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Electric Central Heating vs Gas Central Heating: Which is Best?

electric central heating vs gas central heating

Choosing the right central heating system to heat your home is an important decision for any homeowner. With various options available, it can be challenging to determine which heating system best suits your home’s needs. 

Two of the most popular choices are electric central heating and gas central heating. Each system has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, so you should understand the differences before making a decision.

Electric Central Heating vs Gas Central Heating: At a Glance 

Gas Central HeatingElectric Central Heating 
Installation Costs Generally higher due to pipework and boiler installation Typically lower, as it involves installing electric radiators or underfloor heating
Running Costs Lower, as gas is cheaper than  per unitHigher, as electricity costs more per unit
Efficiency80-90% (modern condensing boilers)Nearly 100% (no energy loss during transfer)
Maintenance Requires annual servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer Minimal maintenance required mainly checks on the electrical system
Environmental ImpactHigher carbon emissions due to fossil fuel usageLower emissions, especially if powered by renewable energy sources
Heating SpeedQuicker to heat large spacesSlower but provides more consistent heat
ControlCan be controlled by thermostats and smart systemsCan be individually controlled for each room
Space RequirementNeeds space for boiler and sometimes a tankNo need for central boiler, just individual heaters
LifespanBoilers typically last 10-15 yearsElectric systems can last 20+ years
NoiseBoilers can be noisySilent operation 

Gas Central Heating 

Gas central heating systems are a popular choice for many homeowners because of their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. These systems use natural gas or propane to generate heat, which is then distributed throughout the home. Modern gas central heating systems are designed to be highly efficient, incorporating advanced technology to maximise energy use and minimise waste.

Types of Gas Heating Systems

Conventional Boilers (Heat Only Boilers)

These systems consist of a gas boiler, a hot water cylinder, and a cold water tank, typically located in the loft. The boiler heats water, which is stored in the hot water cylinder and then distributed to taps and radiators.

System Boilers

Similar to conventional boilers, it does not need a cold water tank. The boiler heats water directly from the mains, and then it’s stored in a hot water cylinder.

Combi Boilers (Combination Boilers)

These compact units provide both heating and hot water on demand without needing a separate hot water cylinder or cold water tank. The boiler heats water directly from the mains as it is needed, providing instant hot water.

Pros and Cons of Gas Heating 

Advantages of Gas Heating 


Gas heating is generally cheaper to run than electric heating. Natural gas prices are often lower than electricity rates, leading to significant savings on heating bills. On average, gas costs 6.04p/kWh, but electricity costs 24.5p/kWh.

Quick Heating

Gas heaters can heat homes faster than electric systems. The burners reach maximum temperature quickly, providing rapid and consistent warmth.

Energy Efficiency

Modern gas boilers are very efficient. They use less fuel to produce the same amount of heat, which translates to lower energy bills.

Reliability and Adaptability

Gas heating systems are known for their reliability and can easily integrate with existing HVAC systems without requiring a complete overhaul.

Environmental Benefits

Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels, producing fewer emissions than oil and coal, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Disadvantages of Gas Heating 

High Upfront Costs

The initial cost of installing a gas heating system can be higher than an electric system. This includes the cost of the boiler and the installation of gas lines if they are not already in place. On average, installing gas central heating will cost £5,250, whereas an electric system will set you back £3,790.

Maintenance Requirements

Gas heating systems require regular maintenance to make sure they operate safely and efficiently. This includes annual servicing to prevent issues like gas leaks and carbon monoxide emissions.

Shorter Lifespan

Gas heaters typically have a shorter lifespan compared to electric heaters. While a well-maintained gas heater can last between 15 to 20 years, electric heaters can last up to 30 years.

Risk of Gas Leaks

There is a potential risk of gas leaks, which can be dangerous and lead to health issues or even explosions. Regular maintenance and installation of carbon monoxide detectors are essential to reducing this risk.

Environmental Impact

Despite being cleaner than other fossil fuels, natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and its combustion contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Space Requirements

Installing a gas boiler requires a specific area in the home, which might be difficult for properties with limited space.

Electric Central Heating 

Electric heating systems are becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. These systems use electricity to generate heat, which is then distributed throughout the home. They offer a range of options and layouts to suit different needs.

Types of Electric Heating 

Electric Boilers

Electric boilers work like gas boilers but use electricity to heat the water. They can be small and relatively quiet and do not require a flue or gas pipe, making them easier to install in various locations within a home. They heat water using a heating element similar to a kettle and can be used with radiators or underfloor heating.

