The cost of heating occupies an increasingly large share in the household budget. How to choose the most economical heating mode without encroaching on comfort? The main thing is to choose a heater adapted to your real needs and to assess its profitability according to its installation cost and the price of the energy used. If wood heating comes first, other models may prove interesting depending on the region… Discover our top 5 economical heaters, in the hope that it will help you reduce your bill.
How to calculate the profitability of a heating?
Before declining the main savings champion heaters, let’s take a look at the profitability criteria: insulation, climate, installation cost and fuel price.
Hello, Mr. Weather? What is the climate in your area?
The choice of heating mode may differ depending on whether you live in the south of France or in a cold and humid region. The mildness of the winter season is a criterion to take into account before embarking on an expensive installation.
Thermal insulation above all
No heating is really economical without insulation. Without being a real thermal sieve, your home may have weak points. In poorly insulated housing, heat escapes mainly through the roof (30% loss) and walls (25%), and to a lesser extent through windows (15%) and floors (10%). To choose your heating mode, take into account the level of thermal insulation indicated by the DPE of your accommodation. Prior insulation work is sometimes the best way to enter an era of economical heating. Insulate the attic, the roof and the walls, install double glazing, all this will allow you to make real savings on heating.
Your home’s heating needs
The type of heating must be adapted to the number of inhabitants and their needs, according to their way of life. Oversized, a heater will consume too much. Undersized, it will not heat enough… and will also consume too much. The configuration of your accommodation is also to be taken into account. We know that a large house is not heated in the same way as a small apartment.
The cost of installation
Some heating methods require heavier investments than others. The price of the equipment and its installation are important in calculating their profitability. It all depends on your home, its insulation, your budget… If you calculate the profitability of your heating over the medium and long term, the cost of the equipment is relative to that of the raw heating material.
The cost of energy used
The tariffs of certain energies are subject to the international context, others are more stable. In the long run, it is a decisive criterion in the profitability of your heating method. Currently, wood (and wood pellets) remains the cheapest and most stable energy for years. Natural gas has increased a lot but continues to position itself in a good place. As for electricity, even expensive it can be interesting in some cases. The cheapest is obviously solar energy. But as it is only used as a supplement to a more stable heating system, we did not retain this model.
What are the most economical heaters?
Given the different criteria mentioned, here are the five main types of heating that are the most interesting for your energy budget.
1 – The wood stove, far ahead
Far from the somewhat old-fashioned image of a good grandmother’s stove, the wood-burning stove has been modernized. It is now available in many models, combining design and energy performance.
- The best performance is attributed to the pellet stove : over 85%! (Its cousin, the log stove, has an estimated yield of between 70 and 85%.) This device has other economic advantages: its autonomy of 12 to 24 hours and the possibility of programming it remotely.
- When purchased, the wood stove is the least expensive piece of equipment. Easy to install, the starting budget is bearable by a small budget. The prices of the stoves fluctuate between 1000 and 10,000 euros, depending on the complexity of the model.
- Wood is the cheapest source of energy on the market. Not being subject to the vagaries of the market, the price of wood remains stable. Pellets (or wood pellets) are made from unusable wood residues. A little more expensive than logs, they are above all easier to store. A wood-burning stove heats a 100 m2 house for around 950 euros per year.
- The ecological choice. It is true that this type of heating emits fine particles. But its overall carbon footprint is neutral, the wood rejecting less CO2 than it has stored throughout its growth. To reduce its pollution, it is better to invest in a wood stove with the Green Flame label. Their design is more respectful of environmental standards and they emit fewer particles.
The French are still only 5% to heat with wood. But the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) has observed a trend towards this type of equipment in recent years. Note that a wood stove can be coupled with a heat recovery unit. The key: better performance and more heating savings.
2 – The pellet condensing boiler: absolute champion
By replacing your old boiler with a pellet condensing boiler, you can halve your energy bill!
- The pellet condensing boiler has a record efficiency of 105%. It is difficult to do better in terms of energy performance. Capable of providing heating and domestic hot water, it adapts perfectly to the needs of a large house.
- The cost of purchasing a wood boiler varies depending on the desired model. On purchase, the log boiler is less expensive, but you have to feed it by hand… which can be tedious in the long run. The automation of the pellet boiler justifies its price and provides significant comfort. Its purchase price varies between 3,000 and 10,000 euros. Plan to have the necessary space for its installation.
