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Last updated: 15 November 2021

Alternatives to Gas Boilers - For New and Existing Homes!

Alternative to gas boiler in the UK

Why Do You Need Alternatives to a Gas Boiler?

The UK Government’s target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 has necessitated the introduction of initiatives aimed at reducing fossil fuel emissions across various sectors.

The government has announced the phasing out of domestic gas boilers in new homes, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) stating that no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold from 2025 if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of this century.

The gas boiler ban, scheduled to start as early as 2025, is a major step towards meeting the 2050 target and one likely to be accelerated with the announcement of the new target for the UK to only produce clean electricity by 2035.

This will come as a major change to how most of the UK population uses energy, with 95% of UK households using central heating. However, with 40% of the UK emissions coming from domestic households, or more accurately from the heating and inhabiting of domestic households, it’s clear the government may need to extend the ban to hit target.

A recent study by business energy retailer Love Energy Savings, revealed that 44% of the UK public are worried that they will have to foot the bill for the UK Government to hit net zero in 2050.

To ease these concerns, it’s important to know exactly who will be affected and when.

How Will You Be Affected?

Government plans are for new build properties. There are currently no plans to replace boilers using gas in older homes, however the installation of gas and oil burners will be banned from 2025. So, if you’ve recently purchased a new boiler, you’re safe.

Much of the debate is around what the UK Government is doing to improve the energy efficiency of an existing home. This would see the UK make larger strides towards achieving net-zero, however, it would cost significantly more to implement.

A report issued by the Committee on Climate Change said that it would cost a staggering £26,300 to replace central heating systems in older properties with low-carbon heating, in comparison to just £4,800 in new builds.

Buyers will not be affected by the introduction of heat pumps but will have to ensure they’re on the right home energy tariff once they move into their new home.

If you’re planning on building your own home after 2025 you will be required to install a non-gas alternative as per the Future Homes Standard.

The government has also announced a subsidy program called Boiler Upgrade Scheme for generating clean heat, where you could receive £5000 for upgrading your boiler to a low carbon heating system.

For developers and manufacturers, there are some challenges around increasing availability of the technology in the supply chain, with additional training required for installers. The government is set to announce details around installer training in due course.

What Does This Mean for New Build Energy Bills?

With a few alternatives available, each new build developer may opt for different types of heating systems.

The current proposal indicates that new homes in the UK will run on low-carbon heat pumps, and the scheme expects to install 2.5 million heat pumps by 2030.

Using hydrogen to heat homes will be a huge step in the right direction for climate change. An added benefit to the homeowner is that heat pumps are also much cheaper to run and will lead to a much larger saving on monthly energy bills.

What Are the Options if You Don’t Live In a New Build?

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are much more energy efficient as they draw heat from a renewable source. The complicated process involves drawing warmth from the earth or air and then transfers it to a liquid. The liquid is then compressed to heat the temperature and transferred around your home.

If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and are attracted to lower energy bills, installing a heat pump into your existing home may seem like a great option.

However, it is a considerable investment, with an air source heat pump costing between £8,000-£18,000. Installing a heat pump into an existing home can be expensive but government grants and scheme are expected to reduce this burden to a good extent. 

With the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive allowing homeowners to spread installation costs over 7 years, the price puts many people off, not to mention the size of most heat pumps and the practicalities of fitting this into the majority of domestic homes.

This being said, the government have launched a £60 million innovation fund to make clean heat systems smaller and easier to install and reducing the running costs of heat pumps, so hopefully new systems will be in place by the time you’re looking for a new heating system.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters come with higher electricity bills. As electricity is more expensive per kWh than gas, UK households must be much smarter when switching electricity suppliers. This may mean exploring new tariffs such as Economy 7 (especially if you can program your storage heater).

There are some electric heaters with more energy efficient technology, so if you choose to go with this option, you’ll need to pay extra for more energy efficiency.

What Can You Do Now to Reduce Carbon Footprint?

Some independent energy suppliers have entered the market only supplying renewable energy tariffs and switching to a green energy tariff doesn’t necessarily mean you will be paying more for your home energy. In fact, some of the best deals on the market are green energy tariffs.

Use a comparison engine to take a look at the wide selection of tariff options available and you may be able to lower your footprint without breaking the bank on a new heating system. You can also compare various low carbon alternatives available in the UK and have installers inspect your property to see which system would fit your home the best.