Switching to electric heating from gas — Bulb Community

Switching to electric heating from gas

Hi. I have a combi gas boiler for hot water and heating. As I'm a bulb customer and all of my electric comes from fossil free sources, would it be more environmentally friendly to switch to electric radiators and replace the gas boiler for an electric one?

Comments

  • Today, probably. In the future almost certainly. Many people think the future of heating is electricity. That said, most people don't think electric heaters are the technology we will be using. We are likely to move to using heat pumps which can either run through upgraded radiators or ideally underfloor heating. The upfront capital cost is large, but will probably pay for itself over time.
  • @ThatGuy I guess I'm late to this party.

    Air source heat pumps will be standard soon in all new build properties.

    However I've heard rumours of converting the existing gas network to hydrogen.

    Basically if you have an older less efficient home an air source heat pump may not be great as the heat output is considerably weaker than a has fired boiler.
  • I'm undecided as to whether I think air source heat pumps will be the go-to technology with new build properties once the gas boiler ban comes into effect. If so, they really could do with figuring out how to make them less darn ugly. They always seem to just look like an afterthought stuck onto the side of the building like it's an office conversion.

    Going back to the original question, most likely, but you'd be best off making sure your house is well sealed and insulated before doing so.
  • @FromTheValleys I think this post was in the everything but bulb section until recently, so it was easily missed.

    I am aware of some trials experimenting with different gas mixes in some isolated parts of the gas network. Even that required considerable checks on peoples gas appliances before they could go ahead (I go to the most exciting conferences). I believe that today's gas appliances would not be compatible 100% hydrogen. That makes switching to hydrogen very tricky as relying on people to change their appliances would not be popular, and would probably require appliances which could tolerate both natural/blended gas and 100% pure hydrogen for a while, which would add further expense.

    I work in the electricity Industry, and the general assumption still seems to be that electrification of heat will happen. There are plenty of thoughts going on about how to manage the potentially huge cold (hot?) load pickup we could see in the future for example, there are some thoughts about how customers and suppliers might start to interact and how that could impact demand curves (which in turn will determine network investment. There have also been plenty of work forecasting how much network reinforcement might be needed to accommodate the additional demand. The working assumption is that this probably won't happen for a while, the electrification of transport seems to be happening first. However, the electrification of heat will happen and once it starts it will probably move quite quickly.

    Regarding ASHP, I wonder what the cost of vertical GSHP would be if you were installing while the house was still being built (and you could do a lot at once), that certainly might make sense for a fair number of developments. That might be particularly true on expensive developments where as you say the ASHPs won't look great. Sadly housebuilders aren't always the most enlightened when it comes to building things for the long term.
  • @ThatGuy I like your last comment.

    It's not just energy that they aren't clued up on.

    New builds are built without consideration to the community they are built onto.

    They'll build houses as cheap as possible with no garden, the councils wont adopt the new estates and thousands of new houses are built without new infrastructure regarding schools, doctors, shops and pubs etc
  • @FromTheValleys, spot on there with all points. Even when building in existing communities they so frequently fail to take into consideration most aspects aside from how much money they can make. I primarily blame the council planning departments here though, they could so very easily set very stringent requirements for developments. I suspect they'd then be accused of stifling progress or something, but to that I'd say "grow a backbone".
  • @mowcius I've seen so many developments that place 500 houses and dont upgrade the roads.

    Council planning departments will be getting large brown envelopes I suspect.

    Planning rules must specify that adequate surrounding infrastructure must be put in place.

    I reckon if you're building more than 500 houses you should at minimum be building a shop, doctor surgery and primary school.

    I feel sorry for some of the poor souls that move into the houses, as they have to pay council tax, yet the council dont take on the community like maintaining roads and parks.
  • @mowcius I've seen so many developments that place 500 houses and dont upgrade the roads.

    Council planning departments will be getting large brown envelopes I suspect.

    Planning rules must specify that adequate surrounding infrastructure must be put in place.

    I reckon if you're building more than 500 houses you should at minimum be building a shop, doctor surgery and primary school.

    I feel sorry for some of the poor souls that move into the houses, as they have to pay council tax, yet the council dont take on the community like maintaining roads and parks.

    Your figure of 500 houses doesn't sound far off for those facilities but anything over a half dozen and there are facilities and infrastructure considerations that should be taken into account.

    I'm less for upgrading the roads though and more for providing alternative transportation options. Walkable and cyclable cities should be the aim, not a motor vehicle utopia from the 1950s american dream.
  • Hi,

    You all sound far more knowlegeable than me, I wonder if you can help, we need to make decisions now because our Vaillant combi boiler is on its last legs.

    We have a 1940s semi which we've managed to get up to an energy rating of 76 (C band). It has no insulation on the walls of the original build, but the ground floor single storey extension is up to current spec. Internal insulation isn't possible and we may not be able to externally insulate some of the walls. The groundfloor has underfloor insulation. and the roof is well insulated.

    We have gas central heating, a gas hob and an electric oven and a pretty new woodburner. We have a 2KW solar panel system on an extension, and we could fit another 2KW system on the main roof. We still have the original water tank (empty) in the roof. In a separate studio building we have an ashp with underfloor heating because it was a newbuild.

    In an ideal world where we had enough cash we would fork out for external insulation and rip up our rather nice flooring to install an air sourced heatpump with underfloor heating. It would possibly be more cost effective to move to somewhere easier to insulate!

    15 years to a carbon free hydrogen solution would be good, but what should we do now? We're flummoxed. Do we hang on to our current boiler and/or replace it with a cheap boiler and hope that it lasts long enough for a greener solution? Or should we beg, borrow or steal the funds to insulate and/or get an ashp now?

    Loads of people up and down the country must be in a similar position. What would you do?

    Sweetsweep
  • ASHPs tend to be more expensive to run than natural gas boilers. That will probably change eventually, as the government disincentives gas use. But my guess is we are at least 20 years away from that. Even a good quality boiler will pay for itself over that time.

    Insulation is great. You are talking about internal/external so I'm guessing the remaining walls are solid? If so pay attention to the payback time for solid wall insulation(SWI). When I looked for my old semi it was very poor. You don't need to rush to do it when changing the heating system. I would expect to see new incentives for SWI when we get a functional government again (2030?)
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