Why is it only at the most inconvenient moment that a boiler breaks? Like the coldest week in winter, or just as you’re going away for a few days. Replacing boilers can be extremely expensive, and the average modern boiler costs between £1,500 and £2,500. When you’re suddenly faced with finding that amount of cash or trying to cope with no heating and hot water, it can be extremely scary and daunting.
Luckily, the government has created a number of schemes over the past decade to keep the most vulnerable people in society warm and cosy. The Winter Fuel Payment was created as a way to help the elderly keep up with ever increasing energy bills.
Meanwhile, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) initiative was started to make it mandatory for Britain’s mainstream energy suppliers to offer free insulation for cavity walls and lofts. In addition, to all of this there’s the Affordable Warmth Scheme; a project which might provide you with a central heating grant if you qualify.
What are Central Heating Grants?
Though the government doesn’t offer free central heating per se, there are a variety of means to reduce energy bills, increase energy efficiency and access free support and help. For example, the winter fuel payment shaves a few hundred pounds off your winter fuel bill, whilst free loft insulation means you won’t need to have your heating on as much.
There are also a few schemes offered by local councils to help with external wall insulation too. In addition, if you’re in receipt of benefits, an old age pensioner or have a low household income, you might be able to get a brand new boiler for free too.
A central heating grant doesn’t cover the cost of new radiators, however. Nor does it provide money if you need your system power flushed. For these, you’ll need to negotiate with local contractors from sites like Quotatis to get a good deal. Power flushing your system is a very good idea if you’re having a new boiler installed, helping to maximise the efficiency of your entire central heating system.
How to Qualify for a Free Boiler
Under the ECO scheme, the UK’s ‘big six’ energy companies provide some of the most vulnerable people in society with brand new boilers for no cost. You might not consider yourself ‘vulnerable’, but if you have a low income, are a pensioner or receive one or more income related benefits, you might be able to qualify for this grant.
- Benefits – If you receive child tax credit, income based jobseekers allowance, income related employment support allowance, income support, pension credit or universal credit, you could qualify. In addition, if your household income is less than £16,010 and you receive working tax credit as a result, you also might be able to get a free boiler.
- Homeowners and Tenants – Regardless of whether you rent or own your home, you could still get a free boiler grant. Tenants need to rent privately and will need to seek, and show evidence of, their landlords permission. Meanwhile, any house association tenant who owns over 50per cent of their home can also apply.
- Boilers – There’s a number of criteria that boilers have to fall into if you’re to get a grant for a replacement. Firstly, boilers must be over five years old. If they’re graded at an energy efficient rating between C and G, they’ll qualify. But A and B graded appliances can be considered too if they’re faulty. A boiler should also be under 86per cent efficient.
In many cases you might find that though you’re financially unable to buy a new boiler, you don’t qualify for a grant either. This can be extremely distressing, especially if you’re trying to keep your family warm in the middle of winter. However, there are some alternate options available.
Boiler finance has been created for this very demand, offering you with a way to get a new boiler installed for a small monthly payment. In many cases, repayments can be as little as £20 per month, especially if the loan is spread over a five or ten year period.
The main thing is not to worry when your boiler breaks. If, after the initial inspection, it does need replacing, it’s worth researching potential grant availability and, if you don’t qualify, consider finance instead.