Last Updated on January 27, 2022 by Forest Master
As I’m sure you’re aware and also feeling the effects of the gas price rise in the UK, let’s not waste any time and get stuck straight in the reasons behind the gas price rise in the UK and 6 alternatives to a gas boiler.
This article answers :
- Why are gas prices so high?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of heating your home with oil?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of heating your home with LPG?
- What are the best renewable alternatives to gas?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of heating your home with an electric boiler?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of heating your home with a biomass boiler?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of heating your home with air source heat pumps?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of heating your home with solar thermal?
Why are gas prices so high?
The past year has seen an incredible rise in gas prices worldwide, with what feels like a new record every month. The latest price being 450p per therm, this means that the average annual gas bill could be seen rising to around £2,000 in the next year.
There are many different factors at play that have caused such a drastic and unprecedented level, the major player being the cold winter of 2020/2021 that put significant pressure on supplies. This mixed with the summer which was relatively windless didn’t help the cause. There are many other issues, both technical and geopolitical, at play which has swept through the UK and Europe with crippling energy prices.
The drastic increase in price has seen many Energy companies unable to stay afloat, with more than 20 retail energy suppliers collapsing just within the UK. It appears to be hitting the UK the hardest because of our dependence on natural gas with around 85% of homes relying on gas central heating. It also generates a third of the UK’s electricity.
Heating your home without a Gas Boiler (alternatives)
Oil fired central heating is typically used in ‘wet’ heating systems where an oil-fired boiler heats water that then provides the central heating through radiators in your home. On average will cost around £1,355 per year based on an average 3-bedroom house.
Advantages of heating your home with Oil
Modern boilers can save up to 90% of energy and the fuel is efficient meaning you get a reasonable return for your money.
Disadvantages of heating your home with Oil
Oil prices can fluctuate depending on demand and weather conditions. Installation of an oil central system can be very costly. It is also not great for the environment as oil produces more carbon dioxide than gas systems. While this is an alternative to a gas boiler on paper, this isn’t one we would necessarily recommend as it’s easy to find yourself fighting the same problem as the rising gas prices. It’s not a sustainable method for years to come.
LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas)
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is unlike natural gas in that it is not fed directly into the boiler. In order to use LPG, you will require a storage tank to hold the LPG.
Advantages of heating your home with LPG
The average cost for heating and hot water when utilizing LPG is estimated to be around £800. It’s a highly efficient fuel, good return of energy for a lower cost. Relatively straightforward to replace your current system.
Disadvantages of heating your home with LPG
LPG must be delivered by road and it’s entirely possible that you could end up running out while waiting for your next delivery. You must factor in the original cost or renting price of an LPG tank. The government aims to stop installing these systems due to the carbon dioxide it emits into the atmosphere, so this may not be the most viable alternative to a gas boiler.
Green & Renewable Alternatives to a Gas Boiler
All modern boilers require a supply of electricity, but an electric boiler is able to turn the electricity into heat rather than burning fuels. An electric boiler offers around 99 – 100% efficiency meaning next to no cost is wasted.
Advantages of heating your home with an Electric Boiler
Very little can go wrong with an electric boiler and they’re very flexible to install with minimal issues caused. They’re quiet as they head and they don’t emit any dangerous emissions.
Disadvantages of heating your home with an Electric Boiler
You will find that electricity is, unfortunately, more expensive than gas and an electric boiler will struggle to meet the heating demands of a larger property. The average cost of electricity is 20p per kilowatt-hour, compared to 4.65p of gas.
A biomass boiler completes the same job as gas and oil boilers, however, it utilizes wood chips, logs and wood pellets to burn and heat your home. Biomass boilers burn a highly sustainable, carbon-neutral and renewable fuel. If you own land or have access to woods to harvest fuels, then it’s probably the best alternative to a gas boiler as once you have paid for the initial setup cost, it’s free.
Of course, you can invest further to increase productivity and efficiency when collecting and burning these fuels. You should research the most efficient wood log burner and you can also look into products such as log splitters to season your firewood faster.
Advantages of heating your home with a biomass boiler
Biomass offers a carbon-neutral, highly efficient source of energy and can also entitle you to government grants. If you own land with woods, you can also potentially fuel your home for free. Biomass boilers are also capable of delivering over 90% efficiency.
Disadvantages of heating your home with a biomass boiler
The initial cost of a biomass boiler can be steep, ranging anywhere from £3000 to £22,000 for the boiler and installation depending on the size. Biomass boilers are also quite large and you will require additional space to store whichever fuel you adopt to use.
Air Source Heat Pumps
The government aims to install 19 million heat pumps by 2025 as alternatives to a gas boiler An air-source heat pump transfers the heat absorbed from outside air to an indoor space, think like a fridge in reverse. They are highly efficient heating systems that have huge potential to lower your energy bills depending on your current system.
Advantages of heating your home with an air source heat pump
No carbon emissions at all as all energy is provided by a sustainable source and no dangerous pollutants are released. Highly efficient performance and Is pretty much guaranteed to lower your energy bills, potentially up to around £900 per year. You can also receive payments under government grants schemed for installing your renewable heating system.
Disadvantages of heating your home with an air source heat pump
Your property must be suited to installing an air source heat pump as they take up quite a large space. A garden is essential. Another downside is that they heat water to lower temperatures than standard boilers. Your property must be well insulated for your rooms to be sufficiently heated. Although you can receive government grants, the initial cost of the air source heat pump can be very expensive (£4000 – £11,000)
A solar thermal system utilizes the energy from the sun to warm water for storage in a hot water cylinder or thermal store. It can also provide you with electricity by heating the water until it turns into steam which is then used to turn turbines.
Advantages of heating your home with solar thermal
Renewable and completely nonpolluting, it produces almost no pollutants such as toxic chemicals or green greenhouse gases and produces no carbon emissions. It’s also very low maintenance after its initial installation and may simply require cleaning every once in a while. It has the potential to reduce heating bills by as much as 40-70%.
Disadvantages of heating your home with solar thermal
The initial cost is expensive, even if acquired with a government grant. It’s also very inconsistent and cannot generate a steady flow of energy as you would get with fossil fuels. Requires a suitable roof and cannot be installed as part of a heating system including a combi boiler. It will need to be installed as part of another heating system. The initial cost is £3,000 – £5000 and a hot water cylinder is £600 – £1000.