Stop – Read This First
When you first look at installing an electric boiler it may appear as the perfect solution to heat a property. Some of appeals of an electric boiler include:
- They are easy to install
- No annual gas safety checks for rented properties
- No need to run a gas supply
- It’s cheaper to install than other forms of heating
However, electric boilers aren’t the best options in many cases. In this article I’ll explain why.
Hi, I’m Rickie Dickson and I’ve been a Domestic Energy Assessor and an On Construction Domestic Energy since 2013. I’ve come across many properties where the owner has been encouraged to fit an electric boiler and it’s not been the best option for their type of property.
Here are the 2 most common types of electric boilers you’ll see these days.
Is An Electric Boiler Suitable for My Home ?
Now if you can answer yes to these 2 simple questions, then an electric boiler will be fine for your type of property. If not then I’ll explain why you should be looking at other alternatives.
- Was your property built after 1982, or if before 1982, are the walls and loft well insulated.
- Does your property have a heat demand of less than 5,000 kWh per year.
Notes: The heat demand is the amount of energy it takes to heat the property over a period of 1 year. You can find this figure on a recent energy bills – here’s mine below.
Alternatively you can go to epcregister.com, enter your postcode and follow the simple instructions. If your property has an energy performance certificate (epc), if you scroll down the web page, you’ll see the estimated figure as shown here below:
If your property is not on the register, you can always arrange an epc certificate to be carried out by a local qualified Assessor. Typically the cost is under £70 for this.
Why an Electric Boiler May Not Suit Your Home
Although an electric boiler is nearly 100% efficient in producing heat compared to around 89% for a modern gas boiler, the cost of heating a home with electricity is significantly higher compared to gas.
So if we look at my energy bill above, to keep my family in the luxury that they are accustomed to, here are the comparative costs excluding any VAT and standing charges:
Energy needed annually to heat the property: 18,273 kWh
Gas cost – 18273 kWH x 2.973p = £556.63
Comparison if heated by electric boiler 18273 kWH x 17.221p = £3224.29
Yes that’s right, it would cost around 5.5 times more to heat the property with an electric boiler. This is the reason that electric boilers are not all that common.
Electric Boilers Impact On The Energy Performance Certificate
Because you would be using peak rate electric to heat the property, this will result in a significantly lower energy rating on the property. Landlords need to make sure that if they use this type of heating that the EPC rating is no lower than an E rating, otherwise the property wouldn’t mean the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for rental and the property cannot legally be let if it is an F or G rating.
If you are unsure of the impact installing an electric boiler may have on the property book an EPC report with a local assessor.
New Build Properties and Electric Boilers
NEVER specify an electric boiler if you are building a new property.
Newly build properties have to reach strict criteria of achieving low carbon emissions. These boilers won’t pass the demanding carbon emissions targets, unless the property is over compensated by having solar PV panels.
Alternative Heating Sources Where Gas Is Not Available
If gas is not available other alternatives would include Heat Pumps, or High Heat Retention storage heaters for flats and smaller properties.
Electric boilers have their own place in the heating eco system and are ideally suited to smaller, well insulated modern properties that have a low heat demand. I hope this article has given you additional information in determining whether it is ideally suitable for your property.