Our Complete Home Heating Guide for Ireland

Updated on
min reading
Warm home with a scarf

There are several different heating systems available in Ireland from storage heaters, immersion heaters to boilers? Which are more energy efficient? Which one should you go for? Which is better for space heating and/or water heating? In our home heating guide, we'll walk your through each heating system and their advantages!

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

What Types of Home Heating Systems in Ireland Are There?

There are various types of home heating systems that you can choose from, such as the following:

Home Heating SystemDescription
Storage HeatersThis type of home heating system collects electricity at night and releases it during the day, allowing people to take advantage of night-rate electricity.
Immersion HeatersThese heating systems use electricity to heat only water.
Heat PumpsBest suited for homes that already have exceptionally good insulation, heat pumps are rather efficient and inexpensive to run.
Gas BoilersGas boilers are cheaper to run and more powerful than electric boilers.
Oil Fired BoilersYou'll need access to kerosene oil and oil tanks, but home heating oil is even cheaper to run than gas.
Electric BoilersWhile cheap to install, electricity is more expensive than both gas and oil to run. This type of boiler is more suitable for small spaces.
Biomass BoilersThese boilers use fuels such as pellets, coal and wood. They're considered more environmentally friendly because the fuels are carbon neutral.
Infrared HeatersThis more recent home-heating development creates heat similar to that of the sun. These heaters will only warm areas directly in front of them.

We describe each of the home heating systems in more detail below. Read on to find out which is the most suitable for your home's energy needs.

What Are Storage Heaters?

Storage heater

Storage heaters use electricity efficiently and take advantage of cheaper night energy rates to heat up ceramic bricks overnight, and then release this energy over the following day. As they use electricity, which is much more expensive per kilowatt than gas, they’re only a cost-effective solution if there is no gas connected to your home.

Storage heaters come in four different models, and in order of increasing cost are; manual storage heaters, automatic storage heaters, automatic combination storage heaters and quantum storage heaters. Prices range from around €300 up to €800. Here's a quick look at the different models:

  1. Manual Storage Heaters
    Cost-effective but lack temperature control, leading to potential energy waste as they emit heat continuously.
  2. Automatic Storage Heaters
    Equipped with built-in thermostats to maintain consistent temperatures and prevent overheating.
  3. Quantum Convection Heaters
    Higher initial cost but more energy-efficient with silent fans, offering better long-term value and effective heat distribution.

What's the verdict? If you’re not connected to any gas source, storage heaters may be a good option for you. If your budget for upgrading is limited, stick with an automatic storage heater for smaller rooms, and consider investing in a quantum storage heater for larger rooms - we’re sure you’ll make your money back in reduced energy costs.

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

What Are Immersion Heaters?

On-Off switch

Immersion heaters are only used to heat water. They are a bit like giant kettles in that a conductive element is used to heat the water. They also run off electricity, which tends to be much more expensive than gas. So if you have gas in your home, a gas boiler could save you hundreds of euros per year for the same output of heat. An immersion heater should really only be an option for electricity-only households.

They can also be easily connected to solar panels, and if well-insulated, they will keep water hot for hours after being switched off. If your house is connected to solar panels or wind turbines, excess electricity diverted to your immersion heater can even mean your hot water will be free of charge!

What's the verdict? If it’s too expensive to connect to a gas supply, then immersion heaters which are set to heat at night, and are properly insulated, are a viable hot water source. If you get solar panels installed you can even enjoy the luxury of free hot water.

What Are Heat Pumps?

green leaves with electricity volts

Heat pumps are an efficient way to heat your home, drawing heat from the environment and working best in well-insulated houses with proper glazing and low-temperature radiators. They are cost-effective, reducing heating bills by up to 50% compared to gas boilers, and are environmentally friendly, significantly cutting down on carbon emissions. Most heat pumps also provide hot water, making them a versatile and eco-conscious choice for home heating.

The SEAI also provides grants to upgrade your home heating system with a heat pump. However these grants are only available for pumps which don’t use oil or gas, and they must also be used to heat the house and/or water, and not for hot water alone. Heat pumps also add to the value of your house as they improve your BER (Better Energy Rating).

Here are some examples of heat pumps:

  1. Air Source Heat Pumps
    These use external air and are the most common type of heat pumps, being easier and cheaper to install. The most common types are air-to-air and air-to-water pumps. Air-to-air pumps do exactly that - they heat the air in your home. Air-to-water heat both your home and your water.
  2. Ground Source Heat Pumps
    This involves installing a network underneath the topsoil to extract energy. While more expensive than air pumps, they last longer and are more reliable in adverse weather conditions. They work very well if you have a large garden.
  3. Water Source Heat Pumps
    These are the least common as they require access to water in the form of lakes, ponds or rivers. They cost more or less the same as ground source heat pumps to buy and install, and are the most efficient heat pumps. Heat pumps are always on and are more efficient and more economical to run that way.

What's the verdict? If your house is a relatively new build with decent insulation and underfloor heating, then a heat pump is absolutely the best choice for you. However, for older houses, the cost required to upgrade them and then pay to install a heat pump system as well could mean they're out of reach of many people's budgets.

