Free boiler scheme
Grants for free boilers can be claimed in the UK until March 2017 via a new central heating boiler replacement scheme. The ECO free boiler scheme is part of the Government’s Energy Companies Obligation (ECO). ECO is designed to help low-income households cut their energy bills and reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by installing efficient A-rated gas boilers free of charge.
Heating your radiators & hot water normally accounts for over half the money you spend on gas bills. So if your boiler is broken or not functioning efficiently enough you may be spending £100’s more than you need to on an annual basis.
Many boilers installed in homes in the UK have an energy rating between C (82-86% efficiency) & G (Under 70% efficiency) if they are over five years old. This means that a lot of energy & therefore your money is being wasted.
All boilers fitted in homes must now have an A-rating (Over 90%). So if your boiler has any of the lower ratings it is actually obsolete and needs replaced.
Boilers supplied and fitted via the free boiler grant scheme are gas condensing boilers. These are designed to heat water with greater efficiency. This is achieved by using the waste heat to preheat the cold water as it enters the boiler from the mains cold tap before it reaches the burner element. This function means it costs less to heat your home.
Types of boiler
Most properties in the UK which are heated by mains gas will have one of three types of boiler installed as part of their central heating / hot water system. Each of these types can be replaced via the ECO boiler scheme. As part of the short online grant application process you will be asked which type of boiler you have, so it is important to know the different characteristics of each.
Wall mounted boilers – Many modern homes in the UK have boilers which are fastened to an interior wall instead of resting on the floor.
This will often be a combination boiler, which heats water from your mains cold tap without the need for a water storage tank.
Wall mounted boilers are often fitted in properties which have limited storage space, including modern properties & flats.
Floor standing boilers – A floor standing boiler is designed to fit in an airing cupboard or any other storage cupboard.
This type of boiler can be integrated functions and act as a burner for heating your water & a storage tank combined.
It may also act as a stand alone boiler / burner to heat water stored in a tank elsewhere in the building, in the loft or attic for example.
Back boilers – A back boiler is hidden behind a fire and often situated in your living room or lounge, but can be located in almost any part of your property.
Your fire is used to provide heat to heat your hot water supply and central heating / radiators.
A back boiler can be fueled by fuel other than mains gas. However to qualify for a free boiler via the ECO grant scheme, if you have a back boiler it must be gas fueled.
Government Boiler Grants
The ECO (Energy Company Obligation) is a Government backed energy-saving home improvement scheme which runs in parallel with the Green Deal and is funded by the big six UK energy suppliers. ECO is made of of three individual components –
Carbon Saving Obligation
Provides non-repayable funding to insulate hard-to-treat cavity walls and solid wall properties with free external or internal wall insulation.
Carbon Saving Communities Obligation
Provides home insulation for families who live in deprived and rurally remote areas of the UK
Affordable Warmth Obligation
This component is designed to provide heating and insulation improvements for low-income and vulnerable households. Boiler grants are available to help home owners & private tenants who claim certain benefits & Tax Credits make their homes more energy-efficient. Funding is income-related but many single parents, pensioners & the elderly will qualify for a free boiler upgrade.
Free boiler grant eligibility
To be eligible for a free boiler you must be in receipt of the following benefits
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (with an income of £15,860 or less)
- Working Tax Credit (with an income of £15,860 or less)
- Income Support
- Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Income-Related Employment Support Allowance
If you receive Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income-Related Employment Support Allowance one extra condition must also apply from the following.
- A child under 16
- You have a child under 20 in full-time education (not university)
- You get Child Tax Credit including a disability element
- Child Premium
- Disability Premium
- Pensioner Premium
- You have a Work Related Activity or Support Component (With Income-Related Employment Support Allowance)
Benefits and savings
Powering your gas boiler accounts for 55 – 60 % of your annual heating / energy bills, so installing an energy efficient boiler can mean huge energy savings.
- A new boiler will cut the cost of energy bills meaning significant savings.
- Energy efficient boilers reduce harmful Carbon Dioxide emissions being released into the environment.
- Free boiler installation includes an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your home.
- Boilers surveyed, supplied and installed free of charge on a no payment basis.
Replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated condensing boiler and improving your heating controls will significantly cut your home’s carbon dioxide emissions – Energy Savings Trust
Free Boiler FAQ’s
Why should I replace my old boiler?
Many existing gas boilers are inefficient. It is estimated that powering your gas boiler and central heating system for hot water makes up 60% of the cost of your energy bills. An increase in energy prices has also left many low-income households (inc OAP’s & single parents) struggling to manage the cost of heating their homes.
Why was the free boiler scheme started?
The UK Government has instructed the large energy companies (British Gas, Scottish Power, NPower, EDF Energy, E.ON & SSE) that they have an obligation to help vulnerable households & low-income families meet the cost of rising energy bills. Millions of pounds in funding has been set aside by the utility providers to help install energy saving measures in UK homes. These home improvements include home insulation & free boiler replacement.
Will I have to pay money back?
No. Providing that you qualify according to the benefit & income related requirements, if you are a home owner or private tenant (with your landlord’s permission) & your existing gas boiler is suitable you should qualify for a free boiler grant on a no-cost basis. This includes a free boiler survey / home energy assessment & boiler install.
Which type of boiler will be installed?
All new boilers fitted via the free boiler scheme are gas condensing A-rated boilers. This type of boiler uses less energy to heat water and so costs less.
Free home insulation grants
Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation help stop heat escaping through the walls and attic of your home. Around 35% of heat in your home is lost through the external walls and 25% through your roof. This alone means that 60 % of heat generated by your boiler & heating system is being wasted.
Combine this with a boiler that is only functioning at 60-70% efficiency and it adds up to a lot of energy and money being wasted.
The ECO free boiler & insulation grant scheme has been set up to address this waste of energy and lower your fuel bills, and to improve your carbon footprint by lowering CO2 emissions.