Can I get a free boiler?
The truth is, if your boiler breaks downs, it can be expensive to repair or replace. So, to avoid forking out for a new heating system, you might be thinking about how you can save money by claiming a grant or signing up to a scheme which enables you to get a free boiler.
Who is eligible for a free boiler?
If you’re wondering ‘Do I qualify for a free boiler?’, it’s important that you do your research. Depending on the scheme or grant, it’s likely there will be a specific set of eligibility criteria that you’ll need to meet. For example, you may have to be in private housing in order to qualify. Certain schemes are also only open to you if you or anyone living in your household receives specific benefits such as income support, child benefits, pension credit, disability allowance or carer’s allowance.
Through the ECO scheme
You may be able to get a free boiler through the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme. This scheme enables homeowners and private tenants to have their old, inefficient boilers replaced completely free of charge, or with the help of a significant subsidy. It was introduced to help low-income families improve the efficiency of their homes while also reducing their carbon footprint and will run until March 2022.
Government funding for this scheme is limited, so the eligibility criteria is quite strict. In order to qualify, you’ll need to receive at least one benefit. For instance, this could be pension credit or income support. You must also be earning less than £20,000 per year as a household, and you will need to own the property or have received permission from your landlord if you rent it. If you meet the above criteria and your boiler is at least eight years old, you should qualify.
The ECO scheme ensures that large energy suppliers, such as British Gas, Scottish Power, Co-operative Energy, EDF Energy and Npower, fulfil their obligation to help families who may be struggling financially. A newer, more efficient boiler could result in reduced energy bills, too. If your energy supplier offers this scheme, they should contact you to let you know that you are eligible. If they don’t get in touch but you meet the criteria, you should still be able to receive help from one of these energy companies as part of the ECO scheme.
For information about the scheme or to find out if you qualify, visit the Ofgem website.
Through HHCRO grant funding
The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) is part of the ECO scheme. It’s sometimes also known as the Affordable Warmth Obligation and was previously known as the Warm Front. The funding can help you to cover the cost of replacing or repairing your boiler, as well as other energy-saving improvements. Aside from meeting the eligibility criteria mentioned above, you must also have a home with an energy rating of E, F or G. You can find this information on your Energy Performance Certificate.
Other ways you could control reduce your energy costs with incentives
If you find that you don’t qualify for a free boiler, there were other ways in which you can control your energy costs. For instance, the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was a financial scheme launched by the government in 2014. It enabled properties with certain specified renewable heating systems to receive payments at a set rate. The payments were made quarterly over a seven year period, and the amount you received depended on the type and size of system you had, and the amount of energy it generates in kilowatt-hours.
The Domestic RHI scheme applied to single domestic properties that were both off and on the gas grid across England, Scotland and Wales. This has now been replaced by the 'Boiler Upgrade Scheme'.
If you are having a new system fitted to take advantage of the offer, you should check that the technology you’re having installed is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved. You will also need to ensure that the installer is MCS certified for the technology type too.
Before you can take part in this scheme, you must also have your property Green Deal assessed. To organise this, you will need to contact a Green Deal provider to find a local assessor. You can find further information on how to do this online. During the Green Deal assessment, a qualified assessor will come to your home to discuss the property and your energy usage. This will help to establish if Green Deal improvements could be beneficial to you. You may be asked a few questions such as details about the type of heating and appliances you use, how often you use your heating system and what, if any, energy-saving measures you have in place already.
After the assessment, you will receive a Green Deal advice report. This is a document which contains an Energy Performance Certificate rating your home’s energy efficiency, as well as an occupancy assessment which measures how much energy you use. The document will also include an estimate of how much money you could save on your energy bills. A Green Deal advice report is valid for 10 years or until you make energy saving improvements to the property.
How do I apply for a heating grant or funding?
If you meet the criteria for a free boiler through the ECO scheme or you qualify for the Domestic RHI, you can submit your application online via the Ofgem website.
Before you start the application process, you should make sure that you have access to any information you might need. For example, you may need your Energy Performance Certificate number and your MCS certificate number, and you should also have your bank details available.