The way we heat our homes is changing. For reasons of environmentalism and sustainability, the traditional methods of using gas heating systems are gradually becoming less common, and gas heating will probably become obsolete within the next twenty years. One of the most popular alternatives is electric heating, but it’s important to know the costs involved before deciding to go down the electric route.
The UK currently has an electricity charge of 10-15p per kWh. This is more expensive than the gas charge which is 3.5-4p per kWh. However, as with any heating system it all boils down to the rate of usage. A larger room will cost more to heat and the length of time you keep the heating on for will have a considerable effect on the costs. An average house consisting of three bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen would cost roughly £12 a day to heat (assuming the heating was left on for no more than seven hours) which if switched on for six months in the year adds up to an annual figure of £2,456. However, this is a rough figure which will vary by household, so let’s look at some of the other costs involved.
The cost of actually installing a heating system is where electric easily trumps any of the other available types. An electric heating system can be installed for as low as £1000, which given their durability is a highly cost effective figure. Compare this to a traditional storage heater where the minimum installation cost is around £1500. Although the price difference isn’t that large, storage heaters are low on efficiency and tend to cost a lot more money in the long run than the electric equivalent. Electric heaters don’t require pipework or a flue and because they have so few parts they require very little maintenance. Most other heaters require annual servicing which adds to the running costs.
Because of their low installation and maintenance costs, most of the expense involved in electric heating comes from the actual function. Because of the high price of electricity, heating an average home for large amounts of time in the winter months can be expensive. Modern electric appliances try to reduce costs through tariffs such as Economy 7 and Economy 10, or through night storage heaters that exploit a cheaper night-time rate to lower costs. The most efficient system is electric radiators, since you can vary the temperature of each individual radiator or just turn them off when the room is warm enough. With any heating system, the expense will always vary and the best thing you can do is make a decision based on your heating needs, while keeping an eye on the figures and the experiences of other customers.