LPG Gas boilers are manufactured by some of the world’s best-known boiler brands and are designed for homes that are not connected to mains gas.
If you live in one of the 4 million UK homes that are not linked to the gas grid, you may find that an LPG boiler is the best option for your property. LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas, which is the fuel that is used to produce enough energy to heat your water. Just like a natural gas or oil boiler, an LPG boiler will enable you to control your heating and make sure you always have plenty of hot water running through your kitchen and bathroom taps.
How Do LPG Boilers Work?
The difference between LPG boilers and natural gas boilers is that the fuel (LPG) has to be delivered to your home and stored in a tank. Because of this, LPG boilers are very similar to oil boilers in that they are a great option for off-grid UK homes, only they use a different fuel type to make the boiler work. However, LPG-fired boilers operate in the same way as oil and natural gas boilers because they need to burn the fuel to heat the water that is sent to your radiators and taps.
As previously mentioned, you will need an LPG storage tank to hold the fuel, which can be located outside either above or below ground. Most homeowners choose to keep their tank in the garden above ground because it costs a lot more to install a tank underground.
LPG Boiler Prices
LPG boiler prices can vary from around £600 to £2,500, depending on your chosen make, model and size (heat output). You also need to include the cost of installation and the additional charge for an LPG storage tank, which you can buy or rent from a supplier. Just be aware that it will cost considerably more if you decide to keep your tank underground.
Many boiler brands produce ready built LPG boilers and some manufacturers even offer natural gas boilers that can be converted to LPG by using a special LPG conversion kit, so it’s worth shopping around to discover all of your options.
The table below enables you to compare just a small selection of LPG-fired boilers and their prices, which include VAT and exclude the cost of installation.
|MANUFACTURER||MODEL||DIMENSIONS||OUTPUT & FLOW RATE||EFFICIENCY||TYPICAL PRICE|
|Potterton||Assure 25 Combi LPG||H – 700 mm W – 390 mm D – 345 mm||25kW
|Vaillant||ecoTEC Plus 618 System LPG||H – 720 mm W – 440 mm D – 338 mm||18kW
|Worcester Bosch||Greenstar 24i ErP System LPG||H – 710 mm W – 400 mm D – 330 mm||24kW
|Worcester Bosch||Greenstar 27Ri ErP Regular LPG||H – 600 mm W – 390 mm D – 270 mm||27kW
|Vaillant||EcoTEC Plus 832 Combi LPG||H – 720 mm W – 440 mm D – 338 mm||32kW
|Worcester Bosch||Greenstar 35CDi Classic System LPG||H – 760 mm W – 440 mm D – 360 mm||35kW
|Baxi||Duo-tec 28 Combi LPG||H – 780 mm W – 450 mm D – 345 mm||28kW
|Worcester Bosch||Greenstar FS 30CDi Floor Standing Regular LPG||H – 850 mm W – 400 mm D – 600 mm||30kW
Please note: Before purchasing a new LPG boiler, you should always consult a Gas Safe heating engineer who can guide you through the replacement process and help you choose the right size boiler for your home. It’s essential that you pick the right size (kW) to ensure the boiler can cope with your demands and work efficiency to keep your fuel bills as low as possible.
LPG Boiler Running Costs
It’s hard to say how much you’ll need to spend on your heating and hot water each year when using an LPG boiler because there are a number of factors that influence your annual bills, such as your home’s efficiency, the amount of energy you use, boiler efficiency and the LPG supplier’s rate. However, we can tell you that heating with LPG has a cost of around 6.16p/kW and the average yearly cost is just under £800. Please remember, this information should be used as a guide only because it won’t be accurate for every household in the UK.
You’ll also need to pay a standing charge if you decide to rent your LPG tank. Prices vary between suppliers and you can expect to pay anything from £60 to £70 annually. If you opt for an underground tank, the tank rental fees will be higher.
How is LPG Stored and Delivered?
Like we said earlier, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) must be stored in an external tank, either somewhere in your garden or underground. Special pipework and vessels also need to be installed to link the tank to your property. As there are different tank sizes available, we recommend you ask a professional to help you determine the right size for you and your home. If you choose to have an above-ground tank, it must be installed on a concrete or prefabricated base. An underground tank might be best if you prefer to keep the tank hidden, however, the lid or hatch is usually visible so that your supplier can refuel as and when required. You should seek professional advice about whether it would be better to place your tank above or below ground.
The LPG fuel is delivered by a road tanker that has its own pump to refuel LPG storage tanks. This means that the delivery tanker needs good road access. Also, the space between the road and your storage tank must be free from obstruction so that the driver can get to your tank. Since you’ll need to arrange these deliveries yourself, it’s important to keep an eye how much fuel you’re using. If you don’t do this, you could run out. Having said that, you can purchase a tank monitoring system that monitors the amount of LPG in your tank and alerts your supplier when your tank level is low and you need more fuel.
Advantages and Disadvantages of LPG Boilers
LPG boilers have become more popular over recent years because they have many appealing benefits but they do have some drawbacks that need to be considered as well. We’ve put together a list of the advantages and disadvantages of using LPG to provide your home with heating and hot water.
- Highly efficient: Most modern LPG boilers are A-rated for energy efficiency and can achieve efficiencies of 90% or above, which means you’ll save money on your fuel bills.
- Cleaner fuel: Although a fossil fuel, LPG can help to reduce your carbon footprint because it’s a far cleaner option than oil.
- Cheaper upfront cost than oil boilers: LPG boilers tend to be cheaper to purchase than oil burners, making them ideal if your home doesn’t connect to mains gas and you have less money to play with when replacing your boiler.
- Smaller than oil boiler units: The majority of LPG boilers are fairly compact compared to oil boilers, and some even have an extremely low noise output.
- Better choice of models: There aren’t that many boiler brands that make oil boilers but, thankfully, the same can’t be said for LPG boilers. Trusted manufacturers such as Baxi, Potterton, Vaillant and Worcester Bosch produce LPG heating systems of all types and sizes, and some even offer natural gas boilers that can be converted to LPG units.
- Higher fuel costs: Despite the fact that the price of LPG has dropped in recent years, it costs more than oil and natural gas. Plus, it’s likely to remain more expensive than oil and gas, regardless of what the future holds.
- Fossil fuel: Even though LPG is a cleaner fuel than oil, it’s still a fossil fuel, meaning it does release harmful gases and carbon monoxide.
- LPG deliveries: Since LPG must be delivered by road, there may be times when your supplier can’t get to you because of bad weather or poor road conditions. By having to get your LPG fuel delivered, you also run the risk of running out.
- Additional storage tank costs: No matter whether you choose to purchase or rent your LPG storage tank, this is still an additional cost that must be taken into consideration before opting for an LPG boiler. Some suppliers will install an above-ground tank for free if you decide to rent, but you still have to pay an annual rental fee in addition to your LPG fuel top up and boiler running costs.
- The tank holds a limited supply of LPG: An LPG storage tank can only hold a limited amount of LPG fuel, so you must pay close attention to your fuel levels and plan ahead to ensure your deliveries arrive before you run out.