Electric Radiators and Panel Heaters

These are types of direct electric heating where each unit operates independently to heat individual rooms. Electric radiators and panel heaters have internal elements that heat up and transfer heat to the room. They are often made from highly conductive materials to maximise efficiency.

Storage Heaters

These heaters store heat during off-peak hours (usually at night) and release it during the day. They use electricity to heat a high-density, insulated storage core, gradually releasing heat.

Electric Underfloor Heating

This system involves installing electric heating elements or mats under the floor. The elements heat the floor, radiating heat upwards into the room.

Pros and Cons of Electric Heating 

Advantages of Electric Heating 

Complete Efficiency

Modern electric heating systems are nearly 100% efficient, converting almost all the electrical energy into heat. This high efficiency can be really beneficial in well-insulated homes.

Environmentally Friendly

Electric heating produces zero carbon dioxide emissions during operation, making it a cleaner option compared to gas heating. Electric systems can be powered by renewable energy sources, reducing their environmental impact.

Ease of Use and Control

Electric heating systems often come with advanced smart controls, including remote management from smartphones and tablets. These features allow you to precisely control the temperature for efficient energy use and include programmable thermostats and zoning capabilities. 

Low Maintenance

Electric heating requires minimal maintenance. With fewer moving parts and no need for a boiler, they can save homeowners time and money on annual servicing and repairs.

Simple Installation

Electric heating systems are generally easier and less expensive than gas systems. They do not require extensive pipework, making them ideal for retrofits, extensions, and areas without a gas supply.


Electric heating eliminates the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which is a concern with gas heating systems. This provides an added layer of safety for your family. 

Disadvantages of Electric Heating 

Higher Running Costs

Electricity is typically more expensive than natural gas, leading to higher running costs. This can make them less economical in the long term, especially in areas with high electricity rates. 

Higher Initial Costs

While some electric heating options are inexpensive to install, others, like electric boilers and air-source heat pumps, can have higher upfront costs. However, lower maintenance and operational expenses can offset these costs over time.

Slower Heating Response

Electric heaters may have a slower heating response compared to gas systems. This can be a disadvantage in situations where rapid heating is required,

Dependence on Electricity Supply

Electric systems rely entirely on the electricity grid. In the event of a power cut, these systems won’t work, which can be a significant drawback in areas with unstable power supply.

What is better for the environment – gas or electric?

When it comes to being eco-friendly, electric usually takes the crown over gas. Gas home heating burns natural gas, which releases CO2 and other greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming. Even the most efficient boilers can’t match the near-100% efficiency of electric systems because some energy is always lost in the process.

Electric heating produces no emissions at the point of use. Plus, it can be powered by renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro, making it a much cleaner option as the grid gets greener. Almost all the electricity used in electric heating is converted into heat, so there’s minimal waste.

So, if being kind to the planet is a top priority, electric heating is generally the way to go. It offers the potential for zero emissions and can be powered by renewables, making it a more sustainable choice in the long run.

What is best for me – gas or electric central heating?

So, what’s the verdict on gas vs electric heating? Well, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. It really boils down to your specific situation. If you’ve already got gas pipes running through your home and you’re after quick, powerful heat, gas might be your best bet. It’s great for bigger houses and can warm things up quickly. Just keep in mind you’ll need to factor in those yearly check-ups and potential boiler repair costs.

If you’re living in a place without gas connections or you want your home to be more eco-friendly, electric is your choice. It’s easier to install, and you won’t have to worry about annual maintenance. Plus, with all those smart controls, you can heat your home more conveniently, potentially saving some money in the long run.

At the end of the day, it’s about what works best for you, your home, and your wallet. Take a good look at your situation, weigh up the pros and cons, and go with what feels right. After all, you’re the one who’ll be living with the decision, so make sure it’s one that’ll keep you comfy and happy in your home sweet home.

Central Heating with GLP’s HVAC Services 

Ready to upgrade your home’s heating system? At GLP, we’re here to help you make the best choice for your comfort and budget. Whether you’re leaning towards an electric or gas central heating solution, our team of experts can guide you through the pros and cons tailored to your specific needs.

We’ll consider your home’s layout, energy usage patterns, and long-term goals to recommend the perfect heating solution. Don’t let another chilly season pass you by—contact us today, and let’s chat about how we can make your home cosy and efficient.

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