New flat conversion – electric or gas?

by Readers Question

8:20 AM, 22nd December 2015
About 4 years ago

New flat conversion – electric or gas?

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New flat conversion – electric or gas?

I am converting a semi-detached large house into 5 self contained flats. 4 x flats will be 1 bedroom and 1 x 2/3 bedrooms.gas

The 1 x 2/3 bedroom flat will have gas and I was contemplating gas central heating for the others too. However, I am now reconsidering as now the partitions are going in, they do not actually look that big (around 35 sq.m). They would only need 1 radiator in the living room/kitchen, 1 in the bedroom and 1 towel rail in the shower room.

Given the above, I was thinking of keeping the 4 x 1 bedroom flats as electric only with electric radiators and a electric handwash for the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Obviously, this will save me capital outlay, but the other reason in support of my thoughts around electric is because everything (and I mean everything as it is back to brick) will be brought up to modern standards in terms of insulation.

The potential capital outlay saving is circa £8000 (if i budget £2k per flat for boiler, piping and radiators). However, if I were to have gas, now is the time to install it as everything is ripped up.

Thoughts and opinions?

Des



Comments

Mike Tighe

11:11 AM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Des.
As Sharon says electric heating is far better now.But when I did some comparative sums about 18 months ago, even with super efficient electric heating (heat store etc..) gas was still considerably cheaper per unit of heat produced than electricity. With oil prices dropping and looking to stay that way the difference may even out a bit but I doubt by enough to make much difference. However, as the flats are small and you are carrying out wall insulation to building reg standards the difference in monthly bills per flat is going to be pretty modest. Perhaps you should do some local research – talk to a few agents and look at on-line listings. In my area if you find a flat with a lower rent you can guarantee it has electric heating as tenants all know someone who has high bills. The listings never mention the heating which means it is electric ! So you'd need to factor in possible lower rental income. You could mitigate that by advertising as super efficient and highly insulated, and not having to worry about gas tests would be great.
You can get some very neat mains pressure water heaters that go under the sink and feed a normal tap - much neater than the over sink jobs.
Have you had quotes for the new gas supplies yet ? This can be a minefield. Officially if you are having 4 or less new gas supplies they should count as domestic connections so will be a few hundred pounds each (especially if you dig the trenches on your land). Any more and they decide you are a developer and charge you thousands for the new 'infrastructure". Even with 4 new connections they can still decide to treat you as a developer depending on the local conditions. So this could be a game changer.
The articles about gas being fased out I think are way exaggerated – by the time that makes a difference you'd probably be looking to refurb again anyway.
Chris's idea about solar panels on the roof could be worth looking at. Maybe you could link to one or 2 of the flats only, and rent them at higher rent with bills included and you keep the income from the panels ? You'd need to get them fitted before March though before the feedback subsidies go down.
By the way, if you are super insulating, be extra careful to make sure you have enough ventilation – window trickle vents and best quality high output fans in bathrooms and kitchen as a minimum. If not you will get mould as tenants never open widows enough and all the moisture from just living there stays there.
Good Luck

Rudolph Banton

11:18 AM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

As the sun rays potential for electricity realized the price of electric will probably be more reasonable. The future of gas and other fuels over the next fifteen years are uncertain with climate change much on the radar. Maybe a rumour but read an article from US about 36,000 years of free electricity realized from the sun particles. Growatt New Energy Technology Co.LTD with Solar and lithium rechargeable batteries comes with some independence from the grid.

Rudolph.

JohnCaversham

11:23 AM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

I use whatever i can get may hands on deal wise on the day!
Creda is a reputable make or something like this which comes with a fan boost:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vent-Axia-Combination-Automatic-Electric-Storage-Heater-1-7kW-Convector-Heating-/351605992424?hash=item51dd59abe8:g:2-YAAOSwUdlWcU-B

The fan is wired to a normal ring main and provides a boost for extra daytime heat if required. Usually in the lounge only.

But yes eco 7 tariff is the way forward with all elect. You can have point if use elect water heating if space is tight, or a small cylinder with dual tarrif elements, but in my 1 bedders i don't bother fitting a bath, just a nice posh shower enclosure and a 10.5kw shower (£80 B and Q!) plus a 70 or 90 litre cylinder with dual tariff supply.

