Save Money with a Gas Boiler
That isn’t to say that, however, that an electric wall fan heater is entirely eco-friendly. With 2010 gas prices at a high, most homeowners will still save more money with an efficient gas boiler compared to an electric fan heater. This is because, although an electric heater itself may be 100% efficient, the power station that produces the electricity generally won’t be.
In fact, unless a household gets its electricity from renewable energy sources, powering an electric fan heater may actually burn more fossil fuels than heating a home by gas. Power stations which generate electricity from fossil fuels are generally only 35%-40% efficient – compare that with up to 90% efficiency of a new gas boiler.
British Gas tariffs, for example, from April 9th, advertised gas at $0.14/kWh and electricity at $0.33/kWh. If an electrical heater is 100% efficient and a boiler is around 80% efficient, that still leaves the electrical heater as being around twice as expensive in terms of pure heat energy conversion.
These figures can of course be misleading - as already discussed, energy conversion is not the only factor that matters and significant energy savings can be made by ensuring that a steady flow of air is maintained. Heat pumps, when used in conjunction with an electric fan heater, can increase the effectiveness of a heating system and reduce energy costs. However, in pure energy terms, burning gas is a cheaper, greener alternative for producing heat energy.
Therefore, while electric wall fan heaters may be superior to other electric heaters, they are no more eco-friendly than burning gas in the home and are often considerably more expensive to run. As gas prices rise, it may become more cost-effective to run electrical fan heaters. Equally, as more national power is generated from renewable sources, it may become more eco-friendly to do so. However, in the current economic climate, gas central heating systems are greener and more cost-effective than electrical fan heaters.