Are you considering having new central heating installed in your home? In this article, we’ll take a look at how much it costs on average to have different types of central heating added to a property in the UK, namely, gas, oil and electric systems.
In this article, We’ll break down both the labour and supply costs of these installations before exploring some additional topics, including a look at whether this work can be undertaken DIY and what you should consider when choosing a boiler. This guide will prove very useful if you wish to have new central heating installed or if you simply want to expand your knowledge of this subject.
Central heating is a system designed to provide warmth (both to the air and water) of a home. Central heating is popular because as the name suggests, it centralises temperature control for a property and can help prevent a range of health problems including asthma, hypothermia and even strokes. Sufficient heating for a home is essential for the wellbeing and health of its occupants.
As promised, we’ll now break down the full costs of having various types of central heating systems installed. On average, you’ll be looking at paying about £5000 to £6000 to have a gas system installed, £4500 to £5500 for an oil system or £3000 to £4500 for an electric system. This includes both the labour and supply costs. The labour or trades cost itself will likely land between £200 and £300 per day with the job likely taking between three and five days. Overall, you can expect a labour cost of approximately £600 to £1200.
The actual supply/materials cost will likely end up between £2500 and £4500. These costs will depend heavily on a range of different factors. For instance, the fuel (gas, electric or oil) play a significant part in how much such a system will cost you. The supply costs could be between £4400 and £4800 for a gas central heating system (CHS), £2400 to £3300 for an electric CHS or £3900 to £4300 for an oil CHS.
You’ll also need to consider what type of boiler you intend to have installed, whether, for example, it is a combi, heat only or system boiler. In terms of the actual boiler supply costs, combi, heat-only and system boilers all to tend to cost somewhere around £800 to £1200 on average.
You’ll also need to consider how many radiators you’d like as part of your central heating installation. In addition, where your property is located (as heating engineers have different hourly and daily rates in different parts of the country) and ease of access will also shape the total supply cost. It should be noted that the cost of replacing central heating is cheaper than if you are starting entirely from scratch.
|Type of Fuel||Overall Cost|
|Gas||£5000 to £6000|
|Oil||£4500 to £5500|
|Electric||£3000 to £4500|
We’ll now look at gas, electric and oil central heating in more detail. In each of the following subsections, we’ll consider what each type of central heating is, how much they cost, what their differences are, their pros and cons as well as looking at which one is the most popular, easiest to install and cheapest to run.
This form of central heating is also a type of wet system. In addition, it is the most common type of central heating. A gas CHS involves a gas-fired boiler being used to heat up water. This hot water is in turn directed to the central heating radiators so that it can let off heat as well as reaching taps throughout the home for additional use (e.g. cleaning up, showering).
It costs about £5000 to £6000 to have gas central heating installed in a home. One major advantage of gas central heating is that with an average cost of £550 per year, it’s the cheapest to run.
✔ Cheapest to run
✔ Highly efficient
✔ Relatively easy to replace a regular gas boiler with an upgrade
✔ The gas is piped to your property directly thus no on-site storage is required
✖ If constructed from scratch, a gas CHS can be challenging to install
✖ Not a green energy source
✖ Gas prices are susceptible to international events since the UK lacks self-sufficiency in terms of gas supplies
✖ Gas boilers require annual servicing
While the end result of an electric CHS is the same, this system works by creating heat via electricity. Heating elements are provided with this warmth to in turn warm up your home. The central heating installation cost for an electric CHS is about £3000 to £4500. Generally, an electric CHS is the easiest to install.
For the average house in the UK, it will cost about £900 a year to run electric central heating, meaning that it comes with particularly high running costs.
✔ Usually the easiest to install
✔ Lowest price to install central heating based on fuel-type
✔ Electric storage heaters need minimal maintenance
✔ Mains electricity is accessible practically anywhere in the UK while gas is not
✖ Highest running cost of central heating based on fuel type
✖ Running appliances during the daytime could be more expensive due to daytime rates
✖ Since much of the electricity in the UK originates from the use of gas, the price of gas will affect the cost of electricity
✖ Heating may not work until the following day if your night storage heater hasn’t been used recently
Lastly, we have central heating systems that are fueled by oil. In most cases, an oil CHS is also a wet heating system, in which its oil-fired boiler heats up water just as occurs with a gas CHS. The critical difference between an oil and gas system is that the former involves heating oil that is stored in an on-site tank, which may be owned or rented by the property owner(s).
In most cases, an oil-fired combi boiler comes with internal hot water storage. This can supply your home with hot water so that instant heating is not needed as is often the case with a gas combi boiler.
