Heating is an important consideration for all homeowners during the winter months, especially considering the current rampant energy crisis in the UK. Heating expenses can easily guzzle up half of the average household’s energy budget, which is why energy efficiency is such an important goal for those who wish to reduce the cost of their bills. If you do find that you need a new home heating system, there are several options at your disposal that will achieve highly efficient, cost-effective results whilst also keeping your home warm and comfortable for years to come. However, with so many options available, how do you work out which will work most efficiently in your specific home? Well fear not, as we’ve put together this guide to help you determine just that. We’ll cover the most energy efficient heating options available to you, as well as outline some factors that might affect the cost of heating your home.
Why is High Efficiency Important?
The most obvious reason to choose an efficient heating system is that it will cost significantly less to operate than a low-efficiency option. High-efficiency systems are often capable of slashing your heating expenses by half or even more, with the most efficient system types reducing bills by up to a whopping 70%. Although generally more expensive upfront, once installed an efficient heating system will eventually amount to big savings.
It’s important to remember that whichever type of heating system you choose, it must be appropriately sized to produce the level of heat that you require. In this sense, the system’s size is equivalent to its capacity to produce heat. If you are unsure, speak to your heating services professional, who will be able to help you determine how much heating your home requires. With this information, you and your provider can find a heating system that will work best for you.
Finding the Most Efficient Heating System
With the recent spikes in energy costs, bills have risen considerably. What this means is that options that were previously considered “cheap” might not be anymore, and vice versa.
If you are willing to deal with substantial upfront installation costs, but reclaim them slowly through savings, heat pumps are a great option. However, before choosing this option, make sure that your home is particularly well-insulated to save the most amount of money. With heat pumps, you could save between £475 and £2,000 over standard electric heating.
Electric heating is perhaps the most efficient heating system as it heats homes evenly and quickly. At present (January 2023), it costs around 28.34 pence per kWh. Electric radiators are also 100% efficient when it comes to converting electrical energy into heat, whereas gas heating comes in at 90%. Mains gas is a natural resource and isn’t at all environmentally friendly. Currently, it costs around 7.37 pence per kWh, which for a medium-sized house amounts to a total of £938.15 per year.
If you’re looking for an effective alternative to mains gas, you might be amongst the 15% of households in the UK that doesn’t have access to mains pipes. Fortunately, you can still rely upon a conventional gas heating system, but use LPG as your fuel source. This combination of butane and propane is compressed into liquid form and stored in tanks or bottles, allowing for large volumes of fuel to be stored between refills. You will have to arrange for an LPG supplier to come to your property and refill your tank as needed. LPG is safe to use, offers similar heating properties to those of mains gas and is a reliable energy source, so long as your refill deliveries arrive on time. It currently goes for around 74p per litre, amounting to an annual cost of approximately £800.
Alternatively, heating oil is another choice that is often weighed up against LPG. The installation process is a little more specialised and expensive, and the system requires a lot more maintenance in order to continue operating efficiently. Additionally, oil has seen a vast price increase recently, now going for as much as £1 per litre. However, if you buy it off-season (such as summer when the demand is much less), you can potentially get a better deal. Still, at £1 per litre, you could be looking at annual costs of around £1,700.
Which Heating System is Right For Me?
Let’s take a look at the biggest advantages and disadvantages of each type of heating system we’ve discussed so far:
● Electric: Electric boilers are less polluting than other options. They are easy to control, preserve natural resources and you don’t need to worry about the risk of gas leaks. However, they can be more expensive than other options.
● Mains Gas: A convenient option for anyone on the gas line, mains gas offers quick heating times, as well as consistent and even heat distribution. They are, however, detrimental to the environment and have a shorter lifespan compared to electric models.
● Oil: Oil is significantly more safe than gas heating; it burns at a higher temperature and thus emits more heat than other options. But they do require more maintenance than other fuel types, and prices often fluctuate.
● LPG: The carbon dioxide levels in LPG are much lower, but its low energy density means that more fuel is required to heat homes sufficiently.
What Other Factors Will Improve Energy Efficiency?
Even after installing the most efficient heating system available within your budget, you can even still improve your system’s performance by catering to external factors that can improve efficiency.
If your home is poorly insulated, energy will leak out no matter how much heat your radiators are pumping out. Whether it’s due to single-glazed windows or loft cavities, if your home isn’t properly insulated then you are essentially throwing money away. You make your home more energy efficient, it’s best to tackle the insulation issue before investing in a new boiler to heat your home, as you’ll simply be ignoring the problem, and no amount of new boilers can fix that!
Identity and seal any holes, cracks, gaps or other cavities where warm air could potentially escape or cold air can get in. This could include areas surrounding doors and windows, points where pipes or wires enter through the walls or where the house frame connects to the foundation or attic. You can use caulking or other suitable materials to make openings airtight.
Your ductwork can impact the efficiency of your heating system. Leaks in the ducting can account for substantial volumes of heat loss, energy and money. Ensure that all duct sections fit together tightly and aren’t at all damaged. Connections should be properly sealed with metal screws or metal-backed tape to prevent air loss. Ductwork should also be insulated to avoid heat leaking through the material of the ducts themselves.
Control systems, such as SMART metres, provide you with optimised ways to control the operation of your heating system. With a programmable thermostat, for instance, you can reduce heating during the day whilst everyone is out, then program it to automatically come on before your family comes home from work or school. SMART metres are handy as they learn your energy habits and preferences so that you can be warm and comfortable whilst saving the most energy possible.
Looking For a Professional Heating Services Supplier?
For more advice on which heating system would be best suited to your home, or to upgrade your heating system to a more efficient model, choose Gastech Heating & Plumbing. Offering boiler installations, plumbing and heating services, the team of HVAC specialists at Gastech are one of South Wales’ most reliable plumbing companies. Whether you’re looking to get your boiler repaired, have a new bathroom designed and installed or are wanting to have a highly efficient heating system installed, we are here to help. Whatever you need, our team can get the job done quickly and professionally, all at a competitive price. With sites in Newport, Cardiff, Brecon and Monmouth, we have over 30 years of experience with providing a high-quality, reliable service for clients across South Wales, and pride ourselves on our quick response times and excellent workmanship. For more information, please get in touch with us.