Heating Radiator, White radiator in an apartment.

Electric heating has in past been seen as an expensive and ineffective heating method that was only a last resort to heat homes that were either off the gas network or multi-storey flats that could not have gas. Electric storage heaters are the type of electric heating that tend to spring to mind as a form of inflexible electric heating. But as technology has advanced is electric heating a viable option for more UK homes?

Electric boilers

Electric boilers are often cheaper and easier to install than gas, LPG, oil boilers and they are more flexible as they tend to be smaller and have fewer restrictions of where they can be fitted as they do not need a flue, so they do not have to go on an external wall and they are quieter.

There is also a wider range of electric boilers available on the market that can heat both your home and your hot water. They can be combined with storage heaters or radiators. An electric central heating system can offer you most of the advantages, control, and flexibility that a gas central heating system offers, and remove the need for storage and delivers for other fuels like LPG, oil, and biomass.

Pros and cons of electric boilers

Electric boilers have a few distinct advantages:
· Cheaper to install
· Quieter to run
· Can be installed anywhere as there is no flue and tend to be smaller
· No need to store fuel like LPG, oil, and biomass systems
· More environmentally friendly than gas, LPG, or oil alternatives
· More energy efficient than other boilers

However, there are several big disadvantages:

· More expensive to run
· May not be compatible with Economy 7/10 tariffs depending on when you heat your home
· Tend to be smaller systems that may not be sufficient for larger homes

Who might benefit from electric boilers?

Electric boilers at present are a more viable option for those who can’t have gas in their home as financial it compares well. It also offers more convenience than some of the alternatives as electric boilers have better controls and flexibility than storage heaters, and it does not have the storage needs or resupply issues that LPG, oil, and biomass systems have.

Homes that generate their own electricity may also benefit from switching to electric boilers if their renewable system, such as solar PV or wind turbines, produces electricity at times when the boiler is in use, and if the system produces a high amount of electricity then costs may balance out.

What does the future hold for electric heating?

Advancements in electric boilers will continue to increase the effectiveness of them and bring the cost of them down so that they become a more viable mainstream option. The energy market continues to evolve and the advancements in renewable energy are starting to bring down the cost of generating energy sustainably, and with the developments in energy storage, it is making the increase in larger scale renewables viable in the electricity mix as storage allows the inconsistent supply to be evened out.

As the pressure to reduce dependency on natural gas continues and reserves are depleted the price of gas may rise and incentives to switch to other forms of heating might make electric heating more viable.

Whether electric heating is a feasible and cost-effective option to you and your home will depend on your circumstances and what you need from your heating system. If it is not an option now it may well become an option for you in the future.

Builder Fitting Insulation Into Roof Of New Home

Did you know that if you insulate your home you could benefit from a warmer home and save money on your energy bills? According to the Energy Saving Trust, loft insulation could save £10-225 per year, cavity wall insulation could save £70-225 per year, or solid wall insulation could save £120-425 per year, the savings will vary depending on your property.
Some households may be eligible for free insulation if someone living in the property is in receipt of certain benefits as there are grants available to cover or contribute to the cost of insulation. Use our home insulation grant checker to see if you are eligible.

Loft insulation

If you haven’t been in your loft for a while it might be worth having a quick look to see how much insulation is in there. If it’s less than 100mm of insulation you should consider getting it topped up as the current recommended level is 270mm. You can install loft insulation yourself but this is not advisable due to the health and safety risks which include ensuring that any electrical wiring is safe and that there is adequate ventilation to prevent condensation. We can help you find a local installer who can assess your needs and install the most appropriate insulation safely with an industry-backed guarantee.
If your loft has been boarded out then you may have insulation underneath the boards, and unless you want to remove all the boards then your loft won’t be able to be insulated.

Wall insulation

There are many types of wall insulation which cater for different wall types. A lot of UK properties built after 1932 are cavity wall construction and therefore are able to be filled with insulation. Cavity wall insulation is installed by drilling a hole in the wall between the bricks and blowing the insulation material into the cavity. Properties that were built after 1990 are likely to have been built with insulation in the walls.

