Household electric boilers are small, wall-mounted units that can very often replace an existing gas or oil boiler. Most of the existing pipework and hardware can be kept, all the way down to your controllers. Some customers choose to upgrade to a new, smart controller but this is always optional.
This is what’s known as a wet heating system. Electricity is used instead of gas or oil to heat water which is then pumped around the existing pipework and radiators, or underfloor heating.
Electric combination boilers heat your home and your hot water, and would normally directly replace a gas boiler.
Instantaneous hot water from a combi-boiler demands a huge amount of electricity in a short space of time to produce hot water for showering and to supply your kitchen tap.
Combi-boilers place a high demand on the electricity network and because of this, they’re only suitable for small, one-bedroom properties without a bath.
If you have a bath or more than one shower/bathroom, we’d recommend that you install an electric hot water storage cylinder.
Electric hot water cylinders directly heat elements inside the tank to heat up your water. These water tanks are connected to their own power supply which will automatically shut off once they’ve reached the temperature you’ve selected using your cylinder’s thermostat.
Hot water cylinders are often used as a property’s primary water heater. We’d recommend that they aren’t connected to your boiler and that they’re installed with a timer to take advantage of the low-rate Economy 12 electricity tariff.
Another benefit is that if there is a problem with your boiler, you can still generate hot water for your home.
Please remember that water in your immersion heater should be heated to above 50°C to kill off any waterborne bacteria.
The idea of instantaneous hot water is very attractive but does come with drawbacks. Please read about combi-boilers for more information.
This is a great way to free up space in your living areas while distributing heat evenly around the room. It works best on flooring that conducts heat well, such as stone, laminate and vinyl and often gets installed in bathrooms.
There are two types of underfloor heating.
- Dry underfloor heating uses special electric cables that are normally buried in either screed or self-levelling latex. When switched on, these cables will generate heat.
- Wet underfloor heating uses specialist plastic piping buried in screed. Hot water heated by your flow boiler circulates through these pipes to provide heat.
Due to it’s installation, it’s important to have sufficient insulation below the heating cables or piping to make sure it heat isn’t lost. This will make sure heat is directed into the room.
Electric storage heaters have had a bad reputation, but things have changed.
With intelligent controls and modern insultation techniques, today’s electric storage heaters allow you to enjoy comfortable heating. At the same time they can help reduce your energy bills by taking advantage of cheaper, off-peak electricity.
They contain a heating element which heats a thermal mass usually made of ceramic or clay bricks which can hold a lot of heat. During the night, the storage heater stores heat generated by off-peak electricity in these bricks.
This heat gets gradually released during the next day to heat your home. Modern insultation techniques mean that your storage heater will release heat in a controlled way to meet the needs of the room being heated. This ensures heat is available when you need it and the room is always at the right temperature.
Storage heaters are also a great way to help balance our island’s electricity network as demand for electricity is low during the night. This is really positive as it helps reduce our reliance on the power station during winter meaning your choice is directly reducing carbon emissions.
There’s a panel rad to suit everyone’s taste – from, discreet, white heaters similar to traditional radiators to swanky styles and colours to complement your property’s style and décor.
Panel heaters warm the air around them which then gets distributed throughout the room. They provide heat almost instantly and are a great solution for heating any sized room.
This is a ‘dry’ heating system and doesn’t need a boiler as each radiator has its own electrical cable supplying power. Each one can be controlled independently with its own programmer and thermostat.
Heated towel rails
This is one of the most convenient ways of quickly drying towels or small items of clothing. You don’t need electric central heating in your property to enjoy a stylish towel rail in your bathroom as they can simply be connected up to your normal electricity supply.
They can be used whenever you need them – even to dry off your beach towel in the summer.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Electric air source heat pumps have the lowest running costs and the lowest carbon intensity of any heating type.
A must for new builds and whole-house property upgrades, heat pumps are able to use outside air as low as -20°C to heat your home. They’re ideal for Guernsey as our temperatures rarely dip below freezing so will run extremely efficiently.
They may not be the best looking thing in your garden – but they’re much nicer than a big oil tank or gas bottles!
Heating running cost calculation based on 8100 units a year (As of April 2021):
LPG (Gas): £1,342
Electric boiler: £776
Electric storage heaters: £694
Electric Air Source Heat Pump: £353
It’s really important to plan ahead. Even if you don’t want to switch to electric heating right now, it is best to get in touch with your preferred supplier and ask them to check if your property needs a service upgrade.
Installation time depends on the type of system you need – for example, a whole house system versus installing a panel radiator in a room. And some customers may also need a service upgrade.
An average installation takes around 8 – 12 weeks and is very dependent on the cable upgrade work required. There are also other things for the installation team to consider, for example road embargos and school holidays as this will affect possible road excavation.
If electric heating is on your home improvements agenda, please get in touch with your installer as soon as possible. As with a house extension or roof replacement, it takes time but is worthwhile.
The Superheat tariff is available 24-hours a day for electric panel heaters, electric boilers and underfloor heating. Hot water cylinders and towel rails may also be connected to Superheat if the primary heat source in the property is electric and also connected to Superheat.
You will need a separate meter installed to benefit from the Superheat tariff. Your installer should apply for this but it is worth making sure this gets done.
If you use electric storage heaters, please be aware these do not use the Superheat Tariff as they heat up during off-peak Economy 12 Tariff times.
It’s always best to get two or three quotes for a big investment in your property.
A whole new system may cost roughly £5,000 to install from start to finish. However, this is just a guide price and your heating installer will give you an exact price according to the size of your property, components required, and amount of labour.
Thinking about switching to electric heating?
It pays to plan ahead. Electrical installations are an important investment and can take time to complete. Contact your preferred installer as early as possible for a quote and to find out what you need to do.