Can’t Afford Boiler Installation Costs? Don’t Sweat It!

Last updated: May 3, 2024

Do you need to upgrade your heating system but can’t afford boiler installation costs? Various options are available to help you cover the costs of a new boiler.

The cost of living crisis still affects many UK households, with 56% struggling to make ends meet as of April 2024. Consequently, the cost of a new boiler can be out of reach for many, especially if it’s an unplanned breakdown.

Let’s face it, having a new boiler installed is expensive. In fact, in the UK, the average cost is between £1,500 and £2,000 to replace a gas boiler.

So what can you do?

In this guide, we cover all the potential options available to you including government support in the form of boiler grants, as well as other feasible options you may wish to consider since the reality is that not everyone will be eligible.

Boiler obtained through a grant if you can't afford boiler costs
Image by Worcester Bosch

Key Takeaways:

  • You can get help covering the costs of a new boiler through ECO4, BUS, and boiler finance options.
  • You can qualify for ECO4 if you’re a homeowner and receive certain benefits.
  • BUS grants can help you replace an old fossil fuel system with a low-carbon, efficient system.
  • Boilers on finance allow you to spread the cost of a new boiler into affordable monthly payments with no upfront payments or hidden charges.

Boiler Broken And Can’t Afford Boiler Replacement Costs?

In summary, you have the following options available to you, which we will cover in more detail below:

How Can ECO4 Help If You Can’t Afford Boiler Installation Costs?

ECO4 is a government-led scheme that requires energy suppliers to fit energy-saving measures to help households reduce home heating costs and decarbonise.

The scheme targets fuel-poor, low-income, and vulnerable households and will run until March 2026.

If you’re a homeowner who can’t afford boiler installation costs and qualify for a new boiler grant, ECO4 can help cover the cost of replacing, repairing, or upgrading your boiler.

According to government guidance, the scheme obligates energy suppliers to replace 5,000 broken heating systems annually, including efficient broken boilers that they can’t repair economically.

It also requires the replacement of inefficient boilers with efficient boilers that meet the new boiler standards.

There is no cap on the number of inefficient boilers suppliers can replace, but it’s up to them to choose the projects they fund, the funding level, and the installers they work with.

Who Qualifies for a Boiler Grant Under ECO4?

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO4) Scheme is a Government and Energy company initiative that was set up with a few major goals.

  • To improve the energy efficiency of UK households.
  • To help reduce fuel poverty.
  • To make energy and, therefore, home heating more affordable.

In short, the ECO4 scheme allows some of society’s most vulnerable households that can’t afford boiler costs to apply for a grant to replace their old or inefficient boiler for free to help them reduce their heating bills in the long term.

The big energy companies involved with this scheme include British Gas, EDF Energy, and Npower.

To qualify for a boiler grant, also referred to as the ECO program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You’re a homeowner in the UK.
  • You’re using an old, inefficient boiler that is at least eight years old. Your boiler can be between 5-8 years if it’s broken or has a fault affecting its operation and efficiency.
  • You’ve connected your property to the mains gas supply.
  • You receive a qualifying benefit.

Who offers the best boilers deals in the UK? Check out our review of online boiler installation companies, boiler brands, and the best UK boilers that have topped our list concerning new boilers in the current year.

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What Types of Benefits Are Accepted?

As mentioned, to qualify/be entitled to a government boiler grant, you must receive at least one of the qualifying benefits. These include the following:

  • Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) – Income based
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – Income related
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Work Tax Credit (WTC)
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Child Benefits* – depending on income threshold

*If you claim Child Benefits we will need to ask additional questions to check if you qualify.

If you currently receive any of the benefits listed above, you may be entitled to a boiler grant, but bear in mind there may be other income thresholds you must meet.

What Are the Income Thresholds?

To be entitled to the ECO grant funding for a new boiler under Child Benefits, you must also fall within any of the following income thresholds:

If you are a single parent claimant:

Number of ChildrenIncome Threshold
Four or More£34,200

If you are claiming as a couple:

Number of ChildrenIncome Threshold
Four or More£41,700

Qualifying for a New Boiler Grant Through ECO4 Flex

You can qualify for a new boiler grant through ECO4 Flex if you don’t receive any of the above benefits.

