OFFICIAL: Gas Central heating is the cheapest option
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently published a report, prepared for them by Delta-ee, which provides a detailed comparison of the full costs of installing different types of heating system.
This report usefully compares different technologies, but also recognises that it is a much lower cost option to swap an existing boiler with a like-for-like replacement, rather than a complete change of system.
One of the most commonly advocated alternatives to gas central heating is to switch to a “heat pump.” Heat pumps are not new technology, but most people in Britain have limited awareness of them.
This report shows that a like-for-like replacement of a combi boiler by a local installer can cost as little as £2250, while a new build gas central system including new radiators, putting in the gas supply line and controls would be £5400.
In contrast, an 8kW air source heat pump (ASHP) fully installed including fittings, buffer tank, cylinder and controls, but excluding the heat distribution system would cost £ 8,750.
In reality, it would be necessary to fit new radiators, and a 16kW ASHP fully including a heat distribution system would cost £21550.
Ground Source heat pump systems cost more, for example, a 12kW GSHP fully installed including buffer tank, cylinder, ground works, controls and the heat distribution (underfloor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs) system would cost £27350.
Heat Pumps are a very efficient form of electric heat, but a report by Element Energy for the Westminster government concluded that, even if the costs of heat pumps fell considerably, their lifetime costs would always be higher for consumers than gas.
There is also a question mark about the huge expansion of electricity capacity required and whether that would be sourced from renewables.
This report clearly shows that Gas central heating is by far the cheaper option for households
Highlighted example costs: Gas boilers
Air Sourced Heat Pumps
While upgrading existing radiators is much cheaper than installing a new heat distribution system, the issue with just upgrading the existing radiator network is that the time to heat a room will still take longer than if a new system of underfloor heating (downstairs) and radiators (upstairs) were used. In some cases this may translate into an installer recommended a home owner to install a larger capacity heat pump to compensate for this slower heat time.
Ground Sourced Heat Pumps
BEIS report: The Cost of Installing Heating Measures in Domestic Properties
A Delta-ee Report for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS Research Paper Number: 2020/028