Central gas heater Or electric heater? The best option

Central heating is one central appliance that warms the house. This is generally done by heating water that then is circulated in your home through radiators. This device can be controlled to make it warmer or colder. It can work on gas or electricity. 

Do you know the difference between central heating gas and electric heat? Let’s take a closer look.


Is your system gas or electric?

You have to walk up to your unit and take a look. This can be in the garage, cellar, or attic.

The easiest way to determine this is to take a look at the exhaust pipe. Gas systems generally have an exhaust that removes the dirty air. You might have a CO2 detector if you have a gas heater. This system can leak dangerous gasses in your home and a CO2 detector can warn you of this. 

It is often possible to see the brand and model number on the heater. A quick Google search can reveal which type of system you have.

Example of a gas heater. You can see the yellow gas line. There is also an exhaust drain. This is an older appliance that takes up more space than newer ones. Image by PlumbingInstantFix. All rights reserved.

You can also check the invoices of your utility firm. Does it include a bill for gas? Then you will have a gas heater. 

Heaters often have a display. On this display, you can see what type of heater you have. Be careful so that you don’t change settings as this can affect how your system works.

Gas heaters need a gas pipe. This pipe is often colored yellow to indicate that it contains gas. If you see a bright yellow pipe running towards your heater, it can indicate that you have a gas system.

What is central heating gas?

Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

Central heating gas is a type of heating gas that’s used to heat your home. It usually comes in two types: natural gas and propane. Natural gas is more common because it’s safer to transport and easier to produce. It is commonly transported through pipes. This makes it easy to refill. Natural gas can burn so they add a smell to make it obvious that there is a leak in your system.

Natural gas heaters have evolved a lot in the past few decades. They have become more efficient and smaller. Sensors make these systems safer as well and they almost never explode. These systems generally last 10-15 years and have to be maintained every 2 years to clean them. 

These heaters use some electricity as well as there are sensors in the systems to control the temperature and burn. You need some space in your home for the exhaust drain and supply pipe.

Propane is less common and is sometimes used in places where there are no natural gas lines. Propane is transported in small tanks. It is often used on RVs. 

Some countries are phasing out natural gas as it can have negative effects on the environment. It also needs to be transported and a lot of infrastructures is required to produce and transport it to houses. 

What are the benefits of central heating gas?

 It can be installed in most homes, and it usually comes at a lower price than electric heat. The systems are generally quite safe and durable.  They are easy to control and you can use a very specific temperature. Overall these systems are very comfortable and affordable.

What is electric heat?

Electric heat is different than central heating gas. Electric heat is powered by electricity, not natural gas. In the past, it was more expensive than natural gas and people didn’t use it that often. With the advent of new technologies, we can see that it is becoming more popular but there is still a long road ahead. It might be needed to upgrade your electric circuits if you want to install this type of heating.

Electric heating has a few main drawbacks. The main one is that it is a lot more expensive than heating on natural gas. It is often double the price of heating with gas. One is that it takes longer to heat up than central heating gas. You might have to wait until it gets really hot before you can start using your home. 

Electric heat typically produces fewer harmful emissions, so it’s a good choice for environments that are sensitive to air pollution. You don’t need an exhaust pipe running in your home and also there is no need for a gas pipe. Gas pipes can leak and explode, you don’t have this risk with electric heat.

 Electric heating is also more flexible as you can just install an individual electric radiator anywhere. It is not a central system anymore but being able to have this flexibility has its advantages.

Is electric heater cheaper than gas?

The purchase price is often quite similar. The installation cost is comparable as well. The main reason why gas is cheaper is that it can be supplied cheaper than electricity. A water heater that uses gas is more efficient and uses less energy. Using a central water heater that works with electricity can cost double as much as using natural gas. A lot of this depends on how much water you use and where you are located.

With the advent of solar panels and batteries, electric heating can become cheaper and more cost-competitive. A lot of incentives are being introduced to nudge people to switch from gas to electricity. Installing heat pumps (that use electricity) can sometimes even be mandatory when you renovate a house or build a new one. Existing natural gas lines are still used but the network is often not expanded anymore.

Electric heaters often don’t need a lot of maintenance. This makes it easier to keep them active. After 10-15 years they generally break down as well. 

We are in a situation in which water heaters are evolving and we will have to see what works out. At this moment heating with natural gas is a lot cheaper. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Are gas heaters cheaper than electric heaters?

Central heating gas or electric heat? This is a tough question to answer.

At the moment electric systems are often cheaper to install but more expensive to run.

Both central heating gas and electric heat are great options for heating up your home, but they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to heat your home, central heating gas is a great option. You need access to a natural gas line to be able to do this. Check with your local supplier if they can install this for you. 

If you want to futureproof your system, you might have to take a look at electric heating. There are still a lot of uncertainties at this point in time. Most people still opt for a system on gas but the situation is rapidly changing as new technologies and rules are being introduced.  Solar panels and batteries can make electric heating more popular in the future.

There is a third way of heating a home as well: a heat pump. Heat pumps are quite similar to airco systems but work in the opposite way. In most instances, a hole is drilled in the ground and the heat is captured from there. It is possible to share the drilling costs as this can work for multiple homes at the same time. This heat warms up liquids in the heat pump. These liquids circulate in your home and warm it up. This solution is becoming more popular but is still quite expensive to install. It also requires electricity to circulate the liquids.

There are also heat pump systems that capture the heat from the air instead of the ground. These can’t be used everywhere as some locations have a cold climate.