Gas & Electric Boilers: Pros and Cons

If you’re a first time home buyer or just looking to get a new boiler to upgrade your existing system we’re sure this question arose at some point in the discussion. There are several reasons why you may choose a gas boiler or electric boiler and both come with their own pros and cons. In this blog, we’ll help you pick the best boiler for you – gas or electric?

 

What is the difference between a gas and electric boiler?

A gas boiler is essentially a fire that continuously heats up water. The gas element is because the fire is produced by burning your mains gas in your house, much like a gas hob. This heated water is then pumped throughout your house in pipes and radiators etc.

An electric boiler, however, works much more like a regular household kettle. It uses electricity to power and heating element to heat up the water before passing it through the house the same way a gas boiler does. This means it does not require your house to have access to gas.

 

Pros and cons of gas boilers

As there are a couple different versions of gas boilers e.g. combi, conventional, system and LPG, I’ll highlight the pros and cons from multiple different types. Keep in mind that gas combi boilers pros and cons could vary from other traditional boiler system types, so not all will apply as it depends on which version you have.

  • Unlimited hot water – with gas boilers, you’ll be able to run the hot water all day and not worry about running out. Gas boilers tend to be able to heat much larger quantities of water than their electric counterpart. If you like to have long hot showers, gas could be the right option for you.
  • Cheap to run – gas prices tend to be much lower than electricity. Infact, according to SSE, electricity costs almost 3 times more than gas per kWh. However, that’s only half the story regarding cost. We’ll cover why in the cons section. If you’re on a budget, and already have a gas boiler, it may be wise to stay with gas.

Below are some of the cons of having a gas boiler rather than electric;

  • Can be expensive to install – when installing a gas boiler, your house will need pipework, a flue and potentially a new hot water tank installed. This can cost over £2000 in total and is much more than electric, which does not require pipework or a flue.
  • Less efficient – although relatively efficient at around 90%, gas boilers still fall short of the 99% efficiency offered by their electrical counterpart. This is because you will lose some excess heat through the flue and alike so you’re really getting about 90% of what you pay for. However, this still makes gas cheaper than electricity to run.

 

Electric boilers pros and cons

Now we’ll go over the pros and cons of electric boilers and again, electric combi boiler pros and cons will be different to other systems. These may vary depending on the type you go for, so keep that in mind.

  • Electric boilers don’t require gas – this may seem like an obvious one, but it is the main reason you may opt for electric. It estimated that, in 2015, there were 4 million homes in the UK without a connection to the gas mains. Alternatively, you can use an LPG boiler and gas solution, but most opt for electric in this situation.
  • Compact and cheaper installation costs – as mentioned earlier, gas boilers are expensive to install as they require lots of piping and a flue installation. Electric boilers require no flue and are much more compact so can easily be installed in a small cubby or side room. They also don’t require a Gas Safe engineer which brings down cost too.
  • Quiet to run – as there’s no moving parts in an electric boiler, they make much less noise, especially when turning on and off. If you’ve ever been woken up by the sound of your gas heater kicking in, you’ll know how loud they can be.
  • Less likely to need maintenance – as mentioned, electric boilers have much less moving and mechanical parts than their gas counterparts. This means that the chance of your boiler becoming faulty and breaking down is lower, allowing you to save some money in the long run.

So why don’t we all use electric boilers? Here are some cons to going electric that may sway your decision.

  • If you have a power cut, prepare to get cold – although it may be obvious, an electric heater needs electricity and won’t work without it. This means if you suffer a power cut in the winter, you’ll be without heating. This is a huge disadvantage as power cuts can last up to several days in the worst cases.
  • They generally don’t heat as much water – if you’re a family and all enjoy a power shower for quite some time in the morning for everyone, or like to run a hot bath, you may find you run out of hot water. Electrical heaters cannot heat as much water as gas, and are slower in doing so. This means you may have to wait between showers until the hot water tops up, which often isn’t an option in the early morning rush.
  • Electricity is expensive – As mentioned previously,  it’s estimated that electricity is up to 3 times more expensive per kWh than gas. This means that, although you benefit from cheaper installation, actually running an electric boiler is much more expensive.

 

A quick comparison summary, what’s better: electric boilers or gas boilers?

Feature

Gas

Electric

Unlimited hot water

Cheap running cost

Works throughout a power cut

Doesn’t require a mains gas connection

Compact & cheap to install

Requires less maintenance

 

Your next boilers with ProTech

Hopefully, this should help you decide whether to get an electric boiler or gas boiler. If you’d like to discuss your next boiler or would like more guidance on whether you should choose a gas or electric solution, contact us today to speak to an expert. Or find more helpful boiler guides here.

At ProTech we will always provide a no-obligation, fixed quote before starting any boiler work. Contact ProTech in Hull today. Give us a call on 01482 352 643 or send us a message online.

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