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SpotDif's 2024 guide to electric boilers

Welcome to SpotDif's essential 2024 guide to electric boilers! If you're considering upgrading your home heating system or simply exploring more sustainable options, this guide is perfect for you. 


Here, we'll cover everything from the basics of electric boilers, including different types and styles, to comparing electric boilers with alternatives on the market. By the end of this guide, you'll have all the information you need to make an informed decision on the best electric boiler for your home.

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Why compare electric boilers with SpotDif?

If you’re new to electric boilers, figuring out where to start can be challenging. They represent a significant investment, so ensuring you get the best value from a reliable installer is crucial. That’s where SpotDif comes in. We simplify the process of comparing electric boiler costs across the UK. Plus, it only takes a minute. Once we understand your needs, we’ll present you with quotes for electric boilers from trustworthy installation companies that serve your local area. All that’s left is for you to select the one that best meets your requirements.

What are electric boilers?

Electric boilers are heating systems that use electricity to warm water for home heating needs. Unlike gas boilers, they do not burn fuel, making them a safer and cleaner option. 


These boilers heat water on demand through electric elements, ensuring efficient energy use and reduced waste. Ideal for homes without access to natural gas, electric boilers can be integrated into various heating setups, including radiators and underfloor systems. They are known for their compact design, making them suitable for smaller spaces where a conventional boiler might not fit. 


Electric boilers operate quietly and require less maintenance than gas boilers, contributing to their growing popularity in modern homes. They offer a cost-effective solution for heating, especially in areas where electricity is cheaper or more sustainable than gas.

Conventional boilers

Comparing types of electric boilers in the UK

Electric boilers come in five main types, each suited to different household needs and preferences. 


Combi boilers


Combi boilers are compact and efficient units that provide both heating and hot water directly from the boiler, eliminating the need for separate water tanks. This makes them ideal for smaller homes or apartments where space is at a premium. 


System boilers


System boilers require a cylinder for storing hot water but do not need additional cold water tanks, making them well-suited for homes with multiple bathrooms where hot water demand is higher. 


Heat-only boilers


Heat-only boilers are the most traditional type, requiring both a cold water tank and a separate hot water cylinder. These are typically used in larger homes with a more extensive hot water system. 


Combined Primary Storage Unit (CPSU)


An electric Combined Primary Storage Unit (CPSU) incorporates a large tank that holds a substantial volume of hot water, allowing it to deliver hot water quickly and at higher pressures. This capability makes it ideal for scenarios with high hot water demand, although it may be excessive for typical residential use. Due to their size, CPSUs are generally better suited for commercial settings.


Dry core storage boilers


Dry core storage boilers function similarly to storage heaters but are specifically designed to optimise the use of Economy 7 tariffs, which offer lower electricity rates during nighttime hours. These boilers heat up ceramic bricks during the night; the stored heat is later transferred to water that provides heating and hot water in your home.


For those with a storage tank and an immersion heater, solar-compatible boilers offer an efficient option. By harnessing free solar energy, these boilers can significantly reduce the electricity used from the grid, making them an eco-friendly choice.

The advantages of electric boilers

Electric boilers offer several benefits, particularly in terms of installation and operation. Firstly, they are generally easier and less expensive to install than gas boilers because they do not require gas pipelines or flues. This simplicity also leads to a reduction in initial setup costs.

 

Electric boilers are also known for their efficiency; they convert almost all the electricity they use into heat, with minimal energy loss. In addition to this, they operate quietly and require less maintenance than gas boilers, as they have fewer moving parts and do not produce waste gases. Lastly, electric boilers can be an environmentally friendly heating solution, especially when paired with renewable energy sources like solar power, as they emit no pollutants at the point of use.


Read on to find out more about the advantages of electric boilers.

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Find great electric boiler quotes in the UK

Comparing electric boiler quotes with SpotDif couldn't be easier. Once we get a handle on what you need, we’ll line up some electric boiler quotes from trusted installers in your area. Then, all you’ve got to do is pick the one that works best for you.

How much does each type of electric boiler cost to install?

