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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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