How does the scheme work?
The free boiler grant scheme is intended to enable people in need to access funding to receive a new boiler for free or at a fraction of the cost. The ECO Scheme is backed by the Government and compels the ‘Big Six’ of the nation’s energy suppliers (British Gas, Eon, EDF Energy, SSE, Scottish Power and Npower) to meet their obligation to offer grants for installing more energy-efficient boilers. This will help reduce household carbon footprints and lower energy bills.
To be eligible for the grant, your home must have a boiler that is more than 7 years old and you must be a recipient of a qualifying benefit, such as Attendance Allowance. Households with a boiler less than 7 years old will not qualify for the grant.
If any of the following applies to you (or someone in your household), you may be eligible for the grant:
- You receive Attendance Allowance
- You are a homeowner or private tenant
- Your boiler is more than 7 years old
If your application for a free boiler grant is successful, the scheme will handle the entire process of boiler removal, installation and aftercare. You won’t have to pay for this service as fees are covered by the scheme. For many, this means an entirely new boiler costs absolutely nothing or a fraction of the cost.
What are the advantages of a new boiler?
With a new boiler, your home will be warmer and more energy-efficient. The new boiler will work more efficiently than an old one, so less energy will be consumed to heat your home. With an A-rated boiler, the energy-efficiency is higher than 90%, so virtually all fuel burned is converted to heat.
A household that has a new boiler installed will benefit from a significant reduction in heating bills. In some cases, you could save as much as £300 per year. In addition to lowering your energy bills, the new boiler will reduce your carbon footprint to help with protecting the environment.
Grants are now being made available to assist pensioners and vulnerable householders with their heating bills and the cost of replacing outdated boilers and heating systems. The new grants are delivered through the “Affordable Warmth” element of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.
Depending on your situation, the grants can cover the whole cost of any work required and do not need to be repaid. According to ECO rulings, major utility providers like British Gas and Npower will cover the expenses to contribute to UK home improvements in energy efficiency instead.
Householders may be required to make a subsidised payment towards expenses, depending on the property type and its heating system’s energy efficiency rating.
What type of boiler can qualify for a free ECO central heating grant?
As well as the applicant, the boiler that requires replacing must qualify as well, for a home to receive a free central heating grant via the ECO scheme.
In order to answer the established criteria, the boiler that needs replacing must be operating with an efficiency level no greater than 86 percent of its top capacity. Boilers that are operating with this standard of efficiency are typically rated from C to G, with the most efficient boiler carrying an A rating. Boilers that are around five years old or more are commonly found in this category and will meet the set criteria.
If boilers are confirmed to be damaged beyond viable repair expenses, they are also eligible for a grant as well as those with faults in functionality. Common faults in older models of boiler that could see them qualify include constantly requiring repressurising, pilot lights that won’t stay lit, models that leak water and produce considerable noise or those that are not able to provide basic central heating and hot water.
Even if a boiler has none of these issues, if it is C rated or lower for efficiency or is five years or older, it should be eligible to be replaced for free.