Have you recently purchased a home with old electric storage heating, and are thinking of converting the heating system to gas central heating? Or maybe you’re renovating your aged home, and want to replace the central heating system with a brand new boiler, pipework, radiators and heating controls.
Knowing what’s best for you and your property can be hard with different styles, energy efficiencies and outputs to consider – as well as what’s sympathetic in style to your property and your needs.
In this article, we will cover how much a central heating system costs, what affects the cost of central heating, what’s involved in installing a central heating system and how to find and hire a heating engineer.
If you’re considering changing your heating system but aren’t sure where to begin, keep reading to find out the most cost-effective way of introducing a new central heating system into your home.
How Much Does a Central Heating System Cost?
The cost of installing central heating in a home typically ranges from £2,250 for a two-bedroom small bungalow, up to around £4,500 for a five-bedroom house. As with all the prices listed in this guide, it’s good to keep in mind that prices in London and the South East of England will be a little higher than average.
Below is a table outlining some estimated costs based on the size of the property, number of radiators and boiler size.
|Size of Property||Number of Radiators||Boiler Size||Total Cost|
The time involved and the price will differ greatly on the size of your property, the number of radiators you want fitting and whether or not your home is a single or multi-storey residence.
To illustrate these costs, here’s a sample costing strategy for installation for a four-bed, two-storey home, wanting 10 radiators and a 33kw boiler fitted:
- New condensing boiler including supply and labour – £1,250 to £1,850
- Nine radiators including supply and labour – £1,100
- Water tank supply and install – £200
- Miscellaneous extras parts and labour – £265
- Pipework supply and installation – £865
The total of this project comes to around £4,000, with the exact amount depending upon your location and the type of boiler you choose.
To ensure your new central heating installation is as energy efficient as possible, the hot water cylinder will be insulated and fitted with a thermostat, and your contractor will install all radiators with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) so that your radiators will work autonomously to keep your home at your desired temperature.
Whereas, the amount of work will be different for a smaller home, such as a two-bedroom house wanting a gas central heating installation of 6 radiators and a 24kw boiler:
- Gas boiler supply and installation – £1,100 to £1,700
- Radiators parts and labour – £830
- Pipework supply and installation – £230
- Extra parts and labour – £230.
This job will take about three days and will cost under £3,000, but again, the exact amount will depend on the boiler you choose and your location. For such a small building, a combination boiler should be enough to provide adequate heat and hot water to the property, whereas larger properties might want to look at alternatives to heat the bigger space.
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What Affects the Cost of Central Heating?
If you’re trying to upgrade your home’s heating on a tight budget, there are some things to watch out for which can drive your costs up.
Although there are some factors you can’t change – such as the number of storeys in your home, or the number of bedrooms – there are ways to make sure the project price stays manageable even while working on a large property.
Here are some of the main factors affecting the cost of central heating installation:
Choice of Boiler
Single-handedly raising or lowering your renovation costs is the boiler itself. Whether or not you choose a combi boiler, system boiler, LPG boiler or biomass boiler will impact your costs, as well as the output of heat in your home.
Let’s go through the choices.
For a standard boiler installation, you can expect to pay between £1,750 to £3,000. This will be dependent on the output of the boiler, as well as the size of the team working on installing it, together with regional factors that can raise or lower your costs based on your location.
Traditionally more popular than conventional boilers, combi boilers work by heating water from the mains supply instead of waiting on a hot water tank. This gives immediate hot water on demand, which is where the combi boiler gets its allure from with homeowners.
For installation, including the cost of moving any existing pipework and completing a mechanical flush before installation, combi boilers can set you back by around £1,260 to £1,625.
Together with the cost of the boiler itself, you can look to spend on average £850 more (based on the cost of a 28 to 34kw boiler), to total an average of £2,292.50 for the boiler plus installation.
System boilers are growing in popularity owing to their reduced carbon footprint as well as lower fuel prices in the long term. Most suited to large properties with two or more bathrooms, system boilers require a lot of room to be housed and require ample space to accommodate a hot water tank or cylinder.
