Has your gas boiler suddenly stopped working or is it showing signs of irreparable damage? Are you already looking for a greener alternative for when gas boilers are banned in the near future? Your questions on finding the best alternatives to a gas boiler get answered here.
If your gas boiler needs frequent repairs or it is not producing the desired heating effect (is not performing effectively even after repairs), you might have to look for an alternative. Moreover, because of the proposed ban on gas boilers from 2025 to reduce carbon footprint, you might have to replace your existing one soon.
While looking for an alternative, you must opt for an environment-friendly solution that fits your budget too. Electric Radiators, Heat Pumps, and Infrared Heaters are some feasible options for a step toward a sustainable ecosystem. I will compare the best substitutes for an economical and eco-friendly replacement for your gas boiler.
To save on the rising installation costs and to prevent higher carbon emissions, homeowners are looking for alternatives to gas boilers. If you are moving to an area with no gas-grid, the information will also be helpful for you.
Why Do You Need To Look For Alternatives To Your Gas Boiler?
If your central heating system is powered by gas, you might need to look for alternative solutions. Besides high carbon emissions from a gas boiler, its annual maintenance charges also add to your outflow.
|Pros of Gas Boilers||Cons of Gas Boilers|
|Gas heating can meet high demands for heating||Expensive installation fees and yearly maintenance|
|There are more choices due to the popularity of gas heaters and more manufacturers making them||Risk of gas leaks, more moving parts, so higher chances of issues|
|Cheaper than electric boilers||Not all homes are connected to the gas grid network|
|High emission of carbon content|
|Larger and Noisier|
As concerns over environmental degradation keep mounting, one of the most effective ways to reduce a nation’s CO2 emissions is to use alternatives to fossil fuels for heating, transport, and energy. The UK was the first major country to pass the law that greenhouse gas emissions will be net-zero by 2050. Hence, it is our legal and social responsibility to hit this target.
We need to do this by replacing gas and oil-fired boilers with zero-emission alternatives, like electric storage heaters or air source heat pumps with lower energy consumption.
What Does the Government Say About Gas Boilers?
According to the Future Homes Standard, which will be in effect from 2025, the Government plans to ensure that new homes in England are equipped with low-carbon heating systems and high levels of energy efficiency. This move is expected to result in 31% lower emissions than current levels.
The International Energy Agency has recommended that the sale of new gas boilers should stop after 2025. And all gas boilers should be banned by 2033 to curb the UK’s carbon emissions. This is to achieve the Net Zero target by 2050. Hence, UK homes have been asked to find better and greener alternatives to gas boilers.
Newly built properties might not be able to achieve the 75-80% carbon reduction targets they have been given if they install a gas boiler. Hence, it is likely that new properties will need a renewable heating technology such as a heat pump.
What To Consider While Choosing A New Alternative To A Gas Boiler?
Choosing an alternative to your existing gas boiler can be a big yet inevitable decision. So, here are some factors that will help you pick a greener substitute for better performance.
- Cost-efficiency: Since you have already decided to replace your gas boiler, check the feasibility of the alternative according to budget and home requirements.
- Energy efficiency: Energy consumption is crucial because looking for a non-polluting option would mean a lower energy-consuming appliance.
- Low maintenance: While replacing, it is best to look for an appliance that needs lower maintenance, substantially reducing service costs.
- Smart heating controls: Although gas boilers are suitable for meeting your heating requirements, they are not eco-friendly. So, the alternative should be able to give you a smart, environment-friendly solution. (edited)
Eco-friendly alternatives have the advantage of government subsidies and making your home’s energy consumption less of a burden on the planet.
5 Best Alternatives To A Gas Boiler
Here I will discuss some of the best alternatives to a gas boiler.
- Biomass Boilers: In a biomass boiler, natural materials from plants, wood, and other living organisms are used along with combustion to produce heat and convert it into fuel to power boilers. It is renewable because the sources used grow back at a pace that keeps up with consumption. So, the fuel source is cheap and clean.
However, the size and maintenance cost act as their biggest cons. They are around 3 to 4 times bigger than gas boilers.
- Solar Panels: Solar-powered electric heating converts the sun’s energy into power to heat your home. It can be easily attached to your existing gas boiler. They are eco-friendly as they have very low carbon emissions.
However, since they are weather-based, they might cease to work during the winter. Moreover, the installation cost is very high, and they need a lot of roof space.
- Hybrid heating systems: Hybrid heating systems combine an air-source heat pump with an auxiliary combustion furnace to heat your home. It is like a combination of the efficiency and sustainability of heat pumps with the reliability of gas boilers.
However, they are very expensive and difficult to install. You also need planning permission to install the system as well.
- Heat Pumps: Heat pumps absorb heat from the ground or the outside air to heat your home. The absorbed heat is pumped around your house to increase the temperature and can be extracted at temperatures as low as -15°C. Air source heat pumps also perform the same task by extracting heat from the air.
