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What Is An LPG Boiler?

Whilst natural gas boilers are, without a doubt, still the most common type of boiler, LPG boilers are still used in some properties across the UK. LPG boilers are still used in most rural locations of the country where natural gas is not available.

LPG boilers have many benefits when it comes to delivering efficient and effective heating systems to properties of all sizes and knowing what LPG boilers are and how they could be the right choice for your home is important when choosing a new boiler.

With boilers being an expensive appliance to purchase, you want to ensure the one you pick will suit your property's needs and budget. This guide will look at LPG boilers and when they're an excellent choice for your home.

How Do LPG Boilers Work?

An LPG boiler is similar to other natural gas and oil boilers in that the boiler burns the liquefied petroleum gas to produce the energy required to heat water, radiators, and other heating and cooking appliances in your home.

The major difference with LPG though, is the fuel is usually delivered by a truck and is kept in a gas storage tank on the property. The fuel can also be stored in Gas bottles located at the property rather than being supplied from the national grid. 

In order to have an LPG boiler put into your home, you're going to need the appliance itself, a storage tank for the liquefied petroleum gas, and a supplier that can supply you with the gas as and when it's required.

To note, the UK government plans to phase out gas boilers and switch to renewable fuel sources in the coming years, so you will be seeing less and less of these in future homes.

What To Consider When Choosing An LPG Storage Tank?

There are several considerations to think about when it comes to storing your LPG boiler and, more importantly, the storage tank that will keep the liquefied petroleum gas safe and within easy enough reach.

Size

The size of the gas storage tank will depend on the size of your home. 

The most common size home will need a 1200 litres tank installed, but bigger options cater to properties that need a much larger capacity.

Above ground

There are two choices for your storage tank, and that's whether you decide to place it above or underground.

For above-ground, you'll need to have a concrete base for it to rest on. You'll also need a trench digging that leads from your tank, through the pipework, and into the home.

When installing the tank in your outside space, there are some logistics to consider. It's important for the delivery driver who is supplying the tank to be within reasonable reach of where you're placing it.

It's also important that there's enough space around the tank to help with airflow and that the area is clear of rubbish and overgrown grass.

Underground

The other option is to store it underground, which tends to be a preference for those who are not wanting it to visually impact their outdoor area. You'll only see the lid for refuelling when required.

However, you may encounter problems with this option if your area is known for flooding, as water shouldn't be around this storage tank.

Where bulk storage is not practicable or suitable 

Due to access and location, bulk tank storage is not always suitable for specific properties. The option for these properties would be LPG Bottles, which need to be fitted on a concrete base and within close proximity to the property.

The Pros And Cons Of LPG Boilers

For any type of boiler, there will be advantages and disadvantages. As a costly appliance, it's essential to consider the pros and cons of any boiler before purchasing.

Pros:

What are the benefits of an LPG boiler over a gas or oil boiler?

Suitable for homes not on the mains gas supply


Some homes in remote areas still aren’t connected to the gas mains, meaning that the standard type of gas combi boiler that most homes use isn’t an option. LPG makes a great solution for those facing this challenge.

Less expensive than an oil boiler

When it comes to costs overall, LPG boilers come out cheaper. You can expect to pay between £1900 and £3000 for this type of boiler.

You may find that some of the costs you spend on installation and labour vary depending on the location of your property and the type of company you choose. 

High-efficiency

When you're operating your home on a boiler that's seen better days, you don't quite realise the difference between an oil boiler on its way out to a brand new LPG boiler until it's fitted.

With LPG boilers, they are more efficient, making heating your home a doddle. High-efficiency boilers are important for the environment and, more importantly, for your back pocket!

LPG boilers are widely available

LPG boilers are common for many households, and many boilers distributors will offer LPG options for those who need them.

Some providers may not offer such an extensive range of natural gas boilers, and others may be more niche in providing a certain central heating system.

Cons:

Are there cons to this type of boiler? Here's why you might find it better to expand your search to natural gas or oil boilers.

Fuel costs are higher

LPG is a gas that costs more overall. It means that you might spend more than you would if you were using a natural gas or electric boiler.

For some households, it is crucial to carefully consider fuel costs and the price of their energy bills. Not everyone has the flexibility to maintain high outgoings for their gas bills, so this might not always be the best option for some.

Requires a Tank/Bottles

An LPG boiler requires you to fit a tank above or below ground, or may require a bottle installation. This might not be suitable for every property.

As well as the potential eyesore and space requirements, you've also got the additional costs that come with the delivery and set up of the boiler and tank. In comparison, you might find that some other central heating options are more appropriate.

