Category - Boilers
Guide author photo

Will Scholfield, Engineer

19 Apr : Updated 19 Apr ● 10 min read

How to help reduce your household’s gas usage

With gas and electricity bills skyrocketing to unprecedented highs in recent months, we've all been looking for ways in which to streamline our household gas usage.

In order to reduce our natural gas usage, it might seem like the only option is to look for alternatives to gas boilers. Whilst this is one option, it's not practical for everyone and is definitely not the only way in which we can save energy without having to compromise on heating our homes.

In this guide, we'll walk you through a range of different options to help lower the cost of your gas boiler, reduce your household's carbon emissions, and explore the green alternatives to gas boilers.

Why should we want to reduce our gas usage?

There are many reasons why we might want to reduce the quantities of fossil fuels we use when heating our homes.

1. Rising energy prices

Spiralling energy prices are leaving many of us worried about how we're going to afford our central heating, especially when there are further increases to the energy price cap on the cards for next year.

2. Climate change

As well as the financial savings that come with reducing our reliance on gas central heating, there are environmental benefits too. 

It's no secret that the fossil fuels industry is one of the main contributors to the climate crisis, with our consumption of natural gas, crude oil, and other fuels being one of the factors driving global warming.

Reducing our carbon footprint is going to become increasingly important in the coming years as government targets to reach net zero come into effect.

How to help reduce your household’s gas usage:

So, let's take a look at some of your options for how to reduce your household's gas usage that won't involve ripping out your entire central heating system!

1. Invest in a smart thermostat

If you're looking for ways to reduce the amount of gas you use when heating your home, investing in a smart thermostat is a great place to start. Smart thermostats are devices that can be controlled remotely using the internet and an app on your phone or tablet. This means that you can turn your central heating on when you're going to be at home and off when you're away.

They are fantastic for times when you've gone out and forgotten to turn off your storage heaters or radiators, as you can adjust them remotely with just a few clicks. What's more, some smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of individual rooms within your home using something called "multi-zone functionality", meaning you're never paying for more heating or hot water than you need.


This makes smart thermostats like Google Nest an effective way of reducing your energy bills and helping combat climate change whilst still being able to provide heating for your home.

2. Do an energy audit

What's an energy audit? Allow us to explain. 

In its most basic form, an energy audit is an examination of your home to identify any areas where there may be a potential crack or gap through which warm air can escape outside. Whilst you can pay a professional to conduct one of these, energy audits can be done yourself easily; the trick is knowing what you're looking for.

To do a proper energy audit, you need to inspect the following areas for leaks:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Air vents and extractor fans
  • Power sockets
  • Pipes and plumbing

Ultimately, by letting less heat leak out into the outdoors, you will need to use less energy to heat your home, thus reducing your household's gas reliance.

3. Improve your home's insulation

By having effective insulation in as many places as possible throughout your home, you can make it considerably more energy efficient. We all know about things like double glazing and cavity walls, but there are a whole host of additional methods that are at our disposal, too.

What's more, by reducing the amount of heat that is allowed to escape through poorly-insulated walls, doors, ceilings, and windows, we can actually bring down our overall energy consumption and heating bills.

4. Consider getting a new boiler

An inefficient boiler will cost you more than it should when heating your home. This could be because it's not been maintained properly or because it's just getting old. Whatever the reason, a new boiler will perform much more efficiently, not only helping reduce your carbon footprint but also helping you to save money on your heating bills. 

In fact, research carried out by EDF Energy discovered that older boilers tend to be around 65% efficient, whilst new boilers can have efficiency ratings of up to 95%.

Even though this option might be off-putting due to its high upfront cost, the money you could save on your energy bills after choosing to invest in a new boiler could be worth it in the long run. What's more, having an energy-efficient combi boiler will also bump up the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers if and when you try to sell.


5. Hybrid heating systems

Hybrid heating systems represent a best-of-both-worlds solution for reducing our reliance on natural gas. The term 'hybrid heating system' refers to any home heating system that operates using a heat pump alongside an additional heat source.

If you want to install a hybrid heating system in your home, the most common way in which to do this is to combine a traditional gas or oil boiler with an air-source heat pump.

As over 80% of the UK's homes were built before 1960 and, as such, are not considered to be energy efficient, a standalone heat pump may not be sufficient to meet their central heating demand. This is because too much of the heat generated by the pump will escape through poorly-insulated walls, windows, and ceilings.

