What is the most cost-effective way to heat a home?

You could save money on your heating bills and reduce your carbon footprint by switching to renewable heating but which option suits you best – a heat pump, wood stove or solar thermal panels?


Home heating has advanced tremendously, and there are many heating options to consider. To help your heating system function at its full capacity, one ought to consider using proper insulation, sealing any openings/leaks in the ceiling, on the floor or the walls that could allow cold air into the home from outside, as well as other sealing options for doors and windows. Only once this has been completed can one look for a heating system such as Boilers, Solar Heating, Heat Pumps, Gas Heating, Wood Heating, Under Floor Heating or Renewable Heating Options.

Providing sufficient heating to a home via the use of electrical heating has a high cost as prices tend to rise every year thus we have listed some of the most cost-effective ways to achieve proper heating.

The cheapest heating system might not always be the best solution for your home because several heating systems require more maintenance than others and the fuel consumption is also very high. The decision lies with you to decide whether your family will try to stay warm bundled closely together waiting for warmer weather to settle in or installing a new heating system that will ultimately save you a fortune!

Boiler Heating Systems

Herewith a few handy tips before we get to the variety of heating systems!


During winter time it is recommended to hang thicker curtains in front of windows thus aiding in the insulation of a home. Also be sure to open them during the day time, allowing heat to penetrate the home. One may also find that adding curtains to the inside of doors leading out will keep some of the cold air out.

Radiators and boilers are some of the most economical heating systems on the market that can provide cost effective heat in your home. If you are using a radiator, try to keep the area in front of it clear of any furnishings as this will absorb the heat produced by the radiator. There is also the option of adding aluminium foil which repels the heat from your radiator back into a room, if it is placed behind the radiator to keep the heat from escaping through the wall.

Heating with a Boiler System

This is one of the most used systems throughout the UK, even though they do not last for very long and should also be replaced within ten years from the installation. The good news though is that there are new boiler systems on the market, which could prove to be 90% more efficient than the ones currently installed in your home. You could have a new boiler system fitted by spending between £2,000 – £2,900 or less moreover, this system is a true winner of long-term heating. For some advice on tuning you boiler have a closer look here.


Boiler systems can provide your home with central heating by installing radiators in all the rooms of your home. Radiators come in a wide range of shapes and sizes so you can properly heat from the smallest of your rooms to the biggest ones at little extra effort to the boiler. Central heating is the best way of heating a house because it economical and can be installed easily in any property.

Home insulation

For more economical heating when using a boiler system, you should make your home draught proof and invest in double glazing windows that will keep the heat inside and the cold outside. In addition, it is important to have good ventilation in your home but also to try to keep the windows shut while your central heating system is on so that your boiler can run at its full capacity the entire time.

Heating a home by means of fuel heating systems

Cost of heating in the UK in 2017

Here is a list of some of the most common Fuel Heating Systems available that one could also consider for home heating options. There is a wide range of Fuel Heating Systems, and as technology advances, so do the heating options we have at our disposal. Heating a house is much easier than it used to be, and homes require fewer modifications for newer heating systems to fit.

Electric Heating Systems – Electricity as a heating option is not recommended as it can ultimately become extremely costly to pay the bill, even for a small home. Electric central heating costs depend on the tariff charged and the electricity company you are with.

The most economical tariff is a 7 or 10 that uses storage heaters that come on at night for cheaper prices. Electric central heating is cheaper to install as there are no pipes and flues to worry about and there is less servicing needed. Despite the high energy consumption, electrical heating systems are still commonly used in homes.

Oil Heating Systems: Oil fired central heating is used in ‘wet’ heating systems where an oil fired boiler heats water that then provides the central heating through radiators in your home. The major difference between oil central heating and gas central heating is that the oil is delivered by a truck and stored in a tank. The tank can be rented from the oil supplier and is an additional cost that needs to be taken into account. Oil it is not very environmentally friendly and can also be dangerous if you live near gas mains.

