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Different Types of Electric Heating Systems

Conventional heating systems, such as oil boilers and gas boilers, require the burning of fossil fuels to generate heat. Fortunately, electric heating systems provided by companies like Electric Heating Expert are increasingly becoming more popular than conventional heating systems for heating hot water and providing households with central heating.

Benefits of Electric Heating Systems

There are many reasons to switch to an electric heating system. Natural resources of oil and gas are forecast to run out in the next four decades, which means electricity could be a great alternative power source for heating systems.

  • Some of the many benefits of upgrading to an electric heating system include:
  • Zero carbon emissions
  • No risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Effective heating solution for properties in rural areas that are not connected to the national gas network
  • Rapid household heating

Electric Heating Systems Options

There are lots of different options when it comes to choosing an electric heating system. Each type of system functions in a different way and each has pros and cons. Some of the options for residential homes include:

  • Infrared panels
  • Electric boilers
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps

Infrared Panels

Unlike conventional radiators which heat an entire room, infrared panels produce direct heating to people and objects. Direct heating from infrared panels results in a faster response when heating is switched on and means dust is not circulated into the air.

Infrared rays are a type of light ray and provide heating in the same way that then the sun does without the side effect of emitting UV rays. Concerns have been raised in the past about the safety of infrared heating panels, but the panels can actually be beneficial to human health.

Electric Boilers

Electric boilers function in the same way as conventional central heating boilers expect they do not require any type of fuel, such as oil or gas, to be burned.

Electric boilers are a great option for properties that are not located near the national gas network or smaller properties, such as studio apartments and 1-bedroom bungalows, that have lower heating demands.

Electric Storage Heaters

Electric storage heaters convert electricity into heat during the night and store the heat for slow release the following day. They are often called night storage heaters and they allow households to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity tariffs, such as Economy 7 and Economy 10. The downside of such heaters it that they have often released all of their stored heat before the evening which is a time when many households require heating the most.

Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs)

An air-source heat pump is a highly efficient type of renewable heating system and serves as a great all-round heating solution for a larger household. Some outdoor space is required for installation.

Air source heat pumps use fans and refrigerant condensers to extract heat from the outside air. Some of the latest models are able to operate in extremely low temperatures, down to -25 °C.

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs)

Like air source heat pumps, ground source heats pumps also provide an efficient, renewable heating solution. The main difference is that instead of extracting heat from outside air, ground source heat pumps extract heat from the soil using a network of underground pipes. The temperature of the earth 2 meters down is constantly maintained at 10 to 15 degrees Celsius year-round. GSHPs are able to extract under-utilised heat from the ground to power household central heating systems.

The underground pipes are filled with refrigerant fluid which is circulated using a pump. When the fluid arrives back at the main above-ground unit, it is passed over a heat exchanger which transfers heat from the pipes filled with refrigerant fluid to hot water pipes that are used for central heating systems with a property.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government scheme that provides eligible homeowners who install ASHPs or GSHPs in their properties with payments linked to energy generation.

The RHI has been in place since 2014 and rewards households who install renewable heating systems with quarterly payments for a seven-year duration in a bid to encourage more households to switch to renewable technology.

The Cost of Electric Heating Systems

The cheapest type of electric heating system is infrared panels follow closely by storage heaters. Prices for individual infrared panels start at around £100 depending on the power rating. If you plan to use infrared panels as a complete replacement for a conventional central heating system, you will need to install a panel in each room.

Ground source heat pumps and air source heating pumps are the most costly electric heating systems as they have higher installation costs.

Although heating a home with electricity can currently be significantly more costly than using other types of fuels for home heating systems, electrical heating does have some key benefits:

  • Unlike LPG and Oil, electricity does not require storage.
  • Available to properties that are not linked up the national gas network.
  • Electric heating systems can be powered for free when paired with solar panels.
  • Less susceptible to faults and cheaper repair costs.
  • Electric heating systems don’t require an annual service, unlike oil and gas boilers.
  • Electric heating systems provide instantaneous heating.
  • All electrical energy is converted into heat, so efficiently ratings are excellent.