No gas heating in new builds in 2 years (2023)...Will this mean fuel poverty coming to a family near you sooner?

  • 18 November 2020
  • 2 replies

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  • Rocket Scientist
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I’m just opening up this topic for discussion.

Per unit of heat forgetting (minor-in-comparison) inefficiencies due to heat exchange losses, electricity is somewhere between 5 and 6 times more expensive when producing the same amount of heat as gas.

You can only insulate so much, but you still have to produce heat  and even with significant improvements in insulation, the production of which incidentally adds hugely to carbon emissions,  the majority of homes are not going to be be able to achieve anywhere near the 5x ratio which would equalise costs. 

This means that total energy costs are going to rise massively for those who are eventually unable to use gas to heat their homes.

In a new build all of the improvements can be baked in from scratch (even though  I believe even stricter insulation requirements for building regs may also be necessary), but eventually for the majority of existing homeowners who heat their water and homes with gas this could become financially catastrophic on so many levels and lead to a huge increase in fuel poverty.

You can’t just fit an electric boiler as a substitute in many cases without other very significant work being done,  a huge percentage of houses don’t have the space for a ground or air source heat pump, and if I was a gas boiler manufacturer I’d be looking for alternatives...(and think of the price of spares too after the boiler manufacturers are decimated).

Incidentally no gas heating in 2 years means no gas heating sooner once the public realise the implications further down the line. 

There are many things the government need to do to support this, but is the deficit from Covid going to cause significant impedance?

I’m not a fan of screwing up the planet with carbon emissions but  is there is a reality check to be had here?




2 replies

It’s got me Woz, one of my friends applied to NEST for loft insulation on the house she bought last year, and was told no because the previous occupier had been provided with a new gas boiler a few years ago - quite what the logic of installing a new gas boiler in a 1930s house with no loft insulation was eludes me just as much as the current plan for no new builds having gas central heating.

What happens when all the old properties with gas, or in my case heating oil, boilers need replacements?

I understand the logic of the environmental concerns, but why wasn’t someone thinking of that in 2013 when they decided to replace my apparently more efficient boiler with one that’s ‘too powerful’ for my home?

I guess expecting joined-up thinking from government departments is a stretch.


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Firstly it cannot make sense to replace a gas boiler with an electric one. I am sure a user really would see consumption costs rocket. How to heat a house needs a rethink. Everything points to using electricity and as I have mused before, why pump water round a house to heat it in this century? There are electric alternatives which are more efficient, more aesthetically pleasing and easy to instal. I suspect  most of us here could do it. The problem is still the running cost but whilst it is greater, with decent gear it is not 5 or 6 times more.

Currently I am investigating just what the extra cost will be as my boiler is getting on a bit and to replace with a gas boiler needs careful thought. At present there are no hydrogen boilers, installing a heat pump is at least three times the cost of fitting a new gas system, if not more. It may be re-roofing the house with solar panels is a better option. It can be done and it is not immediately obvious when done.

As I have opined elsewhere, government needs to consider more how to  subsidise the electricity domestic user to encourage movement in that direction. PP could get involved with that because of the benefits it will reap.