Is Central Heating Cheaper Than Electric Heating?

For people looking to start the process of furnishing their new homes or for those refurbishing an old home, a common problem they consistently encounter is which form of heating they should use. Additionally, they also face the question of which form of heating would be cheaper and less tasking on their finances.

Now, for younger people, as well as the more modern-minded people, the choices they are likely to have would be between using gas central heating radiators and electric central heating. Furthermore, with those options in mind, the following issue to consider will obviously be, which between central heating and electric heating is better, as well as which of the aforementioned two is cheaper to run.

This often leads to a gruelling decision-making process, as to which of the two types of heating bests suits your house. However, for most people, the deciding factor most times isn’t always which of the mentioned types of heating is better, feature-wise, rather, the key factor is often which has a lesser toll on their pockets.

With that in mind, this article has set out to not only highlight the features and differences of central heating and electric heating but will also shed light on the main head of which is a cheaper option out of the two.

Central Heating

As a highly utilised system, the central heating system is one that has a significant amount of benefits to people who make use of it. The central heating system operates by making use of the main gas supply to receive and distribute heat through various pipework to your home.

Is Central Heating Cheaper Than Electric Heating?


Now, in breaking that down, you should note that, like other heating systems, the central heating utilises radiation as well as various pipework which are connected to a central boiler, in which, the boiler provides and pumps heat through the pipework to the radiator. Therefore, with the pipes connected to your home, you get your supply of heat when you need it.


  • Quick Heat Distribution

A reason why the central heating system is so popular is because of how fast it provides or distributes heat. Now, compared to electric heaters or the electric heating system, the central gas heating is way quicker and faster in heating the room or home up.

The reason for this is simply in how the central heating system works, in that, immediately it starts running, the central heating produces and emits heat at a maximum level.

  • Affordable

The central heating system is undeniably cheaper to run than the electric heating system. Even though the difference is not huge, there is still a significant gap in the amount of money you would need to run both.


  • Requires a lot of Maintenance

For central heating systems, one would need to carry out yearly and high-level maintenance. The reason for this is to ensure the safety of your home, as central heating systems run or operate on combustible substances. Therefore, the lack of proper and annual maintenance can put the user and his or her household in various forms of danger, such as exposure to harmful substances like carbon monoxide gas.

  • Short Lifespan

On its own standing, a central heating system can last from ten to about twenty years. However, when compared to the lifespan of an electric unit, you find that the central heating system is about a half shorter.

  • Upfront Expenses

An aspect of relying on central heating in your whole house is that it tends to make people reconsider is the expenses you have to take care of upfront. Now, for central heating systems, you pay a lot more in buying and installing the system than you would an electric heating system.

This especially applies to when it comes to the installation of the central system, as it is a complicated process due to venting requirements.

Electric Heating

Over the years, we’ve seen the practice of utilising electricity as a means of heating, grow more popular with each year, and rightly so, as an electric heating system poses many advantages for the user. Now, when it comes to how electric heating works, we all mostly have an idea or inkling of how it function. It is simply the process whereby heat is gotten by converting electrical energy.

Most modern homes rely on the use of electric storage heaters, which monitor your use per hour while indoors.


Central Heating vs Electric Heating


Furthermore, you should note that electric heaters are equipped with electric resistors which help in providing heat, by acting as the heating element, whereby the resistor converts electrical current that passes through into heat. With the carrying out of the aforementioned process, electric heating provides adequate heat for homes that utilises it. Allowing for a cost effective option for heating homes and apartments


  • Simple Maintenance

For electric heating systems, there’s less need to consistently carry out heavy maintenance, as there is less chance of a malfunction occurring that could harm your home or family.

However, this does not suggest you should refrain from carrying out annual maintenance of the electric radiators connected to your electric heating system. The maintenance here is far easier and simpler in comparison with that needed for a central heating system.

  • Lesser Upfront Expenses

As already stated, an unappealing side of the central heating system is a large amount of money you would expend at the early stages of setting it up. However, when it comes to electric heating, you get to save money, as the installation and initial set up is more affordable.

Also, you should note that an added bonus is the lack of venting requirements when installing an electric heating system and the associated costs. This helps to make the installation process of electric heating is simple, fast and without stress, especially since it can be installed just about anywhere in your home.


  • Slow Heating: In contrast to the quick heating of the central heating system, electric heating is slower to heat up and warm your home. The reason for that is simply that unlike the central heating that gives you immediate heat as it’s turned on, it takes a while for the electric heating system to do the same, as the heating element of the electric heating system must be powered up first.

