Are electric radiators an efficient option?
Gas is still the most common form of heating in UK homes but is it still for good reason? The fact is that gas heating systems have advanced very little over the years so we should question how efficient they are for the modern home.
Electric radiators, however, are at the forefront of heating innovation and are proving themselves to be a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to gas. And the electric revolution is certainly gaining momentum as more and more people make the switch in a bid to lower their bills and conserve energy.
So, is it time that you made the switch? Use our handy guide to find out if going electric can make your energy usage more efficient.
What does the science tell us?
All electric radiators turn 1kWh of electricity into a full 1Kwh worth of heat that is then emitted into your home. In other words, they are 100% efficient as absolutely no energy is wasted.
The same cannot be said for gas radiators. As gas boilers use an amount of energy to run themselves, even brand-new boilers are never more than 90% efficient. Older boilers, which are more likely to be oversized and using outdated controls, can be as low as 60% efficient. This means that up to 40% of your electricity bill could be going on energy that is totally wasted.
If you want to make sure that every penny you spend is being converted into heat, then going electric is the answer.
How do electric radiators adapt energy usage to your space?
There are rarely times that you require every single room in your home to be heated to the exact same temperature. You’re not going to want to heat your kitchen when you’re cooking, for example, but you might want it on in the dining room for when you eat.
This becomes more problematic in homes that are using gas boilers. Despite the fact that you can switch gas radiators off, the boiler will still need to heat a full tank of water every time you use it even if you only want to heat one room in your house. The heat then has to travel along the pipe network to reach the desired room and is further losing energy along the way.
There is no such problem with electric radiators. Instead, you can simply switch them on in each room that you require heating and enjoy the instant warmth direct from the source.
How do controls add to the efficiency of electric radiators?
Greater control over your heating systems allows you to precisely dictate how much energy you use day to day.
It is possible to programme a gas system to a certain extent as you can create a timer schedule that suits the hours you will require heating. But that is as far as it goes. You are only able to programme the boiler so that it is either on or off rather than being able to control each individual radiator unit.
The advanced technology of electric radiators means that they can easily integrate with smart-technology so you can control them remotely using an app on your phone or a similar device. This means you could even control your heating from your desk at work ready for when you get home! This allows you to truly tailor your energy consumption to suit your needs so you can minimise your bills and maximise efficiency.
Are electric radiators a better investment for the future?
With more parts and components, gas heaters are likely to require a lot more maintenance than their electric counterparts. Add to this the fact that electric radiators are cheaper to install and have a longer lifespan than an average gas boiler and it’s clear that they’re a much better investment for you home.
But we should think bigger than that. Heating our homes makes up 40% of the UK's energy consumption which has a lot to do with the fact that 85% of homes are still using fossil-fuel-based gasses. In fact, 14% of all the greenhouse gases in the UK come from our houses which is roughly the same as the emissions from the cars on our roads.
This means that all that energy your gas boiler is inefficiently consuming could be having a negative impact on the environment. Electric heating, however, does not produce any emissions so is a much cleaner and more sustainable alternative.
Should you go to electric?
There is no doubt that electric radiators are efficient. They don’t waste a single watt of energy and are versatile enough to give you control at your fingertips. So, if you’re looking to take charge of your energy consumption and be mindful of your impact on the environment, now could be the time to make the switch to an electric radiator.