The price for a central heating system that is oil-based is around £4500 and £5500 in total.
✔ Very efficient
✔ Easy enough to replace a standard oil boiler with a modern and more efficient alternative
✔ You can stock up on oil when the price is low since generally, you can supply your oil CHS with on-site oil
✖ Central heating oil prices can vary, leaving you vulnerable to higher charges if demand soars (e.g. due to poor weather or ongoing global political unrest)
✖ On-site oil shortages are possible (e.g. during bad weather)
✖ Having an oil CHS fitted without a prior oil heating system can be challenging and costly
✖ Not an eco-friendly option
You may have decided what fuel type you’d like for your central heating, but you’ll also need to consider what type of boiler best suits your needs and preferences. In this section, we’ll look at what each type of boiler is, how much they cost, how they differ from one another as well as looking at aspects such as their advantages and disadvantages.
Also known as a heat-only or regular boiler, a conventional boiler makes use of water storage tanks, with one for hot water and another for cold. These tend to be installed in the loft. The boiler unit connects to the mains, which in turn provides the water to the property.
You’ll probably have to pay between £1500 and £2500 for a conventional boiler.
✔ You can still rely on hot water even if the shower and kitchen taps are being used simultaneously
✔ Continues to function even if your property is experiencing low mains pressure
✔ An immersion heater can be added to the hot water cylinder if your boiler ever malfunctions
✔ Maintenance is easy because of the relatively simplistic design of this boiler
✔ Regular boilers are compatible with old central heating systems
✖ There’s a risk that you can end up with a low-pressure flow for hot water and showers
✖ If the hot water runs out, it’ll take some time for it to heat back up again
✖ Sufficient space is needed for both the cold and hot water tanks
✖ Water must be heated in advance (i.e. you can’t get hot water on demand)
✖ Not as efficient as a combi boiler
This type of boiler involves just a cylinder and boiler and is also a closed system. This contrasts a conventional boiler which uses tanks (often housed in the attic) to provide water to the hot water cylinder and radiators.
A system boiler is ideal so long as you have access to high water pressure and suitable radiators (i.e. radiators that are not too outdated). It’s also generally an excellent option for homes with multiple bathrooms.
A system boiler costs about £800 to £1200 per unit, making it equally the cheapest type of boiler alongside a combi boiler, which comes with the same estimated price tag.
✔ Cheapest type of boiler alongside combi boilers
✔ Doesn’t require as much space as a conventional boiler
✔ Can provide hot water to various taps
✔ May be used with a solar water heater
✖ Needs more space than a combi boiler
✖ Does not provide hot water on demand
✖ The hot water supply can still run out
A combination boiler is highly efficient and acts as both a central heating boiler and water heater. Both of these are combined, hence the name and are housed in a single unit.
This type of boiler heats water as taken straight from the mains as soon as you turn on the tap. As a result, you won’t require a cold water storage tank or hot water storage cylinder in the loft area of your home. Not only are combi boilers the most common type, but they are also the easiest to install.
As mentioned in the previous subsection, an average combi boiler costs around £800 to £1200. Combi boilers are generally the cheapest to run.
✔ Very efficient
✔ Cheapest type of boiler alongside system boilers
✔ Heats up water faster
✔ More compact option
✔ Less susceptible to water pressure-related problems
✔ Generally safer
✔ Inexpensive to run
✖ Requires the right water pressure level
✖ Limited usage
✖ Does not feature an immersion heater
✖ Cannot be used to provide water to a power shower
This type of boiler must be powered by gas or oil and therefore cannot be used as part of an electric CHS. A condensing boiler obtains heat as taken from gases that escape via the flue. This is unlike a non-condensing boiler, making for greater efficiency. Additionally, this means that this boiler does not require as much heat from the burner. If you purchase a new modern boiler, it will be a condensing boiler. One major advantage of condensing boilers is that they can save you money on your bills if you switch from an old non-condensing boiler with a G-rating.
On average, you can expect to save about £300 per year from this upgrade. The total supply price of a condensing boiler could be anywhere from £700 to £1300.
✔ Energy and cost-efficiency alike
✔ More eco-friendly option
✖ Can be affected by frozen pipes
✖ The external pipe may need insulation
✖ More complicated system
✖ Not as cheap to maintain
In this section, we’ll break down the steps involved in fitting new central heating in a home. The following steps are a broad approximation of how to install central heating and will vary depending on the exact type.
