Home heating systems
LPG Central Heating
By Liz Ransome
Article 4 of 8
LPG Central Heating
Read our guide to LPG to find out how it works, how much it costs, and the pros and cons of running your heating on LPG.
If you're one of the 4 million households that aren't connected to mains gas and you use LPG, then you need to read on.
Some households use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to heat their homes if they're not connected to mains gas. The main difference between mains gas and LPG central heating is that LPG is delivered by road and stored in a tank.
Here, we reveal the annual cost of heating your home using LPG, and the pros and cons of LPG central heating. Plus our experts recommend alternatives to heating your home.
How LPG central heating works
LPG central heating is normally used in a ‘wet’ heating system, where an LPG-fired boiler heats water, which provides central heating through radiators and hot water through the taps in your home.
Some boilers designed for mains gas can be converted to use LPG.
Annual cost of LPG
The average annual cost for heating and hot water using LPG in the UK is £735 when consuming around 12,500 kWh a year.
This annual fuel cost is not based on actual fuel bills. It's derived from using the average cost of LPG across the UK in October 2016, sourced by Sutherland Tables, which collects domestic-fuel pricing data. This cost (per kWh in pence) is then multiplied by the amount of kWh a medium gas-energy user consumes on average in a year (12,500 kWh), as calculated by Ofgem.
£735The annual cost of heating and hot water using LPG
Remember, this cost is just a guide to help you compare costs of different types of fuel. There are a number of factors that affect energy bills, including the age of your home and insulation, the efficiency of a hot water and heating system, and where you are in the UK.
Our guide to cutting your energy costs will help you to see where and how you can make changes to save money, no matter what type of heating system you have.
You can also use our free, independent energy switching service, Which? Switch, to see how much you can save. Click to compare energy prices.
Pros of LPG central heating
The price of LPG has generally been high when compared to the price of heating oil or gas, but in the last year the price has dropped - in January 2015 the average annual bill was around £1,040, and in January 2016 it was £800.
The average price per litre continues to fall:
- 47p October 2015
- 42p October 2016
But there is no certainty that it will keep on falling.
LPG is a highly efficient fuel, so you get a good return on every unit of energy. Modern condensing boilers, which use hot flue gases that are wasted in a standard boiler, now achieve efficiencies of 90% and more.
Replacing a standard LPG boiler with a highly efficient modern condensing boiler is a relatively straightforward job. Make sure you get a reliable boiler - we reveal the most reliable brands, according to boiler owners and trusted heating engineers, in our boiler reviews.
It's also worth making sure you have good home heating controls - take a look at our heating control and thermostat tips.
Cons of LPG central heating
Although prices have dropped in the last year, LPG prices are likely to remain relatively high compared with other fuels as the UK competes with growing demand from other countries.
The Office of Fair Trading investigated the off-grid energy market following sharp price rises in winter 2010 but concluded that the market did not need price regulation. You can read more about the market probe in our story: Heating oil homes to face another hard winter?.
As LPG is delivered by road there is a possibility that you could run out while you wait for your next delivery. However, systems that monitor the amount in your tank and automatically notify your supplier when it needs topping up are available.
You may have to buy or rent your tank from your supplier, which will add to your annual running costs.
Installing an LPG central heating system from scratch can be expensive and disruptive. The storage tank can also be unsightly (although this can be resolved by choosing an underground tank).
LPG boilers need servicing annually to ensure they run efficiently and last as long as they should do.
As a fossil fuel, LPG produces carbon dioxide when it’s burned - so it isn't considered a clean source of energy.
Not only will this allow you to generate your own heat, but an incentive scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive will pay you for doing it.