Central Heating System Types

There are many different types of central heating systems such as gas, oil, biomass, LPG and electric to name but a few. Getting the right central heating system for your home will ensure you are not wasting money on high energy bills. In addition, picking the most appropriate central heating system for your property means you will be reducing your carbon footprint and, in some cases, you can receive cash incentives for using renewable energy products.

Getting the right solution will also depend on a number of factors related to your property. For example, if your home is not on the national grid then you will not have a supply of gas, which eliminates the option of a conventional gas boiler system.

However, there are a good range of options if you are not on the national grid, such as biomass, oil, LPG, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. Below is an overview of some of the different types of central heating systems.

Natural Gas

A natural gas central heating system works by gas heating water within a gas boiler. The hot water is then channelled through radiators and provides hot water through the taps.


  • Natural gas is piped directly to your home so you’ll have a contact supply.
  • It’s less expensive than the other energy sources.
  • Modern day boilers are efficient and reliable.
  • Modern systems are more eco friendly.


  • Your home must be on the national grid (has a supply of gas).
  • There is a risk of carbon monoxide exposure and explosions.
  • Some boilers are not as reliable as others and can be costly to maintain.
  • An annual service is recommended to maintain the boiler. Must be a gas registered engineer.


An oil central heating system works in a similar way to that of a natural gas system in that central heating is provided through radiators and hot water through the taps in your home. The difference is that you have an oil fired boiler to heat the water.


  • Oil doesn’t require a connection to a natural gas line.
  • It is effective for back up systems that don’t require an outside fuel source.
  • Oil is easily sourced


  • Oil burns less completely than natural gas causing extra waste.
  • High energy bills.
  • Pollution that is bad for your home and the environment.
  • Oil must be stored.
  • Requires servicing by a qualified oil specialist.

Biomass Heating

Biomass provides all your heating and hot water, with a clean, sustainable fuel eliminating the requirement for fossil fuel. Biomass boilers burn wood pellets, from sustainable sources and create an environmentally friendly carbon cycle.


  • Biomass pellets are easily produced making it a renewable energy.
  • Biomass is a part of the carbon cycle making it carbon neutral.
  • Energy harnessed from biomass is inexpensive compared to oil.
  • Biomass is available in large quantities all over the world making the logistics easier to transport and from less corrupt sources.
  • Helps reduce waste.
  • Government incentives make biomass systems a cost effective choice.


  • It’s not completely clean as biomass wood pellets still cause pollution when burning.
  • Installation is more expensive that other systems such as a gas boiler.
  • Not as efficient as gas or oil but capable of heating homes and small businesses.
  • Requires space as biomass requires storage.
  • You are required to top up the wood pellets.
  • Requires servicing by a qualified engineer.

Air Source Heat Pump

An air source heat pump (ASHP) is an electrical device that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. An air source heat pump uses a refrigerant system involving a compressor and a condenser to absorb heat and release it.


  • Cheaper to run than Oil or LPG alternatives.
  • Ideal to use with underfloor heating.
  • Generate less CO2 emissions as pumps are high efficiency and run using electricity.
  • Air Source Heat Pumps use the same technology as our fridges and freezers and these require little or no maintenance.
  • Can be used to provide cooling in the summer months.
  • Heat pumps are included in the Renewable Heat Incentive which makes them a viable financial investment.


  • Air Source Heat Pumps are not suitable for all properties.
  • Radiators may need to be changed.
  • Looks like an air conditioning unit.
  • They make a humming noise when running.
  • Whilst the running cost of an Air Source Heat Pump is lower than Oil or LPG it cost more than a boiler to install.

Ground Source Heat Pump

Heat Pumps use the same technology as refrigeration. They adsorb low level heat energy from the environment and use it for heating and hot water. A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a ground loop pipe which is buried in your garden.


  • Heat pumps absorb energy from the environment and reduce carbon emissions
  • Cheaper to run than Gas or Oil heating systems.
  • Heat pumps save space and there is no require fuel storage.
  • Very safe as there is no combustion or no emission of harmful gases
  • Protection from rising fossil fuel prices.
  • Heat pumps are most efficient when maintaining a steady temperature in the home, giving a consistently warm and cosy environment.
  • Heat pumps are included in the Renewable Heat Incentive which makes them a viable financial investment.


  • Ground Source Heat Pumps are more expensive to install than other systems.
  • You require a good sized garden and installation will require some digging.


An electric heater is an electrical device that converts electric current to heat. Appliances include space heating, electric fire places, glass radiators, under floor heating systems and more.


  • It’s available everywhere.
  • Generally cost less to install.
  • Doesn’t require as much space as other heating systems.


  • Electrical power is more expensive than natural gas.
  • Electrical power cannot reach the same levels as other energy systems


LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (or Liquid Petroleum Gas). It is designed as a safe to use alternative to regular gas central heating, oil-burning or biomass boilers. LPG can be stored in cylinders or tanks on any property large enough to house it.


  • LPG produces less carbon emissions than other home heating systems.
  • LPG won’t cause contamination to water or the environment if spilled.
  • Storage tanks can be installed underground therefore hidden from sight and less intrusive.


  • The tank can only be rented off a supplier.
  • The LPG tank and all appliances must be annually services.
  • The cost of gas can be expensive but not as expensive as oil or electric.

Next Step

Once you have decided on the source of energy, the next step is deciding on what products to consider and how to have it installed into your home to get the most out of it. Heppelthwaite the Red Van Plumbers are here to help every step on the way, from design and installation to maintenance and servicing.

If you would like some advice or a free of charge estimate then please get contact us at customercare@heppelthwaite.co.uk or call us on 01628 533 550.

Different type of central heating systems

  1. I didn’t know you could get an oil central heating system and that it was like the natural gas system. We have a natural gas one right now and the line is kind of hard to deal with. Maybe I’ll get central heating servicing professionals down to my house to switch my systems! I hope that it ends up being a better heater.

  2. Type of Boiler step one is to decide the kind of boiler that you’d want.

  3. A wood burning boiler will devour more wooden than straight
    wooden burning stove, as it is heating the whole home.

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