The cost of installing an electric boiler can vary significantly depending on the type of boiler, the size of the property, and the specific installation requirements. Here’s a general breakdown of installation costs for different types of electric boilers:


Standard electric boilers


These are typically used for heating water and radiators, much like their gas counterparts. Installation costs for standard electric boilers generally range from around £1,000 to £2,500. The variation depends on the complexity of the installation and the capacity of the boiler.


Electric combi boilers


Combining both hot water and space heating in one unit, electric combi boilers eliminate the need for a separate hot water storage tank. Installation costs for electric combi boilers can be slightly higher, typically between £1,500 and £3,000, reflecting the additional complexity of integrating all functions into a single unit.


Electric system boilers


These are designed to work with a separate cylinder for storing hot water. The installation cost for electric system boilers can be similar to that of standard boilers, often ranging from £1,000 to £2,500, but can increase if a new hot water cylinder is needed.


The exact cost will depend on factors like the ease of installation (e.g., whether existing pipework can be used), the need for any additional components (like new radiators or upgrading electrical wiring), and regional labour costs. In addition to this, smaller or simpler properties might fall towards the lower end of these cost ranges, while larger or more complex installations will be at the higher end.

Advantages of electric boilers vs gas boilers

Comparing electric boilers and gas boilers helps you to figure out which one is best suited to your needs.


Safety


Electric boilers: Lower risk with no combustion-related hazards.


Gas boilers: Require regular checks to prevent gas leaks and carbon monoxide issues.


Noise


Electric boilers: Typically quieter, no mechanical parts like fans or pumps.


Gas boilers: Generally noisier due to the combustion process.


Efficiency and cost


Electric boilers: Highly efficient with potentially higher electricity costs.


Gas boilers: Less efficient but usually cheaper to run where gas is affordable.


Environmental impact


Electric boilers: No emissions if powered by renewable energy.


Gas boilers: Emit greenhouse gases unless using advanced eco-technologies.


Maintenance and installation


Electric boilers: Easier and cheaper to install, minimal maintenance.


Gas boilers: Complex installation with higher safety requirements, more frequent maintenance.


Reliability and lifespan


Electric boilers: Fewer parts mean longer lifespan and fewer breakdowns.


Gas boilers: More parts and potential for wear, typically shorter lifespan.

A close up of boiler and heating system controls.

Which electric boiler is best for your home?

The best electric boiler for your home depends on your heating and hot water needs. 


Smaller households or those without high hot water usage may benefit from a combi boiler, which combines efficiency with space-saving benefits. Larger homes or those with higher hot water demands might find a system boiler more appropriate, as it can handle multiple taps being used simultaneously. If you have the space and require a lot of hot water, a heat-only boiler might be the best option.


Each type has its merits, and the right choice depends on your specific circumstances, including home size, water usage, and personal preferences for features and installation.


Electric boilers are becoming an increasingly popular choice in modern homes due to their efficiency, safety, and compatibility with sustainable energy sources. Here’s a deeper look into how these systems work, the types most commonly used in modern homes, and the key differences among them.

Comparison of different electric boiler price points

A graphic showing the different level of cost and efficiency for budget boiler models
A graphic showing the different level of cost and efficiency for mid-range boiler models
A graphic showing the different level of cost and efficiency for premium boiler models

How do electric boilers work?

Electric boilers function similarly to a kettle, using electrical elements to heat water. When you turn on the heating or hot water, electricity is passed through these elements, heating the water that circulates through your home’s radiators or underfloor heating system. 


Unlike gas boilers, electric boilers do not burn fuel to generate heat, which makes them safer and cleaner. Since they only heat the amount of water required at any given time, electric boilers are considered very efficient, as there is minimal heat loss in the process.

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Find trusted electric boiler providers today

At SpotDif, we are committed to working solely with suppliers who are trusted and thoroughly vetted across various industries, so you receive the service that’s ideal for you. We start by asking you a few key questions to understand your needs. Then, we provide you with electric boiler quotes from reliable installers in your local area. Your only task is to select the installer that fits your requirements best.

