Central heating costs range from the initial installation cost, to the running costs and ongoing maintenance. If you are installing a new system, it is likely to be one of the largest purchases you make for your home, so it’s important to weigh up all the costs and make sure you are getting the best possible system for your money.
If you are upgrading your existing central heating with a new boiler, it’s worth the extra expense for an ‘A’ rated boiler; it will pay for itself over time.
Cost to install central heating
The cost of the installation will vary depending on the size of house and the type of system to be installed.
The full installation of a gas system with a condensing boiler could cost anything from £2,500 to £5,000 and upwards for larger properties.
The installation of a combination boiler with a central heating system is less complicated and ranges from £1,500 to £3,000.
The installation of an oil-fired system would cost roughly £3,500 to £4,500, with the cost of installing an external storage tank a further £2,800 or so. The replacement of a boiler alone could cost up to £2,300.
Whatprice.co.uk have a cost calculator on their website which allows you to enter rough details about your property to get an estimate of the cost to install central heating.
A simple estimate of a three bedroom house with a gas-fired system, requiring nine radiators is given at £4,589 for the full installation including labour and materials. Labour costs are often quoted on the basis that tradesmen have an empty house to work in.
The installation could take four to five days, and if you and your family intend to stay in the house during that time, the installers will be unable to leave carpets and floorboards up overnight. This could almost double labour costs as the install will take longer, so it may save money to ‘move out’ for a few days.
The running costs of a central heating system depend greatly on the size of the house, how the system is used, and crucially, the type of fuel. By basing the rough central heating cost of a three bedroom house on the use of 16,000 kWh of heat output per year for the heating and hot water, a simple comparison can be drawn between systems.
A gas system would cost roughly £700 – £1,000, an oil-fired system would cost approximately £1100 – £1400, while electricity could cost over £2,000. This does not take into account efficiencies of boilers, which will also play a big part in the actual running cost of a system.
Gas and oil systems require an annual safety check, it is also advisable to have an annual service. It will cost £50 – £100 for a full service, but this will keep your boiler working efficiently and it is worth remembering that some insurers will not pay out for claims if a boiler has not been properly maintained. The advantage of using electricity to power central heating is that no annual checks are required on an electric boiler.
The price of fuel is continuing to rise and central heating is one of the most efficient systems you can use to heat the home.
With over half your energy bills going on heating the house and the hot water, it is essential to save as much energy as possible to reduce heating bills.
One way of doing this is by installing a more efficient heating system. The Energy Saving Trust gives figures for the potential saving when replacing an older boiler with an ‘A’ rated boiler. The replacement of a ‘G’ rated boiler would result in a £300 per year saving, an ’F’ rated boiler £200, and ‘E’ rated boiler £150, and a ‘D’ rated boiler £105 per year.
Reducing fuel bills
One of the most compelling reasons to install central heating is the potential to save money on heating bills, and with a large initial outlay it will be several years before the cost of the installation could be recovered through the savings in running costs.
You can reduce your fuel bills further and make the central heating more efficient by understanding the system and controlling how you use it.
Some people believe that it is cheaper to leave a heating system running all day than to switch it on and off. This may have been true of very old heating systems, but modern boilers are designed to come on and off as required and the heating should only be on when it is needed.
The hot water cylinder thermostat should be set to 60 degrees. This prevents the build up of bacteria to keep the water safe to use. If your thermostat is set any higher you are wasting energy, and risk scalding at higher temperatures.
The room thermostat should generally be set between 18 and 21 degrees. Just turning your thermostat down by one degree can save up to 10% on your heating bill.
Make use of the thermostatic radiator valves to control the temperature in each room. If you have empty rooms upstairs they will be heating up to the same temperature as downstairs rooms unnecessarily.
By turning the radiator valves down when rooms are not occupied you can reduce wasted energy and cut the bills even more.
You should also strongly consider other energy saving measures such as double glazing and home insulation. A central heating system can be very effective, but if all the heat is escaping through the roof and the windows, your energy bills are still likely to be high.
A central heating system could cost up to £5,000 and is a substantial purchase for your house. You would expect the system to be in place for many years, so it is important to look at all the costs involved; firstly to assess whether it is definitely worth the outlay, and if it is, how you can get the best possible deal for your money.