What is the cheapest way to heat your home?
Keeping your home warm and cosy can be expensive, especially as fuel bills rise. So find out what the cheapest home heating methods are here.
Find the Cheapest Heating
When it comes to discovering the cheapest way to heat a house, many people find the seemingly endless choices and decisions confusing. Is the cheapest way to heat a room using gas central heating or a wood-burning stove? What is the most efficient way to heat your home?
We have explored a variety of options and looked to what is currently the various cheap ways to heat your home. At ServiceMagic we also have access to a range of heating experts, from central heating installers to gas boiler repairers.
Our network of trusted tradesmen will help you learn how to heat your home in the most cost-effective way. Read on to learn more about the cheapest heating.
Explore Different Cheap Heating Methods
There are varying considerations to bear in mind and benefits to the different ways in which you can heat your home:
Firstly, as you wonder about the cheapest way to heat your house, think about the infrastructure first. Make sure that you have sealed any draughty doors or window and have looked into proper insulation, especially in the roof.
A wood-burning stove ‘warms you twice’ once when you chop/collect the wood and again when you burn the wood. They can be very cheap to run and very warming, but you will need to install a flue.
For heating key areas, Calor gas heaters are typically cheaper than electric heating. For some people it proves to be the cheapest form of heating a house.
Heating with a boiler – Most homes rely on a boiler for hot water and central heating. The initial purchase can be costly at approximately £2, 500 but they last 12 years on average and there are numerous boiler grants available. By law, if you’re installing a new boiler it must be an A rated condensing model and according to the Energy Savings Trust, and A-rated condensing boiler can save your around £235 a year off of your fuel bills.
The Main Cheap Ways to Heat Your House
Gas – 69% of homes have a gas boiler, says the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), this makes it the most popular fuel choice. It is certainly one of the cheapest home heating methods available. Tim Bartlett, of Eco Hometec Ltd points out: “The most economic thing you can use is a natural gas condensing boiler – gas is about a third cheaper than electric.”
Electric – Not usually the cheapest way to heat a home. It will cost you more than gas unless you get it from an environmentally-friendly renewable source such as solar PV or wind power.
Oil – This is currently widely used, but is unlikely to remain as one of the cheapest heating sources in the future. If you live off of the gas mains then an oil-fired boiler may be an option, but oil is getting scarcer, meaning its prices can only rise. Using oil to heat your home is not particularly eco-friendly either.
Wood – Wood-fired boilers or stoves can actually be a fairly low cost, eco-friendly heating option if you replant the trees you burn or get wood from a sustainable local source. That way, the amount of CO2 emitted from burning wood is cancelled out by the amount it has absorbed over its lifetime. Paul Labus, from Bolney Stoves in Sussex says: “On average, a tonne of wood would cost around £100 and you may need around two tonnes for one winter.”
The Cost of Heating a House
What is the most economical way to heat a house? Take a look at the current average annual fuel costs:
|Type of boiler||Average annual fuel cost|
*Figures are from Which? They are based on the heating and hot water demands of a three bed semi-detached, well insulated home and prices are derived from average fuel bill prices.
Further Savings – Renewable Heating Options
There are so many interesting, greener choices when it comes to heating your home. As we move further into the 21st Century, we need to get more creative about choosing heat sources for homes.
Even though energy is increasing in price and global warming is accelerating, only around 0.6% of household heat is produced by renewable sources in the UK, says the DECC. Installing a heat pump or solar thermal panels in your home may initially cost more than fitting a traditional boiler, but once in place, they are one of the cheapest heating systems available – utilising free energy from the ground, water, air or sun. Grants to install renewable heating may also be available to help with installation costs, so contact the local council as it may make on the cheapest house heating method for you.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the earth, air or water, depending on the system. The most popular type is the air source heat pump, in fact, a report by Prof David Mackay from the DECC states that they are the best heating choice for most homes in the UK. Air source heat pumps are easy to install, which makes them cheaper than ground or water source options.
Helen Durose, from Evergreen Renewables in Derbyshire explains: “Air source heat pumps are about the size of a fridge and fit neatly onto the back or side of your home.”
Ground source heat pumps are more difficult to fit as you need space in the garden to install the ground loops. However, heat pumps require almost no maintenance and last around 25 years; they can also be used in reverse to cool your home in the summer. Truly one of the great cheap ways to heat a house.
Solar Thermal Panels
Solar thermal panels use the suns energy to provide hot water and heating for the home. As one of the most effective cheap ways to heat your house, they are very popular.
According to the Solar Trade Association, there are currently around 100,000 solar thermal systems in the UK; “far more than any other renewable technology,” points out Howard Johns, Chairman of the STA. To install solar thermal you will need a cylinder to store water in, the system can be connected to a traditional boiler. Solar thermal costs very little time and money to maintain and will last around 25 years. The downside is that you may still need a backup hot water system; according to the STA, solar thermal panels provide up to 65% of a household’s hot water needs.
“Solar thermal definitely benefits those who use lots of hot water, a family for instance, rather a smaller household,” says Jonathan Mione, from Intelligent Energy Solutions in Leicestershire.
Make Money with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The government recently allocated £860 million of funding to the RHI, which was launched in November 2011, to provide cash payments to people who produce clean energy with heat pumps and solar thermal panels. Tariff levels will vary according to the size and type of technology, but it’s thought that those who invest will get fixed yearly payment for between 10 and 23 years – based on a metered or estimated output. It is up and running for businesses and will be open to domestic households from spring 2014.
How much can you save with renewable heating?
The table shows how much money, on average, you could save each year by replacing oil, gas, electric or solid fuel heating with a heat pump or solar thermal panels. It also shows how much you could earn per year under the RHI.
|Type||Cost||Replacing oil heating||Replacing gas heating||Replacing electric heating||Replaing solid fuel heating||Potential annual earning|
|Ground source heat pump||£9000 – £17,000||£160||£70||£530||£370||£1,000 – £2,000|
|Air source heat pump||£6,000 – £10,000||£160||£70||£530||£370||£1,000 – £2,000|
|Solar thermal||£4,800||£55||£50||£80||£60||Up to £400|
*Figures are from the EST and are based on installation in a three bed, semi detached house.
Radiators Vs underfloor heating
To make your fuel bills even cheaper, install underfloor heating, which is much more efficient than heating with radiators. Underfloor heating is most cost-effective when installed in a new build property and works especially well with a ground source heat pump. Underfloor heating produces more comfortable, evenly spread warmth at a lower temperature than radiators, which makes it more efficient. Mark O’Brien, who installs underfloor heating in Sussex, says: “I would say that on average, underfloor heating in a modern home would cost around 25-30% less to heat than a home with radiators would.”
Quotes for Cheap Home Heating
Enjoy cheaper heating thanks to some expert advice from ServiceMagic. Use us to research your preferred best way to heat your home and get up to 4 quotes from trusted tradesmen who specialise in heating services in your local area to compare installation prices.