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Water heating Storage Electric Boilers for Central Heating An electric boiler is very similar to a gas or oil boiler but it uses electricity to heat water for your home rather than gas/oil. They are a particularly popular option for small homes that have no access to gas or oil and are often fitted in new build homes and flats as they are cheaper to install and maintain. Also, with no gas emissions, they are seen by many as a more environmentally friendly choice. An electric boiler can replace any other small to medium size boiler in the home. It is light, small, compact and often completely silent. However, since they only heat up a limited amount of hot water at a time, an electric boiler is not recommended for larger households with a higher demand for hot water. Note: Electric boilers are not electric storage heaters. While the boiler will use electricity to heat water for your taps and radiators, a storage heater will heat bricks in your home over night (when energy costs are lower) so you can then use this stored heat throughout the following day. Why choose an electric boiler? No gas or oil needed. If you live in one of the 2 million homes in the UK that is not connected to the gas network or your home has gas boiler restrictions e.g. listed buildings, an electric boiler is the best solution. High efficiency As electric boilers don’t need to burn fuel to produce heat they don’t lose energy through waste gases or flues. In many cases this results in efficiency rates of 99% compared to 89 – 95% for most gas boilers. Cheaper to install As there are no waste gases an electric boiler doesn’t need pipes, flue or chimney so the installation of the boiler will cost you less. Light and compact The lack of a flue and waste gases also means the unit is much more compact and you have more flexibility about where in the home you have it installed. Quiet As there are no moving elements in an electric boiler there is almost no noise. Easier to maintain Unlike gas and oil boilers which have more mechanics included, electric boilers don’t need annual servicing to keep them functioning. Usually it is only in the event of a breakdown that repairs are needed. Also, while gas boilers can become blocked when not used e.g. during the summer, an electric circulation pump will continue to work even when it is inactive. Higher running costs Electricity is more expensive than gas which means monthly bills will be higher. Less hot water As electric boilers heat water on demand they are limited in the amount of hot water they can produce, so possibly not the best choice for larger homes. Power cuts If there’s a power cut you may lose access to both heating and hot water as well as all your other appliances. How much do they cost? The smaller the boiler, the smaller the cost, both to install and to run. On average the smallest size of boiler costs approximately £1500 and the largest could be up to £2500. What types of electric boiler are there? There are a few different types of electric boiler, some of which may be more suited to your lifestyle than others. Direct This boiler is the most similar to a gas Combi boiler i.e. it uses a heating element to heat water on demand. While it is the simplest and cheapest to install it doesn’t have any way of storing hot water so you can’t take advantage of Economy 7 tariffs by heating water overnight for use during the day. Storage A storage electric boiler includes a hot water tank either within the unit or separately. This enables you to heat water overnight, when energy costs are lower, and store it for use the next day. They are more expensive than direct acting boilers and the tank will take up more space in your home. Electric CPSU A Combined Primary Storage Unit, or CPSU, stores lots of hot water within the boiler so it can meet demand much quicker and at higher pressure. However, they tend to be quite large and as such are more suited to commercial installations. Dry Core Storage Dry core boilers are similar to storage heaters as they use cheaper night-time tariffs to heat bricks overnight, but the heat is then released into water to be used in central heating and hot water, rather than being released directly into the home. Solar If you have a storage tank you can also use solar panels to heat your water during the day. This article has been contributed by Boiler Guide, a Holmes Media brand (established 2003). Holmes Media takes the hassle out of finding your next customer through fully qualified sales leads. Thousands of UK installers regularly use this service to find the work they need to grow their business. • 28 Spring 2017


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