How Much an Electric Boiler Will Cost You
- How much do electric boilers cost to purchase?
- What are electric boiler running costs?
- What is the best electric boiler?
What do electric boilers cost to purchase, install and operate? The efficiency of your heating system affects how much you pay out, and an electric boiler could be the answer to lower heating bills, especially if you can pair it with a solar powered system. Combi boilers with a hot water storage cylinder can be an option for those who don’t have the space for a hot water cylinder and have a higher than average demand.
Electric boilers work by passing mains water through an electric heating element or immersion heater. Different types of boiler do this in different ways. If you’re considering replacing your fossil fuel gas boiler, you’ve probably wondered how much electric boilers cost to run. This article will take you through the various costs associated with electric boilers and give an overview of the best ones.
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Do Electric Boilers Cost a Lot to Buy?
There are many types of electric boiler on the market, ranging from £900 to £4,500. How much you will spend depends on your heating system and what would work for your household’s heating and hot water. If you’re switching to an electric boiler, you need to understand how much it will cost you at every stage of the journey.
It depends if the best electric boiler for you needs a hot water storage tank, if it’s wall mounted and if you need more operating power. Typically, no matter the type of boiler, electric models cost more the greater wattage you need. This can range from 3kW to 18kW. These various choices depend on how much hot water you receive and how hot it can get. Bigger models can achieve higher temperatures at greater efficiencies.
To help you decide a fair price for what electric boilers cost, the rule of thumb is 1.5kW for every radiator. If you have a relatively small five bedroom home, the best electric boiler for you would need a power output of 8kW. However, it’s always best to get a professional to inspect your heating system to see which boiler would suit you the most. Their estimate might differ from yours, but they’ll have more reasoning as to why.
Underfloor heating uses less power as is highly efficient. As such, you only need 70W/m². The same sized house would only require an electric boiler with a power output of 6kW. This is why electric boilers cost more or less depending on which system you have in place.
If your home has multiple bathrooms, you would be better off choosing a model with a hot water storage tank over a combi model, as the boiler wouldn’t be able to keep up with the high demand for hot water otherwise. Even just in this way, electric boilers cost different amounts depending on your circumstances.
Read more in our article about new boiler costs.
What Do Electric Boilers Cost to Install?
The next cost to take into account is the installation. Electric boilers cost anywhere between £650 and £2,500 to install. Not all installations will be at the higher end of the range, as this is more for lengthy jobs that may require the boiler to be in a new position or if you’re changing from a completely different heating type.
If there is more work to do, electric boilers cost more to fit. Disconnecting a gas boiler, for example, would require the services of a Gas Safe registered engineer before an electrician can begin installing an electric boiler. If you’re removing a hot water tank, this will also incur an extra charge.
How Much Do Electric Boilers Cost to Operate?
The price of electricity and gas always fluctuates, but the Energy Price Guarantee is but a distant memory now, so Ofgem sets the price cap once more. Your electric heating company may charge a different amount, but for those on a direct debit, electricity is currently at 27p per kWh. Taking this into account, we’ve produced the following estimates for how much electric boilers cost to operate. These are split into central heating via a standard radiator system and wet underfloor heating, as the running cost of electric boilers will be different for each.
For radiators, costs were calculated based on using the system for six hours a day and a margin of efficiency is used, which would depend on how effective your radiators are. The top end of the scale is a worst-case scenario. Turning your heating system off early or reducing the thermostat temperature would decrease these costs. Likewise, if your home is well insulated, electric boilers cost less to operate.
For underfloor heating, costs were calculated based on a wet system, which is around 25% more efficient than radiators, and only for operating for four hours a day. Depending on how effective your insulation is, this will decrease how much electric boilers cost to run for this kind of system.
What these costs don’t take into account is how efficient your system is. While a margin of error is used for radiators, your system could be more or less effective. Likewise, these costs can’t account for how insulated your home is.
Do Electric Boilers Cost Less to Run Than Gas?
While electricity is currently 27p per kWh, gas is much lower at 7p per kWh. Even though gas is cheaper to operate, it’s worth pointing out that electric boilers are usually 100% efficient, compared to the 90-95% efficiency of gas boilers.
This means that electric boilers cost 27p for every kWh of energy you pay for (or 100% of what you pay). Gas, on the other hand, will give you 1kWh for every 7.35p to 7.7p you spend (or 5-10% more) due to being slightly less efficient.
Condensing gas boilers are often not installed correctly, which means they will run 10-25% less efficiently than their specified rating. This could end up costing you 75p for every pound you spend on energy, or 9.45p per kWh. In this way alone, electric boilers cost nothing extra on top of their specified unit price.
The short answer to the question is no. Electric boilers cost more to run than gas and oil boilers, but they are more efficient.
Learn more about the differences between gas and electric boilers by reading here.
Electric Boiler Costs With Solar
Solar Photovoltaic Panels
The flipside to this is that electric boilers cost less to run when they are linked to a solar panel system, which will save you money and lower their running costs considerably. If you have a solar battery system, you can even store energy during the day and your boiler can make use of it when you need it. This saves on paying out for electricity supplied by the grid.
Solar Thermal Heating
Linked with solar thermal capabilities, this could save up to 60% on hot water heating and 35% on space heating. Throughout the year, this is a significant saving, but bear in mind that it’s much more efficient during the summer months when the heat from the sun is more powerful. In short, electric boilers cost a lot less to run when paired with solar powered systems.
Exporting Unused Energy
You are also able to reduce your running costs if you export any energy back to the national grid. Octopus Energy gives the best export rate at the moment, almost three times as good as any other UK energy supplier. The savings from exporting energy can offset how much electric boilers cost to run.
Best Electric Boiler
After all this analysis on what electric boilers cost, it’s time for a rundown of the best electric boilers. As electric boiler costs are generally higher than gas, it’s worth seeing what you can get for your money.
You can see a comparison of electric combi, regular and system boilers in the table below. It’s worth paying attention to the efficiency and length of warranty as well.
When it comes to deciding which boiler is best for you, you’ll need to consider the size of your house, how your home is currently heated and your hot water demand. Homes with at least four people in will struggle with a combi boiler, unless they opt for a model with an inbuilt storage tank. Likewise, if your heating demand is relatively low, a combi boiler will cover all you need.
If you have a system that runs on solar power, you can make electric boiler running costs cheaper for you in both the short and long term. An existing solar array will be able to integrate an electric boiler quite seamlessly. If you have yet to install a solar system, this will be an additional cost to consider on top of your new electric boiler. The benefits do outweigh the drawbacks though.
The best boilers of 2023 compares how much electric boilers cost to purchase.