Summary: How much does central heating cost, average central heating installation costs and average central heating material costs and prices.
With the cold winters typical of the UK's climate, central heating is a must have for many British householders. However, many homes in the UK are still without central heating and rely upon electric heaters, gas fires or solid fuel burners to provide warmth for the winter. In the majority of cases the reason for this is fear of the cost of buying and installing a central heating system.
The first thing to investigate when considering central heating is the type of fuel you will be using. Mains gas is by far the most cost effective option in terms of both installation cost and ongoing running costs. For many rural properties this will not be an option as there will be no gas main close by and often the cost of running a gas main to an otherwise unconnected property can far outstrip the cost of installing the central heating system itself.
Homes without mains gas as an option can still obtain central heating, but will need to look to alternative fuels to run the boiler. Bottled gas, also known as LPG, is one option. With this type of system fuel is supplied either in gas cylinders or directly to a storage tank located on your property. Having the fuel bulk delivered to a storage tank is the cheaper option in the long run. This will however, influence the initial installation cost heavily as the tank needs to be situated far away from the house, any adjacent properties and any roads. Also, if you wish for it not to be an eyesore in your garden it can be buried underground but of course this will also attract a heavy installation price.
Often a more attractive option is to use oil as a fuel source. As oil is much less combustible than LPG the storage tank can be located much closer to the house and is generally much smaller and less obvious than an LPG storage facility. Oil has the added benefit of being much cheaper to run than LPG and although it is still more expensive than mains gas it is a good option for many households wishing to install central heating in an 'off gas' area.
All new boilers, be they oil, LPG or gas, are now required by law to be 'condensing' which refers to the process of collecting waste heat and recycling it, making them much more efficient than conventional boilers. The main decision to make regarding boiler type will be whether to have a combination boiler which produces both heat and hot water on demand, or a system boiler which heats a storage tank of hot water for household use. System boilers are more straightforward and break down less often but are more work to install, so often installers will push combination boilers to save themselves some work.
Building regulations state you need to have energy efficiency measures maximised when you install a new central heating system, so your installer should include items such as room thermostats, thermostatic radiator valves (TRV's) and a timer / programmer when he prices up the system for you.
The installer should calculate the size of boiler needed by working out the cubic volume of the interior space in the house. This will be expressed in BTU's and will determine the power rating of the boiler you need and this will impact on the number and size of radiators you can have. Try to make sure all the main living areas are heated and that large rooms have more than one radiator. It's a good idea to have some form of heating in bathrooms too as this will avoid problems with damp and mould.
Often a more attractive option is to use oil as a fuel source.
Grants are sometimes available to help with the costs of installing new central heating systems.
Costs of systems (boiler, radiators and controls) can be very varied, from around £1200 up to £3500 or more for oil fired systems. The cost of installation is often the most expensive part, typically ranging from £1500 to over £3000 or more if complicated pipe work is needed.
As the boiler is condensing it will need a vent and drain to the outside, so will need to be positioned on an outside wall. Try to choose an easily accessible location to avoid unnecessary costs such as scaffolding.
DIY installation is not permitted by law unless you are a Gas Safe (for gas) or OFTEC (for oil) registered installer. Make sure your installer has these certifications and obtain three quotations prior to commissioning the work.
Grants are sometimes available to help with the costs of installing new central heating systems. The Energy Efficiency Advice Centre can advise you on this and it's sometimes worth speaking to your own local authority and fuel supplier as well.
Mains gas is by far the most cost effective option in terms of both installation cost and ongoing running costs.
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