Are gas boilers going to be banned in 2025?
As the UK strives to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the government is exploring every avenue to make it happen.
One way they are doing this is by encouraging change in the way we heat our homes, of which one is the use of hydrogen fuel.
Roughly 30% of greenhouse emissions in the UK come from heating, and half of that comes from homes. Making changes could see a significant reduction in emissions and help towards the 2050 target.
Get the lowdown on the gas boiler ban in our video guide
Banning of 100% natural gas boilers from 2025?
But will gas boilers be banned? A 2019 policy moved to ban 100% natural gas boilers in new builds as a way of phasing in more environmentally friendly ways to heat our homes, so there are plans moving forward. You can however protect your home with a hydrogen-ready boiler.
This article will explore the proposed gas boiler ban as well as answer questions like what options are there moving forward?
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What is the 2025 gas boiler ban for new-build homes?
An outright ban on boilers in the UK is not a feasible option. However, the 2025 gas boiler ban for new build homes is. This will force the people building new homes to look at alternatives to traditional central heating in the home and ensure they are built with efficient insulation.
The gas boiler ban is part of the UK government’s Future Homes Standard commitment that focuses on energy-efficient, low-carbon heating systems.
What is the 2035 boiler phase-out for existing homes?
The 2035 gas boiler ban on existing homes was the idea that new boilers that run on 100% natural gas would not be sold after this time, forcing homeowners to transition over to a more efficient heating system like hydrogen boilers rather than simply replacing an old gas boiler.
This is likely to be pushed back after a backlash due to the expense of low-carbon alternatives.
There are some government grants and schemes in place that encourage this change. However, there is still a substantial cost and inconvenience to the homeowner, especially when natural gas boilers are easily the best way to heat a home even though energy bills have risen.
Why are gas boilers being banned?
The National Housing Federation as part of its heat and buildings strategy has conducted studies that show English homes alone produce more carbon emissions than cars. With a strong focus on reducing vehicles on the road or electric alternatives, it makes sense that a move to reduce emissions in homes would be forthcoming.
The target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2035 by 78% is based on a comparison of the levels reached in 1990. find out more about heat pumps vs boilers in our comprehensive guide now.
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What will replace gas boilers in 2025?
Whilst alternatives to gas boilers are gradually being introduced, as we have said, hydrogen ready boilers are the exception to the rule, therefore homes will be running on natural gas for many years to come.
Hybrid heating systems are also likely to become very popular with the use of both hydrogen-ready gas boilers and renewable heating solutions like air source heat pumps.
What alternatives to gas boilers are there?
Completely removing a gas boiler from home heating is likely not a viable solution, but if you want to cut down on your gas usage, you could take simple steps such as electric radiators in some rooms, and electric hot water taps if you have low hot water usage in a kitchen. These will limit your reliance on gas and although the cost of electricity is higher than gas, you are likely to be using less if you keep this appliance usage down.
Central heating alternatives to natural gas boiler
If you are looking for a complete change then take a look at the following:
Finding a suitable alternative for your existing natural gas boiler to heat your home will depend on the type of home you have and your budget. These are some of the best alternative heating systems if you plan on getting rid of a traditional gas boiler or are involved in building a new home.
Hydrogen ready boiler
Many people believe that hydrogen ready boilers are the best option as they are being designed to accept different gasses to fuel them, with the ability to be modified in the future for 100% hydrogen use. Nearly all new gas boilers are now hydrogen ready.
Hydrogen fuel is more environmentally friendly as it does not produce carbon dioxide and the same waste or emissions as fossil fuels. Work is currently taking place on the gas grid to see how easy it will be to use the existing gas network to distribute hydrogen gas.
The estimated costs of hydrogen ready boilers should be around the same price as traditional gas boilers would usually run from £400 to £3,000. Installation costs of these green boilers will also be around the same price as the system will be similar to that of traditional boilers.
The cost of running should be less as hydrogen is very efficient. This will depend on the supply network when it becomes a viable option. your existing boiler may already be hydrogen ready if you have replaced it in the last 24 months as all the best combi boilers have this technology.
If you are thinking about getting a heat pump instead of a gas boiler installed in your home, you’ll be able to explore UK government incentives and grants like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme that will help to reduce the overall cost.
Air source heat pumps
Of the low carbon technology range, the air-source heat pump is the easiest to install and uses the warmth from the air outside to heat a refrigerant that is then compressed by the heat pump to create a higher temperature.
This heat is then transferred around the home, with the hot water generated being stored in a hot water cylinder.
This system uses lower temperatures to heat the home over more extended periods of time, so heat pump technology is better suited to homes with good insulation and is ideal for larger radiators or underfloor heating.
The price of an air pump can be between £4,000 to £8,000, with installation costs between £1,000 to £2,000. Running costs are generally relatively low as only the pump requires electricity.
Prices can begin to rise if you are planning on underfloor heating installation or if you need to install insulation in your home. this is where a hydrogen ready gas boiler becomes more appealing, even in the long term. You can however get an air source heat pump grant of up to £5,000.
Ground source heat pump
Ground source heat pumps use a similar method as air source heat pumps, with the main difference being the heat is gathered from an underground network of pipes rather than from the air. The ground stores heat from the sun, and digging down as little as two metres can give homeowners access to the heat of around 10°C, even during the winter.