Solid wall and non-standard construction properties are generally unable to be filled with insulation but they can still be insulated either internally or externally. Internal insulation is a very intrusive form of insulation as it requires moving all fittings on the externally facing walls in order to apply insulation boards and material, which also reduces the size of the room. External insulation is less intrusive but involves layering insulation boards and render to the outside of the property. This doesn’t only insulate your property but gives it a facelift too. There are many decorative finishes available such as classic render, pebbledash, and brick effect. External insulation does require permission as well as building control sign off after completion.

Checking for suitability

It is important that you get professional advice about whether your property is suitable for insulation and that you seek any permissions that are required before work commences. Wall insulation inspections can involve inserting a borescope into the wall to check for any issues or existing insulation. We can help you find a local installer who is a qualified installer who is registered with the NIA, CIGA, or BBA that can check your walls and install the most appropriate insulation. They will also provide you with an industry-backed guarantee (CIGA for cavity wall and SWIGA for solid wall insulation).

Checking insulation quality

Once insulation has been installed it is advisable to have the insulation checked by a qualified and registered professional (as per above), especially if you are experiencing issues with heat loss, damp, or condensation. The causes of these could be due to deterioration of old insulation material, inadequate ventilation, gaps in the insulation, or debris in the cavity. If you require your insulation checking, let us help you find a local installer who can investigate the issue and check on any guarantees to help with the cost of repairs.
With so many insulation options open to you and the potential savings that you can make, it’s worth investigating what can be done to make your home warmer and cheaper to run especially with rising energy bills. Enter your details into our home insulation grant checker to see if you are eligible for any help with the costs and to find a local installer.

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There are a lot of factors which can cause damp issues in your home, however you might be surprised to learn that your home insulation might be the cause of your damp problem. As bizarre as it might sound, your home insulation might well be making your home damp.


Making the right decision for your home

Purchasing your home is the largest financial investment you will probably make in your lifetime, so every decision that you make relating to the safety, health and happiness of your home is usually carefully researched and weighed up with all the pros and cons looked at. Despite the high level of concern with which most people approach the decisions about their home, making the right choice about the type of home insulation that is most suitable can often be problematic.


Do your research


Rather than simply making your home toasty and warm, cavity wall insulation can actually cause damp. Cavity wall insulation is praised for the savings you can make on your energy bills, however it can actually damage your home. Don’t let this put you off having cavity wall insulation installed in your home, just make sure you do your research first before you have it fitted into your home in order to check that your property would benefit from cavity wall insulation.


Catching it before it spreads

shutterstock_367304294Loft and cavity wall insulation causing damp is neither a new nor an unusual phenomenon; a swift search online will show you this! But what can you do about it? If you’ve noticed mould starting to grow on your walls then this might be due to your loft and cavity wall insulation, which can cause condensation. If left untreated, this can eventually turn into black mould in your wardrobes, cupboards, behind your chest of drawers and on your carpets. Black mould doesn’t just look and smell unsightly, it is also hazardous to your health, particularly to sufferers of asthma.


Why it happens?

The science behind why loft and cavity wall insulation causes damp, is that warm air holds more water than cold air and because hot air rises it used to escape through your roof. Once you’ve had loft and cavity wall insulation, the hot air is no longer able to escape through your roof so all of the hot, and damp, water is forced back down into your house, on to your walls, carpets, clothes, furniture and wallpaper where it turns into condensation and eventually turns into mould. These places then become prime breeding grounds for mould to grow and thrive creating that recognisable ‘damp’ smell.


The answer:

The answer to this tricky problem is not just to avoid cavity wall and loft insulation like the plague and to wear more jumpers, instead the ventilation of your home needs to be thoroughly examined to make sure that you are making the right decision. Otherwise your anticipated annual saving on your household bill from the insulation could become overshadowed by costly damp treatments and dehumidifiers. Ventilating your home is vital to the health, wealth and happiness of your home so it is important that you have a careful and thorough inspection of your home before you jump into having any home insulation fitted in your home.


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