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Heat-only boilers

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Your guide to heat-only electric boilers

As homeowners, you know that selecting the right boiler is crucial for ensuring comfort and efficiency in your home. The heart of your heating system — your boiler — not only provides cosy warmth but also plays a significant role in managing energy costs and reducing your environmental impact.


As you delve into this guide, you'll discover more about how a heat-only electric boiler can meet your specific property needs, with expert insights into cost-effectiveness, installation, and maintenance. 

To make matters easier, let's explore the world of heat-only electric boilers together — plus, you can save money on your heat-only boiler with our handy price comparison tool.

Boiler

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What is a heat-only electric boiler?


A heat-only electric boiler, often referred to as a conventional boiler or a regular boiler, is a popular choice for many UK homes, especially those with higher hot water demands. 


This type of heating boiler is designed to provide central heating and hot water through a separate storage cylinder. Unlike combination boilers, heat-only boilers maintain a steady supply of hot water, making them ideal for larger households where hot water is frequently used.


For those considering an electric boiler for hot water only, the conventional boiler system is a suitable option. It ensures a consistent supply of hot water, ideal for homes where the demand for hot water is high or fluctuates regularly. 


As the focus on sustainable living intensifies, choosing a hot water-only electric boiler becomes not just a practical choice, but also an environmentally conscious decision.


How is a heat-only boiler different from other boiler types?


Heat-only boilers differ from other boiler types in several key ways. Unlike combi boilers, which provide both heating and hot water instantly, heat-only boilers work with a separate hot water cylinder.


Electric heat-only boilers offer an eco-friendly alternative, especially for those seeking an electric boiler for hot water only, as they efficiently provide central heating while reducing carbon emissions.

Are heat-only boilers any good?

Heat-only boilers come with several significant benefits and a couple of disadvantages which are always important to consider. After all, we want you to make a well-informed decision.


The benefits of heat-only boilers


  • Suitability for larger homes: Heat-only boilers are ideal for larger properties with high hot water demand.


  • Consistent hot water supply: They work efficiently with a separate hot water cylinder, ensuring a steady hot water flow — perfect for homes with multiple bathrooms.


  • Ease of integration: Being part of a traditional central heating system, they seamlessly integrate into older properties with existing radiator systems.


  • Eco-friendly: Electric heat-only boilers are more environmentally friendly; they can operate on renewable energy sources and have fewer moving parts, reducing wear and tear.

The disadvantages of heat-only boilers

  • Space requirements: Heat-only boilers require more space due to the separate hot water tank.


  • Potential energy inefficiency: They may not be as energy-efficient as combi boilers, especially if the hot water cylinder lacks proper insulation, resulting in heat loss. You can avoid this risk by discussing your project with one of our trusted manufacturers.


  • Complex and costly installation: The initial setup of a heat-only boiler can be intricate and expensive, particularly if significant modifications are necessary to install the separate cylinder.


However, while heat-only boilers have their drawbacks, their benefits make them a good choice for certain households. In particular, those with higher hot water needs and existing suitable infrastructures.  Don’t forget, you can always compare heat-only boilers in a few clicks on our website!

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How much does a heat-only boiler cost?

The cost of a new heat-only boiler in the UK varies based on several factors such as the brand, model, and installation complexities. 


The average price of a heat-only boiler in the UK


Generally, for a regular or system boiler (which includes heat-only boilers), you can expect to pay between £1,500 and £4,000 at most.


This range accounts for the variation in boiler brands and the specific requirements of your home installation. It's important to note that these figures primarily cover the boiler itself and not any additional components like water cylinders, which might be necessary for your installation.

What are the different types of heat-only boilers and how does this affect cost?

As expected, there are many different types of heat-only boilers available. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together some different types and models and how this may affect your overall cost.

If you need some financial assistance for your boiler, check out our page for information about electric boiler grants and schemes.

Gas heat-only boilers

Heat boiler

The most common type are Gas heat-only boilers, using natural gas as fuel. They are often preferred for their efficiency and lower running costs compared to electric boilers. The cost of gas boilers varies depending on the brand, size, and efficiency rating, generally ranging from £500 to £2,500. These boilers are a good fit for homes connected to the gas network and are often favoured for their lower operational costs.

Electric heat-only boilers

These electric boilers in modern homes consume less electricity

Electric heat-only boilers are an eco-friendly alternative, using electricity as their energy source. They’re also ideal for properties without a gas connection. While the initial cost for electric boilers can be higher, ranging from £1,000 to £2,500, they offer lower maintenance costs and are more energy-efficient, potentially leading to long-term savings. They are also known for being quieter and easier to install.