Delivery & installation 

Delivery is an important one for LPG boilers and has its limitations. When it comes to central heating installations, most don't require much for the Gas Safe engineer to work their magic. However, for these boilers, the storage tanks need to have easy access by road for the installation and be easily accessible once installed. 

It's also a regular occurrence where you'll need to keep a close look at the fuel levels to order more fuel as and when required.

Unless absolutely necessary due to no gas mains connection, this is often seen as an unnecessary hassle. 

Bad for the environment

LPG is not the best for the environment as it is a fossil fuel. This means that it produces carbon dioxide when it is burnt and is harmful to the environment.

How Much Does An LPG Boiler Cost?

Boilers aren't a cheap buy, especially for specific makes and models. Despite some being considerably more expensive than others, it's good to do your research and find a good quality option that fits your budget and home.

For LPG boilers, you can typically expect to pay somewhere between £1900 and £3000. In comparison to other natural gas alternatives, this is the more affordable option.

Some natural gas boilers can be converted to LPG boilers, so it's worth taking a look at your options and seeing which may be best for you. Some recommended boiler brands that offer LPG boilers include:

Be sure to check out all the brand providers to make a more informed decision over which LPG boiler is right for you.

What Type of Boiler Works Best with LPG?

There are many different boiler types available within the UK and, depending on the type you have, may influence whether or not LPG is the right option for you. These boilers are system boilers, combination (combi-boilers) and standard boilers.

Which one works best with LPG? Let's look at each one individually to explain how they work and if they're beneficial for your home.

System boilers

System boilers also come with a hot water cylinder in the property, ultimately taking up a considerable amount of space. An LPG system is a suitable choice for these boilers and can be converted relatively easily. The storage tanks for system boilers are often kept in an airing cupboard or up in the loft.

Combination boilers

Combination boilers, otherwise known as 'combi boilers', don't have a hot water cylinder. Instead, heating and hot water are provided on demand. However, it's worth knowing that you can't use the shower and your radiators simultaneously, the hot water takes priority until the demand stops, then the heating will continue to work. 

Combi boilers are better for smaller properties, whilst bigger properties benefit from standard and system boilers. You may find it less efficient to use LPG in this boiler type.

Standard boilers

Standard boilers are the most common type of boiler in the UK. Like the system boilers, they require a lot of space in the home as they have both a hot water cylinder and a cold water tank usually located in the loft.

However, despite their size, they make for the most effective LPG boilers, especially with the setup already being made readily available.

Is An LPG Boiler The Right Choice For You?

To answer this question, it's important to take note of what your needs are as a household. If you're looking to help the environment by lowering carbon emissions or reducing the costs of a new boiler, then an LPG option may be the right fit for your home.

It's good to consider the size of your property and the energy usage that your household puts out regularly to make sure this type of boiler option is sufficient.

Whilst it may be more affordable in the short term, it might be more expensive and a hassle in the long term. This can be the case when you have to organise your fuel delivery, for example.

That said, some homeowners are faced with few options if their home doesn’t have a gas mains connection.

If you're not quite sure, then it's always best to seek the advice of those who have professional experience within the boiler industry. There are many boilers, and finding one can be easy enough with the proper guidance. For questions involving finding the best type of boiler for your home, talk to one of the senior engineers at BOXT using our live chat function. 

Ultimately, boilers are expensive to replace, so it's important to spend your time wisely and pick the right option for your home's carbon footprint while appeasing your bank balance!

FAQs

Are LPG boilers any good?

Yes, LPG boilers are a great option for anyone who isn’t connected to the national gas network, and the only forms of gas available are LPG/Oil. They're highly efficient, and when it comes to an LPG boiler, they provide less harmful contributions to the environment.

Is LPG more expensive than gas?

 If you’re looking to save money on your energy bills, LPG may not be the right choice as it can often be more expensive than natural gas. The reason for this is the cost of delivering fuel over time. With natural gas, you don't need to worry about that.

How much does an LPG boiler cost to run?

To run an LPG boiler, you will likely need to order fuel regularly. There are various sizes of gas bottles available, and the bigger ones, such as the 47kg option, will last a lot longer than others. However, it all comes down to your household usage as to how long they heat your home.

It may be more efficient, but you may find yourself ordering a lot more to continue to fuel your home constantly.

How close can an LPG tank be to the house?

The tank should be 3m away from any buildings, boundaries and fixed sources of ignition. This is to keep a safe distance and to avoid any accidents from occurring.

Final Thoughts

If you're considering an LPG boiler, be sure to weigh up the pros and cons and research what benefits this type of boiler provides, when compared with your own requirements and household situation.

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