Differences Between The Two

From the definitions, pros and cons of both energy efficient heating systems mentioned above, one can easily tell that there are several differences that exist between both heating systems. In light of that, let’s look into the major differences that exist between both heaters.

  1. The first major difference that comes to mind between the central heating system and electric heating system is the quick supply of heat, which central heating provides. The reason for this has been stated in the pros and cons list, as well as the fact that, in comparison to central heating, an electric furnace supplies heat at a slower pace than the former, due to the need to power up its heating element.
  2. The next bit of difference is in the need for maintenance in central heating and the fact that the lack of maintenance can have consequences. As already mentioned, though the electric heating system requires annual simple maintenance, it doesn’t require maintenance as serious as central heating.



Furthermore, the lack of maintenance in electric heating won’t lead to damaging and dangerous consequences as exposure to carbon monoxide, leaking or bleeding problems nor losing heat through the pipes. Also, a significant contrast that spans somewhat from maintenance is that with an electric furnace in place, you would never experience boiler breakdowns.

Now we all know that central heating systems run from boilers and if the boiler experiences a breakdown, it means you go without warmth till its fixed, except, you have a portable heater alternative.

  1. Another significant contrast that exists between both heating systems is in the efficiency and control of the heat. In that regard, you should first of all note that an appealing aspect of electric heating is in the proper degree of control it gives the user.

Therefore, when using an electric heating system, you are allowed precise and efficient control over your heating, as well as specific control by each room. The last bit here means that each room’s occupant can have precise heating to whatever degree they want, as some may want it cold, while another prefers it hot, also, when the room isn’t occupied, the heat can be turned while other rooms may be on if occupied.

However, this aspect is significantly different in a central heating system which relies on a gas boiler, as it is essentially more inefficient and less precise. Now, an aspect that shows the inefficiency of the central heating system is the needless loss of heat via heat radiating out from the pipes.

Furthermore, another contrast is in the lack of precise control, as for central heating, the entire heating system must be put on in order to use a single radiator.

Now, apart from the major difference that has been mentioned above, you should note that there are a host of other differences that one can find between both heating systems. Some of which are the minimal noise you get from utilising electric heating isn’t the same when using central heating, as the noise made when your central heating is activated can be annoying and disturbing.

Also, the usual design for central heating is to utilise a single central thermostat that will most likely give an unrepresentative temperature reading for most of the house, while for electric heating, you get multiple thermostats placed in the body of each radiator.

Additionally, there’s also the contrasting eco-friendly difference between both heating systems, as central heating produces damaging carbon emissions, while electric heating is seemingly more environmentally friendly.

Is Central Heating Cheaper Than Electric Heating?

With all the features, advantages and distinctions between both heating systems having been mentioned and highlighted, let’s finally answer the question that started all this, in that, is central heating cheaper than electric heating?


Is Central Heating Cheaper Than Electric Heating?


Now, a straight and simple answer to this would be, yes, central heating is cheaper than electric heating, however, this won’t let you fully understand it. Especially since you already know the expenses in the initial stages of setting up and installing your central heating is far greater than doing the same for electric heating. So let’s properly explain it.

First off, most of us know that the great appeal of going electric in regards to personal finances is the simplified bill you get at the end month. As well as, the lack of fees for pipe installation and other high venting requirement fess you would ordinarily pay if you go with central heating. Now, although getting just one bill for your heating at the end of the month simplifies your finances, it doesn’t mean it lessens the toll on it.

Furthermore, the fact that you pay lesser upfront or at the earlier stages doesn’t mean it is ultimately cheaper and the reason for this is the running cost. In the long run, the fees that would matter will be the running cost equivalent to the continued and constant usage of your heating system, so except you live in a warm area and you don’t constantly use your electric heating, you would definitely have a higher bill.

Now, the reason for your higher bill is significantly due to the fact that utilising natural gas is far cheaper than electricity. In that regard, generally getting your heat via the already installed pipes from the mains supply would definitely be a cheaper and more affordable equivalent of the sum you would pay for the same amount of electricity.

Conclusively, following all the details given about both the central heating system, as well as the electric heating system it is clear that by some mile, going with central heating might be a better option, if your deciding factor is based on which is better for your finances.

However, in regards to which is overall better for you and your home in general, we personally think an electric heating system, irrespective of the higher running rate might be a little better. However, before going with whichever heating system, putting the features of your home, as well as your ideal heating comfort into consideration, will help you grasp better at which heating system suits your home.