is electric heating likely to become cheaper than gas heating in future?

Bruce wrote:

That's an accountant's result, because the nuclear industry has to factor in the cost of decommissioning but the fossil fuel industries don't have to factor in the cost of cleaning up the CO2 in the atmosphere.
Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy Champ wrote:

And it's actually not true, not in the case of Sizewell at least. Early reactors were of course primarily designed to make plutonium, not electricity. That was a neat way of getting rid of the waste heat and spinning them as useful.
Current generating costs are cost competitive with carbon fuel.
see
http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/cnf_sectionC.htm#n
Basically, a good reactor operating at a decent load factor is well clear of the competition in terms of overall cost - and that graph is 2002 figures, when the global gas market was still relatively cheap.
AND it includes decommissioning.
I guess there wasn't room at the top of the graph for windpower..

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Here; a province in eastern Canada, with a population of approx. a half million persons, almost all (about 95%) of our electrcity is generated by hydro. With reasonable insulation levels, very tightly sealed modern homes having heat recovery air exchangers etc, is completely competitive with other fuels. Very few new homes now use other than electricity for heating and it would be true that virtually 100% of new construction is electric. There are no supplies of piped in gas; propane is used for BarBEQUes and/or delivered to 100 or 200 pound tanks for say a gas fireplace. The occasional restaurant use propane for cooking stoves.
Electricity is without the complications/hazards of gas lines, chimneys, combustion chambers, fuel tanks and the need for electricity anyway to operate relays, pumps, ignition systems and blowers etc. Electric heating is usually installed by the electricians at same that they wire the house.
Our electrcity is generated several hundred miles away; a situation similar to say using Scottish electrcity in Bristol?
Here there are no cheap rates, all domestic electrcity is rated the same no matter when consumed. Taking an average domestic electrcity bill (monthly billing) and dividing by the number of kilowatts used it average to just over 10 cents per k.watt/hr (Unit). This takes into account a monthly per account charge of about $16 (About ten quid even if no electricity is used) and an overall sales-tax of, now, 13%.
Reliability of service is excellent, even with heavy icing and snow storms. The general use of aerial lines and connections to individual homes also allows very fast restoration. Imagine trying to dig up a street with below freezing temps and traffic! Billing methods are operated very fairly and speedily and phone access to power co. service-reps. or maintenance depts. is good. Rates are regulated by a provincial government Public Utilities Board.
Personal electric baseboard maintenance cost for this all-electric house during the last 40 years has been less than $100; two thermostats and one circuit breaker. None of the approx. dozen baseboard heaters, ranging from 500 watt (bathroom) to 3000 watt (two 1500s end to end in the biggest room) have gone open or given other trouble. We do use a small fan in the family room which is open to the kitchen and also to the front hall/passage way to bedroom (all on one floor bungalow) to help circulate the heat.
Allowing for other costs versus the low front end cost of an electric heating installation (electrcity being needed anyway for other household work) compared to the first costs and other trades need for other fuels it would appear that, here, that basic electric heating would be/is competitive up to somewhere around 1.5 times the cost of the fuel.
Air and occasionally ground heat pumps are appearing in some newer houses. First costs of a minimum additional $15,000 to $20,000 are mentioned for an average 3 bedroom two storey house of around 2000 to 2500 sq. feet. They seem to work OK? Down to around minus 10 to 15 degrees Celsius? Especially when windy (not uncommon here next tot he North Atlantic!) Below which it becomes electric heating. Much larger homes are appearing with, rumoured heating installations costs much higher!
We are, ironically, subjected to acid rain from North American industrial pollution; which afterwards blows out over the Atlantic towards Europe. There's no such thing IOHO, as 'clean coal'; as British cities found out about a century ago? One does recall walking right up to the side of a fully lit up a double decker bus (Unlike the red London buses, were they green? Or was that only Liverpool buses and trams,) in Manchester in 1955/56 and being a few feet away before knowing what it was!
Anyway just for comparison-info/comment. BTW It's about plus 3 degrees C. today (unusually mild for here) snow mostly gone it but feels damp and bone chilling!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
terry wrote:

Hydro, if you have the correct geography, is in fact dirty cheap, as teh fuel is free. Its very similar to nuclear in that respect, although nuclear has the added complexity of steam generation and the actual reactor, so capital costs may be higher, depending on how big a dam has to be built. Hydro dams though have longer lifetimes than most power stations .

a couple of hundred miles of RELIABLE generation to consumer adds about 10% typically to the cost at our rates here (UK)
The problem comes when you have to over specify that to use teh power that e.g. a windfarm MIGHT generate. Or might not. Because the load factor is around 30%, you need typically three times as much grid capacity to fully utilise the windfarm, which is a hidden cost that is almost never mentioned by anyone, and certainly never by the Dynamo Devotees.