A hybrid heating system is a great solution for older properties that aren't able to completely update their core infrastructure to make them more energy efficient, as the heat provided by a heat pump can be topped up with a second boiler.

6. Install infrared heating panels

These are relatively new in the UK but are quickly gaining popularity thanks to their energy efficiency. Infrared heating panels are radiant heaters that convert electrical energy into waves of infrared energy that heat up objects rather than the air.

Despite having a high upfront cost, infrared heating panels can definitely prove cost-effective in the longer term as they need less energy to provide the same heat as traditional convection radiators. 

The best alternatives to gas boilers

If you're dead set on moving away from traditional gas and oil boilers, there are other options out there. Make sure you understand the challenges that come with changing to a new type of central heating system, though, as it's not a job you can abandon once you've started! So always make sure to have a full survey completed by a qualified engineer.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps are an alternative to traditional boilers. In essence, they work by capturing heat from the outside, processing it and then moving it into your home using electricity.

There are two main types of heat pumps - air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps. Air source heat pumps operate by extracting heat from the air outside and transferring it into the water that is then used to heat your home via radiators and underfloor heating systems. Amazingly, an air-source heat pump can pull thermal energy from outside air as cold as -15 degrees Celsius! 


Then there are ground-source heat pumps. This type of heat pump operates similarly but pulls heat energy from water circulating in underground pipes.


Whilst heat pumps will reduce your gas usage, the impact on the cost of your overall energy bill will depend on the type of pump you install, the energy efficiency of your home, and your electricity tariff.

Read the in-depth guide on heat pumps from the Energy Saving Trust for more information.

Solar panels

We've been aware of the environmental benefits of solar panels for many decades, but it's only recently that solar-powered electric heating systems have become a viable alternative to traditional methods.

Solar panels harness the sun's energy to generate a direct current before converting it to usable alternating current. This then becomes a renewable electricity supply for your home or property and can be used to keep a hot water tank running and power a central heating system.

The upfront costs of solar thermal panels are not insignificant, though, with the price of a typical 4.2-kilowatt solar panel system costing in the region of £6500. This means that your break-even point could be between 11 and 15 years from the time of installation, something that is definitely worth considering if you're planning on moving house any time soon.


What's more, not all homes are suitable for solar panels, as you tend to need a flat roof that's predominantly south-facing, in good condition, and exposed to enough sunlight.

Biomass boilers

Biomass boilers are another source of renewable energy, as electricity is generated through the burning of waste wood, plants and other organic materials. Whilst they do produce carbon dioxide as a by-product of operation, the levels generated are considerably lower than with fossil fuels meaning they qualify as a low-carbon heating system.

A biomass boiler can be used on different scales, either as a heat source for individual rooms or combined with a back boiler to produce heat for entire homes.

The financial benefits of a biomass boiler will depend on the size of your home and the type of boiler you already have. That is, it's unlikely that a biomass boiler will be more cost-effective than a modern condensing gas boiler.

LPG boilers

Liquified petroleum gas central heating systems use LPG stored in an external tank to heat water for radiators, showers, taps, and underfloor heating.

Whilst LPG is not considered to be renewable energy, it is a low-carbon fossil fuel due to the fact it produces fewer carbon emissions when burned. If you don't want to invest in a new boiler, it's worth exploring whether your existing boiler can be converted to work using LPG.

If you're looking for a gas boiler alternative for a home that doesn't have direct access to gas or electricity mains, an LPG boiler is a great option, as the whole system can be self-contained on your property.

Final thoughts

Reducing gas usage is something that any of us on gas-only or gas and electricity energy tariffs are looking to do at present. The reasons vary from person to person, but the common ground among the majority of UK households is an unprecedented sense of urgency towards the need to lower our utility bills and take steps to protect the environment against climate change.

Here at BOXT, we recognise that things are far from easy. We're on a mission to make things simpler and fairer for homeowners across the UK, delivering no-nonsense home heating solutions that can help reduce reliance on natural gas supplies and bring energy bills down. Explore our range of energy-efficient gas boilers to start saving up to £96 p/m today.

Need a new boiler?

Need a new boiler?

Get free, fixed price quotes for an efficient gas boiler from BOXT.

Get a quote