There are two types of ground source heat pump that are commonly installed in the UK, and these are vertical or horizontal. Both have their challenges for people looking to install them. Horizontal ground source heat pumps require a large area of ground that would have to be cleared before the network of pipes could be laid.
Vertical ground source heat pumps don’t require as much land as they are buried in a deep hole that goes straight down. The challenge with this is that it requires specialist digging equipment to bore down deep enough for the system to be placed.
Like air source heat pumps, they generate heat at lower temperatures than traditional heating systems, so ensuring the home is insulated and considering underfloor heating options is advised.
Ground source heat pumps cost anywhere from £2,000 to £15,000 depending on the make, model, and size required. Installation and groundwork costs for horizontal ground source heat pumps can be as much as £4,000, with prices for vertical system installation around £10,000.
Solar thermal panels
A renewable heating system like solar thermal panels are traditionally installed on the roof of a home in a position that will get the most sunlight. The solar panels then harness the energy from the sun and use a heat exchanger to heat water in a cylinder and store it for use. They can also be used to power solar air heaters for the home.
Solar thermal systems are a relatively cost-effective way to heat your home with minimal disruption during the installation process. The cost of solar collectors, hot water tank, pipes, control panel, and installation should cost between £3,000 to £6,000 depending on the property.
Domestic biomass boilers are another way for people to heat their homes by burning biological matter such as wood chips, pellets, and other materials.
Wood pellets are created using waste wood and by-products from manufacturing and are a much cheaper way to heat your home than oil.
While wood-burning biomass boilers are the most common, some boilers are designed for burning hay and straw.
Smaller biomass boilers start from around £5,000 and go up to as much as £10,000 to £14,000 for larger models capable of heating four-bedroom homes. The running cost will help you save money with the average p/kWK cost of around 4.2p when using wood pellets.
Infrared heating panels
Infrared heating panels use electricity to heat the objects in the room rather than the air like traditional heating systems. This can be a very efficient way to heat a space.
While electricity is required to power them, their efficient use of electricity makes this a great option, especially if you are exploring renewable energy sources to lower bills for your home.
Infrared heating is also a fantastic way to combat dampness and mould, making it an excellent choice for the home, conservatories, and external buildings.
Infrared heating panels cost roughly £130 to £175 per panel and have relatively low installation costs. Infrared underfloor heating is also cheaper than traditional wet underfloor heating solutions.
For every square meter of infrared underfloor heating that is installed, you will have a cost of around £75. Compare this to £120 in new build properties and £185 in existing properties, and you will see the difference.
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The future of home heating in the UK
While it might be a few years before an outright ban on gas boilers is enforced, the changes that are being encouraged towards low carbon systems are definitely shaping the future of heating in the UK.
As well as attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the rising cost of heating homes will also be an incentive for people to make a change.
New build homes make up a small percentage of domestic properties, so the changes being made might seem small at first. However, with UK government incentives encouraging people to replace gas boilers with more environmentally friendly alternatives, the landscape of heating in the UK will sway more towards gas boiler alternatives and fossil fuels over time.
As a lot of these alternatives don’t produce the same levels of heat as an existing gas boiler, homes will have to look at ways to insulate the home efficiently. Ventilating the home without losing heat is another thing that homeowners will have to consider.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are efficient ways to ventilate the home without opening doors or windows and losing heat.
Developing technology like mechanical heat-recovery ventilation units (MHRV) offers a way to use the heat taken from stale air in the house to heat fresh air brought in from outside. This will minimise heat loss and recover over 80% of the heat.
Are hydrogen boilers the future?
Hydrogen boilers have the potential to replace existing gas boilers since they use the same infrastructure. They should also be a comparative price and will be similar to install, so hydrogen boilers look like the sensible choice when it comes to replacing traditional systems.
That being said, the technology is still in development, whereas ground source or air source heat pumps, solar, and biomass technologies are already on the market.
Can existing gas boilers be converted to hydrogen?
Most existing boilers will be able to work with a hydrogen blend but will not support a 100% hydrogen system. Hydrogen ready boilers are being developed that will be able to work on current systems before being switched over.
Should I replace my gas boiler?
Completely replacing a heating system is an expensive and time-consuming operation that will require a lot of work around the home. Buying a new gas boiler will be a great option for people with existing systems in place that require a working heating system.
The lifespan of a boiler is usually between 10 and 15 years. In this time, you can explore alternatives when it needs to be replaced.
What does the gas boiler ban mean for me?
At the moment, the gas boiler ban won’t impact most people in the UK unless you are planning a new build. The main reason why they won’t be banned immediately is that so many people have them, and a gradual phasing out is much more likely.
With more and more people moving over to renewable heating sources, eventually, traditional systems will cost too much to run or repair, and it is likely they will become obsolete.
Ban on gas boilers – Conclusion
For those wondering when will gas boilers be banned, 2025 does seem far too soon, and there is too much work to be done in the interim.
There are pros and cons to the switch from traditional gas and oil heating systems to renewable sources. Though it isn’t really a gas boiler ban, the government’s encouragement to move from gas boilers opens up a lot of new industries and opportunities.
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) offers homeowners ways to reduce the expense of installing new systems with grants available for initial costs as well as schemes in place to pay homes depending on the energy they generate.
That being said, it is still a significant expense and a considerable commitment for homeowners who will have to replace their heating system and ensure their homes are as efficient and insulated as possible.
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