Costing anywhere between £500 to £3,000 depending on the output you choose, system boilers give instant access to hot water and can be used in conjunction with solar panels if desired.
Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Boiler
Another boiler option comes in the form of the LPG boiler. These are commonly seen in properties off the national grid, without a mains source of gas to connect to.
To enable your LPG boiler to run, you’ll have to procure your own supply of gas which will be delivered and then stored at your property. When compared to mains gas, the price per kWh is 2.4p to LPG’s 7.6p – which is a substantial price hike.
Comparing electricity, however, the price per kWh is 9.9p to LPG’s 7.6p – which is a better return. Without the means of connecting to a national grid supply of gas, choosing between electric or LPG seems simple in this scenario if you’re looking for the most cost-effective way of heating your home.
LPG is a fossil fuel, and as such, releases carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, dispute it being billed as a ‘cleaner’ fuel than other fossil fuel options. The cost of fitting will be between £1,600 to £2,000, and you’ll need a tank fitted to store your gas which can cost upwards of £1,500.
By far the most expensive option is the biomass boiler, topping the scales at £10,000 to £14,000 for fitting in a four-bedroom detached home, for example. Something to consider is that once installed, you’ll be eligible to enrol on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), where you’ll earn a fixed fee for every kWh of renewable heat you produce.
With this in mind, homeowners can look to receive between £1,500 to £2,800 per year from this scheme, meaning the cost of installation will be cost-neutral within seven years.
Adding to the neutralities, the use of a biomass boiler itself is carbon-neutral, as the burning of biomass fuel emits the same amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the fuel while it was growing.
Style and Size of Radiators
Further to the boiler you choose, the style and size of the radiator you settle on will impact your project fees.
The more ornate the style, the higher the price, with some models coming in anywhere between £150 and £1,000, whereas standard central heating radiators range from £20 to £120 depending on their heat output.
To be cost-savvy, you can look to get hold of your chosen styles while they’re on offer, ahead of when your work is scheduled to start. This way, you still get the look you want but for much less than the RRP.
Ease of Installation
Something to consider is whether or not you’ll be in the property while the new heating system is being installed. If you’re able to, going to stay somewhere else for a little while can help to expedite the process for the contractors as they’ll have fewer barriers while working.
Similarly, if you can move furniture or appliances out of the way before the contractors arrive this will help to streamline their process and keep them focused on the job at hand, instead of being an ad-hoc removals company, too.
Number of Rooms (and therefore radiators)
Going hand-in-hand with the radiators you choose, the number of rooms in your property will be a direct hit on your budget. The more rooms you have, the more radiators you need, meaning more products and longer installation periods for your contractors.
Size of Rooms
If you have large rooms, you might need more than one radiator to sufficiently heat it up. Your contractors will be able to calculate the heat output required for each room in British Thermal Units (BTUs).
Traditional or Wireless Controls
Having intelligent controls installed as part of your central heating overhaul is vital to getting the most out of your system.
Installing thermostats in each room is the best way to achieve the ideal temperature in each space and maximise energy efficiency. When used in conjunction with TRVs, individual thermostats can save you money whilst keeping you comfortable.
A heating engineer will supply and install new wireless room thermostats for between £125 and £190 per room. You may be able to negotiate lower labour costs if you decide to install more than one thermostat. Installing thermostats takes around two hours per room.
Once complete, you should experience noticeable heat differences, as well as better environmental control.
How Can I Save Money on a New Central Heating System?
Installing a new central heating system can be expensive, which is off-putting for many homeowners. But there are ways of being cost savvy to bring prices down, all while helping to reduce your energy bills once a new, efficient boiler is installed.
Shop Around for Deals
If you’re planning your boiler replacement and want to renovate your radiators at the same time, checking to see if any local stores are having sales or reductions can help to bring your project fees down.