These are good green alternatives due to low carbon emissions, but they are expensive and difficult to install.
- Infrared Heaters: Infrared (IR) heating panels are a new-age solution which are 100% energy efficient. Rather than warming up the air, it uses electromagnetic waves of a certain frequency to travel uninterrupted through the air until it hits an object. They are effective for heating up objects, including you.
If you can use solar panels or heat pumps to generate renewable energy, then you can completely shift to sustainable infrared heating from your gas heating system. It is also good for health as there is no fan circulating the dust particles in your home.
Moreover, it is easy to install and has no annual maintenance cost. Infrared heaters run silently and are highly energy efficient.
Fossil Fuel Alternatives To A Gas Boiler
If you feel these renewable energy heating methods are not practical for you now, you can also opt for other fossil fuel alternatives. These are a bit better than gas boilers in terms of emissions but are costlier options.
Electric Boilers: Electricity is a more expensive option, but it can be a close choice due to better availability and a quieter system. However, it might not be as efficient because it is not so suitable for larger homes. You might end up feeling cold by evening.
Oil-fired Boilers: Oil might not be a feasible alternative fuel because the carbon emission is higher than gas boilers. Since oil is stored to be used in the boiler, it is not a good choice for larger homes. The only good thing is that if you don’t have access to the gas grid and are maybe miles away from the city, this will help you.
LPG Boilers: Gas boilers can easily accept LPG as fuel. LPG is cleaner, more effective, and less expensive than oil. LPG also emits around 15-20% lesser carbon content. For someone who doesn’t have access to the gas grid, LPG might be a viable option as long as they can afford a higher fuel cost.
Compare And Contrast Among The Best Alternatives
Here is a comparative study of the pros and cons of different alternatives.
|Biomass Boilers||Eco-friendly, low cost||Needs bigger space, high maintenance, and upfront cost|
|Solar Panels||Cheaper electricity cost, low carbon emission and maintenance||Need extended space, Weather dependent|
|Hybrid Heating Systems||Low running cost, reduced emission||High installation cost, planning permission required|
|Heat Pumps||Low maintenance and running cost, low carbon emission||High installation cost, planning permission required, unreliable in cold weather|
|Infrared Heating||Eco-friendly, Low cost, Highly effective||Initial installation cost|
|Electric Boilers||Widely available, quieter||Expensive, not suitable for large homes|
|Oil-fired Boilers||Available where there is no gas grid||High carbon emission, not suitable for large homes|
|LPG Boilers||Cleaner, more effective, low carbon emission||High fuel cost|
What Should You Do While Discarding Your Gas Boiler?
Homeowners need to ensure that gas boilers are appropriately scrapped while discarding them.
The first thing you can do is ask the engineer who is installing your new appliance if they can take the old one and ensure proper disposal. If not, you might have to look for local vendors or online agencies who will come and take your appliance and discard it in an eco-friendly way.
Make sure you have made the arrangements; else it will unnecessarily clutter your home.
What Are The Difficulties In Replacing A Gas Boiler?
It is not that difficult to replace your existing gas boiler with an electric one. The plumbing of heating and hot water remains the same and can be fitted into the new electric boiler.
However, for other low-energy options like heating pumps, biomass boilers, and others, you need a professional to assess the cost and effort required for the replacement. It includes debris removal, disposal of the old appliance, and other unforeseen costs.
How Much Does a Boiler Replacement Cost?
When choosing an alternative to a gas boiler, you are looking at cheaper monthly energy bills, a lower carbon footprint, and a more efficient heating solution.
You must contact a professional to remove your old gas boiler and install your new appliance. Modern electric radiators are straightforward to install. You might not even need an expert and can set up the system on your own (with DIY instructions) within minutes.
The replacement cost includes removal and disposal of your old boiler, appliance cost, and installation of the new one. You can hire an end-to-end service for the complete process.
Here is a snapshot of the approximate cost of different alternatives to your gas boiler:
|Heating Solution||Potential Cost Range|
|Electric radiator/water heater||£650 – £2,500|
|Biomass boiler||£4,000 – £21,000|
|Solar thermal system||£3,000 – £5,000|
|Hybrid heating system||£5,000 – £10,000|
|Air source heat pumps||£4,000 – £11,000|
|Ground source heat pumps||£8,000 – £12,000|
|Other Fossil-fuel Alternatives|
|Oil boiler||£1,000 – £3,000|
|LPG boiler||£500 – £2,500|
Disclaimer: This has been referenced from a link- https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/articles/electric-boiler-vs-gas-boiler-pros-cons-running-costs
It is best to get a professional assessment done for your current heating system and household requirements to decide on the best alternative. Every alternative has its own advantages and disadvantages. But, a thorough look into the comparative study will help you choose the best.
As the world is moving towards being greener, it is our moral responsibility to opt for sustainable solutions. Ditching your gas boiler and looking for better alternatives might be the right thing to do now.