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Alternatives to gas boilers

Heat pump outside of house with white cladding

Why should I consider an alternative to a gas boiler ?

Every home needs a functional central heating system capable of providing hot water and warmth to the entire property, that much is a given. Depending on the age of your property, the method at which your home is heated could be very different, though the vast majority of homes still utilise a fossil fuelled gas boiler system of some kind.

Gas boilers have been the de facto standard in central heating for many years and still represent around 75% of all central heating systems in the UK. With that said, there are many reasons you might consider changing from a gas boiler to an alternative solution. For example, if any of the following apply, you may want to think about switching it up:

  • Current heating system is not performing efficiently
  • Current heating system has ceased to function
  • Seeking a heating system with a focus on environmentally friendly operation (and a reduction of your carbon footprint.)
  • Seeking less reliance on gas price index

It is important to consider the expense of changing your boiler, which can be anywhere upwards from £1,500. If you don’t require a new boiler immediately, it might be wise to wait until a later date, or look into upgrading your controls instead to improve system efficiency. It can be difficult to know exactly when to change systems, but if any of the above apply, you have a pretty good basis to research alternatives.

Watch our video Is My Home Heat Pump Ready?

Alternatives to gas boilers

Fortunately, for anyone considering a new heating system, there are a range of robust solutions available for the majority of homeowners. We’ve detailed the best alternatives below and whether they’re the right fit for you.

Mother and daughter in garden with aroTHERM plus in background

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps operate in much the same way as a ground source heat pump, whereby home heating energy is generated from the extraction of thermal energy in the air itself, then converted via the system itself. Again, around 75% of the energy required for operation is drawn from renewable sources and a further 25% from electricity.

Air source heat pumps are visible after installation, yet do not require a great deal of space, making them ideal for properties with limited space, such as flats or dense urban areas.

Read our guide on air source heat pumps for more information.

Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps utilise a form of ground heat extraction to generate energy for your heating system. They function in cold temperatures, and use approximately 75% renewable energy and 25% electricity to operate.

Installation can be done either via a ground array system or a borehole system. Ground arrays install a series of pipes that extract heat from the ground, travelling through the pipes and into the main system for conversion and use. You will need a fair amount of ground space to install, though the installation itself wouldn’t be noticeable once complete. Borehole systems operate via installing a borehole that delves much deeper into the earth, thus requiring far less land space than a ground array system. The specific depth of the hole will change depending on the needs of the property itself and will be largely unnoticeable once installation is complete.

Read our guide on ground source heat pumps for more information.

Man stood next to a Flexotherm heat pump

Water source heat pumps

Water source heat pumps generate home heating energy from a nearby water source, drawing the thermal energy into the heat pump system and translating that to usable home heating energy. The size of the installation will change based on the demands of the property - number of occupants and general home size - and will be assessed by a qualified installer.

Despite general consensus, the actual surface temperature of the water will not affect performance meaningfully, as the source used is deeper in the water body itself. Generally, water source heat pumps generate energy from 75% renewable sources and 25% energy, much akin to other heat pump solutions.

Read our guide on water source heat pumps for more information.


Alternative heating solutions are ideal for any home looking to modernise their property as the needs for low carbon solutions continues to grow.

To learn more about upgrading you heating with a new heat pump system, find out more on our heat pump system page.

Browse our Heat Pump range