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Geting to Know How LPG central heating works

Although most households in the UK have mains gas central heating, around 3.6m households are not connected to the mains gas network.


In parts of the UK where there is no mains gas network to connect to, such as rural areas, some homes use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) instead. This normally used in a ‘wet’ heating system where an LPG-fired boiler heats water, which provides central heating via radiators and hot water through the taps in your home.


The main difference between mains gas and LPG is that it is delivered by road and stored in a tank, which you may have to buy or rent from your supplier. Some boilers designed for mains gas can be converted to use LPG.


Annual fuel cost for heating and hot water (not including installation costs)

• Fuel cost for heating and hot water: more than £1,300 (due to recent price rise)
• Carbon emissions per year
• Carbon emissions: 3.4 tonnes


These yearly costs are estimated costs based on heating and hot water demands of a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, well-insulated house (insulated cavity walls, 270mm loft insulation, thermostatic radiator valves and insulated primary pipe work), the efficiencies of typical heating systems and the current average price per fuel per kWh (as at Dec 2010). They are not derived from actual fuel bills.

Knowledge - Pros of LPG central heating

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.

As gas is the most widely used heating fuel in the UK, finding a plumber on the Gas Safe Register scheme should be fairly easy if your boiler breaks down or needs servicing.


The gas registration scheme, which was previously run by Corgi was taken over by Capita on 1 April 2009. The new scheme is called the Gas Safe Register.

Knowledge - Cons of LPG central heating

Like mains gas, LPG prices are on the rise and are likely to remain high as the UK competes with growing demand from other countries. Recently prices of LPG have gone up sharply and the Office of Fair Trading is now conducting a study of the off-grid energy market in the UK.
 

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


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 going for 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 burnt and can’t be considered a clean source of energy.

Alternative choices if you don't want LPG Central Heating

With prices of LPG on the rise on one hand and the generous incentive for renewable heat on the other hand, if you are off the gas grid, you might like to consider a renewable alternative to contribute to heating your house like a woodburning stove, a solar thermal system or a heat pump.

 

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