What is the Cheapest Way to Heat Your Home

Brits this winter are faced with the grim prospect of soaring energy bills, high inflation and the wider cost-of-living crisis. With energy bills having gone up again in October, many are struggling to pay the bills and find themselves rationing energy usage or looking to alternatives to stay warm as colder months approach.

Gas Boiler and Solar Thermal Panels

If you can pay the initial upfront cost, installing solar thermal panels is a great way to save money and is the cheapest way to heat your home. You will also need a hot water cylinder and gas boiler for them to work, which combined can cost upwards of £9,000, so this won’t work for everyone.

If you already have a gas boiler this will knock about £4,000 off the initial cost. Unfortunately, with British weather being as cloudy as it is during winter, the panels won’t be able to meet all your energy demands during the coldest months. Over the course of the year though, they will provide approximately 50% of your energy for free, meaning some huge savings which will help your money go further when you need to pay for additional heating. The average annual running cost for a 3-bedroom house is £618.

Gas Central Heating

If your home is already has a natural gas connection, then gas central heating will most likely be the most affordable way to heat your home. This will not last forever though as the cost of gas is rising almost twice as much as electricity. As it stands the average running cost for a gas central heating system in a 3-bedroom house is £1,236.

Electric Central Heating

Electric heating is particularly common in flats and new build properties. Usually comprising separate, individual heaters as opposed to a connected system like gas central heating. In older properties, storage heaters coupled with specific electricity tariffs can be common. They can be cost-effective way to heat your home, switching on at night-time when it’s cheaper and storing the heat in ceramic bricks which let out the heat over the course of the next day.

As it stands, electricity is still a more expensive way of heating your home compared to gas, with the price of electricity at 16p per kilowatt compared to 4.65p per kilowatt for gas as of 4th October 2022. With prices going the way they are, you can expect gas to eventually become more expensive with restricted supplies due to the Russia-Ukraine war and government regulation. It’s also worth noting that electricity is a much more sustainable source of heating than gas.

Oil Central Heating

Oil is a particularly common method of heating for properties in Northern Ireland, with it being the cheapest fuel there. It is on the more expensive side, with oil having become three times as expensive over the past year according to the Office for National Statistics. The price will likely only continue to rise as the UK looks to move away from fossil fuels.

The average running cost for a 3-bedroom house is £1,614, but it is not recommended to invest in this type of heating system due to the further predicted rise in costs. The oil must also be kept on site near your home, so can be an eyesore in a garden.

Biomass Boiler

A biomass boiler is a cost-effective way of heating your home, costing an average £948 a year to run. The drawback is the huge upfront cost you’ll have to pay, with a biomass boiler costing around £18,000 to buy and install.

It’s therefore not an option for most people and it isn’t even that sustainable either, with the average boiler emitting 0.7 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. Trees will also have to be cut down in order to fuel it.


If your property has a wood burner, firewood can be an incredibly efficient method of heating, especially if you chop and gather the wood yourself. Modern wood burners have become even more efficient, meaning they can keep a room nice and warm for longer. You’d also not be reliant on external companies supplying your energy.

The only disadvantage is that they require regular tending and you’ll either have to purchase the wood from a supplier or cut it down yourself which can take a lot of time. It also won’t heat your whole home if you are relying on a wood burner and nothing else, unless you have multiple wood burners throughout the house. More suited to country living, this isn’t an option for everyone.

Ultimately, the cheapest heating method will depend on your personal circumstance. For most people whose homes are already linked up to the gas network, gas central heating is the cheapest option. If you have the funds to invest in solar thermal panels and already have a gas boiler, this is the cheapest option available. It’s recommended to avoid oil where possible due to its rapidly rising price.

This article was written by an online estate agent House Sales Direct. If you wish to sell your house fast and for free, then head over to the House Sales Direct website for more property related information and enquiries.