Is it cheaper to use an electric heater or turn on central heating?

A drop in temperatures combined with rising energy costs means more households will be faced with higher bills this Christmas.

While energy prices fell in October, the lack of government support this winter means many will pay even more.

A one-bed home, or a low-consumption household, is expected to pay more than £25 per month more since last year.

With this in mind, we've looked at how you can keep your energy consumption and bills low while staying warm this Christmas.

Is it cheaper to heat a room or yourself? We look at the cheapest devices to keep you warm

Do you need to turn on the heating?

Central heating is one of the most expensive ways to heat your home, especially as prices remain so high.

The current Ofgem price cap limits the price of gas to 6.89 pence/kWh and 27.35 pence/kWh for electricity.

It means that a 24kW gas boiler costs £1.65 to run for an hour, while an average 12kW electric boiler (or eight radiators) costs £3.28 per hour.

An electric boiler that heats four radiators in your home costs €1.64 per hour, comparable to a gas boiler.

If a gas boiler is left on for eight hours a day, it costs €13.20 per day, or €92.40 per week. A 24kW electric boiler is even more expensive at £19.44 for 8 hours per day and £136.08 per week.

In January the price ceiling will rise to 7.42p/kWh for gas and 28.62p/kWh for electricity. It means that a 24 kW gas boiler costs £1.78 to run for an hour, while a 24 kW electric boiler costs £3.43.

Depending on the type of boiler you have, it's clear that leaving it on for just a few hours can save you quite a bit of money.

There are ways to reduce your consumption and bills, but don't neglect your radiators completely.

Turning them on, even for a short time, will keep your walls warm and prevent problems such as damp and mold.

And to make sure you only heat the rooms you use, consider turning down the radiator valves in other rooms.

> Energy-saving tips to help you pay the bills – and the myths that won't amount to much

Heating elements

A electric heating can be a good alternative to central heating, especially if you have an electric boiler that requires a lot of energy.

Using a heater limits the amount used and, depending on how well insulated your home is, can help heat the room for some time.

An average electric heater uses 2kW of energy per hour, meaning it costs 54.7p per hour to run, compared to £3.28 for a 24kW electric boiler.

If you live in a smaller house and have an electric boiler heating four radiators, it will cost you around £1.64 per hour and you can buy one for as little as £30.

Source: Howden Insurance/This is money

Source: Howden Insurance/This is money

Home insurance specialist Howden Insurance said: 'If you want to heat a larger space but are still concerned about paying full price to turn on the heating, electric heaters can provide a more cost-effective solution, although not as efficient as other options. , these are still a great cheaper alternative.'

> Is it cheaper to use electricity to heat the room I work in?

A oil heater is another option if you want to keep costs down. It uses electricity to heat a reservoir of thermal oil in the heater. When it heats up, all the heat created is transferred to the liquid.

On average it uses around 1.5kW of energy, meaning it costs just 41p per hour to run, or £3.28 for eight hours a day.

You can buy one for as little as £40-50, but bear in mind that they take a little longer to start giving off heat, so you may need to run it for longer than an electric heater.

Finally, infrared heaters are another cost-effective and energy-efficient way to heat a room. They can cost you as little as £40 and cost 30.08p per hour for an average 1.1kW heater.

Infrared heaters do not heat the air, as oil and electric heaters do, but emit infrared radiation that only heats the objects they touch.

It means that they use all the heat they produce and there is no loss in transfer, but it also means that this is not the most effective way to heat a large room.

Infrared heaters work as soon as they are turned on, but also stop radiating heat once they are turned off. Since the air is not heated, the room loses heat very quickly.

Hot water bottle

A hot water bottle is a great way to keep yourself warm in your home without using central heating.

The average 3 kW kettle, when full, costs less than a penny to boil for a minute, and about 1 cent to boil for 10 minutes.

You also don't necessarily have to refill it every hour, so it can be much cheaper than even an electric blanket.

However, there are ways to reduce your consumption if you are a fan of a hot water bottle. The Energy Saving Trust recommends buying an eco-kettle that only boils the amount of water you need, as it can save 20 percent less energy than a conventional kettle.

It also says that if you prevent your kettle from overfilling you could save £11 a year.

Electric blanket

An electric blanket has become a popular choice, especially for people who live alone or get cold easily.

By heating yourself instead of heating a room, you can drastically reduce costs. The power of an average electric blanket is about 0.1 kWh, which means it costs 2.73 cents per hour to use.

There are many blankets for sale, starting from €40, so it can be a good investment to reduce your bills.

Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at, said: 'Heated blankets and hot water bottles can be used to warm the bed before you get in, and can mean you don't have to leave the heating on in your bedroom for so long .

'A 100W electric blanket used for an hour costs 3 cents, while running a kettle for ten minutes to fill a hot water bottle costs about 1 cent.'

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