There are millions of rural homes in the UK not currently connected to a mains gas network and that means they need to rely on alternative energy sources to keep their homes warm.

There are various options to consider, with oil boilers being a popular choice, but the option closest to a gas boiler is LPG (liquid petroleum gas) boiler.

Whereas oil boilers require users to constantly keep the boiler filled with oil, LPG boilers burn the liquid gas within the boiler itself to warm water and engage the central heating.

These boilers use large LPG tanks and can cost anywhere between £300 and £2500 depending on the size of your boiler and the manufacturer.

In essence, they work much like a natural gas boiler, only the gas that’s being burnt to produce energy is stored on-site.

The pros

  • The price. Whilst it might cost a little more to run than a mains gas boiler, the cost of the boiler itself and the install price will be significantly lower. An LPG Boiler will also set you back around half as much as even the cheapest oil boiler.
  • LPG is a much clear fuel than oil, producing around 18% less carbon, so if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint it’s a more economical option.
  • Modern LPG boilers are incredibly efficient, with an average rating of over 90%. This means that for every pound spent on fuel, at least 90p of it will be used to warm your home and warm your water.
  • Oil boilers are large and noisy, whereas LPG boilers are comparatively small and quiet.
  • Installation and replacement are both incredibly straightforward and the boilers require very little maintenance.
  • LPG boilers are able to supply hot water to multiple outlets without any noticeable drop in water pressure because all the water is heated in advance.

The cons

  • As LPG isn’t coming from the mains, it needs to be stored in a large tank that will probably need to be kept outside, which can be an inconvenience and an eyesore. Generally speaking, however, space isn’t an issue as the vast majority of LPG boilers are installed in rural locations where space is bountiful.
  • The storage tank will either need to be rented or bought outright but either way, it won’t be cheap.
  • The fuel itself costs more than natural gas and oil, though there have been price drops in recent years.
  • An LPG storage tank can only store so much and will need to be refilled. However, as long as you keep an eye on your LPG levels you shouldn’t be left out in the cold.
  • As they heat the water in advance, this can also mean you might be left waiting for the water to heat up if the whole tank has been used up.

Going ‘off-grid’ with your boiler doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect but if you can be connected to a mains gas supply, a mains central heating system is often the least complicated option.

For rural homes, the only other option might be electric heating and this is still a technology that many are unwilling to take a gamble on, even though they are compact, easy to install, and have even fewer emissions than an LPG system.

Ultimately, there are options suitable for any home in any situation. The important thing is that you’re aware of the specifics of each solution and are confident in what is possible in your location.