Homeowners that care about the environment, or live in one of the 2 million houses in the UK that are not connected to a gas supply, could consider installing an electric combination boiler.
Due their compact size, electric combi boilers are ideal for smaller homes that have limited storage space and less demand for hot water. They are a suitable choice as a replacement boiler to reduce energy bills and protect the environment.
Because electric boilers do not have any CO2 emissions, they cause less air pollution. Not only that, they are less expensive to install and do not need maintenance checks like gas or oil boilers.
Advancements in technology mean electric central heating units are just as reliable as gas and oil boilers albeit more expensive to run.
However, homeowners that qualify for the Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs and install either a storage boiler, dry core storage or have solar panels, can reduce energy bills through improved management of your energy consumption.
For small households with a low demand for hot water, an electric central heating system is a smart choice. If you’re looking for a replacement boiler, read our electric combi boiler review to see if they are a good fit for your home.
Energy Efficient Combi Boilers
According to the Climate Change Committee, the UK is behind on its targets to reduce carbon emissions. To help meet green targets, UK homeowners are being encouraged to replace old boilers for new energy efficiency boilers.
Electric combi-boilers are seen as the cleaner solution to other types of heating systems because they do not release any carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Because these boilers don’t burn fuel, they also lose less energy – meaning you pay for the energy you actually use and not what you lose. It is estimated that electric combi boilers are 99% efficient.
In contrast, gas boilers are between 89-95% efficient and oil-fired boilers use between 85%-93% of the energy they convert. Electric combination heaters are therefore seen as the environmentally choice and the future-proof option for UK households.
Benefits of Electric Combi Heaters
Other than being more energy efficient, electric combination heaters have several benefits over other types of central heating options.
Electric combi heaters are easy to install and require less maintenance than gas or oil boilers. Subsequently, they are a less expensive option.
Fit in Small Spaces
Although electric combi boilers come in a variety of sizes, they are typically single units and do not require heating tanks, cylinders or a flue like other types of boiler. Combination boilers typically fit comfortably into a small kitchen cupboard or under the stairs.
Most gas and oil boilers hum. Electric boilers are completely silent even when they are in operation.
Easy to Use
It’s important to have more control over the amount of energy you’re using. If you don’t have a smart thermostat, electric combi boilers are easy to manage manually.
The units are fitted with a digital display that gives you a temperature reading and a dial that enables you to turn the temperature up or down depending on your preference.
Low installation costs
Electric combi boilers do not run off gas or oil so do not depend on an existing central heating system to heat your home. Subsequently, this makes them easier to fit and reduces installation costs.
Properties that do not have a gas supply are also better suited to electric combi heaters. If you prefer a gas heater you would have to install gas pipes which would increase the installation costs considerably.
Electric combi heaters do not have as many mechanical parts as other types of heating systems and, therefore, do not require maintenance or repairs as often.
The world’s oil and gas resources are expected to run out in the next 40 years. At the moment, oil supplies are expected to dry up around 2052, and gas around 2060.
Although this may seem a long way off, it’s within the lifetime of many homeowners. It’s worth bearing in mind, that as resources deplete the cost of oil and gas will rise. Electric combi boilers, on the other hand, are compatible with solar energy.
Disadvantages of Electric Combi Boilers
Before deciding whether to install an electric combi boiler, you should be aware of the disadvantages. They are not ideal solutions for everybody.
Higher running costs
At the time of writing, the daytime use of electricity is more expensive than gas which means energy bills are typically significantly higher when you install an electric boiler.
The day rate for electricity is 16p/kWh. In comparison, kerosene oil heaters cost an average of 4.8p/kWh whilst LPG oil heaters cost is 5.8p/kWh, although the cost fluctuates with the price of oil. The average price for gas is a little lower at 4.2p/kWh.
With the Economy 7 tariff, using an electric storage heater system will enable you to compete with other boiler types. The cost of using electricity at night is only 6p-8p/kWh. However, because the day rate is 16p/kWh, people that are at home during the day will see a significant increase in your electricity bill.
