4 alternative heating solutions for Belgian homes

With the soaring gas prices, many families are on the hunt for alternative heating solutions. It’s a timely quest, given the plethora of options available today. Historically, gas has been the predominant heating method in Belgium, primarily due to its affordability and abundance. However, the recent geopolitical tensions in Ukraine have caused gas prices to skyrocket, prompting many households to explore cost-saving alternatives.

Arthur Lambillotte

What are the Alternatives to Gas Heating?

Gas isn’t the only way to keep your home warm. There are several other fuels and systems available, and transitioning from a traditional boiler is easier than you might think. Let’s delve into four promising alternatives:

1. Biomass Boilers


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Functioning similarly to gas boilers, biomass boilers use different fuels, primarily wood or wood residues. You can choose from log boilers, pellet boilers, or even wood chip boilers. These are not only cost-effective but also produce entirely renewable energy. Their efficiency makes them a viable solution for homes. Options range from decentralized systems like pellet stoves, starting at 1,000 euros, to systems that can be integrated with central heating. For the latter, prices start at 5,000 euros for basic setups, with more advanced solutions costing significantly more.

2. Heat Pumps


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Replacing a traditional gas system with a heat pump is a sustainable choice. It’s one of the greenest options currently available. Depending on the model, heat pumps extract warmth from ambient air or the ground (geothermal heat pumps). While they offer excellent efficiency, the initial purchase and installation costs are generally higher than traditional boilers. Prices start at 2,500 euros for limited capacity air-to-air systems, from 7,500 euros for air-to-water pumps, and at least 10,000 euros for geothermal systems with horizontal capture networks. Interior and exterior finishing to integrate the system can also influence the final cost.

3. Wood or Pellet Stoves


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While a wood stove might not provide enough warmth for an entire house, it’s still a noteworthy alternative. These stoves operate using logs or pellets, which are low-polluting and fully renewable fuels. Some stoves come with a heat recovery and redistribution system, allowing multiple rooms to be heated. Prices vary widely based on technology, efficiency, and design.

4. Combined Solar Systems


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Harnessing the sun’s energy, this technology heats water using solar collectors. The heated water is stored in a buffer tank. While it’s perfect for water heating, it might not suffice for heating an entire house, necessitating a supplementary heat pump. Such combinations can be pricey. Additionally, its efficiency drops during winter when sunlight is scarce but heating needs are high. For a standalone solar water heater, prices start at 2,500 euros for a 150-liter tank.

Financial Support for Transitioning

Depending on the region in Belgium, significant financial aids are available to support households in their transition to alternative heating methods. It’s advisable to contact your network manager to gather more information and make an informed decision.

Conclusion: Embracing the Future of Heating

The shift from traditional gas heating to alternative methods is not just a response to rising costs but also a step towards a sustainable future. With the variety of options available, homeowners can find a solution that aligns with their budget, home size, and environmental values. As the world moves towards greener solutions, making the switch now can offer long-term benefits, both financially and ecologically.