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Are Electric Boilers Expensive to Run?
One of the most common questions about electric boilers is how much they cost to run. In this guide, we will explain all of the main costs that are involved in having an electric boiler to ensure you are buying the right boiler for you.
The running costs of an electric boiler are the one thing most people are unsure of. And it can be very difficult to find accurate information. A lot of regular boiler manufacturers like to highlight the increased cost of electricity or a fuel supply like gas or oil.
But electric boiler manufacturers will point to the fact that their boilers consume less power overall which offsets this cost.
In this guide, we will outline all of the costs involved in an electric boiler and show you where you can save money and where they probably will cost more.
Table of Contents
What is the difference between an electric boiler and an oil or gas one?
The main difference between an electric boiler and one powered by oil or gas is the fuel. Gas boilers require a mains gas supply, while a home with an oil-powered boiler will need an oil tank somewhere in the garden and regular deliveries of oil.
An electric boiler runs purely of electricity. As you will see, this has a number of big advantages that are important for a lot of users. The one big downside most people see to electric boilers tends to be the cost of electricity, but as you will see, this is not always quite as clear cut as it may seem.
Advantages of choosing an electric boiler
There are a number of notable advantages to choosing an electric boiler. These include:
- Installation costs – Electric boiler unit costs are broadly comparable with their gas or oil equivalents, but they are much easier to install. This means that the upfront installation costs for an electric boiler are much lower.
- Reliability – Because electric boilers operate in a much more straightforward way than a gas or oil boiler, there is far less to go wrong. This means electric boilers tend to be much more reliable and require less maintenance during their lifespan.
- Noise – Electric boilers are almost silent which means you won’t get any of the clanking and banging that can come with an oil or gas boiler.
- Carbon Emissions – Electric boilers emit almost no carbon emissions which means they make the carbon footprint of your home much lower than a gas or oil-powered boiler.
- Energy Efficiency – Electric boilers will typically have an energy efficiency rating of at least 99%, which is higher than even the best gas or oil boilers.
- Size – Electric boilers can be far more compact than gas or oil boilers. This means they can be tucked away in a cupboard anywhere and are ideal for smaller properties where space is at a premium.
- Location – Because electric boilers do not release noxious gases, there is no need for a flue. This means that they don’t have to be located on an outside wall and can be situated anywhere in your property.
Electricity Unit Costs
There is no denying that electric boilers will cost you more to run than a gas or oil-powered boiler.
The cost of gas and electricity is measured in kWh. According to UK Power, the average gas price per kWh in the UK is 3.8p, whereas the average electricity cost per kWh is 14.37p.
This means that on average, electricity is priced at between two and three times as much as gas, although it should be noted that these costs will vary depending on where in the country you live and which provider you use.
Oil prices can fluctuate more because they are tied to international oil prices and these move up and down regularly, as you will have noticed whenever you put petrol in your car.
But overall, we can say with some confidence that the unit cost of electricity is always going to be higher the unit cost of gas and oil.
Electric Boiler Running Costs
A lot of guides would stop at this point and note that because electricity unit costs are higher, it is safe to conclude that electric boilers will cost a lot more to run too. But this is a far too simplistic conclusion.
There are a lot of costs that come up with a gas or oil-powered boiler that you simply don’t have with an electric boiler and these include things like:
- Annual Service
- Other maintenance costs
- Gas certification cost
- Carbon Monoxide detectors
- Long term repair costs
- Gas wastage
The last one of these is perhaps the most important. Gas boilers typically waste a lot of gas and have far lower fuel efficiency ratings than electric boilers. You still end up paying for this gas, even though you aren’t actually benefitting from it and, in the long run, the cost of this will mount up.
You might look at this list and think, even if you add the cost of all of this up, you will still end up shelling out more overall for an electric boiler than an oil or gas one.
You might well be right, but this would overlook one more important consideration; energy consumption.
Why consumption matters
It is a common misconception that electric boilers and gas or oil boilers consume the same amount of energy and therefore the difference in unit costs represents the difference in what you will end up paying to run your boiler. But this is not the case.
On average, a high-quality electric boiler will consume slightly less than half the energy of an equivalent gas or oil boiler. The following table shows the average consumption of an electric and mains gas boiler in a flat and an average-sized detached house.
|Consumption (kW/year) – Flat||Consumption (kW/year) – Detached House|
|Mains Gas Boiler||9015||23043|
This is a significant difference. You will recall that electricity costs per unit are between two and three times higher than gas, so overall, it is likely that the costs of running an electric boiler in both of these scenarios would still be higher.
But the difference in running costs between the two is a lot smaller and if you factor in all the other additional costs mentioned above, you can certainly make the case that an electric boiler costs the same as, or even slightly less, to run than a gas boiler.
Where to get an energy-efficient gas boiler?
In our experiences, this isn’t usually the case and electric boilers will still typically cost more to run than a gas or oil-powered one. It is also important to note that gas boilers are getting more and more energy-efficient, which means the issue of wastage is not nearly as significant as it was a few years back.
If you want to find an energy-efficient gas boiler at the most competitive price possible, we recommend you take a look at HEATABLE.
HEATABLE has a great range of energy-efficient gas boilers from all the top manufacturers at the lowest possible prices. Just fill in the form on their website (no personal information required) and they will give you a fixed price quote.
The energy efficiency of each boiler is always prominently displayed and you will find some great deals, like extended warranties, thrown in too.
Running costs are an important consideration when buying any boiler, but especially with electric ones.
As we have explained in this guide, electric boilers will typically cost more to run than a gas or oil-powered boiler. But it is far more complicated than just considering the unit costs of electricity and gas.
In this guide, we have outlined why consumption is another important consideration too and the difference in running costs is far smaller than most people think.
Our general advice would still be to opt for a gas-powered boiler if you want running costs to be as low as possible. But of the other advantages of an electric boiler are appealing, they are well worth considering too and cheaper to run than you might think.
Have you ever had an electric boiler? How were the running costs for you? Do you have any thoughts or tips for our readers about buying an electric boiler? Do you have any question we haven’t answered in this guide? If so, leave a comment in the box below. We always try to respond to them all.