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Energy Efficiency - What to consider if you switch from gas

If rising energy costs are your immediate concern, it may not be feasible to invest in new solutions for your home right now. It could be helpful, however, to consider the long-term benefits of ditching gas, and plan ahead for a switchover in small steps. 

Although gas is a cheap energy source per unit, there are other options that can work out less expensive in the long run and are also better for the planet. 

Electricity for example is more expensive per unit, but electric heating is 100 per cent efficient at its point of use which means that every watt of electricity you use is converted into heat, and nothing goes to waste. 

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Gas central heating, however, sustains system losses, which naturally occur at the point of combustion, as well as across the pipe network. Up to 50 per cent of the heat produced by a gas boiler can be lost through the pipes, especially if they’re not well insulated. This means you end up paying for warmth that you aren’t actually benefiting from. 

Your options 

As our survey has shown, many feel they need more information about what their options are and would like some guidance on what the best solution would be for them. For example, if you’re looking to move on from gas central heating, you may want to do some research into the best alternatives for your home before you commit.  

Heat pumps 

The government is offering help and grants to encourage the nation to install low carbon heating systems, including heat pumps.  

Heat pumps work by taking the heat from outside a property, either from the surrounding ground or the air, and transferring it indoors. They are highly efficient and could also be used to cool down the house in warmer months. As such, for the right household, they could be the answer. 

Typically, air source heat pumps cost around £8,000 to install, while ground source pumps, which extract solar energy from the earth and convert it into power, can be closer to £35,000 for a two or three bedroom house. Even with government help the total cost to install could be around £3,000 for an air source heat pump, and £30,000 for a ground source heat pump. For many this is a big investment and something they’d only consider installing in a property they’re planning on living in for some time. 

In terms of running costs, outgoings for a heat pump in an average-sized home could be around £1,725 a year in total. 

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Biomass boilers 

Biomass boilers are another carbon-free heating solution the Government is offering grants for, as part of the new scheme to encourage Brits to move away from gas. 

They use materials such as wood pellets or logs to create heat, making them a good option for rural homes, and for those able to source suitable matter that can be turned into fuel.  

On average, they can cost between £5,000 and £13,000 to install, but can be quite cheap to run as the cost of fuel needed is around £5p per Kw/h. If you’re thinking of choosing a biomass boiler, make sure you have enough space to house one, as they can be considerable in size. 

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Electric radiators 

As an efficient and effective heating solution already used in many British homes, electric radiators are yet another great alternative. They supply heat through a combination of convection and radiation and can also be paired with a green energy tariff for completely carbon neutral heating.  

Switching to a green tariff means that your provider is agreeing to buy energy only from renewable generation methods. Green energy suppliers can also replace the electricity you use with renewables and feed it back into the National Grid, making your home heating carbon free. 

In terms of costs, electric radiators can fall between £200 and £550 per unit, depending on wattage and model. They generally have no installation fees and could cost around £1,220 collectively to run for an average three-bedroom home. 

Infrared heaters 

Infrared heaters are a good solution if your home is not perfectly insulated. Instead of warming the surrounding air like convection heaters, they produce 100 per cent radiant heat that travels in a wave.  

As a result, they heat surfaces directly, reducing the chance of warmth being lost to draughts. They generally have a lower wattage compared to radiators, which means they use less electricity, but may need to run for longer if your home is very spacious or poorly insulated. 

Like electric radiators, they can be paired with a green tariff, to ensure your home heating is carbon-free. They cost between £200 and £500 per unit and are generally up to £615 to run collectively. 

It’s always worth noting that running costs and potential savings for each solution vary based on a number of factors. This includes the size and location of your home, as well as insulation, so it’s always advisable to consult a professional before you make your final decision. 

Getting rid of your gas system 

Due to high risks involved, whichever solution you choose, you will need professional help to get rid of your gas system, which includes your boiler and pipework. 

The overall cost will depend on several factors, such as the size of your house, the age of your boiler and how many radiators and pipes you have, so it’s always worth comparing quotes from a few different professionals in order to get the best one.  

Before you do so, always ensure you’re only getting in touch with Gas Safe registered engineers, to avoid any risks. 

* Stephen Hankinson is managing director of Electric Radiators Direct *

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    A friend of mine has a ground souse heat pump, his electricity last year came to £8000, and that's going to be a lot more than that this coming year.
    I have biomass pellet boiler, pellets are now £400 per ton, and that's when you can get them now, they were coming from Russia .
    High efficiency electric storage are £1000 each, I know a guy who has just had them fitted to one of his properties, and I fully expect they will be very expensive to run.
    Sorry, but the above in the real world is all B S.

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    I am reliably told that achieving an EPC 'C' rating, will be impossible with any electric heating in Victorian houses/flats.

    Electric heating tanks the EPC score.

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    I think you are likely correct there Ben, lots of empty houses / flats and lots more living in tents under the fly over and empty shop door ways --- happy days

     
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    As someone who has been in the energy industry for many many years, l am afraid that this article is complete hyperbolie.

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    What I want to know is exactly how much do I have to spend to get my 2 bedroomed rental house to a C rating from it's current D rating.. No one will tell me, MP, Local Council, Welsh housing minister, person who made the EPC. persons who made the software for the EPC, local pesons who run the scheme for heating etc etc etc. I don't sleep at night with worry. We rely on the income from the house, Dept for Levelling up and Housing, Michael Gove the list is endless time consuming and worrying . CAN ANYONE PLEASE GIVE ME INFORMATION. I REALLY NEED HELP, NO ONE WILL GIVE IT TO ME. My husband is 83 and I am 74. Beryl Williams

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    Unfortunately no one knows Beryl, but if you can keep a good long term tenant in there until 2028 you'll be okay until then, after that it'll be sell and live off the capital

     
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    Hi Beryl
    If your house is a current D rating and you have not as yet done any significant improvements it should not prove too difficult or expensive to acheive a C rating.
    Bear in mind that the legislation has not been passed yet so it may not happen or there may be significant changes before it does!
    Hang on in there and hopefully the Govt. will let us know what is expected from us before they fine us for not complying!

     
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    Beryl. Stop worrying it’s not here yet until 2025 but I believe its 2028 for existing Tenants who pushed it back a bit further or I suppose if it becomes vacant get new Tenants signed up before it comes in, in 2025 they will then be exist Tenants. Stop worrying look after yourselves and enjoy your retirement.

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