Less Hot Water
Electric boilers heat water on demand. This means it can take a while for hot water to come through and the amount of hot water that is available is limited.
Electric combi boilers are, therefore, better suited to smaller homes that do not have a high demand for hot water. If you live in a large home, gas or oil boilers are a better option.
Types of Electric Boiler
Before investing in an electric boiler, it is important to consider the different types as some are better suited to certain types of property, budgets and needs.
Direct Electric Boilers
Heats water on demand rather than stores water so there is a slight delay waiting for hot water to get through. However, they are less expensive and cheaper to install than other types of boilers and don’t require a lot of space.
Storage heaters are the most practical and cost-effective. They provide hot water on demand and enable you to take advantage of the Economy 7 tariff by heating water at night for use the next day. They are more expensive than direct boilers and take up more space.
Combined Primary Storage Units store a lot of hot water to meet high demands. They are bulky and take up a lot of space so are better suited to larger homes with two or more bathrooms or commercial properties.
These boilers warm bricks overnight and release the heat into water which enables you to heat water at lower rates on the Economy 7 tariff. Although cost-effective, there is a higher chance you could run out of hot water so is better suited to small homes with little demand for hot water.
Solar Compatible boilers
Electric heaters are compatible with solar energy in homes that have an immersion heater. The solar panels provide heat during the day so you don’t need to use the electric boiler, thus enabling you to take advantage of the lower nighttime rates.
Electric Boiler Costs
The price of an electric combi boiler depends on the size, power (in kWh) and manufacturer. Entry models start from around £500 whilst top of the range electric combi boilers are around £2500. The average price is £1500.
It should be noted that less expensive models may not be as energy efficient or cheaper to run.
Running Costs of Electric Boilers
Although electric is more expensive than gas, electric boilers are less expensive to install and do not require maintenance checks as regularly. This means you can save money on labour costs and an annual gas certificate which costs around £75 per year.
The table below shows the average cost for electric combi heaters in relation to power consumption and the number of radiators you are using. Prices are based at a standard rate of 16p kWh and will vary depending on your energy consumption.
Households that only use electric combi boilers at night and qualify for the Economy 7 rate will pay around 6p/kWh rather than 16p/kWh. The average annual running costs below can, therefore, be reduced by about £900-£1000.
|Power (kWh)||Power Consumption (BTU)||Number of Radiators||Average Annual Cost|
Best Electric Boilers
The best electric combi boilers given below are recommended by professional boiler technicians.
|Manufacturer and Model||Power Outputs (kWh)||Average Purchase Price (excluding installation)||Standard Warranty|
|Electric Combo Boilers Co. – Elektra||2-12||£1190||2 years|
|EHC – Comet||9, 12, 14||£2570||2 years, 10 on cylinder|
|Elnur – Mattira MAC15||3-15||£1750-£2000||2 years, 5 on cylinder|
|Heatrae Sadia – Electromax||6, 9||£1800-£200||2 years, 10 on cylinder|
|Thermaflow – Electric combi boiler||10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18||£2360-£4050||1 year, 25 on cylinder|
Electric Boiler Reviews
In the main, electric combi reviews are positive. However, they are relatively new to the market and although the technology has improved considerably in the last couple of years, there are question marks over some of the claims made by manufacturers.
Typical running costs are significantly higher than gas and oil and although costs are saved in the initial stages, long-term costs are higher than boilers powered by fossil fuels. However, investing in electric combi heaters that store water overnight for use the next day reduces running costs considerably.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the cost of oil and gas will increase as resources run low. Renewable fuels, which are compatible with electric boilers, could help reduce heating costs.
There are also doubts that electric heaters are any more environmentally friendly. Whilst electric combi boilers are more efficient in the home, electricity is created by burning fossil fuels which are the biggest contributor to climate change.
We provide an unbiased review of electric combi boilers and other cost-saving strategies around the home. Take advantage of our no-obligation service to find quotes for electric combi boilers. The service is free of charge.