Electric vs gas heating: which is the most cost effective?

·2-min read
Energy bills are set to soar even higher   (@ri/Pixabay)
Energy bills are set to soar even higher (@ri/Pixabay)

With autumn approaching, and the weather cooling, you’re probably looking at ways you can heat your home without spending a fortune.

Keeping a home toasty and warm comes at a cost, and heating bills are set to rise even more. Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Ovo Energy, said people will go hungry and cold unless the Government acts swiftly, as millions of families are set to see their energy bills rocket from £1,971 to £3,549 in October.

And energy bills are set to soar after that as well, with another hike in January 2023, as the result of Ofgem’s energy-price cap repeatedly increasing.

So, which is better for keeping costs down and helping the environment - electric or gas heating? Here is everything you need to know.

What is the difference between electric and gas heating?

Gas-based systems (and LPG or oil-based systems) tend to rely on a boiler to burn fuel and heat water. This water is then circulated through radiators or pipes under your floorboards to heat the home. As floors or radiators warm up, they heat the air in your rooms through what’s known as convection.

There’s more variety in electric-heating systems. While modern gas systems use a central boiler, which is where the phrase “central heating” comes from, electric systems traditionally rely on separate heating appliances in each room. This might come in the form of a simple plug-in fan or bar heater, or a more sophisticated network of storage heaters that run on cheap off-peak electricity.

Which is the most cost effective, electric or gas heating?

Generally, electricity unit prices are more expensive than gas and systems can be expensive to install. Plus, older storage heaters manufactured before January 2018 are not as efficient. However, modern electric systems do offer better smart-heating controls, helping you to manage your heating efficiently.

Gas heating is often cheaper to run. However, in terms of environmental impact, gas boilers do use fossil fuel, and burning it for heat contributes to global warming and climate change.