Before any work can begin, it’s essential that you or/and the hired tradespersons know exactly what is needed and that an appropriate system is chosen. You should consider what type of heating, both in terms of fuel and boiler type is most suitable for your home. During this stage, a map of your home’s new proposed central heating should be created. At this point, you can also purchase the necessary parts or pay a company/contractor to do so on your behalf.
On the first day of installation work, whether performed DIY (see the next section) or by professionals, it’ll be necessary to prepare the work areas. This will include laying out any protection needed for the furniture, fittings and flooring of each room where work will be taking place.
In most cases, the first practical stage of installing new central heating will involve fitting the boiler. Each type of boiler and the specific unit in question will come with its own installation requirements. For example, a combi boiler will probably take longer and involve a more complicated installation than would be the case if fitting a regular boiler.
When it comes to installing the radiators, this may involve adding entirely new ones or replacing any current radiators. There must be around 10-15cm of room between the radiator and the floor. This will give room for pipes and valves and also provide space for cleaning. Once the radiators are added, a lock shield valve may be added to the return connection and a wheel valve to the flow connection. These additions will support the regulation of water flow.
Once the radiators have been installed, some of the pipework can be added. It’s essential that the pipes vent to each of the radiators. This is vital in order to prevent air locks and other issues with your CHS. Any new taps can be added or/and connected to the pipework.
Once all of the key hardware has been put in place, it’s time to add the control system and connect all of the elements. Once this is complete, a heating engineer will perform a test to ensure safety, efficiency and functionality. Then, they will likely have the right to sign off on any building regulation requirements. If not, another professional will be needed to perform an inspection and sign off on the work.
You may decide to have some additional work performed at the same time as having new central heating added to your property. For example, it will cost you about £100 to £200 to have a single radiator moved while to add a new radiator will likely cost between £250 and £450.
While it is generally not advisable, it is possible to install much of a central heating system by yourself. For instance, you can choose and purchase the installation elements such as the radiators and boiler.
Beyond that, you may lay the pipes, install the radiators and even fit the control system. However, you cannot install the actual boiler by yourself, nor can you connect the boiler to its power supply. A professional will be needed for these aspects of the job, to perform any electrical installations and they’ll also be required to check the whole system to ensure that it’s safe and working correctly once everything is in place.
As for planning permission, this generally only applies to work that a professional must perform and if any elements will be based outdoors. Even then, it will usually only apply if your home is a listed building, but you may contact the Local Authority if you are unsure about anything.
With that being said, Building Regulations will need to approve of a new boiler installation to confirm that it meets safety standards and provides an appropriate level of energy efficiency. In most cases, the actual installer will be able to sign off on this.
One of the most obvious risks of installing the elements of central heating by yourself is that you could get something wrong and when the professional performs the final checks, they discover that the work you performed must be redone. In this case, more work will be required, and your overall bill will be perhaps several hundred pounds higher.
More severe dangers include the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning (if working with gas), electrocution, and even exposing yourself to asbestos. You should turn the power off for your home if undertaking any work DIY, even if you think there is little chance of coming into contact with your property’s electrics.
Even if you hire a professional, there is still a possibility that things could go wrong. This is why it’s essential to do your research and ensure that you hire an appropriate and experienced heating engineer.
Aside from being costly, each type of central heating has its disadvantages, and it may only be after the installation is complete that you realise that another type of central heating better suits your needs and preferences. There are also many repairs that your central heating system may require over time.
Examples of repairs which may prove necessary:
Among the forms of boiler maintenance that may be needed include burner maintenance, refractory maintenance, lubricating the boilers, washing out the boiler and cleaning the fire tubes. In addition, around once every five years or when needed, a central heating system should undergo a power flush. The purpose of this is to clear debris and reduce the risk of severe blockages.
On average, it costs between £300 to £600 to have your CHS power flushed although it will depend on factors such as how many radiators you have. Of course, a power flush may be necessitated sooner than every 5-6 years should significant blockages suddenly arise. As mentioned earlier, you should have your boiler serviced at least once every 12 months. You should, however, double-check with the manufacturer’s guidelines as they may recommend having it serviced more often.
It’ll likely cost between £150 and £300 to have a single radiator replaced.
The purpose of a CHS is to provide warmth to the interior of a home or building. This includes warming up the rooms as a whole as well as often providing hot water.
While the exact workings of a CHS vary based on the type of system, broadly speaking, central heating uses pipework and radiators which are in turn connected to a boiler in order to provide heat to a property.
On average, about 15 years.
The central heating system cost for an electric CHS is around £3000 to £4500.