- Log or pellets, wood remains cheap. It’s up to you to see what resources your region has. In respect of the environment, always favor local and sustainable delivery circuits.
3 – The condensing gas boiler: super economical
42% of French people heat with gas. However, this energy experiences considerable price fluctuations which encourage people to turn to more economical equipment. The gas condensing boiler can save you 30% of your energy bill, provided you are connected to town gas.
- Performance, economy and comfort. This type of boiler recovers energy by condensing steam from the flue gases. It thus consumes significantly less than a conventional boiler, 5 to 20% less. This does not prevent it from offering better performance and very pleasant living comfort.
- Installation accessible. A gas condensing boiler costs between 3000 and 7000 euros, which makes it a reasonable investment. Especially since you don’t have to plan for energy storage.
- Undeniable value for money. Capable of lowering your bill by 30%, the gas condensing boiler remains advantageous in the face of the vagaries of city gas prices.
- Ecological too. Gas boilers are recyclable equipment and do not contain any harmful element for the environment. In addition, it is a very flexible heating system; energy consumption is perfectly controlled and optimized. As a bonus, be aware that, as part of the energy transition, you can obtain state aid for installation.
If you do not have town gas, there are condensing boilers running on fuel oil, for example. But they do not represent the same savings (about 1700 euros of annual consumption for fuel oil).
4 – The heat pump: 60% savings!
Regardless of the type of heat pump chosen (air-air, air-water, ground-water and water-water), it is always economical. It can be combined with the VMC for dual use: heat distribution and air renewal. Or couple it with solar panels… Anyway, it’s a super economical system in the long run.
- Installation is a long-term investment. A basic heat pump costs 6,000 to 10,000 euros, excluding installation. If you want to install a geothermal heat pump, which recovers heat from the ground (provided you have land), count 20,000 euros instead. In reality, it is after a few years that you will really make the most of your heat pump. The return on investment is certain and quite fast.
- Energy consumption: 60% less! The heat pump recovers outside air (or heat from the ground, water, depending on the case, etc.) which it injects into a heating circuit to heat the water in the radiators. Although it requires electricity to operate, its energy consumption is reduced to a minimum.
- Super energy efficiency. A heat pump guarantees high efficiency, up to 100% for example for an air-water model. In fact, it produces three times more energy than it consumes. The heating savings are therefore appreciable from the first year. A fireplace immediately saves 60 to 70% energy. In a house, this can represent a gain of 800 to 1000 euros per year…
- Please note: no heat pump without excellent insulation. The heat pump loses all interest in a poorly insulated home. Its efficiency is much lower if the temperature difference between hot and cold water is too great. It is particularly profitable in a low temperature heating system. If you want to install a heat pump, start by having your home insulated, it’s essential.
- Ecological. Due to its operation based on the recycling of a natural element, the heat pump emits little pollution and greenhouse gases.
A heat pump costs you around 3 euros on average per square meter each year.
5 – The electric inertia heater: due south!
Admittedly, the electric convector is by far not the most economical mode of heating, in general. There is no need to heat a poorly insulated dwelling or a large house in this way… But if the inertia radiator is included in this classification, it is because it can be really economical in certain cases.
- Small, well-insulated accommodation in a gentle region… The inertia electric radiator is ideal for small surfaces, provided that their insulation is up to scratch. It even turns out to be economical for accommodation located in a region with fairly mild winter conditions.
- The most economical to buy. Considering the previous criteria, the inertia radiator is not expensive to buy. Its cost is between 1000 and 3500 euros, depending on its size.
- A gentle warmth. Inertia radiators have a heating core and an electrical resistance (or a fluid). Unlike old toasters and their successors, they emit gentle, continuous heat without drying out the air.
- Electricity is still the most expensive energy. This is why this type of radiator is only of interest in a perfectly insulated and small-sized dwelling. Otherwise, no savings possible! Note however a small ecological interest: it is an energy produced in France and which does not emit any greenhouse gases.
Other energies present a real economic interest. Among them the energy solar is of course the cheapest of all! But it must still be coupled with another mode of heating and requires a fairly large investment, even if aid reduces costs.