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Home & garden.

Updated: 25 May 2022

The best heating for your home

From gas central heating to a heat pump, find out about different home heating options including the types of home they're right for.
Sarah Ingrams

How you heat your home is extremely important. Not only will the best heating system keep you cosy in winter, it will also have a big impact on your carbon footprint and your energy bills.

There are several types and fuels to choose from. So if you're considering upgrading your heating system, it's worth comparing the different options.

Gas central heating is most common in England, Scotland and Wales, but more than one million homes aren’t connected to the gas grid. This is more common in rural areas or blocks of flats.

In Northern Ireland, more than two third of homes use oil boilers as their main source of heating. Natural gas first became available in 1996 and the network is gradually expanding.

Heating options if you’re off the gas grid include:

  • renewable heating
  • electric central heating
  • oil central heating
  • LPG central heating.

Whatever type of central heating you have, using it more efficiently will help cut your bills and reduce your carbon footprint. See our 10 tips to save money on gas and electricity.

Gas central heating

Gas boiler on an inside wall

If your home has a natural gas grid connection, a gas central heating system is likely to be the cheapest viable option for heating your home at the moment.

Gas is a fossil fuel so heating your home with it is not sustainable - if this is your top concern, consider renewable or electric heating instead. 

Choose an efficient, reliable boiler when you come to replace yours, to keep running costs to a minimum. See the best boiler brands, according to boiler owners and engineers, plus which brands to steer clear of.

Use your heating controls to minimise the amount of energy you use while staying comfortable. Read our guide to boiler controls and thermostats

Electric central heating

Electricity pylons

Electric central heating is more common in flats and new-build homes. 

Typically it's made up of separate heaters in each room, rather than being powered by a central boiler. 

In older properties, these can be night storage heaters coupled with specific Economy 7 or Economy 10 electricity tariffs. 

Electric heating is often paired with immersion heaters (sometimes known as megaflow boilers or unvented hot water systems) to provide hot water.

Find out more about set-ups and costs for electric central heating

Oil central heating

Oil is the most common power for home heating systems in Northern Ireland. 

You'll need need a tank outside your home to store the oil, which you'll need to buy in bulk.

Like gas, oil is a fossil fuel and not a sustainable option. If you're upgrading your boiler, choose an efficient one. Find a reliable oil boiler brand with our reviews.

See the pros and cons of oil central heating.

Heat pump central heating and renewable heat

Solar panels on the roof of a house

Renewable heating is a more sustainable way to heat your home and is becoming more widespread. 

Making your own heat reduces your carbon footprint and means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, such as gas and oil, whose prices can be high and volatile. 

Renewable energy heating systems include:

Wood burning stoves and biomass boilers are fuelled by organic material, such as logs or wood pellets. They can be connected to a boiler to heat water and the rest of your home. Sustainably-sourced fuel is considered sustainable though it's worth considering wood burning stoves' pollution and how to minimise it.

LPG central heating

LPG stands for Liquid Petroleum Gas and is used to heat some homes. 

Like oil, you'll need to buy in bulk, have it delivered by a tanker and store it in a tank in the garden. 

Find out more about LPG central heating