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Home heating systems

LPG central heating

By Sarah Ingrams

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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 it

If you're among the few million households that aren't connected to mains gas and you use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to heat your home, then read on to find out how much it costs compared to other heating, plus the pros and cons.

Some households use 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 for 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 to 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 £793* when consuming around 12,000 kWh of gas a year.

Remember, this 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 live 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. 

*(Calculated using the average price of LPG across the UK in January 2018; sourced by Sutherland Tables, which collects domestic-fuel pricing data. The cost per kWh in pence (6.61) was multiplied by the kWh a medium gas-energy user consumes on average in a year [12,000 kWh], as calculated by Ofgem.)

You can also use our free, independent energy-switching service, Which? Switch, to see how much you can save. Click to compare electricity prices.

Pros of LPG central heating

LPG is a highly efficient fuel, so you get a good return on every unit of energy. But 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 buy 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

The price of LPG has generally been high compared with the price of heating oil or gas - heating oil costs are around £552 per year for heating and hot water. 

The price was falling, but now looks like it's on the rise again.

  • January 2015 - 59p per litre
  • January 2016 - 45p per litre
  • January 2017 - 44p per litre
  • January 2018 - 47p per litre.

However, there is no certainty that it will keep on rising. 

The Office of Fair Trading investigated the off-grid energy market following sharp price rises in winter 2010. It concluded the market did not need price regulation. You can read more about the market probe - go to heating oil and LPG investigation.

As LPG is delivered by road, there is a possibility that you could run out while you wait for your next delivery. However, there are systems available that monitor the amount in your tank and automatically notify your supplier when it needs topping up.

You may have to buy or rent your tank from your supplier, which will add to your annual running costs. The storage tank can also be unsightly (although this can be resolved by having an underground tank).

As a fossil fuel, LPG produces carbon dioxide when it’s burned - so it isn't considered a clean source of energy.

As a result, the government plans to stop installing heating systems in homes which burn oil or solid fuels by 2020. Instead, renewable heating systems will need to be installed.

LPG alternatives

You could consider installing a renewable-energy heating system, such as water-heating solar thermal panels or a heat pump

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.