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Electric Boiler Costs & Quotes - 2021 Guide


electric boiler installation costs for 2021

Although we have been using gas boilers to heat our homes for the longest time, these boiler types are slowly being faced out to meet certain climate change correction targets. For this reason, plus for the people not connected to the grid, electric boilers are currently the ultimate solution.

What are electric boilers?


An electric boiler is a heating unit that passes cold water through an electric heating element to raise it temperature and increase its uses in a home. Electric boilers are replacing gas boilers as they are highly efficient and can produce enough hot water for small to medium homes’ showers and central heating. If you are not connected to the grid, or if you wish to lower your home’s carbon footprint, you’ll definitely find electric boilers the best to install.

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Electric combi boilers - most popular electric boiler


There are various types of electric boilers meant to work for different homes and heating needs. Just like gas boilers, combi electric boilers are the most commonly used.

A combi electric boiler is a single unit water heating system that provides both central heating and hot water. A combi boiler uses an electric heating element to heat your cold water on demand. Combi boilers are easy and cheap to install and do not consume a lot of space. You should however know that if you lack a water storage tank in your home, it may not be practical to take advantage of the Economy 7 tariffs that greatly reduce electricity rates at night.

How they work

If you know how an electric kettle works, then it’s far from how an electric combi boiler operates.

The electric boiler is normally connected to an electricity supply where the electric current passed heats and electric element that, in turn, transfers the heat to cold water on demand. To induce the heat transfer process, there must be an action such as turning on hot water pipes. On getting heated, the water is supplied to your radiators or hot water access points.

Electric boiler advantages


Although the price or electricity is higher than that of gas and oil, it cannot be ignored that electric boilers have tons of merits and compelling features for any homeowners. You for example will not spend much on installing and maintaining an electric boiler compared to other boiler types. Let’s explore the top benefits of electric boilers.

  • Lower installation cost - An electric boiler does not produce flue or condensate meaning that its working components are fewer. Installing an electric boiler is therefore cheaper than installing a gas or oil boiler.
  • They are cleaner - Electric boilers do not release harmful waste gases in to the atmosphere, a reason why they are referred to as the greener and cleaner alternative to gas boilers. So if you wish to lower your home’s carbon footprint, an electric boiler will help you accomplish just that.
  • Smaller and compact - Electric boilers have reduced components since they do not have flue or waste gases. The implication of this is small and compact units that are easy to install.
  • They are noise free - Electric boilers have no moving components and hence operate quietly. This means that they will barely disturb your piece when running.
  • Low maintenance - Electric boilers barely need maintenance and will work for a long time with no issues at all. Note that unlike gas boilers that will stop working when the piping gets blocked, an electric circulation pump will continue to run even when the unit itself is inactive.
  • Flexible in installation - Electric boilers can be installed absolutely anywhere and unlike gas and oil boilers, they are not limited to external wall fixations. You have the freedom to choose where to install your electric boiler.
  • Very efficient - There is no power wastage when using electricity and the output is in in most cases equal to the input. Electric boilers will offer an efficiency of 99-100%, while gas boilers will struggle to clock 95%.
  • They are safer - Unlike gas boilers, electric boilers do not produce harmful gases such as carbon monoxide when operating and are therefore safer to use.
  • Suitable for homes not connected to the gas mains - Electric boiler do not rely on mains gas and hence will work for the many homes not connected to the grid in the UK. Note that even when compared to other off-grid boilers, they still win in terms of low maintenance and higher working efficiency. They are also easier and cheaper to install as they do not require a fuel storage tank.
  • Many are solar compatible - Many electric boilers can be coupled with solar panels thus reducing electricity bills significantly. If you are able to harness excess energy with a solar system, you can store it in a battery and use it when there is shortage. You can also use solar thermal to directly heat water stored in a cylinder directly. Either method will lower your carbon footprint and greatly reduce the cost you could otherwise spend on electricity.
  • No annual maintenance servicing - Gas and oil boilers need annual checkup to ensure that they operating efficiently. An annual checkup for these boilers may cost you around £60 - £150. Since electric boilers are generally less prone to damages, they do not need annual servicing. This means that the money you spend on an electric boiler every year is generally lower.