What Are Gas Boilers?

Boiler

Gas boilers use natural gas to provide hot water and heating to your home. They usually come in three main types: system, combi, and conventional, which can be either condensing or non-condensing. Condensing boilers are more efficient as they recapture heat from flue gases, with some being 99% efficient in fuel energy extraction. However, they have drawbacks like external pipes freezing in winter, which can be mitigated by using hot water or external lagging. Condensing boilers are also more complex to repair, so it's advisable to service them yearly to prevent breakdowns and ensure safe operation.

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

What Are Oil Fired Boilers?

Oil tanker

Oil fired boilers do require access to oil tanks and so have all the downsides of being dependent on oil. Namely that you’ll need a large unwieldy tank, and will most likely have to pay for bulk oil deliveries. Modern oil boilers are similar to gas combi boilers and heat up water on demand. However, they differ from gas combi boilers in that they usually have some internal storage system for hot water.

They are over 95% efficient in converting fuel to heat, and as oil is more fuel-efficient than gas, are even cheaper to run than gas boilers. As with gas boilers they require regular maintenance to avoid any potentially dangerous issues arising. Let's not forget that in addition, oil fired boilers will also increase the carbon footprint of your house as oil is not environmentally friendly or renewable.

What's the verdict? If you’re not connected to gas and have the existing infrastructure in place for oil, oil fired boilers are a good option. However, if you have no oil system or tank connected to your house at present, the cost of installation could be prohibitive. As oil is a fossil fuel its price can only go up with time as it becomes more scarce, meaning that it could be unwise to sink money into a long-term installation such as this.

What Are Electric Boilers?

boiler

Electric boilers are highly efficient as they only heat water on demand, like gas combi boilers. They are also relatively cheap and easy to install in any place in your house, as they don’t require flues or gas piping, just access to an electricity supply.

The downside, of course, is that electricity is more expensive than gas, meaning that no matter how efficient an electric boiler is, it’s never going to beat a condensing combi gas boiler for example. They can also only heat small amounts of water at a time meaning they may not be suitable for larger properties. In areas where power cuts are common, you’ll also be left without any hot water. If you have an electric boiler, it's definitely worth comparing electricity prices to make sure you're getting the best deal. In the table below, we've listed the best offers per supplier.

Cheapest Electricity Offer per Supplier
SupplierBest OfferEstimated Annual BillTrustpilot Reviews
Yuno EnergyFixed Discount€1,324.993.6 / 5
FlogasNo Discount€1,332.294.2 / 5
Energia31% Selectra Discount 📞€1,340.374.1 / 5
SSE AirtricityFixed Offer€1,380.901.2 / 5
Bord Gáis24% on Electricity€1,388.221.7 / 5
Average-€1,442.06-
Electric Ireland24% on EO, DF€1,394.351.4 / 5
Community PowerNo Discount€1,448.22N/A
EcopowerNo Discount€2,808.533.9 / 5
PrepayPowerNo Discount€1,835.814.8 / 5
PinergyNo Discount€2,001.734.6 / 5
WaterpowerNo Discountnew customers are currently unable to switchN/A

*Figures are for illustrative purposes only. Calculations based on average consumption figures for an urban home with a 24-hour standard meter unless specified. All discounts and cashback have been applied. This also includes the PSO Levy at €0.00.
Last updated: April 2024

What's the verdict? Electric boilers may be efficient, but they are still beaten out on running costs by infrared systems, heat pumps, and even oil boilers (for now). You should only really consider installing an electric boiler if: You're not connected to a gas supply and it is cost-prohibitive to do so, space is at a premium in your household, and you don’t have enough of a budget to install more efficient options.

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

What Are Biomass Boilers?

Fuels used for biomass boilers include pellets, coal and wood. Pellets and wood are considered to be more environmentally friendly as they are carbon neutral. However, you’ll need to remember to buy the fuel and organise storage space for it. If you opt for a wood boiler, you’ll also need to ensure that the space where the wood is stored is moisture free.

One advantage of biomass boilers is that you won’t be affected as much by price increases when compared to gas, electricity, and oil-dependent systems. Wood and coal boilers produce a high content of ash which will also need to be disposed of. Pellets on the other hand only produce 1-3% ash so you won’t need to have the ash disposed of as often. However, pellet boilers are much more expensive than other biomass boilers.

What's the verdict? Cheap to run and energy-efficient, a solid fuel boiler could be a consideration if you can get over the initial pricey investment, and you’re willing to be more hands-on when it comes to buying your own fuel supply and disposing of residues. If you live in a remote location, this may be a very attractive option.

What Are Infrared Heaters?

Infrared heaters come in many different shapes and sizes for home use, run silently, and can even double up as mirrors and pictures. They heat the surface area of a room and its contents, rather than the air volume (which is how traditional radiators and space heaters work). This then means that warmth is retained in your walls and floors. They can work with gas, oil and solid fuel but electric ones are recommended as they are much easier to install. They heat up much faster than regular radiators, reaching peak heat output in less than 30 seconds.