ECO4 Flex allows local authorities to tailor energy efficiency schemes to the area by widening the eligibility criteria for ECO4. Authorities can refer households living on a low income or in fuel poverty and vulnerable to the effects of a cold home.

According to Ofgem, suppliers can deliver up to 50% of their obligation under this mechanism.

If you can’t afford boiler costs and qualify for a new boiler grant through ECO4 Flex, you can get free funding to replace your inefficient or efficient but broken boiler.

ECO4 Flex provides various routes that allow you to qualify for funding to pay for a new boiler. These include:

  • Route 1 (Low household income): An annual household income under £31,000.
  • Route 2 (Health): Those with health issues that worsen due to cold living conditions, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, and mobility issues, or those with immune-suppressed conditions.
  • Route 3 (Multi-proxy eligibility): A household with E, F, or G energy bands and meeting any two of the following criteria:
  • The householder receives a low-income Council Tax rebate
  • The householder is vulnerable to living in a cold home, as identified in the NICE Guidance.
  • The household has received referrals from the Local Authority scheme.
  • Household members get free meals in school.
  • The household struggles to cover debt payments for their mortgage and utility bills.

How Do You Apply for A Free Boiler Grant?

If, after reading the above criteria, you think you may be entitled to a boiler grant, you can apply for one through a few simple steps:

Step 1: Visit the Free Boiler Scheme Application Website

The website is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and approving applications for free boiler grants from the ECO Scheme. Just visit it to start the application process.

Step 2 – Fill out the Free Boiler Scheme Form

The application form will require information such as:

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Household income
  • Household health issues
  • Post Code
  • Type of Ownership
  • Household benefits
  • EPC rating of your property
  • Details about your boiler
  • Previous ECO funding

Make sure to be as detailed and precise as possible because this will allow to review and approve your application faster if you’re eligible to claim this grant.

After filling out all the required information, click on “Submit” to send your application and the team of specialists will review it.

Step 3 – Get Approved to Upgrade Your Boiler

You can expect to hear back from in 24 hours or less, to discover if you can claim a grant to replace your boiler for free thanks to the ECO Scheme.

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Once you are approved, you will get more details about the free funding and what you will obtain through the government initiative.

Step 4 – Set a Property Survey Date

Following the notice of approval, you will have to set a date for the property survey.

This process is completely free, and it’s necessary to verify if your boiler needs replacement and what other upgrades will make your home more energy efficient, such as wall and loft insulation, solar panels, and storage heaters.

Ensure you’re available to give the assessor access to different areas and have your energy bills or any energy improvement records handy.

Step 5 – Get A Plan and Set an Installation Date

After conducting the property survey, you’ll receive a report outlining the energy efficiency improvements recommended for your home, which can include a boiler replacement.

The assessor will calculate the grant funding you can get and whether it covers the full cost of a boiler or the majority of the cost and you can set up an installation date.

Evidently, on this day, they will visit your home again to install your new boiler for free, along with other necessary upgrades such as insulation and storage heaters.

Wondering how much a new boiler costs? Check out our guide on options available if you need a new boiler but can’t afford it, as well as boilers on finance and government boiler grants here.

Check out our video on how to vet boiler brands/models in the UK:

Which Energy Companies Are Involved?

As mentioned the ECO funding scheme or boiler grant scheme is operated in conjunction with energy companies and the government.

The energy companies currently operating the scheme include the following energy companies:

  • Avro Energy
  • Bristol Energy
  • British Gas
  • Bulb
  • Co-operative Energy
  • E
  • Economy Energy
  • Ecotricity
  • EDF Energy
  • Eon
  • Extra Energy
  • Flow Energy
  • Green Network
  • Green Star
  • iSupply
  • Npower
  • Octopus Energy
  • OVO Energy
  • Pure Planet
  • Scottish and Southern Energy
  • Scottish and Southern Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy
  • So Energy
  • Spark Energy
  • SSE
  • Utilita
  • Utility Warehouse
  • Utility Warehouse

Check out our boiler brand price guides and comparisons:

Which Other Schemes Are Available If I Can’t Afford Boiler Costs?

If you are not eligible for the Government ECO4 scheme, it’s worth checking if you meet the criteria for other schemes such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

As previously mentioned, the ECO4 scheme is one of two forms of boiler funding available in the UK. The second is the BUS.

