ECO Energy Service's

New vs Traditional Heating Systems


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Looking for the best heating system for your home? While there are several methods and ways to heat homes, it is often confusing to choose the best one. From traditional heating systems to new heating systems, gas central heating to eco-friendly heat pumps, choices are myriad. Each one is suitable for different types of homes. So far in England, Wales, and Scotland, most homes use gas central heating. Yet, over a million homes go for alternatives like electric heating or other fuels in areas where gas isn’t available from the gas grid.

But things are changing now. More and more homeowners are checking out new technologies. These not only promise better efficiency but also have a smaller impact on the environment.

So, whether you love the classics or are excited about the latest tech, there’s a heating system made just for your cosy home.

How Heating Systems Works

A heating system works like a well-organized symphony,` where each part plays a crucial role in making sure the whole system works together smoothly. Now, different sources of heating such as gas, oil, LPG, biomass and others work differently. Moreover, it all depends on the structure of your home. 

Some older homes may not be compatible with the new central heating system. On the other hand, some traditional heating systems work well with modern condensing combi boilers.  So it all depends on how energy-efficient is your home.

Now, let’s break down the important components of this complex heating system

Heat Source

In this system, boilers use gas, oil, or electricity to produce steam or hot water for heating. Next, there are heat pumps that efficiently transfer warmth from the air or ground. Moreover, they even work in cooler temperatures. Furnaces, on the other hand, get power from gas or oil. They heat air and distribute it throughout the building.

Distribution Medium

First, water circulates through pipes in systems like radiators, spreading warmth. Secondly, forced-air systems push heated air through ducts and vents to warm different areas. Further, some older systems distribute steam through pipes, condensing it back into water.

Method of Heat Transfer

Conduction: Heat moves through solid materials without the material itself moving, like touching a hot metal spoon.

Convection: In this way, heat transfers through fluids. It creates circulation patterns as warm fluid rises and cooler fluid takes its place.

 Radiation: Now, heat transfers in the form of electromagnetic waves without needing a medium. It is similar to feeling the sun’s warmth.

Energy Sources

Fossil Fuels (coal, oil, natural gas): Traditional power sources with environmental concerns due to carbon emissions.

Electricity: It is versatile and used in various systems, with environmental impact depending on its source (fossil fuels, nuclear, or renewables).

Renewable Sources (solar, biomass): Sustainable options reduce carbon footprints and promote ecological friendliness.

In fact, the choice of energy source is critical. It impacts efficiency and environmental effects. As we become more environmentally mindful, understanding and considering these factors is necessary for better decisions in our homes and for the planet.

Undeniably, most homes have one of three main types of heating systems. These work differently and vary in efficiency based on location and home structure.

Heating systems must match the building they’re in, so there’s no universal system. Some are better for smaller spaces, while others are more efficient in larger buildings.

Traditional Heating Systems

These are common in many homes. They use gravity to move hot water. So the water tank is usually placed high up. It’s like in an attic or on the top floor. Next, this natural flow is different from systems using artificial pressure.

Though older homes often have these systems, they are less common in new constructions due to their drawbacks. These drawbacks include pressure limits and energy wastage. Yet, many homeowners prefer them for nostalgic reasons. But if you want to relocate your boiler, check if it’s doable. However,  remember, replacing a traditional system may require adjusting pipes.

Pressurised Systems

These systems directly heat mains water through a water cylinder. You can also place this cylinder in any space of your choice.  What’s more, they are efficient. But you may find them expensive and require regular checks.

On top of that, pressurized heating systems need high mains pressure. But, its benefit is that your appliances can run simultaneously without a pressure drop. As a result, many businesses prefer these systems for their efficiency in providing hot water.

Biomass Heating Systems

Biomass or wood heating systems use things like wood pellets, chips, or logs in a wood-burning stove. This makes heat and hot water when connected to a boiler. Now, several households use these stoves with other central heating when they only want heat for one room. However, in the case of a back boiler, this system can heat the whole house and provide hot water.

But remember these stoves aren’t completely green. They, no doubt, make pollutants.

Solar Panel Water Heating Systems

Solar panels use sunlight to make electricity, usually for household devices. While not mainly for heating, any extra electricity can go to an immersion heater for hot water.

Moreover, these panels work best in sunny times, especially on south-facing roofs.

Air Source Heat Pumps and Ground Source Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps are more efficient than gas boilers. Both use natural heat in the air or ground to warm water pumped through pipes. As a result, they heat your home and provide hot water, too.

Though air source heat pumps need electricity to work, they save you money and cut your carbon footprint. They do so by using a renewable heat source. So installation can be disruptive and pricey, ranging from £10,000 to £18,000, but there’s financial aid for air source heat pump costs.

LPG Central Heating

LPG central heating uses Liquid Petroleum Gas to warm your home. In a ‘wet’ system, an LPG boiler heats water that circulates through radiators. The fuel is delivered and stored outdoors, typically in the garden, through a conventional or combi boiler.

The cost of LPG fluctuates more than heating oil or gas. But it is generally slightly cheaper. The annual cost for heating and hot water using LPG is approximately £796 based on average consumption.