Oil heat-only boilers


Man fitting a boiler

Oil heat-only boilers are an option for homes not connected to the gas grid. They require an external oil storage tank, which can add to the installation complexity and cost. These boilers typically range from £1,200 to £3,000. The cost of oil can fluctuate, affecting the running costs. Oil boilers are chosen for their efficiency and are particularly useful in remote areas where gas and electric options are less feasible.

For more information about the price of heat-only boilers in your area, head on over to our informative Price Guide.

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What other factors can affect the cost of a heat-only boiler?

  • Brand and quality: Higher-end brands usually come with a higher price tag but often offer better efficiency and longer warranties.


  • Size and output: Larger homes with more radiators and higher hot water demand require boilers with a higher output, which can increase the cost.


  • Efficiency ratings: More efficient boilers may have a higher upfront cost but this can save money on energy bills in the long run.

Installation complexity: The cost can also vary depending on the complexity of the installation and any additional work required.

Heat-only boiler installation costs

The installation cost for a heat-only boiler tends to be higher compared to combi boilers, due to the more complex nature of the system involving separate hot water storage. The installation cost typically ranges from £800 to £2,000, depending on the specific requirements of your property and the complexity of the installation process.

When considering a new heat-only boiler, it's essential to factor in these costs along with potential additional expenses, such as removing an old boiler or making necessary alterations for the new system. Consulting with a professional to get a precise heat-only boiler quote based on your specific situation is the best way to get the most accurate cost assessment — and you can do all of this at the press of a button.

How long does it take to fit a heat-only boiler?

​​The time it takes to install a heat-only boiler can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the installation, the type of boiler being replaced, and the specific requirements of your property. On average, you can expect the installation process to take anywhere from one to three days.


However, there are a few exceptions. If you're replacing an existing heat-only boiler with a new one of the same type, the process is generally quicker. This typically takes about 1 to 2 days, as the existing pipework and radiators can often be used.


The installation process may be longer if you're switching from a different type of boiler — like a combi or system boiler to a heat-only boiler — the process might be longer. This is due to the additional work required, such as installing new pipework or a hot water cylinder. This could extend the installation time to two to three days. 


The same goes for properties without an existing central heating system. In these cases, installing a heat-only boiler can take longer. The process involves extensive work, including fitting new radiators, pipework, and the installation of a hot water cylinder, potentially taking up to a week.

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How long do heat-only boilers last?

​​The lifespan of heat-only boilers largely depends on various factors including the quality of the boiler, how well it's maintained, and the frequency of its usage. 


Generally, a well-maintained heat-only boiler can last between 10 to 15 years. Some boilers may even continue to operate efficiently for up to 20 years if they are of high quality and receive regular maintenance.


Key factors that influence the longevity of a heat-only boiler include:


  • Quality and brand of the boiler: Higher-end models from reputable brands tend to have a longer lifespan due to better build quality and components.


  • Regular maintenance: Annual servicing by a qualified engineer can significantly extend the life of a boiler. Regular maintenance helps in early detection and fixing of minor issues before they escalate into major problems.


  • Usage patterns: The lifespan can also be affected by how frequently the boiler is used. Continuous and heavy usage may lead to quicker wear and tear.


  • Water quality: In areas with hard water, boilers might accumulate limescale more quickly, which can reduce their efficiency and lifespan.


  • Initial installation: Proper installation by a qualified professional is crucial. Poor installation can lead to frequent breakdowns and reduced lifespan.


It's important to note that while boilers can last for many years, their efficiency can decrease over time. An older boiler may operate less efficiently, leading to higher energy bills and a larger carbon footprint. So, even if your boiler is still functional after its expected lifespan, it might be economically and environmentally beneficial to consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.

Find your heat-only boiler with the help of SpotDif

Looking for the most efficient heat-only boiler? Our team at SpotDif is here to simplify your search. 


Our comprehensive price comparison tool helps you effortlessly compare the prices of different heat-only boilers from various suppliers. Benefit from the convenience of finding the best deals, ensuring you get the highest quality electric boiler at competitive prices.  We're committed to helping you make an informed decision that suits both your needs and budget. Ready to upgrade your home with a convenient heat-only boiler? Let’s start by guiding you to the perfect choice.

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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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