the radiators as you turn on the taps.

Does a gas boiler need to be serviced every year?

Yes! When it comes to gas boilers, the amount of moving parts means that something may likely deteriorate over time or become faulty/damaged. In comparison to electric ones that need less maintenance, gas boilers should certainly be serviced every year.

The main reason to do this is to save money in the long run. Whilst it may be a cost now, the amount it could save you from financially crippling repairs and replacements is life-saving. Boilers aren't cheap, and your central heating is integral to the home, so get it serviced!

Final Thoughts

Choosing between gas or electric boilers is down to you and your household's needs. Your heating system, after all, may be slightly different to your neighbour's due to property size, energy consumption, etc.

Before you decide which one is best, take a look at your existing boiler. Does it provide you with everything you need to heat the home efficiently? If it's a yes, you can simply switch to a newer version when the time comes. 

If it's a no, you need to explore the market to see the new gas and electric boilers options out there.

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