What kind of electric boilers are modern homes built with?

Modern homes typically utilise electric boilers that can integrate seamlessly with smart home technologies. These boilers are chosen for their ability to maintain efficiency in energy use, their compact size, and their reduced environmental impact. Combi and system electric boilers are the most common in new builds. 


Combi boilers, due to their space-saving qualities and efficiency in providing both heating and hot water without the need for external tanks, are particularly popular in urban areas or smaller residences. System boilers might be chosen for slightly larger homes where hot water demand is higher, but space is still a consideration.

What are the differences between heat-only, system, and combi boilers?

Understanding the distinctions between the three main types of electric boilers can help homeowners compare and choose the best option for their needs:


Heat-only boilers


These are the most traditional types of boilers and require a separate hot water cylinder and cold water storage tank.


They are best suited for larger homes where there is space to accommodate the additional tanks, and there is a significant demand for hot water from multiple sources simultaneously.


Heat-only boilers are often recommended for homes with older radiator systems that may not be able to handle the high pressure of system or combi boilers.


System boilers


These boilers still require a cylinder for storing hot water but do not require additional space for a cold water tank as the heating system components are built into the boiler itself. This makes them a good middle ground for homes with moderate space and a regular need for hot water that might be accessed from several points at the same time.


Combi boilers


The most popular type among modern homes, combi boilers do not require a hot water cylinder or cold water tank, making them the most compact option.


They heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, ensuring efficient use of electricity and reducing energy wastage.


Combi boilers are ideal for smaller homes and apartments where space is limited and hot water demand is lower.

Gas boiler

Buying electric boilers

Selecting the right electric boiler involves several important considerations, from identifying top suppliers to understanding the cost implications and technical specifications like heating power, efficiency, and power consumption. 


This section will guide you through these key factors to help ensure you make a well-informed decision tailored to your needs.


Find the best electric boiler suppliers in the UK


Choosing a reputable supplier is crucial when purchasing an electric boiler. Look for suppliers with strong warranties, reliable customer service, and positive reviews from past customers. 


Leading manufacturers often provide additional services such as installation and maintenance, which can be a deciding factor. It's also beneficial to select suppliers that are known for their commitment to sustainability and innovation, as this reflects the quality and future-proofing of their products.


How much do electric boilers cost in the UK?


The cost of electric boilers in the UK can vary depending on the type, capacity, and features. On average, the actual unit of an electric boiler costs between £900 for an economy model to £4,500 for a top-of-the-range boiler


However, the initial purchase price is just part of the overall cost. Installation can vary widely based on your current home setup and the specific requirements of the boiler model you choose. It's advisable to get several quotes from different suppliers to ensure competitive pricing and service offerings.


Remember, the most expensive option isn't always the best, but neither is the cheapest. Balance cost with quality and service.


How to choose your electric boiler


When comparing electric boilers, consider the following key aspects before you commit to your investment.


Heating power


This refers to the boiler's capacity to heat your home. It's measured in kilowatts (kW), and the right size depends on your home’s size and insulation. An oversized boiler will increase your electricity bill unnecessarily, while an undersized one won’t provide enough heat.


Boiler efficiency


Efficiency is a critical factor as it affects your energy consumption and costs. Look for high-efficiency boilers that can convert the most electricity into heat with minimal waste. Efficient boilers are not only better for your wallet but also better for the environment.


Power consumption


Understanding the power consumption of an electric boiler is vital. This will impact your energy bills and overall home energy consumption. Opt for a model that balances power with efficiency, ensuring it can meet your heating needs without excessive costs.


Choosing the right electric boiler involves assessing your household's specific needs, including space, hot water requirements, and energy consumption patterns. Consider engaging with a heating specialist who can provide tailored advice based on a thorough assessment of your home.

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Find deals on electric boiler suppliers with SpotDif

SpotDif is your go-to resource for finding local electric boiler suppliers offering the best deals. We’ll explore our network of trusted UK electric boiler providers and compare their products and prices for you. Start your search for efficient and cost-effective electric boiler suppliers today.
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Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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