The BUS scheme provides grants to encourage property owners to replace existing fossil fuel heating systems with low-carbon, more efficient heating systems.

These include ground-source heat pumps, air-source heat pumps, and biomass boilers in limited circumstances.

The scheme operates similarly to the Green Homes Grant Scheme.

The government contributes a fixed sum towards the upfront costs of low-carbon heating technologies, and the property owner pays for the rest.

The scheme opened for grant applications on 23rd May 2022 and will run up to 2025 with a £450m funding confirmed for the three years.

If you can’t afford boiler costs and qualify under BUS, you can get up to £5,000 to cover the upfront costs of installing a biomass boiler.

You’ll also benefit from a 0% VAT rate when purchasing and installing low-carbon heating technologies.

Who Qualifies for A Boiler Grant Under BUS?

You can qualify for a new boiler grant under BUS if:

  • You’re the owner of the property you’re applying for, including a second home, business, or renting property.
  • Your property is in a rural location and not connected to the gas grid.
  • Your property has no outstanding insulation recommendations and has a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Changes to the grant eligibility rules allow you to qualify even with recommendations from May 2024.
  • You have an emissions certificate for your boiler showing you keep polluting emissions to a minimum.
  • You have a property with an installation capacity of up to 45kWth.
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Which Properties Don’t Qualify for A New Boiler Grant Under BUS?

Grants are not available under the scheme for:

  • Properties already supported or funded by the government for a biomass boiler or heat pump.
  • Social houses like rentals or accommodations provided at lower market value
  • New build properties apart from particular self-builds. If you own a self-build property and wish to be eligible, you must have built it or paid a builder to do the job. You’ll need to provide proof that the property is self-build.

How Does Anyone Who Qualifies for A Boiler Grant Under BUS Access The Scheme?

BUS is an installer-led scheme, meaning you’ll need an installer to apply for the grant on your behalf.

Your installer will advise on the suitable heating system for your property, apply to Ofgem for a grant voucher, and complete the installation according to scheme requirements and industry standards.

Low-carbon heating systems installed, thoroughly checked, and commissioned by the installer on or after 1st April 2022 are eligible for funding under the scheme. The new heating system must:

  • Replace an existing fossil fuel heating system like an oil, gas, electric, or LPG boiler.
  • Be capable of meeting your home’s whole space hot water and heating requirements.
  • Meet specific technical standards like minimum efficiency requirements. The installer will advise you on these.

Boilers on Finance If You Can’t Afford Boiler Costs

If you don’t qualify for the boiler grants, you can get a boiler on finance, also known as pay-monthly boilers or rent-a-boiler.

With boilers on finance, you can install a new boiler in your home without paying the full price before installation.

Instead, you can spread the cost of your new boiler with an affordable monthly pay deal, with no upfront payment and no hidden charges.

Several companies offer this service, making spreading out the cost of a new boiler installation easier.

The monthly payment pays off the cost of the boiler, the installation, and, depending on your contract, any repair, maintenance, and servicing costs for the duration of your contract.

The boiler will be yours once you finish paying.

Considerations for Boilers on Finance

It’s worth noting that getting a boiler on finance is a long-term commitment.

Most companies offering boiler finance feature different contract lengths, but they can be as long as 12 years.

With long repayment periods, your monthly payments for your new boiler will be lower, but you’ll pay more interest overall.

You’ll have higher monthly payments with a shorter repayment period, but you’ll own your boiler sooner and pay less in overall interest.

You can also choose to pay a deposit upfront and significantly reduce your monthly repayments.

Ensure you read the fine print when making a contract agreement. Check for things like whether the monthly payments are fixed or increase over time, or whether there are penalties for missed payments or overpayments.

Final Thoughts On Can’t Afford Boiler Costs

Various options are available to help you get a new, A-rated, efficient boiler if you can’t afford boiler costs upfront in the UK. If you receive certain benefits, you don’t have to struggle with fossil fuel, broken or old, inefficient boilers thanks to schemes like ECO4 and BUS.

Even if you’re not eligible for grants and funding, you can still access boilers on finance schemes. These allow you to spread the cost of a new boiler over several years, enabling you to pay for it in monthly increments.

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