electric boiler or gas (1)

Is an Electric Boiler Better Than A Gas Boiler?

If you want to make sure your home is ready for all weathers, you may consider installing a new boiler, and be wondering whether an electric boiler is better than a gas boiler.

There’s no black and white answer for this as it all depends on your hot water usage demands, the type of property you’re installing the boiler in, and a couple of other factors.

In today’s blog, we’ll unpack the pros and cons of both types of boiler - then you can confidently decide whether to opt for an electric boiler, or a gas alternative.

Electric Boiler vs Gas Boiler: What’s the difference?

Most homes these days have a trusted gas boiler providing their hot water, thanks to a plentiful supply of mains gas and good overall performance - so the concept of an electric boiler may be an unknown one.

Electric boilers are a cross between your conventional central heating boiler and … a kettle, as demeaning as that may sound.

They provide hot water in sufficient quantities to service central heating systems and hot water outlets such as showers and taps.

However instead of burning fuel in order to heat the water, electricity is passed through an immersed heating element in the same way that a kettle does.

Let’s look at the primary factors that determine the type of boiler that will suit your needs.

Fuel Availability

If you don’t have a reliable supply of mains gas, an electric boiler is the obvious choice straight off the bat.

While it’s possible to run your boiler on bottled gas, there are several drawbacks to attempting to use them, such as their finite gas supply, cost compared to mains gas, potential delays in obtaining replacement bottles, inconsistent gas pressure (which can affect boiler performance) or simply not having anywhere to store them!

The other consideration for fuel is its cost.

Gas boilers use less energy than electric boilers do in order to heat the equivalent amount of water; this is worth considering depending on how much you have to pay for your electricity compared to gas.

While this is less of an issue if your hot water demands are minimal, it becomes a more significant factor when you increase your hot water demands - for example, where the boiler must heat a larger property, or you have a busy family needing lots of showers or baths.

Installation Location

The space which your boiler is being installed in, as well as the type of property, are key determining factors defining whether an electric boiler is better than a gas system.

If you have an existing gas-powered boiler, a similar installation is likely to meet your needs without much hassle. You’ll have the relevant fuel supply, ventilation, and chimneys already in place - or they can be easily adapted to suit your new boiler.

However, if you have a smaller property, or not a lot of vacant space, an electric boiler may be a good choice, due to their compact overall size. They also don’t require flues or chimneys which can be handy for some properties.

Electric boilers do not require the gas or oil fuel supply infrastructure too, which is one less thing to worry about accommodating in your property.

Some electric systems, however, may require a hot water storage tank - so that you have a ready supply of hot water for when you need it. Naturally this is going to require more available space, however, is more likely to be required in order to provide sufficient hot water where the property is larger and, as such, vacant space is more readily available anyway.

Response Time

We live in a fast paced world these days, and as such tend to need our hot water yesterday.

Unfortunately, electric boilers can take longer to heat up the required water than a gas powered system, so if you tend to need hot water in a hurry, they may not be for you (this being said, a hot water storage tank as described earlier would help to alleviate this).

Conversely, gas powered boilers have a rapid heat up response time so are a better bet when hot water is required quickly.

Environmental Impact

If you’re particularly eco-minded, you may well like to consider the environmental impact of your boiler.

Electric boilers could be the answer here, as they don’t produce any emissions themselves.

They do, of course, require a power supply though, so to be genuinely eco-friendly you should ensure your power comes from renewable or low-emission sources.

Any appliance that burns fuel will produce emissions, and gas powered boilers are no exception – however, they can be run on ‘clean’ gas and be optimised to run efficiently too.

As usual with attempting to find a green solution to life’s requirements, there is no easy solution or silver bullet - sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils and an electric boiler is not necessarily better than a gas boiler.

Running Costs

Everything in life needs to be looked after in order to continue running…and some things in life are built better than others.

You’re probably used to arranging an annual service for your boiler, due to its regular use and complex components.

Older gas powered boilers in particular may also require repairs due to wear and tear. Both servicing and repairs can be expensive, particularly if they become regular.

Electric boilers on the other hand have fewer moving parts, and components in general.  So while it is still a good idea to have them serviced annually, the likelihood of parts needing replaced or repaired is far lower.  Likewise, the likelihood of a breakdown occurring is lower too.

So, if not worrying about expensive maintenance bills is high on your priority list, an electric boiler may start to make more sense for you providing it can meet your other requirements.

boiler saves money

Is an Electric Boiler Better than a Gas Boiler? You decide!

As I said at the start of this article, there’s no clear winner in the battle of the boilers!

If you have a small property, and just don’t require much hot water a lot of the time, an electric boiler may be your ideal solution - they’re compact, tidy, easier to install and cheaper to maintain.

Most houses however, will have a steady and dependable gas supply, which is cheaper than their electricity; these factors alone are usually sufficient for homeowners to make the decision to opt for gas - especially if a gas boiler is what is already installed.

If you still can’t decide whether an electric boiler is better than a gas boiler in your specific situation though, don’t worry. Just give me a call or drop me a line and I’ll help you choose the best boiler for your personal needs.

You can get a new gas boiler quote, quickly and efficiently online here.



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Adam Dilger
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We offer ground braking reliable heating solutions across the Northwest. With 20 years experience our engineers install, service and maintain your central heating systems. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn >>
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