Should You Replace Your Boiler Now Before Rates Go Up?
Climate change has been at the forefront of the news lately, from the uncontrollable bushfires in Australia to the rising rhetoric surrounding climate change policies around the world. And while it may be difficult to sympathize with something so far away, there is one thing that climate change can affect in your own home – your boiler.
Last year, the Government’s Committee on Climate Change recommended that “no new homes should connect to the gas grid from 2025 at the latest.” That means more than a million homes in the UK will be saddled with environmentally harmful (and illegal) heating systems in less than a decade.
According to Chancellor Philipp Hammond during March 2019, the government has now set new standards that will ban the construction of gas-based heating in every new build by 2025. Energy regulator Ofgem has also warned that gas boilers will need to be eliminated from homes or replaced with newer models by 2050. And while both of these dates may seem far, there’s a great deal of urgency around them that needs attending now.
Gas boilers are the most affordable and easiest sources of central heating in any home. Most residents outside the metropolitan areas rely exclusively on gas-powered central heating. In fact, experienced plumbers and heating engineers in Lanarkshire and other places report that 80% of their heating requests are regarding boiler rooms.
However, these gas-systems (and their byproducts) are some of the biggest contributors to global warming. And with the UK setting defined targets to lower total carbon emissions back to 1990 levels, that means the majority of gas heating in the country needs to be either upgraded or removed.
What Can I Use in Exchange?
There are three methods that homes can use instead of gas-based heating to warm their environment:
One is to upgrade existing gas boilers to use decarbonised gas such as hydrogen to power themselves. This is one of the cheaper options, though homeowners will need to find a reliable supplier to provide this kind of gas – a near impossibility outside the metropolis if not enough demand is generated.
Another is to use electricity to heat homes instead of gas, like underfloor heating or using electric-powered heat pumps. While converting to this system could mean upfront costs, it could generate significant savings over time, especially given the development of new heating technologies.
Finally, a network of pipes that distribute hot water and air – a sort of district-wide heat network – can be implemented in homes. There are actually some areas in London that use this system, and they’ve shown moderate success so far.
But What Does This Mean For Me?
Whatever solution you choose, it’s important to understand that there’s a deadline to all of this. Most energy regulators and utility companies recommend having your central heating inspected and upgraded as early as now, and new builds have started introducing eco-friendly heating systems into their blueprints.
While this process will be a heavy upfront cost, the environmental and financial benefits will far outweigh the initial cost. Not only are you getting a more efficient and cheaper way to provide your home with proper heating; you’re also doing your part to help the environment.