ECO3/4 Grants & Funding UK (2024)

Last updated: April 29, 2024

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is an initiative set up by the government, together with the UK’s largest energy companies to help vulnerable households upgrade their heating system i.e. their boilers.

The ECO scheme is now referred to as ECO4 as this is the fourth round of funding to date.

The ECO scheme is one of two boiler grant schemes active in the UK, the other is known as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).

What is the ECO3 Grant Scheme?

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO3) Scheme is a Government and Energy company initiative that was set up with a few major goals, these are as follows:

  • 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 ECO3 scheme allows some of society’s most vulnerable households to apply for a grant to replace their old or inefficient boiler for free in order to help them reduce their heating bills in the long term.

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

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

Who Can Apply for the ECO3 Scheme?

Unfortunately, the ECO3 scheme (now called ECO4) is not open to everyone and you must meet certain criteria.

In order to be eligible, you must be receiving a government benefit in order to be offered the ECO4 scheme funding.

This includes the following types of benefits:

  • Income-based jobseekers allowance or JSA.
  • Income Related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA).
  • Income Support (IS).
  • Pension Credit Guarantee.
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC).
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC).
  • Universal Credit (UC).
  • Housing Benefit.
  • Pension Credit Savings.
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How Do You Apply for an ECO3 Boiler Grant?

Usually, your energy supplier will contact you if you are eligible, but if you think you meet the criteria and are in need of a boiler replacement then get in touch with your energy company directly.

Got a common boiler problem? Check out our quick fix guide on boiler lockoutboiler ignition faultsboiler PCB faultsfaulty diverter valves and boiler timer issues.

Which other free boiler schemes are available?

If you are not eligible for the Government ECO3 scheme, then it is worth checking if you meet the criteria for other schemes such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, or the Affordable Warmth Obligation initiative.

As well as helping to replace boilers, this scheme can also help with repair costs and home energy efficiency upgrades, for example, updates to the insulation in your home such as adding insulation to the loft or cavity walls.

For this scheme, as well as the criteria mentioned above, typically applicants must also have a household income of less than £20k per year in order to be accepted.

This scheme is also available to pensioners who live in social housing, as long as the boiler in question has an energy efficiency rating of either E, F, or G.

What size boiler is right for your home? If you are thinking about a combi boiler, it is largely determined by the number of radiators in your home. Check out our complete guide to new boiler installation here if you are wondering about the best type of boiler for your home. 

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How much may a new boiler cost? Are you considering converting from a conventional to a combi boiler? Use our boiler installation cost calculator to get an estimation.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

As previously mentioned, the ECO3 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.

You’ll benefit from a 0% VAT rate on the purchase and installation of the low-carbon heating technologies.

Winter Fuel Payments

Another scheme that is available to pensioners is the Winter Fuel Payments which are paid out to those above 65 years old to help financially with heating bills.

To be eligible, you either need to get a state pension or another type of social security benefit.

The scheme offers between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. In 2019-2020, around 11.4 million people received this payment in the UK, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland.

If you are eligible for this initiative, you should be contacted automatically, but it is worth checking with your supplier if you have not received any help.

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Rent a Boiler Scheme

The rent-a-boiler initiative is a scheme that many energy companies are now offering to allow you to pay for a new boiler in affordable instalments.

Whilst this will not save you any money and could cost you extra in interest over a period of time, it is an option for those who are unable to replace their boiler upfront but could afford the monthly repayments comfortably – especially if you do not qualify for any of the Government schemes.

If you want to learn about the best way to heat your conservatory, you may want to check out our guide on which electric heater is the cheapest to run, you may be surprised to find out that it is not a halogen heater.

ECO3 (ECO4) Boiler Scheme UK Conclusion

If you have an old boiler that is nearing the end of its life or you are currently without heating, then it is well worth applying for the ECO3 (now ECO4 scheme).

If you don’t think you will be eligible for the ECO scheme, you may want to consider the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).

It’s also worth mentioning that boilers on finance schemes are also available, these are offered by some boiler installation companies and allow you to spread the cost of a new boiler over several years, enabling you to pay for your boiler in monthly increments.