Heat Pump vs Electric Radiator: Efficiency and Cost Comparison

Heat Pump vs Electric Radiator: Efficiency and Cost Comparison

It’s not always straightforward to choose the most efficient heating system for your property. 

We now have more choices than ever before, and deciding which will work for you can be confusing. 

Gas central heating and radiators feature in many homes across the UK, but with the need to reduce our individual carbon footprints looking to us electric to help keep you warm is a prudent move for your wallet and the planet. 

Electric radiators have long been one of the most common solutions to this but now Heat Pumps are making a huge amount of noise. 

But what if there are more efficient options than electric radiators available? 

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly more common thanks to the efficiency and green energy credentials they deliver. 

To choose between these two options, you need to understand what each can offer, how much they cost, and which will be most efficient for your situation. By comparing heat pumps and electric radiators, you can discover which will work best for your home or business.

Energy Efficiency: Heat Pump vs Electric Radiator

Heat pumps can be either ground-source or air-source heat pumps, taking energy from the ground or air, respectively. 

They can be used for heating, cooling, and heating water to provide your home with the environment you need. Heat pumps may be used together with underfloor heating or can be used with wet radiators, heating water before sending it around your heating system.

In terms of efficiency, heat pumps are generally more efficient than electric radiators or other heating systems powered by electricity. 

They work by moving heat from one location to another. 

Electrical radiators have to convert electricity into heat, making them less efficient. The Energy Saving Trust says that heat pumps have 300% efficiency upwards, compared to 85% for an A-rated gas boiler (which is more efficient than electric heating).

It’s also important to keep in mind that heat pumps require electricity too. They need a power source to keep going so that they can harness energy from the air or ground. They generally use more electricity compared to a gas central heating system such as a boiler, but they use a lot less than electric radiators and they’re still an efficient option.

Cost Comparison: Electric Heating vs Heat Pump

Cost is always a key concern when trying to decide what type of heating system is right for you. You need to think about both the initial cost of installation and the ongoing costs of energy bills and maintenance.

Installing a heat pump can cost anywhere between £2,000 and £20,000. There are many factors involved in the total cost, including the type of heat pump installed and how much work is required on the property. There are also grants available to help pay for the installation of heat pumps. For example, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is available in England and Wales if you are replacing a fossil fuel heating system with a heat pump, with up to £7,500 in funding offered.

The running costs of a heat pump will likely be lower compared to electric radiators. Studies have suggested that homeowners could save hundreds of pounds each year by installing heat pumps. 

Heat pumps cost an average of £1,540 per year to run, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Due to them using electricity rather than gas to heat your home the option to use renewable energy from Solar panels or Battery Storage means you could look to go carbon neutral pretty fast. 

Performance Analysis: Air Source Heat Pump vs Electric Radiators

To get the best performance from a heat pump, it’s recommended that you increase the size of your radiators. There are however new models coming to market that run at a higher temperature which means you might need to make any changes to your radiator set-up. The best way to find out is to speak to an expert installer. 

Heat pumps don’t heat water to as high a temperature compared to gas boilers, which means increasing the surface area of the radiators can help to improve performance. Running the heating for longer can often ensure it works out better too.

Both electric radiators and heat pumps can offer you good control over your heating and hot water. 

Smart technology has made this even easier, allowing you to control your heating system from your phone or other devices. 

You can decide what time your heating or hot water is on, and how hot you want it to be too. 

Being able to control your heating remotely also makes it more efficient and provides you with better performance.

Which is Better: Panel Heaters or Heat Pump?

If you’re looking for efficiency and performance, installing a heat pump will be the right option for you. 

Heat pumps are more efficient and cheaper to run compared to electric radiators when heating your home. You can use them to heat your hot water too. You can get help with the cost of installing a heat pump thanks to government grants, but it’s also important to check what you might need to do to install a new heat pump and make the appropriate changes to your property.

Electric radiators can have some benefits, such as easy installation. However, if you’re looking for the option that’s most efficient and can save you money over time, a heat pump is the best option for you.

Heat pumps are typically easy to maintain, requiring about the same amount of maintenance as a gas boiler. However, it’s still important to be aware of the maintenance required and the costs involved. An annual service will cost around £150 per year.

When comparing heat pumps and electric radiators, you’re likely to find that heat pumps are the more efficient option for you. The money saved over time and the grants available help to balance out the cost of installation.

About the author 

Matt Tomkin

Matt, founder of Eco Affect, is a passionate and experienced writer in the eco-friendly, sustainability sector and has worked on various projects to support individuals and businesses looking to reduce costs, carbon footprint and ecological impacts.

His main goal with Eco Affect is to create a space whereby any individual or organisation can learn about their environmental impact and make positive changes to support the environment. This passion is driven by his fear for the future his young children will grow up in, and a first-hand understanding of running a business in a sustainable manner in 2024.

Matt has:
- Years of supporting and writing in the environmental sector
- Close contact with important players in the eco-sphere, including working relationships with green-tech manufacturers and eco-educators from the top Universities in the UK
- First-hand experience of implementing green-tech into his home and working environments

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