I suspect that because when its cold, people run heating 24x7, and when its hot, aircon 24x7 :-)

There you are wrong. Aerial lines may fix faster, but they need fixing more often. For which reason the National Grid here no longer builds any 11KV overheads and all new build houses have underground feeders.
They almost never go wrong.
Whereas we get outages from the overhead 11KV stuff every year. Trees or wing causing them to arc over., or simple insulator degradation causing similar.
Although its 5 times more expensive to underground, in general, the cost benefit from less maintenance makes it ultimately the cheaper way to manage lines at these intermediate voltages.
At higher voltages the capacitative loss to ground makes it infeasible sadly. Unless you use DC. But that has other problems.
Billing methods are

Yes, its very cheap. I doubt even nuclear can match a good hydro power installation.
And of course Canada is home to the CANDU reactor which is also very cheap per Kwh as a generator.

yes, the heatpump doesn't do a good job at REALLY low temps.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I don't have gas, I have domestic oil heating. However, this winter I have used a small fan heater to heat only those parts of the house I'm actually using and I reckon it's worked out cheaper than oil.
Consider:
My house is not fitted with a CH thermostat, even though the house was only built in 2004. Dunno why the builder didn't fit one, since he wasn't into cutting costs. A thermostat wouldn't have cost a lot during construction, but there ya go. It's only this winter that it has been very cold for a long time. In previous very cold winters heating wasn't so expensive, relatively speaking. Since 2004 the winter heating bill was only a little higher than normal. I can remember one winter a couple or three years back when the outside temp barely got down to zero, it was that mild.
Anyway, back to the non-existent CH thermostat, and instead of this each radiator is fitted with a Honeywell thermostat, so you can adjust the temperature of each rad. That does, of course, mean that you have to constantly monitor the setting, which is a PITA.
Next, when the CH comes on you have to wait some considerable time (20 minutes) before a cold room starts to become warm, whereas a fan heater is instantaneous. The fan heater does have a thermoswitch, so it constantly cycles on and off as the desired room temperature is maintained. Most importantly, only the room I'm using is heated. Okay, on VERY cold nights I've switched on the CH during the early hours merely to avoid pipe damage.
I have just paid my winter electricity bill. 218 for 110 days. This is roughly 100 more than the previous bill which was for 92 days.
BUT.....! How much targeted heating would I have got from a 100's worth of heating oil over the same 110 day period? 100 would have bought approx 267 litres of oil back in early December and I don't think 267 litres would have lasted 110 days! Of course, the price of oil has since increased (latest price I have 42.27 pence per litre 16/Mar/2010), whereas the electricity went down last year from 12.74 to 11.51 pence a unit.
I may spend up to 8 hours a day in my computer room (although retired, I dabble in software development), so what's the point of switching the CH on to heat (even on a low setting) the rest of the house? Sure, it's a bit nippy taking a dump, but I grew up in houses without any form of CH, so I can take it! And if it's REALLY cold I'll take the fan heater with me into the bathroom. We're only talking a few minutes here, anyway.
Most recently I purchased a small oil-filled radiatior for one room (Argos 24.99) and it is even better than the fan heater. One should not leave a fan heater unattended, but it's far safer to leave a room with one of these oil-filled rads. Now, once the temperature of the room comes up I can turn down the thermostat on this little radiator to half or a quarter and it keeps the room quite comfortably warm for very few pennies per hour.
I do, of course, have a considerable amount of oil left in the tank! I use the oil boiler mainly for hot water, but that doesn't consume anything like as much as the CH. I can get a bathful of piping hot water and do this for days and days without the level on the oil tank barely dropping. Just heating hot water using oil isn't expensive, I reckon. It's the CH that whacks up the costs.
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

1 litre of 28 sec. Kerosene = 10 kWH = 43p 10 kWH electricity = 115p
That's an impressive saving you're making there, bub, paying about three times more to heat your home using electricity than the cost of using CH oil.
The way that you are making savings is to heat less of your home. You could reduce your bills further by turning off all the CH rads in the rooms you don't use and by restricting your CH to the same times that you use your electric heater.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 07:27:42 +0000, Steve Firth wrote:

have

down

But the he isn't heating the whole house. If you don't heat it you don't spend any money on fuel for space heating, which is the biggest consumer of energy.
I'd also say that the OP ought to shop around for his electricity 11 to 12p/unit is expensive, I'm paying 9.03p/unit.
--
Cheers
Dave.




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dave Liquorice wrote:

yes. The point is that this may be more cost effective than embarking on micro control of every room.

Very hard to find anwyeher that exactly suits your usage pattern and gives you a good deal.
I tried one of those online calculators and it showed that I couldnt do much better than 10.snmething p for my actual total usage across any supplier.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 11:29:24 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Assuming 5,000kWhr/year a 1p saving on the unit price is 50/year, 2p/unit 100. I consider that to be worthwhile.
--
Cheers
Dave.




