Home heating systems Options for heating your home
With high oil, gas and electricity prices always fluctuation, it’s important that we heat our homes in the most efficient way. Using less energy is the best way to cut your bills (see our guide to using less electricity for tips), but this doesn't mean having to live in a cold, dark home.
If your house is connected to the national gas grid, you could get a gas-fired central heating system, and this is usually the cheapest option. Our gas boiler reviews reveal which models come from Which? recommended reliable boiler brands - and which we think you should avoid. Also take a look at our guide to using your boiler heating controls to save you energy and money.
However, millions of households in the UK are not connected to the gas grid and rely on other forms of fuel to heat their homes: electricity, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), heating oil and/or renewable technologies. See the related pages in this guide for more information on each heating option.
There are a number of ways you can generate your own energy at home from low or zero carbon ‘microgeneration’ technology, such as wood burning stoves, solar water heating systems, heat pumps and biomass boilers.
Making your own energy instead of using mains gas and electricity reduces your carbon footprint. It also means you’re less dependent on sources of energy that are increasingly subject to global demand and are likely to have high and volatile prices in future.
Cost of renewable energy systems
If you're considering installing microgeneration technology in your home, it’s important to take a long-term view. Renewable energy may be expensive to install, but the time it takes to get your money back on an investment in microgeneration should come down.
In addition, the government has now launched the Renewable Heat Incentive, which pays you to generate renewable heat, meaning these technologies will become more cost-effective. It's important, however, to ensure your property is suitable for the technology you choose, as not all properties have a suitable south-facing roof or a garden.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels generate electricity, while solar thermal panels heat water. You can now get cashback on solar PV panels thanks to the Feed-in Tariff. Cashback applies to other electricity-generating technologies, such as wind and hydropower, but not to technologies generating heat, such as solar thermal panels.