They are twice the price of regular space heaters and work best when not blocked by obstacles, which can be difficult to achieve depending on the size and layout of your home. They can work with any energy supply and are low maintenance.

Check Out Our Energy Saving Gadgets Guide!

What's the verdict? Even though infrared radiators run off electricity, when efficiently used, they require 30 to 40% less energy than regular heaters. This makes them an attractive solution, not only for intermittent heating spaces such as bathrooms but as an environmentally-friendly alternative for the entire home.

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

What Is the Best Way To Heat Your Home?

Finding the best home heating system for your home will depend on a number of factors. Some key issues we advise you to keep in mind when researching, updating or changing your home heating system include the following:

  1. Cost
    Cost will obviously be an important deciding factor, depending on your personal situation. Not only the initial cost, but also maintenance and upgrade costs. Is it financially viable for you to do a complete overhaul of your heating system, or can smaller upgrades be made?
  2. Fuel Accessibility
    Gas is currently much cheaper than electricity when it comes to heating your house, so if you’re not connected to the gas network, you’ll need to weigh up the cost of connection against using electricity, installing an LPG or oil tank, or alternative heating resources such as solar, or heat pumps.
  3. Your Individual Situation
    How many people live in your house and how big is it? There is a sizable difference in the energy requirements of a five-bedroom house occupied by five people, and a five-bedroom house occupied by one person. To this end, you’ll need to consider which spaces need to be heated constantly, and which can do with being rarely heated (spare bedrooms for example).

    Bigger is not always better when it comes to capacity, as oversized solutions will contribute to energy wastage. Will you need to be able to turn on more than one tap or shower at the same time (think about the morning rush to get ready for work and school), as this could impact the hot water aspect of your heating solution.
  4. How Energy Efficient Your Home Is
    The insulation and airtightness of any home dictate how efficient a heating system will be, and how much heating effort will be needed. If your house is well-insulated and airtight, you won’t need a system with as much capacity for heat and hot water generation. It’s important to remember that investing in better insulation will also reduce your energy bills and increase the efficiency of whatever heating system you have installed.

    In addition, as if reducing your energy bills and carbon footprint wasn’t enough of an incentive, you should check to see if you qualify for any of the grants available for upgrading residential heating systems.

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

What Are Some Home Heating Hacks?

If you're looking to save some money on your energy bills, there are various home heating hacks you can implement beyond the type of home heating system you choose.

  1. Lower the Temperature to 16ºC When You Sleep
    Not only will a cooler room lower your energy bills, but it will also help you to fall asleep faster by cooling your body and simulating the temperature during your sleep cycle.
  2. Use Blackout Curtains
    Having them closed at night reduces heat loss through your windows in winter. If you close them during the day, they can also keep your house from heating up too much during the (admittedly) rare hot summer spell.
  3. Take Advantage of Sunlight
    During the winter months, open your curtains during the day to let the sunlight increase the temperature inside your home. Remember to close them again at night, as described in the home heating hack above.
  4. Eliminate Drafts in Your Home
    Add draft excluders under doors and use insulating tape on other problem areas. You can buy a cheap roll at your local home improvement shop.
  5. Insulate Your Home
    Adding insulation to your home is the most cost-efficient way to upgrade your home heating system. If replacing your insulation seems like too much of an expense, you can still benefit from adding more insulation on top of what is already in place.
  6. Glaze Your Windows
    Double (and even triple) glazing will reduce condensation, heat loss and noise pollution. It will also increase your home's security (by making the windows harder to break), as well as reduce interior fading.
  7. Reflect the Heat from Your Radiators
    Radiator reflector foils are not only cheap, but they're also easy to install. These panels will stop radiator heat from being absorbed by your walls rather than heating up the air in the room.

Check Out Our Energy Hacks Guide!

Energy

Save money on your home heating costs with our discounts!

Give our energy specialists a call to find your discounted tariff on your energy!

Ad
Energy

Looking switch energy providers?

We're currently closed but please leave us your number and we'll give you a free callback as soon as we'open!

Ad

Are There Any Home Heating Grants?

Upgrading your home heating system can be expensive. Fortunately, there are various home heating grants available through SEAI. These include the following:

  • Heat Pumps Systems Grants
  • Heating Controls Grants
  • Solar Water Heating Grants
  • Boiler Grants

In addition to the above grants, others are also available that can improve the efficiency of heating your home.

  • Insulation Grants
  • Draught Proofing Grants
  • Window and Door Grants

Check Out Our SEAI Grants Guide!

The services and products mentioned on this website may only represent a small selection of the options available to you. Selectra encourages you to carry out your own research and seek advice if necessary before making any decisions. We may receive commission from selected partner providers on sales of some products and/or services mentioned within this website. Our website is free to use, and the commission we receive does not affect our opinion or the information we provide.

Get 31% off with Energia!

energia logo

Here are Energia's new discounts!

  • 🌟 31% off Electricity Only
  • 🌟 26% off Dual Fuel
  • 🌟 19% off Smart Tariffs
  • 🌟 21% off Smart Dual Fuel

Call Selectra now to get up with Ireland's cheapest energy provider!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.6/5 - Our Customer Reviews on Trustpilot