Central heating does not come cheap. Around 60% of every household’s energy bill goes to space heating and a further 15% just for heating water. With energy prices on the rise, alternatives to gas heating systems are put in the spotlight.
Is it worth looking at an alternative to a gas boiler?
Gas boilers have been around for decades and for a good reason. A boiler is among the most reliable space heating equipment available today. The fact is, a large percentage of homes today depend on a gas boiler for heating. But alternative heating systems are coming into focus because homeowners are already hurting from the increasing gas prices, as well as the continued volatility of the UK energy market.
Although some would argue that replacing a gas boiler will be expensive, there are ways by which you can incorporate an alternative heating source to augment your home’s heating capacity and ultimately help lower your energy bills.
Infrared heating panel:
An infrared heating panel works by warming up the room’s surface area instead of the volume. This means that although an infrared panel operates using electricity, it significantly uses less energy than traditional convection heating systems like gas boilers.
Some of the advantages of infrared panels include silent operation, space-saving, minimal maintenance, and not circulating air allergens and pollutants. On the other hand, an infrared board may not provide sufficient heating if there are obstructions in the room. The heat is also short-lived because the appliance does not heat air.
Solar thermal panel:
The main principle of a solar thermal panel is to use energy collected from the sun and use it either as an alternative source of electricity or in some cases as a water heating element. Solar powered water heating systems are not always sufficient to meet the heating needs of an average home which is why it is often used together with other alternative sources of heat such as infrared panels or heat pumps.
Solar thermal panels are eco-friendly and require little maintenance. Depending on your location, you may be eligible to receive the Renewable Heat Incentive which helps in recouping some of your initial investment because the upfront cost for solar panels is significant.
A heat pump is a highly efficient heating system which can operate year-round. A heat pump works by absorbing heat from a cold area and releasing the heat into a warmer space. There is also an option to install a reversible heat pump which can provide cooling in summer, and heating in winter. A heat pump is another type of eco-friendly heating solution which is excellent if you want to pair it with solar panels. However, expect the upfront cost for a heat pump to be high.
A domestic biomass boiler or stove uses biomass fuel or woodchips and pellets for combustion. A biomass boiler can be a direct alternative to a gas boiler which can heat space and hot water for an entire household. Biomass is cheaper than other fuel sources and is another excellent option if you are planning to adopt green practices. However, biomass boilers require more space than gas boilers and require extensive maintenance.