Even though gas boilers are unlikely to be banned by 2025, studies are currently looking at the future impact on the energy sector. The gas-free heating systems can simultaneously reduce heating costs and carbon emissions. According to the Government, switching to decarbonisation could save homeowners approximately £200 up to £600 per year on energy bills.
What plans are being put into place to help the transition?
In September 2020, the Government launched £2 billion funding to help over 600,000 households carry out energy-efficient home improvements and new carbon-free installations, such as solar panels and heat pumps. With this new grant, eligible homeowners and landlords have up to £5,000 to cover most of the installation cost.
The first step is the installation of modern, efficient heating systems and home insulation. The next step is to reduce the energy waste, which comes with additional eco grants for draft proofing, TRVs, smart controls, or upgraded energy-efficient doors if you don’t exceed the value of the primary grant. This is because making the most out of a heat pump is only possible when a building is well-insulated.
The third step involves your energy-saving habits. By doing even small, conscious steps, you’ll soon be switching to cost- and energy-efficient methods.
More affordable transition to decarbonisation
For many people, gas fuel is the most cost-efficient source to run a heating system. However, surveys show that renewable energy and bio-gas are less expensive and more abundant today than ever before, and they have become an enormous portion of the UK’s energy supply. This has led to better pricing and more options for renewable energy tariffs.
In contrast, natural gas is a limited resource, and its prices differ considerably globally. In reality, upfront costs may seem higher, but using green energy is a good investment in the long run.
Some of the benefits for low carbon heating systems include:
- Less dependence on energy suppliers;
- Reduced heating bill costs;
- Eligibility for government-backed incentives with the installation of renewable energy heating systems, which can positively contribute to the ROI of your new heating installation.
Besides that, solid and fossil fuels may expose consumers to harmful pollutants, which can lead to many health complications.
Gas boiler alternatives
To help you make a choice, there are some suggestions of boiler alternatives worth considering and exploring.
Unlike gas heating systems, electric boilers are much better at reducing CO2 emissions. Electric boilers can normally offer an efficiency rating of 99-100%. In contrast, even the most efficient condensing gas boilers can rarely make up to 93%. Besides that, while gas boilers pose the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical models prevent health hazards related to gas leaks because no waste gas is emitted during their operation.
For this boiler alternative, consider installing electric heat storage devices, as they can cut your heating bills in half. Warm bricks stored in the air-conditioning system give off heat at night and release it during the day so homeowners can benefit from night electricity tariffs.
However, because they leave your home cool minutes after the unit is switched off, electrical heating systems are more suitable for households with lower demand for hot water and heating.
Another advantage of electric heaters is that they don’t require pipework, such as fitting of the flue, condensate pipe or gas line affix. With electric heating, you can enjoy quick and more affordable installation compared to gas heating systems. Additionally, electric radiators have convenient built-in controls, so you can easily manage the heating room-by-room and help you save energy when some of them aren’t used.
Biomass boilers are perfect for homeowners who want to cut down on their carbon footprint. Unlike natural gas and oil boilers, which burn fossil fuels, biomass boilers burn biomass materials, such as wood, chips, and pellets.
Unlike coal and other fossil fuels, wood doesn’t take millions of years to form, and it’s typically a large contributor to waste in landfills. Because of this, using wood and agricultural byproducts to heat your home is healthier for the planet.
Upfront costs for biomass heating system installation may seem higher. Still, biomass boilers are an investment in the long run, especially if you have access to a woodland area and you can use logs as fuel.
However, the drawback of biomass boilers is that your house will probably need an entire outbuilding or separate room for it, and it isn’t suitable for urban dwellings.
Heat pumps are one of the most practical options when it comes to reducing air pollution. They are a high-efficient, renewable technology that brings warmth to homes directly from the air, ground, or water. This is a holistic solution for heating and cooling based on a technology working solely on electricity. Depending on whether you need to heat or cool your space, their flow can be moved inside or outside the premises.
Heat pumps offer a lot regarding power consumption and savings. Gas boilers might be more affordable, but they’re less economical in the long run, while a heat pump can reduce energy consumption by 60-80%. Such installation can save you around £1000 per year.
The disadvantage of heat pumps is that you need to arrange large-scale research to get the full picture of the local geology, heat movement, and other details before installation. This makes them more suitable for heating of new houses, while for existing buildings, this research process can mean thousands of pounds for renovations.
Solar heating systems
Solar heating systems use the sun to warm up a building. These systems comprise solar collectors that are installed on the roof of a home to absorb the sun’s rays and heat up a household. Many people in the UK are sceptical of solar panels since there’s little sunshine. However, advances in solar technology have enabled solar panels to create power with efficiency, even on cloudy days.
Thermal heating systems powered by the sun are a great way to reduce fossil fuel use and save money. They can reduce it by up to 60%, which benefits both the environment and your savings. Besides that, the UK national grid will also compensate you for excess energy production.
Hybrid heating systems
A hybrid heating system is another low-carbon choice. They’re designed to provide you with hot water and heating on demand, based on a conventional boiler and an energy-efficient air source heat pump. Where the pump fails to provide the household with enough heat, the boiler will take over to ensure it works efficiently. Both systems work together to deliver the most cost-effective, efficient temperature for your home.
Even though the current outlook shows no signs of gas boilers being banned by 2025, the UK government is actively trying to reduce the carbon emissions of the country. By switching to one of the mentioned alternatives, you can be confident that your home heating system will stay efficient while also reducing your negative impact on the environment. To make sure you choose a suitable option for your lifestyle, it’s recommended to consult with a professional electrician before making any major changes. Given that the future of gas boilers doesn’t seem bright, this is one of the best investments you can make currently.