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19 October 2020

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
Lpg tank 451074
SI
Sarah Ingrams

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.

Cost of LPG central heating

The average annual cost for heating and hot water using LPG in the UK is £796* when consuming around 12,000 kWh of power 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 2020; sourced by Sutherland Tables, which collects domestic-fuel pricing data. The cost per kWh in pence (6.64) 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 compare electricity prices with our free, independent switching service, Which? Switch, to see how much you can save.

 

Save money on LPG

The price of LPG fluctuates in comparison with heating oil or gas - heating oil was 51p per litre in January 2020, while LPG cost slightly less on average.  

The price of LPG has varied by 15p per litre over the past five years. This means that it has sometimes been more expensive than heating oil, and sometimes less expensive.

  • January 2015 - 59p per litre
  • January 2016 - 45p per litre
  • January 2017 - 44p per litre
  • January 2018 - 47p per litre
  • January 2019 – 50p per litre
  • January 2020 - 47p per litre

However if you feel that your LPG costs are high, it’s worth looking for a cheaper supplier. Trade Association Liquid Gas UK has a tool to find LPG suppliers in your area.

If you have LPG supplied via a bulk tank you are allowed to switch your supplier as long as you’re not within a contract (which lasts no longer than two years). The supplier should tell you a month before you are allowed to switch.

If you decide to switch, contact your existing and new supplier to notify them. Unlike switching electricity or gas provider, LPG suppliers don’t have to agree to take you on as a new customer, even if you want to switch.

If you are part of a group of homes all supplied from one tank (a metered estate), all residents have to agree to switch supplier and all must be out of contract.

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, helping you cut your costs and carbon emissions

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

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. If you decide to switch supplier, you have to choose whether to transfer ownership of your tank from your existing supplier to new supplier, or ask for a new tank to be installed.

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.