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What Is The Most Efficient Heating System

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  • 24-03-2022
What Is The Most Efficient Heating System

Are you considering: what is the most efficient heating system? We look at the types of boilers available to help you find the best heating for your home.

What Is the Best Heating for My Home?

The way that you heat your property is highly important. It is not only because you need an efficient heating system to keep you warm during the winter months, but a well-chosen system will be energy-efficient, meaning that it will keep your energy bills low consistently.

In our modern times, there are hundreds of different heating systems available. How are you supposed to know which one is best for you, your family, your home, and your wallet?

Are you moving into a property that uses an oil central heating system and confused about its efficiency? Are you looking to change over to a new system? Or are you simply wondering how you can reduce your gas bills monthly? 

No matter what it is, we're going to help you find out more about the nation's different heating systems and find out which one is right for you.

What Different Types Of Fuel Can I Use To Heat My Home?

There are several different fuel types available for use and a wide variety of boiler types to burn them. Below is a list of the most common:

  • Natural Gas - This type of boiler burns methane gas from the gas mains. These are incredibly common and can be found all around the UK's cities and towns.
  • LPG - Here, Liquid Petroleum Gas is burnt by the boiler to produce energy. The substance burnt is commonly either propane or butane.
  • Oil Type C2 - This is by far the cheapest form of heating oil. This uses kerosene, which is also known as the fuel used for jets.
  • Oil type D -  More commonly used on commercial premises and in large properties. This is a 'gas oil'.
  • Solid Mineral Fuel - This is a very antiquated system that these days you will only usually find in industrial scenarios. This is a system that uses coal.
  • Biomass - This system can burn through a selection of organic materials such as wood chippings, wood pellets, wooden logs, or more.
  • Electric - Think of this system as a giant kettle. It uses electricity to heat up water.

What Makes a Heating System Efficient?

When you are looking for an energy-efficient heating system, it helps to know what 'efficient' even really means in this context. This means when you are looking at different system varieties, you know exactly what it is you are looking for.

The effectiveness of a heat pump is directly affected by the surrounding weather conditions. In moderate climates, you will find that heat pumps are far more efficient than furnaces. In very cold climates, furnaces are the more efficient option, though heat pumps are not far behind in terms of efficiency.

Generally, the most vital piece of information when looking at heating systems is the specific system's annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, also known as AFUE. 

This measurement, which is commonly presented as a percentage, will tell you how much of the energy that the system consumes is actually going directly towards the goal of heating your property, against how much of the energy is just going to waste. 

Another way to put this is that the system's annual fuel utilization efficiency rating lets you know how much energy is being converted into usable heat by the system.

If you were looking at a heating system and it was labelled as having an AFUE of 90%, this would indicate a high rate of efficiency. It means that the system is only losing 10% of its energy, and the rest is going to good use within your home. 

Currently, the Department of Energy requires all boilers to have a minimum AFUE of at least 80%. However, you will find that a huge amount of modern heating systems actually exceed the minimum amount. Some systems on the market actually rate as high as 98.5%.

If you're wondering which systems to avoid, effectively the least efficient system, then you should avoid any system manufactured before 1992. 

This is because, at this time, there were no AFUE standards. If you are currently living in a home that is over thirty years old and hasn't had any upgrades within that time, then it is highly likely that you are wasting huge amounts of both energy and money.

How much energy is being wasted? Well, that depends on a wide variety of different unique factors. To give you an idea about the difference between old furnaces and newer ones, the Department of Energy reports that simply upgrading your heating system from one which an AFUE of 56% to 90% in an average cold-climate home will save just over 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Doing this will also reduce your heating bill by over 50%.

Mains Electricity vs Gas and Oil

Electric heaters that are powered through the main electricity supply are highly efficient in terms of how they convert the energy they use into heat. More than highly efficient, electric heaters are actually 100% efficient. 

Gas central heating systems are less efficient than this, with most operating at around 90% efficiency, which is still very good.

Therefore when you are weighing up the two different types of systems, there are a few considerations that need to be evaluated. The first thing to think about is that not everyone is on the gas supply, so this can completely take the choice away. 

If you are not capable of receiving gas, then a gas heater is not an option. Some rural locations can receive a type of gas energy through LPG or through Oil heating systems. 

This is when the fuel is delivered to the home in a tanker. The costs associated with oil and LPG sit between the cost of gas and electricity.

LPG and gas can vary when it comes to efficiency, but oil is consistently between 80% and 95% efficiency, depending on the specific system you are using. 

LPG is also considered to be highly efficient, but as previously mentioned, the cost of the fuel sits between oil and gas. Another issue with these heating systems is that they usually require some specialist equipment to install. 

For example, oil and LPG systems require a tank somewhere outdoors on the property to store fuel. This is an added expense to the overall system.

Another issue you may encounter with heating sources such as oil is that the price of oil can vary depending on the day based on various market conditions. This means that the fuel is much more expensive to buy in the winter months. 

The price of fuel can also be impacted by global events such as stock market crashes and overseas wars. So if you are considering oil as an option, then you should always keep an eye on your costs.

Reducing Costs via Efficiency or Energy Conservation

For people who are looking for ways to save money on their central heating, there is a selection of different ways this can be done. 

When looking to improve your systems' efficiency, the best method is simply to replace older equipment with more modern technology. This will make a huge difference. 

For example, changing over to more energy-efficient light bulbs or installing a better layer of loft insulation can make a mammoth difference to the efficiency of your heating.

On the other hand, energy conservation is another great way for reducing the amount of energy that they use. 

This, in turn, will lower your heating bills too. This technique is less about physically changing anything in your home but more about behavioural changes and picking up habits, for example, turning off your central heating system at night. 

What Affects the Cost of Heating My Home?

Insulation

If your home has poor insulation, then energy will always leak out. It does not matter how high or low you have your thermostat. Essential, you are wasting money on hearing if your property is poorly insulated. 

Heat will be lost through single-glazed windows and loft cavities. In order to make your home heat-efficient, it is best to tackle these issues head-on before you invest in new tech to hear your home. 

This would simply be ignoring the issues which are staring you in the face and need solving. No matter how many new boilers you buy, a poorly insulated home will always waste energy.

Boiler and Radiators

If you believe your home is fully insulated, but your property still isn't retaining heat as you would like, then the next step is to look at your home's heating systems. Your boiler and your home's radiators. 

Bleeding radiators will rid the system of air bubbles, which can stop hot water from flowing through your radiators. 

This is the reason why you may find cold patches in your radiator. If you have struggled in maintaining your boiler properly since it was fitted, then it may be suffering from being clogged up with gunge and debris. 

No matter the reason why your systems are not working at their fullest, it is best to check them first before you start spending on new equipment. Having your boiler cleaned is much cheaper than having a brand new one fitted.

Type of Fuel

The type of energy that you use to heat your home will affect the cost that you pay at the end of the month. 

Mains gas is the most cost-effective option, and electricity is by far the most expensive choice, with it costing almost three times the unit price of mains gas. 


If you require Central Heating services in Southampton and the surrounding areas, contact our specialist heating engineer today. Follow the link to find heating experts near you.