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Most Energy Efficient Heating Systems in the UK

Most Energy-Efficient Heating Systems in the UK

With energy costs soaring and the cost of living crisis hitting the UK, you’ve probably noticed that your energy bills are going up. For most households in the UK during winter months, our home’s heating system is one of the largest monthly expenses. So, now that the winter months are drawing in, more people are trying to find the most energy-efficient heating system for their homes to save money on heating bills and reduce monthly costs. 

An energy-efficient heating system uses less energy to produce the same amount of heat, meaning you pay less to your energy provider. They also typically heat your home more evenly and maintain a steady temperature. So while energy-efficient systems might cost more upfront, over time, the lower monthly bills can more than make up for the initial cost.

When you use less energy to heat your home, you’re also reducing your carbon footprint. So by switching to a more energy-efficient heating system you can look after the planet – and your wallet!

Common Heating Systems in the UK

In the UK, the most common types of heating systems are gas central heating, electric heating, and oil central heating. Each has its own set of pros and cons, which we’ll cover in more detail later. For now, here’s a brief overview of how each works.

  • Gas Central Heating: This system uses a boiler to heat water, which is then pumped through pipes to radiators in each room.
  • Electric Heating: Electric heaters convert electric energy directly into heat. They can be standalone units or part of a central system.
  • Oil Central Heating: Similar to gas heating but uses oil as the fuel. It’s less common due to the higher cost of oil.

We also cover solar heating and biomass heating in this blog post, which are less common in the UK but more energy-efficient.

Electric Heating Systems

Electric heating systems are often found in flats, smaller homes, and homes using electric underfloor heating.  You can adjust your heating controls to only heat the rooms you’re using with most electric heating systems, which can help you save on electricity costs, especially in larger properties.

However, electric heaters often have lower energy ratings compared to gas systems, so they’re not the front-runner for efficient heating systems. While you can find more cost-effective options for electric heating, like storage heaters, they tend to provide inconsistent heat and it’s difficult to control the temperature of your home.

Gas Heating Systems

Gas heating systems often have higher energy ratings compared to electric ones, making them a more energy-efficient choice. Combi boilers are the most common type of gas boiler in home heating systems and often the most energy-efficient. They heat water on demand, so you’re not storing hot water that could lose heat over time. Modern gas heating systems often come with smart thermostats, which provide more options for energy-efficient heating, like eco-modes and being able to control your heating when you’re away from home. 

If you’re not currently using a gas heating system, installing a gas heating system for your home is fairly straightforward and cost-effective if it’s already connected to the gas grid.

Oil Heating Systems

Oil heating systems use a boiler to heat water, similar to gas systems, but using oil as the fuel. Oil heating is often found in rural areas where gas mains are not available. This heating system requires your home to have space outside your home for an oil storage tank. You also need to ensure you book oil deliveries in advance to ensure you don’t run out and leave yourself without heating and hot water until you can get a delivery.

Modern oil boilers can be quite energy-efficient and many have energy ratings similar to gas boilers. However, the efficiency can be affected by the fluctuating cost and availability of oil.

Solar Heating Systems

Solar heating systems use solar panels, usually installed on the roof, to capture energy from the sun and generate electricity. Meaning that you can use an electric heating system but benefit from reduced electricity bills as a result. Solar heating is often used in homes that have good exposure to sunlight and enough roof space for the panels.  

Solar heating systems are among the most energy-efficient options available for homes in the UK. However, their efficiency can be affected by factors like location and weather conditions, Since solar heating relies on sunlight, you will need a backup for cloudy days or during the night, which can impact your electricity bills.

Biomass Heating Systems

Biomass heating systems use organic materials like wood pellets, chips, or logs to produce heat. Biomass boilers are powered by materials you source yoursel, making it an incredibly cost-effective heating solution if you have easy access to wood or other organic materials. Just don’t forget that you are responsible for supplying your heat source and keep lots of supplies closeby.

Biomass heating systems are significantly more energy-efficient than gas or electric heating, however, in some areas you may need planning permission to have it installed in your home.

Choosing The Most Energy-Efficient Heating System

If you’re still scratching your head trying to figure out the best heating system for your home, here’s a breakdown of the main pros and cons of the heating options we’ve covered in this post.

Heating System Pros Cons
Electric – Easy to install
– Low upfront cost
– Good for small spaces
– Easy zonal control
– Simple operation
– Higher monthly costs than alternatives
– Hard to control energy-efficient options
– Lower energy ratings
Gas – Cheaper to run than electric
– Heats home quickly
– Higher energy ratings
– Different boiler types
– Costly installation
– Not as eco-friendly
Oil – Can be efficient
– Good without gas access
– Good for big homes
– Higher energy ratings
– Needs storage tank
– Changing oil prices
– Needs oil deliveries
Solar – Very eco-friendly
– Lower long-term costs
– May get government help
– High upfront cost
– Depends on weather
– Needs a backup system
Biomass – Uses renewable energy
– Lower carbon output
– Good for big homes
– Needs storage space
– High setup cost
– Needs regular cleaning
– Local rules may apply

Government Grants and Schemes

The Energy Company Obligation is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain designed to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions. In this scheme, larger energy companies can provide grants to help you make energy-saving improvements to your home. This can include upgrading your heating system to a more efficient model.

Additionally, some energy-saving systems and installations can come with a reduced VAT rate.

Maximising Your Heating Systems’ Efficiency 

Before you even start thinking about your home’s heating system, you should check your loft, walls, and windows to see if they could be better insulated to prevent heat loss. Good insulation keeps heat in and keeps cold air our, meaning your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard. 

On that note, where you place your furniture can also affect how well heat circulates around your home. If your radiator is blocked by a large unit or sofa, this will block the heat from circulating effectively around your room. This is something to consider if you’re having new radiators installed or if you’re re-organising your furniture!

Once your heating system has been installed, keeping it in good shape is key to efficiency long-term. Even though it’s new, a well-maintained system runs better and uses less energy, so follow the advice from your engineer about how often you need it serviced.

As mentioned previously, a smart thermostat is a great additional investment alongside with your new heating system so you can set schedules and even control the heat when you’re not home. We highly recommend them to all our customers.

Ready For An Energy Efficient Home?

Whatever type of heating you go for, opting for the most energy-efficient heating system is a big decision. At GLP Services, we’re here to help take some of the pressure off. We provide reliable, durable and energy-efficient heating solutions that not only keep you warm but also contribute to a healthier living environment. Contact our team of friendly heating engineers today to get a free quote.

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