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Gas vs electric heat cost – which is cheaper?

Feet in socks against a warm radiator

When comparing gas vs electric heat cost, you’re probably keen to know which is cheaper.

On the face of it, gas is cheaper than electric if you’re simply comparing the unit cost (in this case, the cost per kWh). Gas costs 4.65p/kWh and electric costs 16p/kWh.

However, while cost per unit is a really important element to consider, there are many other things to weigh up before deciding which type of heating is right for you.

Please note that the UK wholesale energy market is currently in crisis with the current global surge in demand. The energy price cap has already risen by more than 50% and will potentially rise again later this year.

As such, it is not possible to accurately estimate the cost of energy usage at this time (February 2022). However, we will keep this cost guide updated and estimate the costs again once the market has settled (prices last edited December 2021).

Cost provided itemUnitRange - lowRange - highAverage
Gas heatingPer kWh4.65p
Electric heatingPer kWh16p
Installing a gas central heating system£4,500£6,000£5,250
Installing electric heating system£3,230£4,350£3,790

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

Cost comparison between gas and electric heating

Our table of costs allows you to calculate the cost of gas heating and electric heating per kWh, plus the average installation cost for each type of system.

  • The unit cost of gas heating is cheaper than electric, at 4.65p/kWh, vs 16p/kWh for electricity.
  • However, the average cost to install a gas central heating system is around £5,250, compared with £3,790 to install an electric heating system.

Gas vs electric heat cost

When comparing electric heat vs gas heat cost, you should factor in all the costs associated with each option to make an informed decision.

Unit cost

The unit cost is the cost of the actual fuel itself, be it gas or electric.

  • The unit cost of gas heating is 4.65p/kWh.
  • The unit cost of electricity is 16p/kWh.

Standing-charge

The standing-charge is a fixed daily amount you have to pay for energy regardless of how much you use. It covers the costs your energy supplier takes on in order to supply you with gas or electricity.

The cost of your standing charge will vary depending on your supplier and where you live. As a guide, you can expect to pay:

  • Electricity standing-charge: 5p – 60p per day
  • Gas standing-charge: 10p – 80p per day

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boiler installation

Cost of installation

If you’re switching from one type of energy to another, you’ll need to add in the cost of installing the components to facilitate the particular type of fuel.

For gas, you’ll need a boiler, pipework, and radiators. For electricity, you’ll need plug-in heaters or storage heaters in every room. You can have your electric heaters hardwired to the mains by a professional electrician. It’s worth noting that due to the advances in electric fuel, more people are now choosing this as a means to heat their homes.

The cost of installation will vary depending on the size of your property and the complexity of the job, but on average:

  • To install a gas central heating system can cost around £5,250
  • To install an electric heating system can cost around £3,790

Keen to explore electric heating? Then why not let us find you electric boiler installers that your neighbours have used and recommend.

Thinking about gas heating? Then why not let us find you central heating experts that your neighbours have used and recommend.

Energy efficiency

As well as being carbon-neutral, another reason why electric has grown in popularity is its efficiency. Electric heating is 100% efficient – every watt of energy used by the heater is converted into heat.

Conversely, with gas central heating, up to 50% of the heat produced by a boiler can be lost through the pipes.

Hands being warmed against an electric heater

Heat management

With electric heating, you’ll often have thermostatic controls on each heater, meaning you can control which rooms you want to heat, reducing your heating costs. Smart electric heaters are controlled by an app, making this really quick and easy to do.

Gas central heating has a central control to which all the radiators are connected. Therefore you heat your entire home regardless of which rooms you’re using, which will cost more.

Maintenance

Once electric heaters are in place, there’s very little maintenance and they do not require servicing.

A gas central heating system, on the other hand, should be serviced once a year. Prices normally start at around £80.

Lifespan

Electric heating systems are expected to last much longer than gas central heating systems. Some heaters even offer a lifetime guarantee.

A gas boiler will last around 15 years before it’ll need replacing, which carries a significant cost. A boiler supply and installation range from £2,000 – £4,000.

The UK government is striving towards a carbon Net Zero target by 2050, which is something to consider if you’re deciding whether to choose gas or electric. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that fossil fuel heating systems will be banned by 2025 in order to hit this milestone.

To find a heating engineer to discuss your needs, please use our search function below. And remember, any work carried out by a heating engineer is covered by our Checkatrade guarantee.

FAQs

Is gas heat cheaper than electric?

Gas heat is cheaper than electric (4.65p/kWh vs 16p/kWh respectively), however, there are other costs to consider in addition to the basic unit cost of the fuel. The cost of installation and the maintenance costs vary greatly between the two.

Is electric heating more expensive than gas?

Electric heating is more expensive than gas if you only compare the cost per unit of each type of fuel (gas is 4.65p/kWh, but electricity costs 16p/kWh). However, it is more expensive to install a gas central heating system (£5,250) than an electric heating system (£3,790).

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