Gas vs Electric: Why the Source of Your Home Heating is Important
With rising energy bills, soaring inflation and winter just around the corner, you may be wondering how to heat your home for less and whether taking an eco-friendly approach is a better option. After all, 40% of UK utility bills come from heating and hot water, with 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions coming from our homes.
If we can choose the most efficient, eco-friendly form of heating, surely we could also help our money go further in these challenging financial times and choose a more sustainable lifestyle.
Keep reading to discover the truth about gas and electric home heating and the environmental impact of both.
The difference between electric and gas heating
Gas is a fossil fuel that is burned to heat your home. In most homes, the gas enters your home via pipes and then goes to the boiler where it is burnt to heat the water. This water then travels to your radiators that warm up and heat the air in the room via convection. Sometimes it’s used to fuel open gas fires that draw air from outside and heats your room in the same way.
Although you might have been told that gas heating works quickly and can be the most inexpensive source of home heating, it most certainly isn’t sustainable and can have a big impact on your bank balance. When it comes to the environment, using gas as a fossil fuel can be extremely harmful and extracting, processing, exporting, and using it contributes significantly to climate change.
When it comes to price, gas boilers are also expensive to fit and need regular servicing which can cost up to £300 per year. Over the course of their 15-year lifespan, their efficiency will decrease leading to higher bills and even more environmental damage.
Additionally, the UK government plans to phase out the use of gas and oil in households around the country to meet its net zero carbon emissions targets by 2050. This will include banning the use of these fossil fuels in new homes from 2026 and the introduction of heat pumps in their place.
Electric home heating works in a variety of ways. It can be powered by a central boiler that heats the water in your central heating system and then feeds it to the radiators in your home, like gas. Occasionally it is used with separate appliances throughout your homes such as storage heaters, bar heaters and fans.
The electricity itself can come from a variety of sources. Traditionally, it was created in power plants by burning coal, oil or using nuclear energy but these days, suppliers are moving towards renewables like wind, waves, water and solar. More UK homes are choosing to generate their own green energy than ever before as over 1 million homes in the UK are already generating electricity from either solar or wind.
Electricity is also highly efficient, turning 100% of the energy used into heat. This contrasts with gas that loses at least 10% during the heating process.
According to experts at Northwest Heating Solutions, “Electric heating systems have evolved into an advanced alternative to gas and the shift is rapidly gaining momentum, supported by Government legislation, technology, and sustainability”.
What about the cost? Isn’t gas cheaper?
If you remember your school maths classes, you’ll notice that electricity is around four times as expensive as gas. However, it’s not quite that straightforward.
As we mentioned above, electricity is 100% efficient and nothing is lost. This means that every kWh you pay for is directly heating your home without wastage. The cost also depends on your energy tariff and whether you’re using peak or off-peak power.
Many energy suppliers offer special tariffs that can considerably reduce the cost of using electricity which will continue to drop as technology improves. Let’s not forget that generating your own renewable energy is also entirely free.
If you’re installing an air source heat pump, you may also be able to claim £7,500 from the government via the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to further reduce costs.
Whether you use gas or electricity to heat your home significantly impacts your carbon footprint, emission of greenhouse gases and how much you pay for your utility bills.
By switching to electricity instead of gas, you’ll take steps towards living a more ecological lifestyle, get ahead of the zero-carbon emission movement and can potentially save yourself money in the process, especially if you generate your own electricity.
If you’d like to learn more about switching to air-source heat pumps, get in touch today.