Free and heavily subsidized replacement boilers are available via ECO, a Government Scheme which has been set up to help low-income households access home efficiency improvements to reduce the cost of heating their homes and to help reduce their carbon footprints. If you meet the benefits related criteria and your current boiler is at least 5 years old (not condensing), you could qualify. It’s as simple as that.
Boiler Grants are non-repayable; which means that you do not have to pay any money back, at any time. There are no complicated terms and conditions. If you qualify for a free boiler grant, you can have one installed along with new heating controls (where necessary). The amount of funding you get is determined by the efficiency of your home, so an energy assessment will be carried out free of charge. In some instances, a small contribution may be required.
Can I get a boiler grant?
You might be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to your home if you’re on certain benefits and own or privately rent your home.
You may get all or part of the cost of:
- insulation work [i.e. to your loft or cavity walls]
- replacing or repairing your boiler or other upgrades to your heating
You must own your property or rent it privately and have the owner’s permission to do the work.
You must also currently receive a free one of the following benefits:
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (and your income is £16,010 or less)
- Working Tax Credit (and your income is £16,010 or less)
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit (and you earned £1,250 or less after tax in any assessment period in the last 12 months)
- Extra conditions
For certain benefits, one of the following must also apply:
- You get Child Tax Credit and your child’s disabled
- You get Disabled Child Premium
- You get Disability Premium
- You get Pensioner Premium
- You receive a work-related activity or support component – if you’re claiming income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- You’re 60 or over – if you’re claiming Working Tax Credit
- You get a limited capability for work or work-related activity element – if you’re claiming Universal Credit
- You get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment – if you’re claiming Universal Credit
What is the Boiler Scrappage Scheme?
The free boiler scheme was launched in January 2013 with an aim to reduce the UK’s energy consumption and provide grants to low-income households in order to help them improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
The scheme is part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Electricity and Gas Order, which was passed in parliament in 2012 and will run until 2017.
It has a total budget of £1.3 billion every year and is primarily funded by the largest UK utility companies.
ECO is made up of three obligations; Affordable Warmth, Carbon Saving Community Obligation and the Carbon Saving Obligation. Funding for the free boiler scheme is part of the Affordable Warmth group.
Do you qualify for a free boiler?
There is additional criteria for each of the above; the most important of which is that the total household income amongst all working-age residents must not exceed £16,010. This figure was decided by the government as being low enough to qualify for funding assistance.
Secondly, the property must of a size to generate sufficient savings from installing such measures. Unfortunately, the resulting carbon savings generated from upgrading a boiler within a flat are not deemed significant enough to justify the funding required to cover such work.
Lastly, there must be an existing low-efficiency boiler within the property. All boilers are rated by their energy efficiency. Most modern units will work at around 90% efficiency (only losing 10% output when converting fuel to heat).
A boiler installed around 10 years ago will most likely be around 65-80% efficient. So, by upgrading this old boiler to a new one, the carbon savings will be significant enough to warrant the cost and therefore will qualify under the free boiler scheme.
What is the Warm House Scheme?
What you’ll get:
- For winter 2015 to 2016, you could get £140 off your electricity bill through the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
- The money isn’t paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, usually between September and March.
- The discount won’t affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment.
- Not everyone gets the discount – check if you qualify.
Pre-pay or pay-as-you-go meters:
- You can also qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter.
- Your electricity supplier can tell you how you’ll get the discount if you’re eligible, eg a voucher you can use to top up your meter.
Cold weather payment:
- You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits.
- You’ll get a payment if the temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for seven consecutive days.
- The Cold Weather Payment scheme runs from 1 November 2015 to 31 March 2016. Check if you can get a payment in your area.
- You’ll get a payment of £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
- Cold Weather Payments are different to Winter Fuel Payments.
Winter Fuel Payments:
- You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 January 1953. This is known as a “Winter Fuel Payment”.
- Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.
- You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).
- If you qualify but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim.For more information about the Warm House Scheme, click here.
What is the ECO and the HHRCO?
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government scheme that obligates large scale suppliers to provide energy efficient measures to qualified domestic premises. The original scheme ended on 31 March 2015. The current replacement scheme will run through to 31 March 2017 and is referred to as ECO2.
ECO’s intention is to assist in insulating the homes for some of the most vulnerable members of the United Kingdom’s society. ECO is working in partnership with Green Deal to provide improvements in the efficiencies of domestic energy.
ECO replaces two previous schemes, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).
Free boilers are available from the ECO Scheme and they fall under the >Home Heating Cost Reduction Scheme (HHCRO) category, which is also know as “Affordable Warmth”.
Along with boilers, qualification for a grant-assisted cavity wall and/or a loft insulation measures, through the HHRCO, is calculated by your current receipt and/or eligibility for certain benefits. Some of these credits include:
- State pension credit
- Child tax credit with household income below £16,010
- Working tax credit with household income below £16,010 and
- Income-based job seeker allowance, income related employment and support allowance [ESA] or income support