Electric boiler disadvantages


Before you purchase an electric boiler, you must understand its downsides and suitability for your home. Some electric boilers may, for example, be inefficient in providing central heating and hot water in larger homes. Here are the main disadvantages of electric boilers:

  • Expensive running costs - Electricity is generally more expensive than gas meaning that the running costs and in turn energy bills will be higher. Even if even if you have the cheapest supplier in your region, you will still pay a massive 14p for a unit of electricity. This compared to paying 4p for a unit of gas is way much expensive. If you are using an electricity boiler, you need to leverage cost cutting strategies such as 7 tariff that provide better electricity rates during the night. A solar PV system can also help you reduce the running costs of electricity boilers to zero.
  • Can blow a building’s fuse - A standard home in the UK will have 60A fuse. Since typical electric boilers operate at 48A, they will take most the fuse’s current. If it happens that your boiler is heating water when other electric appliances in your home are operating, the overload may end up blowing the fuse. It would therefore help if you reached out to an electrician to get advice on the best electric boiler type that will efficiently work with your home’s fuse.
  • Limited amount of hot water - Since electric boilers heat water on demand, they are limited in the amount of hot water they produce. In this regard, an electric boiler may struggle to provide enough hot water for a large house.

Other types of electric boilers


Combined Primary Storage Unit (CPSU)

A CPSU comes with a space to store the hot water in the boiler unit. Hot water from this unit is thus supplied at a higher pressure and as quick as possible on demand. Unless you are a very heavy hot water user, a CPSU may not be suitable for your home since the unit is massive. They are more of commercial than domestic boilers.

Dry core storage boiler

These work similarly to storage heaters and are also a perfect option for people who want to use the Economy 7 tariffs to lower their energy bills. The heating element is brick and the hot water produced is supplied to central heating radiators and hot water taps on demand.

Solar compatible boilers

These are units than can use sun’s energy (that is converted to electricity) to heat water all day. For this to work, you must have a storage tank with an immersion heater. Please note that electric boilers are not electric storage heaters. An electric boiler uses electricity to heat water for your taps and central heating radiators. Electric storage tanks, on the other hand, heat bricks overnight when electricity rates are lower and uses the heat during the day when the rates are relatively higher.

Storage electric boiler

This is the best boiler when you want to leverage the Economy 7 tariffs that helps significantly cut energy bills. The electric storage boiler package includes a hot water tank which is installed for water storage purposes. Due to this additional component, storage electric boiler are often more expensive to purchase and install.

Choosing gas or electric?


An electric boiler is suitable for your home if it is not connected to the gas mains. Also, it is better than other off-the-grid boilers such as oil and LPG boilers as it produces a lower carbon footprint. Even with this, you better stick to a gas boiler if you are not ready for an increase in energy bills.

Benefits of choosing electric

  • Less emissions - Unlike fuel fired boilers (oil, gas, LPG), electric boilers do not produce harmful elements into the environment as they operate.
  • High working efficiency - Generally, electric boilers are more efficient (99-100%) than gas boilers (92-93%) and hence will produce more hot water without wasting energy and money. If you want to conserve your energy, electric boilers are the ultimate solution.
  • It can be coupled with solar PV panels - If you have solar PV panels installed in your home, you can connect them with your electric boilers and run them with free energy. This will definitely reduce the money you spend on energy bills.

Benefits of choosing gas

  • Increased hot water distribution - Unlike electric boilers, gas boilers can supply multiple water outlets with hot water at the same time.
  • Not necessarily worse for the environment - Although gas boilers may release harmful gases into the environment during operation, they are not less preferable to electric boilers. This is because electric boilers can potentially pollute the environment if the electricity they use is produced by burning fossil fuels. In this aspect no boiler wins over the other.
  • Less expensive - Gas is more than 3 times cheaper than electricity per kWh. This means that running gas boilers is way much cheaper than running electricity boilers.

Electric boiler efficiency explained

Most of the electricity used in the UK is produced by burning fossil fuels. In this process, a lot of harmful elements are released into the atmosphere a reason why electricity is referred as a carbon-intensive fuel. Even if you are currently working with a supplier that generates electricity from renewable sources, the reliance on fossil fuels is still high. Unless close to all suppliers turn to renewable methods of electricity generation, the problem of environmental pollution will still exist.

