Is Gas Heating or Electric Heating cheaper?, a common questions asked by most householders when deciding whether to buy a Gas Heating system or an Electricity powered heating system.
The answer in most cases, is that mains Gas heating will always be a significantly cheaper form of heating your home than Electricity.
The most obvious reason for Gas being cheaper than Electricity, as a form of heating, is because in the United Kingdom, most Electricity is generated by steam turbines, in power stations which are still fueled by fossil fuel, and the most popular of these being Gas.
Therefore to produce Electricity, you first need to burn gas in order to produce the steam to turn the turbines which produce Electricity, so you are effectively buying and burning one fuel in order to produce another fuel which is sold at a profit, namely Electricity. Therefore, it is simply cheaper to purchase the fuel in its raw form from source, and burn it in an Heating Appliance, than it is to pay two providers, (each making a profit from selling their indivudual fuels), in order to produce, distribute and sell a second fuel, made from purchasing the first fuel!.
For example, domestic Mains gas piped to most households, will cost around 3.5 – 4.5 pence per KW/H, compare this to a good Electricity tariff, which will cost around 10p – 12p per KW/H – 3 times the cost of gas. Even an Economy 7 tariff, costs between 5p and 6p per KW/H for off peak overnight Electricity, and offers far less flexibility at producing heat later in the day, than gas which is fully controllable and can be switched on and off as required.
There are, however some efficiency differences between Gas and Electricity, and Electric Heating offers 100% efficiency, compared to Gas which can vary between 70% – 91% efficient depending on the type and age of boiler. However the technology behind domestic Gas Boilers is rapidly changing and improving to the point where, currently, their efficiency at turning gas into actual usable household heat stands at over 90%, just 10% lower than an Electric Heater.
Therefore, even taking into account the losses in Gas heating efficency, heating by mains Gas still remains the cheapest form of domestic heating for the average Uk household, however in order to maintain and maximise the energy saving and reduce energy bills, the advice is to always purchase a Gas boiler which has an ‘A’ energy rating and offers over 90% efficiency.