Can I Use an Electric Boiler for Both Heating and Hot Water? Exploring Your Options

new electric boiler installation together with heating systems

If you’re wondering, if the electric boiler is suitable for heating and hot water the answer is yes. Electric boilers are versatile units capable of fulfilling your home’s dual needs. This guide dissects how they work, examines their efficiency for various home sizes, and highlights important considerations without spoiling the detailed insights that follow.

Key Takeaways

  • The electric boilers are compact, silent, and safe with no carbon monoxide risk, suitable for homes without a mains gas supply; however, they require careful consideration of a home’s power supply capacity to avoid overuse.
  • An electric boiler comes in different types such as combi, heat-only, and system boilers, with combi boilers saving space by heating water on demand, but potentially lacking capacity for high water needs.
  • While the electric boiler offers higher efficiency and environmental benefits with nearly zero emissions, they come with higher operating costs and require a thorough assessment of property size, occupants, and hot water usage to determine the correct boiler size.

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Understanding Electric Boilers

Electric boilers work by using electric elements or heaters (similar to an immersion heater) to warm up water, thus providing your home with electric heating. They are the perfect solution for homes without access to gas or as an alternative to oil boilers. But what exactly are the advantages of electric over gas or oil boilers?

These units have several benefits, such as:

  • Compact size
  • No need for a flue pipe
  • Silent operation
  • No risk of carbon monoxide
  • Possible compatibility with renewable energy sources like air source heat pumps
  • Flexibility in installation locations
  • Can be combined with solar panels to enhance energy efficiency.

Nevertheless, when using an electric boiler, it’s important to make sure you have a sufficient electricity supply. Typically, a UK home has a single, sometimes a three-phase supply, or 240 Volt supply with 100 Amps. You must carefully evaluate your power demand because overuse can blow the consumer board fuse.

Usually during the installation the fuse board needs to be replaced and sometimes the supply has to be upgraded if you need a larger boiler.

heating system installation

Types of Electric Boilers

If you’re considering an electric boiler, you might wonder which type to choose. You should consider three common types: combi boilers, heat-only boilers, and system boilers. They each have their benefits and suitability for different properties.

System boilers are designed to cater to both hot water and heating demand using a cylinder. For larger homes with higher water requirements, heat-only boilers or system boilers are also suitable. For smaller flats, an electric combination boiler is a good choice. These options provide versatility to choose the type that best fits your property and demands.

Electric Combi Boilers for Heating & Hot Water

electric combi boiler

An electric combi boiler is a consolidated unit designed to offer central heating and warm water. It operates by drawing cold water from the mains and heating it through a heat exchanger, similar to a heat pump when the tap is opened or the heating is turned on.

A significant benefit of an electric combi boiler is the space it saves. They heat water on demand and eliminate the need for storage cylinders, making them a suitable choice for homes with limited space storage heaters.

But, one main limitation of an electric combi boiler is its lesser capacity to produce hot water compared to a gas boiler. Therefore, it may not consistently meet extensive water requirements. These boilers can’t be used for filling a bath, they are good only for shower use.

Electric System Boilers: An Alternative But Good Solution

An electric system boiler with hot water cylinder

If a combination boiler doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, there’s another solution: an electric system boiler. We use manufacturers like the electric heating company that is specifically engineered to produce the best boilers.

This type of boiler is particularly well-suited for larger properties with a heightened need for domestic hot water, ensuring a consistent and easily accessible supply. This heating element is especially advantageous for homes with multiple bathrooms or high hot water consumption.

We installed a 39KW system boiler for a 6-bedroom property with a 300-litre storage cylinder, and a 12 radiator system with underfloor heating. This boiler needs a three-phase power supply.

Comparing Electric Boilers to Gas and Oil Boilers

Comparing electric and gas/oil boilers

When you’re selecting a boiler, you should weigh up your options. How do electric boilers stack up against banning gas boilers? In terms of efficiency, electric boilers are top performers, showing significantly higher efficiency rates compared to traditional gas boilers. Furthermore, they offer environmental benefits by not generating any carbon emissions, making them a more environmentally friendly option.

However, they do come with their drawbacks. Electric boilers are considerably more costly to operate than gas boilers, primarily because of the higher cost of electricity per kilowatt hour. But the government is working towards to reduce the energy cost. Some flats have no options but an electric boiler.

Assessing Your Property’s Needs

Before deciding on an electric boiler, you need to evaluate your property’s needs. The size of the boiler you need depends on the size of the property, the number of occupants, water demands and number of radiators.

A common practice to determine the size of the heating load for the electric boiler is to add 1-1.5 kW for each radiator present in the property. The number of people residing in your property also indirectly impacts the size of the electric boiler needed. We also have to add 3kW for the storage cylinder.

The energy output in kilowatts (kW) serves as an indicator of the size of the heat load for an electric boiler. A higher kW rating signifies the boiler’s capability to heat a larger volume of water at once, which is essential for properties with greater size or higher hot water demand.

Installation Process and Costs

Are you prepared to install an electric boiler? The process is easier and typically more cost-effective compared to gas or oil boiler installations. Their compact and lightweight design, along with the elimination of the need for a flue/chimney system, allows for greater flexibility in placement.

The cost of installing an electric boiler can vary, typically ranging from £1500 to £3,500, with an average cost falling between £1,500 and £4,000. Electric boiler installation costs can be impacted by various factors including the placement within the property, the particular type of electric boiler selected, and any extra features or components necessary for the installation like fuse board and controls replacement.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Considerations

An illustration of energy-efficient electric boiler

When choosing a boiler, you should consider energy efficiency. Electric boilers tend to demonstrate higher energy efficiency compared to gas boilers, boasting efficiency ratings of 99-100%.

Besides efficiency, the environmental impact of a quiet boiler on your heating system is another aspect to consider. Electric boilers contribute to reducing emissions by eliminating the use of fossil fuels such as gas, resulting in zero emissions during operation.

Switching to an electric boiler can diminish your household’s carbon footprint. By eliminating the need for fossil fuels and producing no carbon emissions, these boilers are a step towards more sustainable living.

Maintenance and Longevity

Electric boilers need only a little upkeep and no annual servicing, which keeps running costs down. Plus, they do not produce harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, making them a safer option compared to faulty gas boilers and suitable for smaller flats.

When it comes to longevity, electric and gas boilers generally have a lifespan ranging from 15 to 25 years, which is influenced by the quality of the boiler and its maintenance practices.

Financial Incentives and Support

Although no specific government grants are available for installing electric boilers, other forms of financial assistance and incentives are accessible.

The ECO4 scheme addresses the replacement of outdated boilers with more environmentally friendly options. To be eligible for this scheme, a property must possess an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F, and G.

Summary

In summary, electric boilers are a viable option for both hot water and heating needs. They offer high efficiency, low carbon emissions, and installation flexibility. However, they do have higher operating costs due to electricity prices and may not be suitable for properties with high water demands.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Ready to Explore the Benefits of Electric Boilers for Your Home?

If you’ve been contemplating the switch to an electric boiler now is the perfect time to take action. Electric boilers offer numerous advantages, from their compact and environmentally friendly design to their flexibility and energy efficiency. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and enhance your home’s efficiency. Contact MML Plumbing today to explore the world of electric boilers and take the next step toward a more sustainable and cost-effective heating solution guided by our installation expert.

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