The future is, however, brilliant for renewable electricity generation from sources such as wind and the sun. The National Grid speculates that by 2025, all UK electricity generation will contribute to zero carbon emission.

Use the electric boiler vs. gas boiler information provided in this guide to determine what heating system is more suitable for your heating/hot water needs. Top factors to consider when picking either of the boilers are installation cost, running cost, efficiency and durability. Note that going for one boiler over the other means that you will have to compromise on some features.

Using electric boilers with a solar PV setup


One of the best ways to reduce the running cost of electric boilers is coupling them with solar PV panels. Solar Photovoltaic panels convert sun’s energy into electricity that works in the same manner as grid’s electricity. If you are able to harness enough energy from the sun using solar PV panels, you use it to power your electric boilers reducing significantly the running costs. Note that solar is a renewable energy and using it for your hot water and heating needs will somehow contribute to a ‘cleaner’ and ‘greener’ planet.

What electric boiler size is suitable for you needs?


The size of the electric boiler you acquire has a direct implication on the power it produces in kW. Large sized boilers produce more power (translating to more hot water for radiators and taps) than smaller electric boilers.

Even though electric boilers are smaller than gas boilers they produce more power because they are more efficient. You should understand that size in boiler’s arena is just the measure of how powerful a boiler is (in kW as the measuring unit). If a boiler has a higher kW rating, the more powerful it is and the more hot water and heating it can provide.

Since electric boilers are compact yet more powerful than gas boilers, they are suitable for smaller homes and flats. While a typical gas boiler will have a kW size of around 24-35 kW, a standard electric boiler is just 15kW or less.

In boiler’s operation, there is a general rule that says that a single home radiator will need 1.5 kW boiler size. This implies that the number of rooms installed with radiators in your home will affect the boiler size you need. Other factors such as the height of the ceiling and level of insulation in the rooms will affect the boiler size choice.

So what will happen if I install an incorrectly sized electric boiler in my home? If the boiler is too small, it will not provide enough hot water and heating in your home. Too large boiler will, on the other hand, consume more power than you need for your heating needs. This can significantly hurt your budget as your energy bills will be insensibly, increased.

Radiators Output kW
4 6kW
6 9kW
8 12kW
10 15kW

Electric boiler installation costs


When it comes to installation costs, electric boilers are less expensive than other boiler types. On average, you should spend £500-£1,000 for electric boiler installation works. Since installer’s charges vary from one tradesman to another, you should do enough comparison and pick one will not hurt your budget. Note that the more complicated the installation is, the more you will spend.

The cost of installation will also be higher if you are switching from one boiler to another. If modifications such as changing the underfloor heating and radiators are needed, the installation cost will increase. You will also spend more if you are doing the installation project at a time when engineers are busy such as during winter. Consider installing your electric boiler during summer when the installation prices are competitive.

Don’t forget to do various comparisons and pick the most affordable quote. If you fill our online form, we will provide up to 3 quotes from reputable and reliable installers obligation and fee-free.

Running costs

In this region, expect to pay 14.4p for every KWh electricity you spend. The exact cost will depend on the area you live in and your tariff. Compared to gas with a running cost of 3.8p per KWh, electric boilers are more expensive to run.

As mentioned above, the higher running cost of electric boilers is balanced out by their lower installation and maintenance costs (No annual servicing is needed). The table below shows pricing examples of an average annual heat requirement of 15,000 kWh for both heat and hot water:

Mains gas
3.5p/kw
LPG
7p/kw
Oil
6p/kw
Electric
12.5p/kw
Economy 7
7.5p/kw
Heat pumps
12.5p/kw
£525 £1,050 £900 £1,593 £1,012 £625

Electric boiler and efficiency and running costs explained

All electricity boilers’ problems can be traced from one source- fossil fuels. UK still heavily relies on fossils fuels for electricity productions and as we all know, it is not the safest and most efficient energy source. Electric boilers’ general efficiency is 99-10% but even with this, they receive a low D-rating from an ErP efficiency rating standpoint.

Electric boiler options

Model kW ErP Warranty Price
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