Now LPG is not considered a clean energy source. But without a doubt, it’s efficient. Modern condensing boilers using this fuel achieve higher efficiencies. They can reduce your carbon emissions as well as costs.

Pros of LPG Central Heating

This is to some extent cheaper to run compared to heating oil or gas.

Approximately 1.1 million UK households use oil heating systems typically in a ‘wet’ heating setup. In this setup, an oil-fueled boiler heats water distributed via radiators. A supplier delivers oil that you can store in an outdoor tank. Moreover, you can purchase or rent a tank.

The annual cost for heating oil in the UK, consuming around 17,000 kWh per year, is £830. However, prices can fluctuate, being higher in winter.

Pros of oil heating

You can stock up on fuel in advance when prices are lower.

Oil is highly efficient with modern condensing boilers.

Cons of oil heating

Weather conditions, political unrest, and surges in demand can affect oil prices.

Running out of fuel and waiting for deliveries can be inconvenient. On top of that, installing the system can be expensive.

You’ll need space for an above-ground heating oil storage tank.

Furthermore, oil is a fossil fuel. As a result, you cannot consider it a clean energy source.

Next, the UK government strongly advises against oil or solid fuel heating systems. It encourages consumers to opt for renewable heating systems.

Renewable Heating

As gas and electricity prices go up, using renewable heating is a better and more eco-friendly option for home heating. Renewable sources like wind, water, and sun are always available.

Renewable heat network systems include:

  • Heat pumps.
  • Solar water heating.
  • Biomass stoves.
  • Boilers.

The government’s eco4 scheme pays homeowners to install renewable heating systems, reducing their home’s carbon footprint. It especially focuses on air-source heat pumps and condensing boilers.  While the upfront cost of these systems might be high, thinking about the long-term benefits is crucial, as the time to recover the investment will decrease over time.

Infrared Heating System

Infrared Heating System

Infrared heating is a relatively new and efficient way to warm your home. You might have been in a room heated by infrared without knowing it. This method is gaining popularity because it’s effective and can save you money on energy bills.

Infrared heating panels are not only effective but also a healthier option. Unlike regular heating, which warms the air, infrared directly heats objects and people using invisible waves. It is similar to the sun’s warmth. Furthermore, this improves air quality, avoids condensation, and prevents mould. No doubt, this is good for people with allergies. In addition, some even say it has extra health benefits like treating acne, detoxification, pain relief, and anti-ageing.

So these panels are stylish and useful. Next, they come in different finishes like message board, mirrored, artwork or glossy white. Moreover, they are small. You can put them on the ceiling. Plus, they’re easy to install.

Pros of Infrared Heating

  • Easy to install – just plug and play.
  • Saves energy, potentially up to 50% compared to other systems.
  • Runs quietly and doesn’t need yearly maintenance.
  • Healthier. There’s no fan spreading dust.
  • Works with natural gas, electricity, propane, or even renewable sources like solar panels.

Cons of Infrared Heating

  • Keep the space around the panel clear for efficient heat transfer.
  • The initial cost might be more than traditional systems.
  • Infrared heating panels are budget-friendly. They need little maintenance and can use renewable energy for a clean and efficient home heating solution.

Electric Central Heating

If your home doesn’t connect to the national gas grid, you might use or consider electric heating. The most popular source of electric heating systems is electric heaters. They’re common in smaller spaces like apartments. Moreover, these heaters use cheaper nighttime electricity. They store heat in bricks, releasing it gradually. These days, new models have timers, thermostats, and fans for energy efficiency.

Electric Radiators

Less cost-effective, these radiators work with standard electricity rates and manual controls. If your property is well-insulated and you heat specific rooms occasionally, they might suit you.

Immersion Heaters

Similar to a big kettle, an immersion heater warms water in a cylinder. It’s a backup in homes with gas boilers and common in flats without piped gas. Pros include control and insulation, but cons involve higher costs — about 50p an hour or £360 yearly.

Overview of Electricity Heating System

The UK spends about £776 yearly on electricity for 4,200 kWh, £200 more than gas. Although nighttime rates are cheaper, electricity costs three to four times more than gas and won’t likely drop. About 40% of the UK’s electricity comes from gas, affecting costs. Electric heating is easier to install and maintain than gas but is seen as less eco-friendly.

Pros of Electric Heating

  • Easier and cheaper installation than gas.
  • No need for pipes, flues, carbon monoxide detectors, or worry about fuel leaks.
  • Mains electricity is widely available across the UK.

Cons of Electric Heating

  • Higher electricity costs more than gas.
  • Nighttime rates may increase daytime costs in the long run.
  • Overall, it is seen as less eco-friendly than gas.

Overview of Electricity Heating System

To sum up, both new heating systems and traditional heating systems have their pros and cons. So it all depends on your heating needs, budget and choices. In addition, if you’re looking for grants to replace your old boiler, get an air-source heat pump, solar panels or even first-time central heating, you may qualify for free boiler grants. 

The government’s eco4 scheme provides more or less all heating options except electrical, biomass, LPG or oil systems. Plus, you can get all insulation measures such as loft insulation, cavity wall, underfloor insulation, etc under the Great British Insulation Scheme. Even the eco4 scheme provides several options.


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