Alternatives to gas heating: is it worth buying an electric heater? – Consumer

As a result of newly declared gas emergency plan alert consumer advocates, energy experts and politicians expect rising gas prices.

Many consumers are now faced with the question of whether they should rely on electrically powered heaters in the coming autumn and winter to Keep energy costs as low as possible. We clarify the most important questions about heating types, energy efficiency and heating costs.

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What electric alternatives are there?

There are many different types of radiators on the market. The most common power-driven heating elements include convectors, fan heaters or radiators. What distinguishes the different devices?

  • With a convector, the cold air is heated by flow (also called convection). The cool room air is drawn into the radiator from below and heated directly in the device. Thanks to the thermals, the warm air in the room finally rises to the upper part of the room, so that the cool air from below is constantly sucked in by the convector and constantly heated.

  • Fan heaters work roughly on the same principle. Because fan heaters usually heat with the help of an integrated fan, this type of heating raises more dust in the room. In direct comparison to convectors, fan heaters are often significantly louder. Fans have the advantage that small areas and rooms can usually be heated up quickly. However, if you want to heat a large room with a small device, it costs a lot of energy and electricity.

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  • A radiator heats the air using an aggregator and can be used on the go. Depending on the type of radiator, oil, water or sometimes gas is heated inside the device. The heat is then released into the room without a fan function – but much more slowly than is the case with a convector or fan heater.

What about the energy consumption of electric heaters?

Electrical alternatives to conventional gas heating usually have a significantly higher energy consumption.

The efficiency of a radiator can be determined using the so-called efficiency. Its value indicates how lossless the energy conversion is. To put it simply: the higher the efficiency, the more efficient the heating.

While gas heating achieves an efficiency of 80 percent, the value for convectors, for example, is at best 50 percent according to the comparison portal Verivox.

How expensive is heating with electricity?

According to Verivox one would have to estimate around 13,000 kilowatt hours per year for a single-family home if electricity is used for heating.

According to the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management, the electricity price is currently 37 cents per kilowatt hour (as of July). The heating costs for a family would accordingly amount to 4810 euros per year.

For comparison: gasag estimates the annual electricity consumption of a single family house without electric heaters at 3260 kilowatt hours (1206 euros). In this example, heating with electricity would almost quadruple the annual costs.

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A practical example: A convector with several heating stages is used to heat a 25 square meter room. The device runs constantly 8 hours a day in a long-term heating level with 1200 watts. At the end of the day, the device consumed 9.6 kilowatt hours and cost 3.55 euros. Calculated for a complete month, that would be 106.50 euros.

The comparison: What price increases can be expected for gas?

On Thursday, Federal Minister of Economics Habeck the alert level in the gas emergency plan was declared. Energy expert Udo Sieverding from the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia fears that the development of the gas price will change as part of the new alarm level could now exacerbate drastically: “In the case of price increases due to the gas shortage, we are going in the direction of three to four times as much.”

How much of these additional costs are due to the use of gas heating alone and how much more expensive heating with gas will be in the future, would have to be assessed individually depending on the size of the household and energy consumption. One thing is certain: heating via convector, fan heater or radiator is currently (still) significantly more expensive.

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