How much does it cost to run an electric panel heater in comparison to a gas radiator?
Gas radiators are the main type of central heating system found in most UK homes. It’s all linked together and connected to a boiler which heats water to be used for heating. The 2 most common boilers (old style mains gas boilers and combi-boilers) in the UK both use gas.
Electric panel heaters, however, are run exclusively from electricity. They can either be wired in fully by a professional electrician, or simply plugged in at a nearby wall plug.
When looking at the costs of the 2 different systems, we’ll take upfront cost into consideration as well as running costs.
Electric panel heaters can range in price from £50 - £250 depending on your preferences and room size. For our example we’ll use a mid-range, 1kW panel heater that costs £100 in every room of a five room home that is simply being plugged in to a wall socket. This means upfront cost will be £500.
Calculating upfront cost for a gas central heating system is tricky. Installing a brand new system in a five room home can cost around £3,000 - £4,500. However, most homes typically come with one already installed. This means that, in a typical household, the upfront cost of a gas heating system is £0.
When comparing this to the upfront cost of buying all new electric radiators, it may seem like your existing gas heating system is the better choice. This is where the running costs make up additional costs.
For this example we’ll use the official figures of 52 p/kWh for electricity and 15 p/kWh for gas*. We’ll also assume that you want to use your heating for 8 hours per day.
Using a 1kW electric panel heater for 8 hours gives you 8kWh. At a cost of 52p per kWh, it costs £4.16 per day. Multiply that by the 5 panel heaters in your home, and you have a total cost of £20.80.
Energy usage from a gas central heating system comes from the boiler, with the average energy use being 24kW. Times this by the 8 hours you want to run it for, and you have a daily gas usage of 192kWh. At a cost of 15p/kWh, you have a daily running cost of £28.80.
This means that monthly, an electric panel heating system will cost £624, whereas a gas heating system will cost £864.
Furthermore, this means that the money you save per month using electric panel heaters will payback your upfront cost in 2 months.