Zombie heating still infects the UK

The number of old inefficient boilers and radiators still being used by UK households is over 4 million. An inefficient heating system costs you more and emits higher levels of carbon dioxide so incurs an environmental cost too.

What is zombie heating?

Old, inefficient boilers and storage heaters are part of what we call zombie heating. We use the term zombie here because these outdated boilers, electric radiators and storage heaters just don’t die; they keep chugging away and costing their owners.

The average age of a zombie boiler is 20 years old. For zombie electric radiators and storage heaters, it’s typically over 15 years. Old pipework and basic heating controls all contribute to inflated bills and uncomfortable living conditions too.

70% of zombie heating have manual controls. This means their users need to constantly anticipate and react to changing weather conditions and adjust the input and output controls.

As you might expect, heating technology evolves and improves over time. And there have certainly been some recent improvements that make a significant difference to the energy efficiency of heating a home, especially in terms of automation and monitoring energy usage.

Advanced heating controls on a modern electric heater

How zombie heating affects our climate

In 2021, the government set new targets for domestic energy efficiency: by 2025, homes should produce 75-80% less CO2 than current levels. Unfortunately, as the UK tries to drastically improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings across the UK, zombie heating is a scourge that stands in the way of progress.

Signs of zombie heating in your home

So how can you tell if your heating is inefficient? What are the signs you have a zombie heating infection? It isn’t always obvious, but here are some signs of zombie heating you can watch out for in your home:

Your boiler is over ten years old

Oil and gas boilers become less and less efficient over time. Compared to modern electric heating systems, outdated oil and gas boilers can cost their owners hundreds of extra pounds each year to heat their homes.

Your electric radiator or storage heater is over 15 years old

Electric radiators and storage heaters today are so much more efficient than the models that were available 15 years ago. For example, modern storage heaters now come with more advanced controls and feature 24/7 programming. This allows you to set a heating schedule that fits your lifestyle so you can avoid wasting heat or energy. Much more efficient than older manual models. 

And new radiators and heaters have built-in digital thermostats and can manage your home’s heating on their own without manual intervention. Read our article, ‘Storage Heaters: Differences between older and newer models’ to learn more. 

Our article on automating your home’s electric heating using smart controllers and mobile apps will show you how to save money by letting technology help control your home’s temperature.

Regular boiler breakdowns

Around one in four homeowners experience a boiler breakdown each year. Boilers are complex and have many moving parts, unlike electric radiators. With an average call-out at £100-per-hour maintaining a poorly boiler can get frighteningly expensive in the long run.

Higher bills

Nobody enjoys receiving a scary heating bill. Unfortunately, many homes in the UK are spending more than they need to on their heating. Many people attribute increasing bills to energy providers, and while it’s worth shopping around for a better deal if they are available, the main contributor might actually be a zombie boiler, radiator or heater. 

Moans and groans

Unpleasant moans and groans are not signs of a healthy heating system. A noisy boiler, radiator or heater is a sign of trouble. For example, low pressure or worn out parts.

It might be time to neutralise your zombie boiler or heater and replace it with a new electric set-up that’s much more efficient and much quieter!

Did you know that electric heating is greener and cleaner than gas? The average CO2 from the UK’s electricity grid has halved in six years. This means the carbon footprint of electric-based heating is more favourable than other methods like gas. Read more about electric heating efficiency.

​​Chills down your spine

So your heating is on but you’re still cold? A frightening situation in the colder months! Zombie boilers simply don’t get the job done and won’t heat a home effectively.

Gloved hands touching a radiator

The solution to zombie heating

Upgrading to a modern, ultra-efficient electric heating system is an ideal solution for replacing a monstrously expensive heating system. 

Here are just some of the advantages of modern electric heating:

  • Modern storage heaters are a 100% efficient, zero-emissions alternative to central heating
  • Modern electric radiators can detect open windows and shut themselves off automatically so no heat is wasted
  • Electric heating is more straightforward and significantly cheaper to install than other heating methods like gas, oil, or biomass
  • With very few moving parts, electric radiators and storage heaters need very little maintenance and don’t need to be serviced annually, saving you money and hassle
  • You’ll find an electric heater to fit any room in your house, on nearly any surface
  • Electric heating design has evolved in recent years to bring you a great choice of stylish electric radiators, towel rails, and controllers

Looking for an efficient heating solution?

We provide a range of modern, efficient and intelligent electric heating solutions that will help make sure your home isn’t one of the millions in the UK infected by zombie heating.

Use our simple online enquiry form to tell us what you need for your home and one of our friendly team will be in touch. If you have any questions about electric heating, you can call us on 01382 566942 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm).

Further reading