Electric Boilers for Central Heating
An electric boiler is very similar to a gas or oil boiler but it uses electricity to heat water for your home rather than gas / oil.
They are a particularly popular option for small homes that have no access to gas or oil and are often fitted in new build homes and flats as they are cheaper to install and maintain. Also, with no gas emissions, they are seen by many as a more environmentally friendly choice.
An electric boiler can replace any other small to medium size boiler in the home. It is light, small, compact and often completely silent. However, since they only heat up a limited amount of hot water at a time, an electric boiler is not recommended for larger households with a higher demand for hot water.
Note: Electric boilers are not electric storage heaters. While the boiler will use electricity to heat water for your taps and radiators, a storage heater will heat bricks in your home over night (when energy costs are lower) so you can then use this stored heat throughout the following day.
Why Choose an Electric Boiler?
No gas or oil needed. If you live in one of the 2 million homes homes in the UK that is not connected to the gas network or your home has gas boiler restrictions e.g. listed buildings, an electric boiler is the best solution.
As electric boilers don’t need to burn fuel to produce heat they don’t lose energy through waste gases or flues. In many cases this results in efficiency rates of 99% compared to 89 – 95% for most gas boilers.
Cheaper to install
As there are no waste gases an electric boiler doesn’t need pipes, flue or chimney so the installation of the boiler will cost you less.
Light and compact
The lack of a flue and waste gases also means the unit is much more compact and you have more flexibility about where in the home you have it installed.
As there are no moving elements in an electric boiler there is almost no noise.
Easier to maintain
Unlike gas and oil boilers which have more mechanics included, electric boilers don’t need annual servicing to keep them functioning. Usually it is only in the event of a breakdown that repairs are needed. Also, while gas boilers can become blocked when not used e.g. during the summer, an electric circulation pump will continue to work even when it is inactive.
Higher running costs
Electricity is more expensive than gas which means monthly bills will be higher.
Less hot water
As electric boilers heat water on demand they are limited in the amount of hot water they can produce, so possibly not the best choice for larger homes.
If there’s a power cut you may lose access to both heating and hot water as well as all your other appliances.
How Much do Electric Boilers Cost?
The smaller the boiler, the smaller the cost both to install and to run. On average the smallest size of boiler costs approximately £1,500 and the largest could be up to £2,500. However, installation costs will vary depending on the installer you choose.
It’s important to compare multiple quotes when making your choice. Boiler Guide can provide you with up to 3 quotes from registered and reputable installers, with no fee and no obligation.
What Types of Electric Boiler are There?
There are a few different types of electric boiler, some of which may be more suited to your lifestyle than others.
This boiler is the most similar to a gas Combi boiler i.e. it uses a heating element to heat water on demand. While it is the simplest and cheapest to install it doesn’t have any way of storing hot water so you can’t take advantage of Economy 7 tariffs by heating water overnight for use during the day.
A storage electric boiler includes a hot water tank either within the unit or separately. This enables you to heat water overnight, when energy costs are lower, and store it for use the next day. They are more expensive than direct acting boilers and the tank will take up more space in your home.
Combined Primary Storage Unit, or CPSU, stores lots of hot water within the boiler so it can meet demand much quicker and at higher pressure. However, they tend to be quite large and as such are more suited to commercial installations.
Dry Core Storage
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.
If you have a storage tank you can use solar panels to heat your water during the day.
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Electric Boiler Brands
Several brands in the UK offer a range of types and makes of electric combi boilers, with a range of 4kW up to 15kW.
- The ElectroMax Electric Combi Boiler is a compact boiler, designed to fit easily into a standard domestic airing cupboard. It is well adapted to apartments or flats and is available in several sizes.
Electric Heating Company
- Fusion Electric System Boiler is available in a range from 6kW to 14.4kW. It requires no flue, is suitable for underfloor heating and central heating only, or central heating with hot water with a separate storage cylinder.
- Fusion Electric E10 Combination Boilers are larger units, running from a 9kW/150 litre electric combination unit right up to a 14.4kW/170 litre electric combination unit.
Thermaflow Electric Combi Boilers
- Thermaflow 9kW or 12kW Electric Combi Boilers are available in 210, 250 and 330 litres sizes. They are large and heavy units in stainless steel.
Dimplex Electric Boilers
- Dimplex Ascari Modulating Electric Heating Boiler is a low maintenance boiler requiring no annual check, compatible with both standard radiators and underfloor heating, with 4-12kW maximum power. Small and stylish, this is ideal for the kitchen and will fit well beside most kitchen cabinets.
Trianco Electric Boilers
- Trianco Aztec Classic Electric Boilers is a wall-mounted, practical central heating system that is well-suited to nearly all applications. It is available in five outputs, which range from 2kW to 12kW.
- Trianco Aztec Gold Electric Boilers is a small electric boiler, designed for heating smaller areas, such as caravans, conservatories and loft-extensions. The Aztec Gold range is aesthetically pleasing and compact, and requires no flue, meaning it can be installed in many places at your convenience. Maintenance wise, it has its own self-diagnostic checking system and a thermal safety cut-out. It is also compatible with most underfloor heating.
For more information to help you make your choice read our complete guide to the Best Electric Boilers.
Should I Have an Electric Boiler Installed?
If you live in a smaller home that has no access to gas or oil, then an electric boiler is well worth considering. They’re cheaper to install and maintain than both gas and oil and to make matters even better, they’re environmentally friendly thanks to having no emissions.
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