How much does it cost to install central heating? Our guide to heating your home

A female plumber wearing a hi vis vest installing copper pipe for a radiator
Plumbing costs are a consideration when calculating how much does it cost to install central heating (Image credit: Getty)

'How much does it cost to install central heating?' is a key question when it comes to taking on a project.

A problem many renovators face when working on an older property is it doesn’t have central heating at all, just some storage heaters. And this can mean completely gutting the heating system and starting from new, installing copper piping, radiators and a new boiler. Or perhaps you are embarking on a newbuild and want to look at the options available when presented with a blank slate?

Whether you’re undertaking a renovation or self build, here is what you need to know about all the costs associated with installing central heating.

How much does it cost to install central heating?

Installing a central heating system – everything all in – for a three-bed house with 10 radiators and a gas boiler will cost around £8,500, according to Martin McMahon of Hollywell Building Services.

However, the price may vary depending on the considerations you need to make, such as the type of central heating you need, the type of boiler you use, and other factors depending on the property, such as fuel supply.

Martin’s general tips for a newbuild are to install underfloor heating in solid floors, integrate wireless controls, install the boiler near the hot water cylinder if possible and minimise pipe runs by strategically placing radiators.

A picture of Martin McMahon
Martin McMahon

Martin spent several years working as a gas engineer, plumber, pipefitter and welder before becoming the operations manager of Hollywell Building Services, now project managing building projects for the firm

1) Boiler cost

A typical gas boiler is the Worcester Greenstar 8000 Style 30kW System Boiler, which costs around £1,300. You can find the more powerful 35kW version of this boiler for £2,516.99 on Amazon.

An oil boiler like the Firebird Envirogreen Boiler Condensing Slimline Combi Oil Boiler costs around £2,900, while an electric boiler, such as the SMART.C 12kW Electric Combi Boiler, costs £1,800.  Meanwhile, heat pump prices vary widely, but the Daikin Altherma 4KW Hybrid Air Source Heat Pump, for example, costs roughly £1,800.

However, there are price options to suit every budget, so talk to a professional if you need guidance about where best to spend the money depending on your needs, budget, and property.

An external boiler is more expensive but can save vital space inside the property. Chris Harvey, a heating specialist from Stelrad, says: “Having external oil boilers can make it pricier. This is all down to the specific layout of your home so it’s important to bear that in mind when calculating the costs.

“This type of work can require significant piping and labour especially if you are placing the tank underground, which naturally costs a lot more.”

2) Radiator costs

Radiators can cost from as little as £20 each but, as with anything involved in building a home or renovating, you get what you pay for.

But there are some good value budget types of radiator out there, for example, the five-star rated Henrad Compact Radiator, from £42.61 per 450 x 500mm unit on Traderadiators.

Vertical radiators tend to cost a bit more but many homeowners opt for them because of their space-efficient design and attractive design. The Milano Aruba Anthracite Vertical Slim Radiator is £169.99 for a 1600 x 236mm on Amazon.

A child playing beside a radiator inside a home

Radiators can be relatively cheap for a standard design (Image credit: Getty)

3) Underfloor heating costs

Underfloor heating (UFH) has become very popular in recent years, typically offering a more efficient means of heating your home, comfort underfoot, while also freeing up the wall space that may have previously been taken up with radiators.

Homebuilding & Renovating's heating expert David Hilton says it can be cheaper to install in new builds and extensions, as it can be designed in and planned for from the outset. Whereas it often necessitates the removal or lifting of existing floor finishes and potentially work to the subfloor in existing homes. Electric underfloor heating can be an alternative for retrofit underfloor heating and the costs for this are between £50 - £90 per m². Therefore, a 111 m² property would cost between £5,550 and £9,999.

A wet underfloor heating system – where a series of pipes circulates warm water under the floor to heat the space – cost £20 to £40 per m² for a newbuild or £40 - £60 per m² for a renovation, according to David Hilton.

For further expert insight into underfloor hearing, check out our expert David Hilton’s article about underfloor heating costs. You can also install underfloor  heating yourself if you are competent at DIY to save on costs by checking out our how to install underfloor heating guide.

4) Additional costs such as TRVs

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) control the air temperature by automatically adjusting the amount of hot water that enters the radiator.

A TRV will allow you to have a little more control over the temperature in each room of your home, and are therefore more energy-efficient.

A cheap TRV with a manual dial can cost under £10, but a digital smart model is around £45. You can see plenty of options for TRVs on Amazon.

You'll need TRVs for each radiator in your home and the cost can add up, so definitely factor this in when budgeting your central heating installation costs.

5) Plumber costs

Martin McMahon from Hollywell says it would cost roughly £5,750 for pipework and labour to install a central heating system, but this does not include the radiators and gas boiler. Meanwhile, it will cost roughly £9,000 for installing an oil system, when factoring in the price for adding an oil tank, its base, connecting it as well as all the pipework and labour.

He estimates a fee of £1,500 in plumbing fees to simply connect the oil tank or heat pump to the existing system, and having an external boiler adds around £2,000 when it comes to pipework and labour.

Chris Harvey at Stelrad meanwhile says installing a central heating system (everything all in) for a three-bed house with 10 radiators with a heat pump would cost around £7,000 to £16,000, with this cost increasing depending on the size of the property.

Can I install central heating myself?

Yes, but you will need a qualified plumber to attach the boiler, test the system, and sign off on it to satisfy building control regulations and get the required paperwork. And if you do anything incorrectly it can be costly putting it right, plus the price of separately paying the building control fees (a fee usually already included for qualified plumbers who can sign work off themselves).

If you know what you are doing, you can fit out the piping system and attach all the radiators or underfloor heating yourself. It is recommended you have the work done by a professional installer due to the complex nature of central heating.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.