How Much Does It Cost To Run Gas Central Heating in 2023?
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Last updated on May 23rd, 2023

Cost of running gas central heating

In the UK, most of us are connected to mains gas. But if you're off the main grid, you'll need to look at alternatives. Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a popular choice because it can be used within a conventional gas central heating system. Plus, as you'll discover below, it's cheaper than some other alternatives.
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So, exactly how much does it cost to run gas central heating in 2023? And what options do you have?

Please note, the costs in this guide are in line with the October 2022 price cap.

Gas central heating running cost calculator

The overall cost of running gas central heating will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your house and how often you use heating and hot water.

However, the main decider will be whether you’re connected to mains gas or whether you need to use LPG.

LPG requires you to have your fuel delivered and stored at your property. Not only is it more expensive in itself, but you’ll also need to have your own personal supply tank, which involves an annual service charge paid to LPG suppliers (known as the ‘standing charge’ or ‘tank rental’).

Cost provided itemUnitAverage cost
Mains gasPer year£1,554
LPGPer year£1,830
LPG tank rental (above ground)Per year£65
LPG underground tank rentalPer year£130

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

How much does it cost to run gas central heating per hour?

If you’re connected to mains gas, you’re looking at a cost of around 11.51p per kilowatt-hour. This means that if you have a 24 kW boiler, you can expect to pay around £2.76 per hour to run it on mains gas.

Cost provided itemUnitAverage cost
Mains gasPer kWh11.51p
LPGPer kWh11.35p
OilPer kWh11.66p
Electric heatPer kWh38.94p

Information correct as of the October 2022 price cap.

LPG running costs

LPG is more expensive than mains gas, but it’s a good option if you’re not connected to the mains. LPG boiler running costs are around 11.35p per kilowatt-hour, which means you’re looking at around £2.72 to run a 24 kW LPG combi boiler for an hour.

You’ll also have to bear in mind the cost of tank rental, which will vary depending on whether your tank is installed above or below-ground. You’ll have to pay a yearly charge of around £65 if your tank is above ground, or £130 if it’s underground. Underground tanks also tend to involve an additional installation charge of up to £1,500.

Gas central heating cost to run per year

A medium house with an annual usage of 13,500 kilowatt-hours is likely to pay around £1,554 per year on mains gas. This is compared to £1,830 per year + maintenance costs and tank installation if you’re using LPG.

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Oil v LPG running costs

How much does it cost to run gas central heating

Heating oil is around 11.66p per kilowatt-hour compared with LPG’s 11.35p. So, people who aren’t connected to mains gas are usually going to be choosing between oil and LPG boilers.

Both these options require fuel storage tanks. And while LPG boilers need to be installed, repaired and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer, oil boilers require an OFTEC registered engineer. So all in all, they’re pretty similar.

That said, LPG boilers are usually cheaper to install than oil boilers. Plus, LPG produces fewer carbon emissions when burned, which makes it more environmentally friendly.

Which is cheaper, gas or electric heat?

When it comes to the question of the gas vs electric heat cost, the answer’s pretty clear. Gas is the cheaper option, even if you’re using LPG rather than mains gas.

Electric heat costs around 38.94p per kilowatt-hour (including standing charge and VAT), making it the most expensive type of heating to run of all those we’ve mentioned. In fact, the cost of electric heat will typically be around £5,257 if we assume you’re living in a medium house with an annual usage of 13,500 kilowatt-hours.

Despite the cost of gas vs electric heat, electric central heating is still one of the most popular options in the UK for those who don’t have access to the mains gas network.

Compared to gas central heating, electric storage heaters are cheap to install and require little maintenance. Though, on the downside, if your heating hasn’t been on, you could find yourself in a chilly house waiting for it to warm up after switching the heating back on.

Is oil heating cheaper than gas?

So gas heating is cheaper than electric or LPG, but how about oil vs gas heating cost?

A three-bedroom, semi-detached house, using approx. 16,000 kWh of gas per year, will cost around £1,842. This is the average across England, Scotland and Wales.

The annual average cost of heating the same house using the same amount of energy will cost approx. £1,866 per year, if using oil.

Comparatively, LPG will cost you £1,816/year.

Oil vs gas heating cost calculator

To compare the cost of oil heating vs gas heating, you need to know how many units of energy your home uses on average over the year. Then multiply this by the unit price of that energy type. You will also need to add your supplier’s standing charge to your yearly gas usage. This is a fixed amount you pay each day regardless of how much energy you use.

For example, gas costs 11.51p/kWh. Therefore if your home uses 10,000 kWh of energy per year, multiply this by the unit price to find out the cost of energy for a year. 10,000 x 0.1151 = £1,151. In this scenario, your gas central heating would cost £1,151 per year.

Compared with oil, which costs 11.66p/kWh, the same energy usage would cost you £1,166 per year (10,000 units x 0.0482).

LPG gas fire running costs

One of the biggest advantages of LPG over oil is that it’s more versatile. It can be used to fuel appliances like ovens, hobs and gas fires, while oil can only be used by your boiler.

You can expect to pay around 23p per hour to run a 2 kW LPG heater. Like with boilers, an LPG gas fire is going to be more expensive than a fire that’s connected to mains gas, but it will still come in cheaper than an electric fire.

Alternatives to mains gas central heating

If your home doesn’t have access to the mains gas network, or you’re looking for an alternative central heating system, there are three main choices:

  • LPG
  • Oil
  • Electric heat

When making your choice, there are many factors you should consider, including the cost of running your central heating, the cost of getting it installed, its efficiency and the impact it’ll have on the environment.

You can find out more about the prices of different types of central heating in our central heating installation cost guide.

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Calor gas central heating running costs

Cost provided itemUnitAverage cost
6kg Calor gas refillPer kWh33.93p
13kg Calor gas refillPer kWh25.55p
47kg Calor gas refillPer kWh14p

You might think you can use bottled gas canisters, like Calor gas canisters, to power your central heating. While it’s doable, these canisters are primarily designed for portable gas fires like barbeques. So, you’d be looking at a much higher price per kilowatt-hour.

To refill a 6kg Calor gas canister, you can expect to pay around 33.93p per kilowatt-hour. To refill the brand’s larger 47kg bottle, you’re looking at a lower cost of 14p per kilowatt-hour, but this is still much more expensive than other gas types. For that reason, a portable gas canister wouldn’t generally be recommended as a primary heating source.

Gas central heating cost to run key takeaways

  • LPG is a good option for those who don’t have access to mains gas.
  • LPG users should remember to budget for their tank’s standing charge.
  • Standing charges are higher for underground tanks.
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What others think of this article:

Ed Brownbill

I have an electric boiler feeding a wet CH system of 7 radiators. It is 100% efficient, requires no annual service and my 3 bed all electric cottage uses 9500 kwh of green renewable energy annually. If electricity was decoupled from the global price of gas it would be the cleanest and cheapest way of heating a home.

Yvette Taylor

Overall, Gas is cheaper in the long term. Electricity is vital to keep fridges & alarms active. Gas can be controlled by a timer. So You can decide on how & when to use it. Also, Summer, advantage as, You can use time to build up profit for Winter.

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