By stockpiling items in advance, you reduce the risk of having to spend a premium on items unexpectedly when the work starts and you realise you’re one radiator short. Planning in advance can take more time and effort but will pay dividends in the long run.
Check If You’re Eligible for Free Boilers
For qualifying homeowners and private tenants, the UK’s ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers offer free replacement boilers.
Further to this, some homeowners and tenants can be eligible for other heat-saving schemes from the government, such as:
With the average cost of replacement coming in at around £2,300, it’s worth checking if you’re eligible for help before embarking on a solo renovation.
Zoning Heating Controls
It’s no secret that central heating installation for bigger properties with more rooms and on three or more floors will cost considerably more than those in a bungalow or a flat with smaller rooms.
Zoning heating controls are essential for better energy efficiency, working by separating the different parts of your home into different heating zones.
For example, the system will treat each floor as a separate heating zone and will only supply heat to selected floors at certain times of the day. So, if you have children who are at university and only come home occasionally, the heating to their rooms or floor can be turned off when they are not at home, and back on when they’re back.
Zoning can help to cut energy costs considerably and is a great up-front cost to see a return on investment over time.
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What’s Involved in Installing a Central Heating System?
Central heating installation is a relatively straightforward job for an expert installer. It is something that absolutely shouldn’t be tackled by a DIY enthusiast and should only be completed by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.
The only complication for fitting is how accessible your home is for laying the copper pipework for the heating system. As we’ve mentioned before, an empty house would make the installation easier and faster.
For a two-storey four-bedroom house, you can expect a team of two to take around five days to complete the installation.
How Do I Find and Hire a Heating Engineer?
When looking to hire a heating engineer for your project, you must get quotes from contractors with a checkable work history. As heating systems are complex, finding a reputable tradesperson is the first step in ensuring safety for you and your family.
If your friends, neighbours, or family have had boiler work done in their own home recently, ask them if they’d recommend their contractors. This is a great way of weeding out potential cowboy traders as your friends won’t recommend them to you if they’ve had a bad experience recently.
However, even if you are receiving a word-of-mouth recommendation, always check yourself to see if the trader is on the Gas Safe Register. This will ensure that the contractor is equipped to carry out your work safely, and without damage.
Searching online is also a great way of easily collecting quotes from the comfort of your own home from one simple search. Using HouseholdQuotes can look to save you around 40% on your project fee while listing potential contractors for you to compare against one another to find the right fit for you.
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Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
As with all home renovations, it’s best to get a written quote from your chosen contractor before agreeing to any work. While someone may say something verbally, there is no way of proving that – and if trouble arises while work is being carried out, it’s best to have something non-verbal to refer to.
If a contractor ever refuses to commit to a written quote, refuse to work with them.
As we’ve mentioned before, seeking out their experience and finding out their reference history is a great way of ensuring their work is as polished as they quote it to be. Finally, your contractor should always carry their own insurance for their work, so make sure this is in place before agreeing to any project proposal.
Installing a new heating system in your home is a surefire way of increasing the warmth while decreasing your energy bills as you get rid of an inefficient, old boiler.
Here’s our final checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need to take on this project with confidence:
- Weigh up the pros and cons of the different types of boilers, and settle on the one that’s right for you and your home
- Get a written quote from your contractor, and double-check they have insurance and they are on the Gas Safe
- Register before agreeing to any work
- Try to buy your supplies in the sales to reduce costs on items such as radiators
- If possible, leave your home for the duration of their work to expedite the process and ensure a smooth working environment for your contractors
- Instal digital heat controls to create a cost-effective home.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Do I Need to Service My Boiler?
Should I Get Boiler Cover, and Will It Cover My Central Heating System?
Some policies include central heating cover for radiators, but others don’t – so it’s always best to assess things on a case-by-case basis and look at your own boiler cover plan to see if central heating systems are covered.
Can a Plumber Instal a Central Heating System, or Do I Need a Heating Engineer?
Is Central Heating Cheaper Than Electricity?
If you’d like to read more about the most effective heating systems, click here.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Radiator?
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