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 08:48:15 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

What would you be paying to the same supplier if you were in Spalding, though? Southern Electric has many different rates, depending on where one lives.
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 13:40:12 +0000, MM wrote:

11
This is true and why I said that the OP ought to shop around rather than go for company X. My 9.03p/unit is Scottish Power, electricity only, paperless, online, fixed monthly DD, standing charge. Southern Electric for here best price is 10.09p/unit. Use one of the price comaprision sites.
Even Equipower is competative with the OP's rate for here at 12.14p/unit remember that with there is no standing charge at all not even a "hidden" one so thats about 35/year cheaper straight off.
--
Cheers
Dave.




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 07:27:42 +0000, %steve%@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth) wrote:

But with oil I would be heating parts of my home that I don't reach! Therefore you are not comparing like with like. With CH you cannot 'dose' the heat like you can with a fan heater, whose heat is instantaneous (no pipes to heat up, etc). With CH you don't feel any benefit for at least 20 minutes, whereas with the fan heater you feel the benefit within about 10 seconds. Meanwhile I would be paying for the oil needed for those 20 minutes during which no benefit is perceived.

Exactly! You finally understood.

Oh, what a brilliant suggestion. So here I am in my workroom and it's cold, so I run down to the annexe to switch the CH on for 30 minutes, remembering to switch it off in good time so as not to build up too much residual heat that I have to open a window. Then I run back upstairs again and carry on working. Repeat as necessary.
Alternatively, I reach under my desk to the fan heater and press the switch...
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Actually it is a brilliant suggestion. That is what I do in winter. I turn the radiators TRVs to the frost setting in the rooms that I am not using. Simples.

Buy a better programmer so that you can set the on/off times to suit your needs and install TRVs in the rooms you use.

And you press the switch that costs you more money than heating heating by oil.
Adam
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 25 Mar 2010 18:07:01 -0000, "ARWadsworth"

So you reckon I could have got the same amount of *targeted* warmth (i.e. only where I am at at any given moment) over the past 110 days from less than a 100's worth of heating oil? Because that is how much I've spent on top of my usual electricity bill. One hundred pounds. Less than a quid a day. Do you reckon your CH is costing you less than a quid a day?
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Over the winter months my heating bill was more than a quid a day. I do not go for the completely unheated house though. I also heat the hallway, landing and bathroom. I would find it rather unplasant having no heating on at all in those rooms.
My winter heating cost me 130 for 90 days. Of course I might be out of the house for a lot longer than you or prefer a cooler temperature. The room stat in the hall is usually set at 17 deg.
Have you thought about a wireless roomstat that you can take around with you? By all means use the electric fan for the instantaneous heating when you first enter a cold room but turn the radiator on. As the radiator heats up (so seem to have a big time lag) you can then turn the fan off and you can control your room temperature with the remote stat.
Adam
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 26 Mar 2010 10:04:36 -0000, "ARWadsworth"

Ah, you see, I don't. I wear a jersey. I grew up in houses without CH. I am a hardy soul.

The temperature in my hall dropped to 10 deg during the coldest nights. But I'm only in the hall for a matter of seconds while I walk to the room I occupy.

Is there such a thing?

How would the remote stat work anyway? How would I connect it to the existing CH system? (I think this is all rather "blue sky" thinking on your part, actually.)
MM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I cannot close all the doors and just sit in one room as I have two cats. Therefore I need to have some heat in the hall and landing so that the room I am in is not blasted by cold air from them. And when I am work the heating is off. The cats have fur and not my central heating to keep them warm.

See above re. my cats. And at night my heating is off unless the frost stat kicks in.

Of course. See below for a few examples
http://www.heatingcontrolsonline.co.uk/programmable-thermostats-c-21_31.html

It is not at all "blue sky" thinking. You would connect it to your existing system by following the instructions in the manual or by asking on this newsgroup (I have installed hundreds of them) if you need a little help.
You would then control your CH via the wireless room stat. No need to run down to the annex to turn anything on or off.
I appreciate that it is not instantaneous heat from the CH but if you know what time you are going to use your computer room you can set the timer to come on 20 minutes before you go in and leave all the other TRVs in the house on the frost setting. You can also turn the heating off 20 minutes before you leave the room as the heat stored in the radiator will keep the room warm unlike an electric fan.
Cheers
Adam
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My last c/h system had fur.. It used to clog up the heat exchanger. ;-)
Al
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 28 Mar 2010 15:06:13 +0000, Al 1953 wrote:

It obviously wore the wrong type of shoes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
system if it takes that long to have an effect. Mine is 50,000 BTU into a copper heat exchanger into low water content radiators. It takes no more than a few minutes to warm up.
It doesn't hold the heat much either so it doesn't overshoot the programmed temp.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.