The Best Electric Boilers 2017
In the world of heating, there’s no denying that the gas network is the dominant force. But for those of us on the other side, what can we turn to? The electric boiler, of course.
The electric boiler has, shall we say, a mixed reputation. The main criticism of them as a home heating system is that electricity is more expensive, so in terms of running costs they just aren’t winners. However, for millions of homes across the UK without access to the gas network they are a viable heating alternative and bring with them several other less talked about benefits.
To help you decide if an electric boiler could be a realistic option for your home, we reached out to our network of registered boiler installers across the UK and asked them for their thoughts on the subject and, importantly, which brands are the most popular and reliable (in their experience).
First things first, what is an Electric Boiler?
An electric boiler can be installed in most small to medium sized homes to produce the hot water for both your heating and domestic use. While the most commonly installed boiler will use gas or oil to heat the water, an electric boiler will pass the water via an electric element. They are a popular alternative for homes where gas is not an option and oil is either impractical or too expensive. They are often limited as to the amount of hot water they can produce at any one time and so aren’t recommended for larger homes.
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There are a few different types of electric boilers:
- A direct electric boiler uses a heating element to heat water on demand much like a gas or oil Combi boiler does. It doesn’t keep a store of hot water.
- A storage electric boiler requires a separate hot water tank so you can heat water when electricity is cheaper and store it for use the next day.
- An electric Combined Primary Storage Unit, or CPSU, stores lots of hot water so it can meet demand much quicker at higher pressure.
- Dry core boilers are similar to storage heaters as they use cheaper nighttime tariffs to heat bricks overnight, but the heat is then released into water to be used in central heating and hot water, rather than being released directly into the home.
For more information on electric boilers, see our article on Electric Boilers for Central Heating.
The Top 5 Electric Boilers
|Boiler Make / Model||Available Outputs||Dimensions||Price Range||Standard Warranty|
|Potterton Gold||4/6/9/11/12kW||1050 x 90 x 90mm||£380 – £652||2 years|
|Electric Heating Company SlimJim||4/7/10/12/14.4kW||912 x 203 x 172mm||£630 – £730||2 years|
|Heatrae Sadia Electromax||6/9kW||1476 x 550 x 600mm||£1,850 – £2,000||2 years|
|Elnur Mattira||3 -15kW||830 x 555 x 450mm||£1,750 – £2,100||5 years|
|Thermaflow Electric Combi||9/12kW (available in 3 volumes: 210U, 250U, 330U)||210U: 1590 x 550 x 690mm / 250U: 1840 x 550 x 690mm / 330U: 1950 x600 x 720mm||£2,362 – £4,049||1 year|
Advantages of Electric Boilers
- Electric boilers don’t release waste gases and so are considered a much ‘greener’ option than burning gas or oil.
- For homes that don’t have access to gas, can’t store an oil tank or are restricted e.g. listed buildings, an electric boiler is a great alternative.
- Electric boilers are relatively simple in terms of technology, don’t require a flue for waste gases and are compact and light. This makes them much more versatile than gas or oil in terms of where they can be placed in the home.
- Installing an electric boiler is simpler than gas or oil and so is quicker and cheaper
- They are more energy efficient than gas or oil boilers running at 99% efficiency or higher. Most gas boilers have a maximum efficiency of 95%.
- Electric boilers generate almost no noise as there are no moving parts.
- During warmer months an electric boiler pump is easily programmed to prevent blockages, which can occur in unused gas boilers.
- The upfront cost of an electric boiler can be considerably less than a gas boiler. For example, the average gas Combi boiler will cost anywhere between £800 – £2,500, while electric boilers can be found for less than £500.
- Solar panels can be incorporated with some electric boilers to heat your water during the day.
Disadvantages of Electric Boilers
- The running costs of electric boilers are considerably higher than gas.
- Electric boilers are limited as to the volume of hot water they can generate so are not recommended for homes with higher hot water demand.
- As they are dependant on electricity, a power cut will leave you with no access to hot water.
Interested in an electric boiler?
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