Gas Central Heating Versus Electric Central Heating?

I read this recently on the U-Switch website. It’s supposed to be a comparison of electric central heating and gas central heating. Have a look:

U-Switch Central Heating Comparison

The thing is, when I read it, I realised they were actually comparing electric storage heaters with gas central heating, so I felt compelled to write something to highlight the differences.

If you compare gas central heating with electric central heating, fair enough. But it's not fair to compare gas central heating with electric storage heaters: that's a completely different thing.

If you compare gas central heating with electric central heating, fair enough. But it’s not fair to compare gas central heating with electric storage heaters: that’s a completely different thing.

Electric storage heaters and electric central heating are two very different things. Here are the key variations:

Electric storage heating systems store up heat through the night and emit it during the day. There is little control over when the heat can be emitted, and how much of it. On the other hand, electric central heating systems work on-demand. If it’s cold, you switch the heating on and within minutes the house starts to warm up. As soon as you are happy with the temperature, or the outside temperature changes, you can control the heat or switch it off. With storage heaters you basically have to guess the weather and put up with heat when it’s not needed or be cold when you decided not to put it on, but with electric central heating you have total control.

When it comes to hot water, electric storage heating systems work on a storage tank basis, where the water is heated up for seven hours overnight and is stored in a tank ready to use as needed. This can present disadvantages as once the hot water is gone, it’s gone. With electric boilers, however, there is a constant on-demand supply of hot water as required, with no limits.

Electric central heating is far more energy efficient than electric storage heaters. So if you’re looking at comparisons between gas central heating and electric central heating, make sure it’s actually electric central heating and boilers they are talking about!

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