Bill Walters of The Electric Heating Company explores how advances in technology and new energy efficiency standards mean there’s never been a better time to invest in electric heating.
Electric heating is continually becoming an increasingly viable option for heating social and private rent properties throughout the UK. New Government legislation has heralded a change in how SAP determines a property’s ERP Rating – to almost the same as gas.
This change allows widespread use of electric radiators and electric boilers, which are widely understood as having low installation costs, no flue requirement, low maintenance, rapid heat up times and high efficiency.
The Government has also announced its intention to ban the installation of gas boilers in new build properties by 2025, and as such electric heating is shaping up to be a popular choice for the future of home heating within the UK.
With this in mind, below are some of the advantages that electric heating systems can offer to landlords and housing associations alike.
Electric heating systems typically have a lower upfront installation cost than gas, oil or LPG systems.
Some may claim that the initial cost savings are offset in the long run by the higher cost per unit of electricity versus the cost per unit of gas, however price projections indicate that the cost of gas is expected to increase and the production of gas is expected to decrease. As the cost of gas rises, the cost of low carbon alternatives like electric is reducing as government support strengthens to meet climate change targets.
Electric heating systems are also said to last 50 per cent longer than oil or gas boilers. This is largely due to electric heating systems such as electric radiators or electric boilers including no internal moving parts, which massively reduces the risk of a breakdown or wear and tear in comparison to other heating alternatives. There is also no mandatory annual service, which is an average cost saving of up to £100 per year.
Electric heating systems are 100 per cent efficient at the point of use. If you pay for 1kW of electricity, you will benefit from 1kW of heat.
This is much higher than alternatives which can lose heat through flues etc. When paired with solar PV panels, efficiency of electric heating systems improves, and the carbon dioxide produced reduces.
Electric radiators and electric boilers are safer than alternative heating solutions as electric heating systems do not burn fuel internally to generate heat, which means there’s none of the associated safety risks such as carbon monoxide poisoning or explosions.
Plus, an electric boiler or radiator is completely silent in operation.
Ease of installation
Electric heating systems are often very easy to install, as there is absolutely no need for any pipework.
All that is required is a connection to the electrical circuit, which means that the Electric Radiators can be installed almost anywhere in your home, and with minimal disruption in comparison to standard wet system radiators.
All electric boilers have no flue requirement, which means that electric boilers can be installed anywhere throughout the home without any restriction on building work or design.
Energy efficiency standards
The drive for increased energy efficiency across all domestic heating types and associated products is continuous.
New Regulations were introduced on the 1st January 2018 affecting “the ecodesign requirements for local space heaters.” Derived from an EU Commission Regulation transposed into UK Law under the Energy Related Products Regulations (ERP), this new regulation is often referred to as ‘LOT 20’ and requires any new local space heating system installed from this date onwards to be compliant with set energy efficiency standards.
The aim of LOT 20 is to reduce the energy consumption in our homes through accurate management and control of electric heating appliances and minimise wasted energy. To meet the objectives of LOT 20, better use of intelligent timers, controls and sensors must be made. Standard on/off heating appliances without such controls are no longer compliant and manufacturers and distributors are no longer able to sell these.
Any new local space heating system installed since 1 January 2018 must be compliant with the new LOT 20 performance standards. The legislation is not retrospective, so existing systems in place are not affected. All heaters must also meet a minimum seasonal space heating energy efficiency requirement. To be LOT 20 compliant, heaters will in general need to include 3 key features:
- 24/7 time and temperature control, either built in or through wireless/ WIFI APP
- Electronic thermostatic control for accurate room temperature measurement
- Open window/door recognition so the heater can reduce usage if the user leaves a door or window open reducing the room temperature rapidly
Over the last 18 months there has been a significant increase in the demand for electric heating solutions as LOT 20 compliant products continue to offer full controllability, ease of operation and, with the correct electricity tariff, continue to be affordable to run.
With the advances in smart technology, which is ideally suited to electric products, and the development of time of use tariffs, the benefits of electric heating for social Landlords and their tenants are only increasing.
Bill Walters is director of The Electric Heating Company Ltd