Most of us will receive both a gas and an electric (or dual fuel) bill on our mats or in our email inboxes at some point during the month.
However, if we heat our homes with a mixture of gas central heating, electric heaters and other sources it can be difficult to work out which is cheapest. This article answers that common question: is gas heating cheaper than electric?
Both mains gas and electric are charged using the same standard energy units which makes establishing the cheapest unit cost very easy. With one unit of gas costing around 4p/kwH and that same unit of electricity costing around 15p/kwH the simple conclusion is that gas is much cheaper than electricity (three to four times cheaper!)
As always, there is a but. An electric radiator is practically 100% efficient with all power converted directly to heat. On the contrary, even a brand new gas boiler will only give you around 90% efficiency. Still, this is not enough to compensate for the difference in unit price and gas mains heating remains the clear winner.
What About Economy 7?
One exception to the above rule is the ideal usage of the Economy 7 tariff. I say ideal for a reason because it is very easy to get it wrong and end up paying more for electric heating than its equivalent in gas.
Economy 7 charges a lower rate at night (around 6p kwH) so if you have a storage heater and can use 40% of your electricity at night you could save a llittle bit of money compared to an old gas boiler. If you have a new boiler or your lifestyle doesn’t support the Economy 7 tariff, mains gas still wins.
What if you are not on the Gas Mains?
Of course, the above calculations don’t really help much if you are not on the gas mains. In this case you will have to source your gas in a different form: compressed liquified petroleum gas (LPG) or bottled gas.
You can probably rule out bottled gas straight away. Even with the largest (47kg) bottle of propane you will ber paying the equivalent of about 14p kWh. When you add efficiency losses into the calculation you would hardly be saving anything over mains electricity.
LPG, at just under 8 kWh, is a better option but oil is even cheaper at around 6 kwH.
Another option is to install an air source heat pump (ASHP). This may seem counterintuitive as you are using electricity to convert ambient air into heat. However, due to the coefficient of performance (COP), each unit of electricity consumed produces around 3.5 times its heat, bringing the unit cost into line with mains gas. If there are government incentives in place, you might even pay less than that.
If you are interested in an ASHP or other renewable options, speak to an MCS-certified Moreheat engineer.
Best Practice for Saving Money on Mains Gas Heating
You now know that using mains gas for heating is almost always cheaper than electricity but there are a few ways to maximise the efficiency of your home heating:
- Ensure your gas boiler is regularly serviced and maintained to keep it running at optimal efficiency.
- If you have an old boiler, consider investing in a new one to bring your heating bills down.
- Opt for an A-rated boiler or above and ensure your appliance has an energy certificate.
- Only use qualified Gas Safe heating engineers to install, replace or maintain your boiler.
For more information on gas boilers, including some fantastic deals on Worcester Bosch models, please get in touch with Moreheat on 01803 605509 (Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm) or 07792 722232 (out of hours).