You may have heard that gas boilers will be phased out as part of the UK Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. As a way of decarbonising, and so all sectors of the UK economy meet the net-zero targets, the Government is looking for ways to switch the UK’s gas supply to hydrogen. This means we’ll see a movement towards sustainable heating and hydrogen-based heating. But why is the focus on heating, in particular, you may ask?
A report published by the IEA (International Energy Agency) suggests that using oil or gas for heating homes is responsible for about 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK and the US.
While decarbonising our home heating systems sounds like the right step toward climate change, you’ll need to understand the impact green heating will have on your home set-up and the dent it will leave in your wallet.
Now to the nitty-gritty of the actual costs;
We’ll get into the costs of buying, installing, running and maintaining a hydrogen boiler.
We’ll also talk about hydrogen-blend-ready boilers (which are different from hydrogen-only boilers) and how much they cost.
What is a hydrogen boiler?
A hydrogen boiler is a boiler that burns hydrogen as opposed to natural gas (or methane). These appliances work in a very similar way to natural gas boilers by burning the gas via combustion, which in turn creates hot flue gases that can be used to heat water. This hot water can be stored for later use and pumped around your radiators to warm up your home.
As hydrogen is a thinner gas than methane, some parts of the boiler may differ slightly, including the flame detector and the burner, but they work the same way as your current boiler.
But why hydrogen boilers?
Due to the currently existing infrastructure, completely removing carbon from the heating industry is not as simple as it may seem.
Most UK homes rely on natural gas for heating, which is the biggest challenge the Government faces to achieve Net Zero. Thus, the most straightforward and least disruptive solution is to replace gas boilers with hydrogen boilers because hydrogen gas only produces water as a byproduct.
It is a much cleaner gas that can be produced from water using electricity (if the electricity is generated from renewable sources, i.e. wind power, hydrogen is 100% emission-free).
In a nutshell, hydrogen is a carbon-free fuel source that could be used to decarbonise heating and hot water in UK households.
While a heat pump is another viable option, hydrogen will still be the most preferred sustainable heating alternative simply because a hydrogen boiler is more affordable and less disruptive.
Will gas boilers be banned soon?
There are two parts to this question.
For New Built Homes
The Future Homes and Buildings Standard is a set of standards that will complement the Building Regulations to ensure new homes built from 2025 will produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions than homes delivered under current regulations.
As part of the Future Homes Standard, gas boilers will be replaced by low-carbon, energy-efficient heating systems in all new homes, and this will help produce 31% lower carbon emissions compared to the current levels. You should bear in mind that the standard will come into force in 2025.
For Existing Homes
On the other hand, the ban on the sale of new gas boilers (for existing homes) was initially set to take effect in 2035, which can be a bit of a challenge!
There has been a backlash from households that can’t afford to switch to low-carbon heating solutions because the cost of some alternatives, such as heat pumps, could go up to £18k. This considerable cost means we could see the date postponed beyond 2035, which will make net-zero targets unachievable.
What’s the difference between hydrogen-blend-ready, hydrogen-ready and hydrogen-only boilers?
The difference between the 3 types depends on where we are in the hydrogen transition process;
- In the first step of the process – a new blend of 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas will be introduced to the mains supply, which will be used to power a hydrogen blend-ready boiler. The majority of new boilers can operate with this blend without any issues. And if you’re unsure, look for the ‘hydrogen-blend ready’ label on your new boiler.
- Meanwhile, manufacturers like Worcester Bosch, Ideal, Baxi, Vaillant, and Viessmann have created ‘hydrogen-ready’ boilers. A hydrogen-ready boiler is a system that can operate on natural gas and then be converted to a 100% hydrogen boiler by a qualified engineer within an hour. Worcester Bosch has called for all boilers installed after 2025 to be hydrogen ready, so when/if the time comes to switch to hydrogen – the UK will be prepared!