Find a supplier on line and get a quote for the storage heaters then haggle hard for a discount as you'll be buying a few no doubt!

Rgds J

matchmade

12:10 PM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

If I were a tenant for a flat, I would be reluctant to choose an all-electric one because electric typically costs three times more than gas per kWh. This is only likely to get worse if the Government keeps heaping climate change subsidies onto electricity bills.

Could you get a SAP calculation done at the same time as you produce your EPCs, to provide some additional evidence about the likely cost to run the flats? I agree that if you insulate the building fabric well, this will go a long way to keep the bills down, and solar panels might be a worthwhile investment to provide reassurance to your future tenants about running costs.

Perhaps consider too installing a water softener on your rising mains? This will save your tenants on their bills, and save you on future capital replacement costs.

JohnCaversham

12:30 PM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

Common misnomer that elect is more expensive....In an older poorly insulated larger property then elect doesn't make sense but in a modern well insulated (to current regs) smaller property then elect is the way forward.
The secret is the insulation..
Yes gas is cheaper to run kw/h for kw/h but with the low usage of a small property that's well insulated to 2015 standards then the difference is marginal...
Most developers converting/refurbing smaller properties go elect for cost simplicity reliability..etc water softener may apply for hard water area's, stainless steel cylinder elements will over come this issue anyway, inline WRAS approved softener will work on incoming supply.

Recardo Knights

16:41 PM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

stick with electric may cost a bit more to run week by week but on the upside no Gas cert, boiler and rad replacements, or water leaks.

Have you thought about the cost of all the gas metres to be installed?

Chris Byways

20:40 PM, 23rd December 2015
About 4 years ago

Des, will you be on Pre-payment meters?

Who decides this, what's the pros and cons? I have them in an nonlicenable HMO, and the unit rates are so much more expensive, having got them, who decides if the tenant can have a credit account, and is the Landlord at greater risk from runners?

It is not well insulated, but the EPC is D, which I find amazing, but being listed is hard to do much about, and the EPC is not necessary of course.

Paul Tarry

20:56 PM, 24th December 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi

I am currently (electric being sorted by qualified electrician) installing an electric central heating system, the property is in an area where there is no gas

The main complaint against storage heaters is that you have to plan 24 hours ahead, with electric central heating it is almost as quick as gas and will react to changing requirements very quickly, once the first two metres are completed in copper the rest can be done in poly (JG Speedfit being the best I have found) otherwise everything else is as gas central heating

Let me know if you wqant a link to a bery good boiler compant I found, the boiler was £1K inc VAT so is competiitve

Paul

Chris Byways

21:29 PM, 24th December 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Tarry" at "24/12/2015 - 20:56":

Doesn't this mean you are paying day rate for the electric heating?

I have just replaced a storage heater. The old one was manual control, so you could turn the output down overnight, but if not it loses heat during charging, this can't be installed on rentals now, but the later ones do have better control and close the output whilst charging. The night rate is comparable to gas per kWh. Some have fans but DO need of course dual supplies to each heater.

All electric heating is 100% efficient. But how effective varies, so good insulation on the heater is key to getting the heat out when needed.

But how do the electric boilers work? Would be interested in a link.

Although ground source heat pumps can give a say 4:1 gain, they are expensive to install, retro fit can be difficult, but using day rate at 3 X the night rate, removes a lot of the advantage.

Home insulation is the only winner. MVHR is again highly effective.

Paul Tarry

22:25 PM, 24th December 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Byways" at "24/12/2015 - 21:29":

The system could run on economy 10 or similar, but unlike storage heaters where you are heating bricks over a long period to then let heat out over a period up to 12 hours later, the electric central heating heats the sytem and puts out heat almose immediately, certainly within minuites.

My customer has chosen to use a standard tarrif so she can shop around and chase the best rates available, economy rates can tie you to one supplier (allegedly)

Link to electric central heating boiler, they have an excellent technical department as well

http://www.onlinebathrooms.co.uk/bathrooms/ehc-fusion-comet-electric-boiler-ehccom12kw?gclid=CjwKEAiAp_WyBRD37bGB_ZO9qAYSJAA72IkgSUhrFdYuSUSv8OQAGi9tcAGgjW-vxXYMqLpCib8XYhoC0Ozw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

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