Wood Heating Systems : This option although not commonly used, is environmentally friendly as well as providing a great cost saving way of generating heat for a home. Modern wood boilers/ furnaces and woodstoves has become efficient in heating homes with very little air pollution if installed correctly in addition trees are abundant thus fuel for this system is most likely to be cheap and easily accessible.

Gas and electrical heating systems are the most cost effective heating methods because the cost of oil is incredibly high due to oils scarcity. Wood heating systems are also costly in the long run because you require a lot of wood to keep your boiler warm, it pollutes the air and requires constant maintenance to feed the flames.

Alternative Heating Methods

Following are several additional heating methods. Several might have a high cost initially but will save you money in the long run, whereas others might also be eligible for a grant as they produce free energy through the air, sun, water or even the ground.

Solar thermal heating: Solar thermal heating produces hot water for your home by using either evacuated tubes or plate collectors to capture the sun’s radiation. Many people think the UK isn’t hot enough for solar panels, but according to the Solar Trade Association (STA), the UK receives 60% of the solar energy received on the equator. What’s more, panels can operate on clear days with no sun too.

Air Source Heat Pumps:  They produce hot water and heating for your home by utilising free, natural heat found in the ground, air or water. A pump cycles refrigerant round pipe work, which collects heat to transfer into the home through radiators, ducts or underfloor heating. In the summer pumps can be reversed to cool your home. They are environmentally-friendly, require little maintenance and can increase the retail value of your home.

Wood Stoves: Wood burners run at around 70-80% efficiency and produce less carbon than any fossil fuel when heating your home. Whatever CO2 they do produce is offset by the amount of CO2 the plant has absorbed during its lifetime. If you replant the trees you cut down, wood burners are completely carbon neutral. You can choose between a standalone stove or a central wood boiler connected to the main heating system.

Underfloor heating

Another cost-effective home heating option, which has proven to be highly effective in all homes but in particular in smaller houses, is underfloor heating. They way underfloor heating works is that the floor is heated by hot water running through piping under the floor or electric circuits. And as the flooring becomes warmer, so does the entire room including furniture, objects and people.

Central Heating Power Flushing

At some point it’s likely that your central heating system will need some repairs or maintenance work carried out. One of the most common central heating problems is caused by a build-up of sludge in pipes and radiators; this can stop the heating system from working properly.  To deal with this problem, it’s best to hire a heating engineer to carry out a central heating power flush, which will clear the system.

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Renewable Heat Incentives UK – RHI

During 2012 the first stage of RHI was introduced to the Non-Domestic sector in UK to encourage Businesses as well as Communities to commit to using heat sources other than electric by providing financial incentives to those who do. As of April 2014 the Domestic sector of RHI has been introduced to the citizens of the UK. For more details contact the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in regards to provisions for Domestic RHI.

Heating System Conclusions

Depending on the area within the UK your home is as well as the money you have available for heating systems will ultimately determines the Heating System installed. Gas and electrical boilers are the most commonly used heating systems used in the UK. They are preferred above other heating systems because the modern designs are compact and sleek in design. They fit into just about any home and have huge cost effective heating benefits to homes.

Between gas and electrical components, gas boilers are the cheapest of heating systems because they have lower fuel consumption costs. Gas boilers do, however, require a lot more maintenance to ensure the boiler is functioning well and to ensure the gas canisters don’t run empty.

The main advantage of electrical boilers is the fact that it requires hardly any maintenance for effective heating and can provide your home with heat on a more stable level.


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  • http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/boilers/article/oil-boilers
  • http://www.which.co.uk/energy/creating-an-energy-saving-home/guides/home-heating-systems/options-for-heating-your-home/
  • http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/heating-and-hot-water/electric-heating-systems
  • http://scalar.usc.edu/works/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-underfloor-heating/index 
  • https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool/heat-pump-systems
  • https://www.britishgas.co.uk/new-boilers/guides/central-heating-and-boilers-explained-article.html

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