- Lastly, when the gas supply swaps to 100% hydrogen during the last stage of the process, all new boilers sold will ultimately run purely on hydrogen – ‘hydrogen boilers’, and that’s the endgame.
How much will a hydrogen boiler cost?
In the beginning, there were rumours that hydrogen boilers would be more expensive than their gas boiler counterparts by £100 – £200. However, the industry-leading manufacturers (Ideal, Baxi, Worcester Bosch, and Vaillant) have agreed to keep the hydrogen boiler prices the same as gas boilers.
So, expect the hydrogen boiler prices to be as shown below;
|Product||Cost (low)*||Cost (high)*|
The average cost*
How much does it cost to install a hydrogen boiler?
Hydrogen boilers are similar in nature to gas boilers, therefore, there’s no reason why hydrogen boilers will cost more to install than their gas counterparts!
You’d expect to pay between £500 – £1,000 to get a hydrogen boiler installed. This amount is based on many factors such as; location and boiler type i.e. combi, system or conventional. The average cost of installation is £750.
How much does it cost to run a hydrogen boiler?
Even if you could buy a hydrogen boiler right now (which is not possible due to hydrogen boilers being in the testing phase), you’d struggle to get hold of hydrogen to run your boiler.
Currently, the problem with hydrogen fuel is supply, as producing hydrogen in considerable quantities to meet the rising demand is costly. Another obstacle is, transporting hydrogen safely from the grid via the current network. And that’s why it’s safe to assume that we’re likely to wait for years before switching to a pure hydrogen gas network.
How much does it cost to buy a hydrogen-blend-ready boiler?
All the boilers sold by WarmZilla are hydrogen-blend-ready.
Getting a new hydrogen-blend-ready boiler quote isn’t one-size-fits-all.
New boiler costs vary based on many factors such as;
- The boiler type you’ve already got
- The new boiler type you’d like to have
- The size of boiler you’ll need
- If you’re going to convert your boiler
- If you want to relocate your boiler
- If you need to upgrade your boiler pipework
- If you’d like to get boiler add-ons
Other factors can also affect the cost of replacing your boiler, i.e. where you live.
As a rough estimate, this is what you’d expect to pay when buying a new boiler;
|Boiler Type||Boiler (without installation)|
Installation (without boiler)
Total (boiler + installation)
|Combi boiler||£500 – £2,000|
£500 – £1,000
|£1,000 – £3,000|
£500 – £2,500
£500 – £1,000
|£1,000 – £3,500|
£500 – £2,500
£500 – £1,000
£1,000 – £3,750
Where can I buy a hydrogen boiler?
As of mid-2022, you can’t buy a hydrogen boiler. As there is no hydrogen fuel supply currently going through the gas grid there wouldn’t be any point in owning a hydrogen boiler.
Time for a new hydrogen-blend-ready boiler?
When you buy a new hydrogen-blend-ready boiler with WarmZilla, your boiler package will also include;
- Your chosen boiler, along with the necessary flue kit needed for your central heating system
- Installation by a qualified Gas Safe Engineer
- Removal of your old boiler and parts
- A FREE system cleanse of your central heating system
- Chemical Inhibitor for added protection for your new boiler
- 10-year guarantee, which will be registered by WarmZilla after installation
- A FREE magnetic system filter for ongoing protection
- The Neomitis RF Digital Wireless Room Thermostat
- Hydrogen blend-ready boilers can run on a new blend of (20% hydrogen and 80% natural). Generally speaking, new boilers can operate with this blend without any issues. They’re labelled ‘hydrogen-blend ready’.
- Hydrogen-ready boilers on the other hand can operate on natural gas and then be converted to a 100% hydrogen boiler by a qualified engineer within an hour. Manufacturers like Worcester Bosch have called for all boilers installed after 2025 to be hydrogen ready.
- Hydrogen boilers are still being tested to run purely on hydrogen.
The estimated average cost of a hydrogen boiler will be; £1,250 for a combi, £1,500 for a system, and £1,625 for a conventional hydrogen boiler.