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Electric Hot Water Boilers for Flats: A Guide

No to gas boilers

When looking for a central heating system for a flat, an electric hot water system is one of the best options. They don’t take up much space, the installation is flexible and they’re highly efficient.

So, if you’re looking to install an electric boiler into a flat, this guide will take you through everything you need to know from which model to choose to finding a qualified installer.

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How electric boilers work

Electric boilers provide central heating and domestic hot water using only electricity from the mains. This means that they don’t burn a fuel, such as gas or oil.

The electricity heats up a component that in turn warms up water for central heating or domestic use (taps and showers).

Electric Boiler Type How it Works Benefits
Direct Heats water on demand like a combi boiler, doesn’t store hot water. Faster response to hot water
Storage A hot water tank either within the unit or installed elsewhere stores hot water, ready for when it’s needed. Take advantage of cheaper night tariffs (Economy 7)
Dry Core Storage Heat bricks during the night which is then released into the water during the day for central heating and domestic use. Cheaper night tariffs
Electric CPSU These are best suited to commercial installations as they store lots of hot water. Meet demand quickly and at a high pressure

Why install an electric boiler into a flat

Electric hot water boilers for flats come with many benefits over installing either a gas, oil or LPG boiler – fuels that aren’t even possible in some cases.

Lightweight and compact in size

One of the major benefits of an electric boiler for flats is their size. Being lightweight helps to make the installation quicker (and cheaper) while the smaller dimensions compared to other boiler types means that it won’t take up too much space and can be hidden away.

Flexible installation

Gas and oil boilers need to be installed on an outside wall so that the flue and condensate pipes can lead waste outside. As electric boilers don’t produce waste gases, this makes the installation much more flexible and with space often being precious in a flat, you’ll have more options with where to have the electric water heater installed.

Highly efficient

As they don’t need to burn a fuel to generate central heating and domestic hot water, electric boilers don’t produce any waste gases, unlike gas and oil. This helps them achieve efficiency ratings of 99-100%, whereas other boiler types will reach a maximum of around 93%.

This means that for every £1 spent on heating your home, 7p will be wasted (with a boiler of 93% efficiency) whereas with an electric boiler you’ll get more out of the money being spent.

No gas or oil supply needed

Running a boiler on oil or LPG means having to store the fuel, which isn’t always possible in a flat as it can take up quite a bit of space.

Quiet in operation

Thanks to having very few moving parts, electric boilers make little to no noise so you might not even notice that it’s running.

Fewer emissions

While the process of generating electricity is considered carbon intensive as it involves burning fossil fuels in most cases. Once it arrives at your property however, it’s a highly efficient fuel.

No risk of a carbon monoxide leak

Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas that can cause serious harm if breathed in. There are plenty of safety measures in place to prevent and detect a carbon monoxide leak for gas and oil boilers but with an electric boiler this concern is completely removed.

No need for an annual service

Gas and oil boilers must be serviced annually to ensure the efficient and safe running of the unit. Thanks to not producing any waste gases and having very few moving parts, this isn’t necessary with an electric boiler – saving you between £60 – £120 every year. If you have a hot water cylinder installed externally to the boiler unit, this should be serviced annually.

Cheaper to install

As well as a flexible installation, more often than not, the installation is cheaper too.

At Boiler Guide we can match you with electric boiler installers to help you find the best possible price for the installation. Simply complete our online form, letting us know about the work, and you’ll get free quotes from up to 3 installers based in your local area.

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Considerations about electric boilers in flats

While an electric hot water system is an ideal heating solution for flats, there are a couple of considerations to make, as with any important investment.

Can’t meet high demands for hot water

Electric hot water boilers aren’t as powerful as gas and oil boilers, which means that they can’t meet higher demands for central heating and hot water. This tends to rule them out for larger households but when it comes to flats and smaller homes, they’re an ideal option.

Electricity is expensive

While electricity doesn’t need storage space (like oil) and is readily available, it is expensive, especially when compared to natural gas. The UK average per kilowatt (kW) is 14.4p for electricity and only 3.8p for gas.

Make sure property’s fuse is suitable

Flats need a three-phase supply of electricity, meaning that there will be 3 100amp fuses. It’s important to know that the fuse for your flat is large enough to meet the needs of the electric boiler otherwise the fuse could blow.

Electric boiler size

Electric boilers are available in a range of sizes, measured in kilowatts (kW), which shows the power of the boiler.

A boiler with a larger output rating will be able to meet higher demands for heating and hot water. However, simply choosing to installing the electric boiler with the highest output isn’t the best route to take because you will likely see your energy bills rise as a result. Plus, with as we’re focussing on a boiler for a flat, a smaller output rating is likely to be enough to meet demand.

The output rating of electric boilers can range from around 6 kW up to 14 kW, with various sizes in between. As a general rule of thumb, you should allow 1.5 kW for each radiator in your flat. So, if you have 8 radiators you should consider an electric boiler with an output rating of 12 kW.

Best electric boilers for flats

When it comes to finding an electric boiler model for your flat, there’s no shortage of choice. We’ve listed some of the best electric boilers in the table below.

£2,360 – £4,050

Manufacturer Model Output Rating (kW) Efficiency Potential Cost
Electric Heating Company Comet Combi Boiler 9, 12, 14.4 100% £2,571
Heatrae Sadia Electromax 6, 9 99.8% £1,800 – £2,000
Elnur Mattira MAC15 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 100% £1,750 – £2,000
THERMAflow Electric Combi 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 100%
Electric Combi Boilers Co. Elektra EK.C 12 99.9% £1,190

Electric boiler installation

An electric boiler installation will often mean having to replace a gas boiler, which means needing to hire a Gas Safe registered engineer. The very same heating engineer will be able to install the electric boiler but an electrician might be needed to complete the final wiring. It’s often the case that the heating engineer will recommend an electrician who can complete the work – saving you from having to find one.

At Boiler Guide, we can save you from having to search for a Gas Safe registered engineer. Simply complete our online form and you’ll get free quotes from up to 3 fully-qualified heating engineers based in your local area.

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