Energy Wars: Domestic Heating – Which Fuel Is Best?
It’s hard to remember a time when the fuels we use for our domestic heating have been such a hot topic and subject to so much debate. Whether it’s the price we pay for our gas and electricity, our reliance on supplies from overseas, how much we should commit to nuclear energy, or whether wind turbines are a good thing or not (the latter seems to depend chiefly on how near they are to the home of the person you’re asking), we’re now making the decisions that will dictate the way we generate our energy in the future.
When it comes to deciding on the best fuels to heat our homes, most of us don’t have the luxury of installing our own nuclear reactors or wind turbines to create our own energy, while government subsidies for solar panels have also been drastically cut in recent years.
This article will examine some of the options open to the typical householder and try to work out which domestic heating fuel is the best.
It’s still probably the most common energy used to heat our homes via the near-universal combination boilers installed across the country, but gas has never had a worse profile than it currently does. Prices have rocketed, we have been reliant on drilling for it in the North Sea or importing it from Russia (we’ve even considered fracking for it) and it isn’t even the most environmentally-friendly choice. So, if you’re looking for a long-term domestic heating solution, gas may not be the best choice, as not only is it increasingly unaffordable, but emission targets mean that it’s also likely to be phased out in the coming years.
Traditionally a far more expensive option than gas, while also being generally bad for the environment, the future of electricity as a fuel for domestic heating will rest on how successful we are in generating it using clean and/or renewable sources in the years to come. In the meantime, most of us wouldn’t choose it as our main source if starting from scratch.
If you’re not connected to natural gas, heating oil isn’t a bad option, seeing as it’s always been cheaper than electricity. It burns hotter than both gas and electricity, so it’s quite efficient as well. However, it’s hardly an environmentally-friendly option and because it’s generally stored in a tank outside the house (often in more remote locations), it is also vulnerable to being stolen.
Using wood for our heating can come in many forms. We’ve talked before about how you need to be careful about using anything that hasn’t been dried thoroughly, but modern heat logs are one of the most efficient and cleanest fuels around. They’re great for use in multi-fuel stoves and on open fires, so while they may not be ideal for heating a whole house, there’s nothing better for creating a cosy room on a cold night.
If gas has been suffering from a bad press, then coal has been doing even worse. Nevertheless, with the increasing accessibility to smokeless versions, its future may not be as bleak as some have painted it. Like wood, it’s not necessarily what you’d choose to base your whole domestic heating on, but it’s still a great choice for using on open fires and multi-fuel stoves.
Air source heat pumps
Touted as being the future of domestic central heating, heat pumps are undoubtedly going to be a greener and more cost-efficient means of heating our homes in the future. But with prices currently coming in at over £10,000 to have one installed, there aren’t many people that can afford to go for them just yet.
Here at KG Smith & Son, we’re a leading supplier of smokeless fuels for homes across the UK. Our winter fuel and smokeless fuel packages have been helping keep homes up and down the country warm for years.