Free Boiler Replacement Scheme For Over 60s

Last updated: January 19, 2024

A new gas boiler can cost around £1,500 and £5,000, which is often a significant amount of money for a pensioner or for anyone who is on a fixed income.

There are estimated to be around 12 million pensioners in the UK, though many of these do not receive a state pension and are struggling financially.

To combat this, the Government introduced a number of schemes and initiatives to provide financial support to anyone who needs their boiler replaced due to it being broken or inefficient.

As of 2024, 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).

Important note: if you are not a pensioner, but are still interested in a boiler grant, you may be interested in other types of grants, check out our guide on oil boiler grants, storage heater grants and boiler grants for landlords.

Who is eligible for a free boiler replacement?

Generally, the Government’s budget for the different schemes is limited, and so the criteria is very strict.

Pensioners who own their home and are in receipt of pension credit, or are at least 60 years old and receive a working tax credit, are typically eligible for the schemes available.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme

The Energy Companies Obligation Scheme is the most common Government initiative that was set up in order to support those who may need financial assistance with replacing their boiler.

This scheme allows pensioners 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.

The Government states that these large companies have a responsibility to ensure that pensioners and low-income families have access to heating and hot water.

Usually, your 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.

What is the ECO4 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 societies 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.

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

Wondering which boiler manufacturers performed best? Check out our best boiler brands guide for the full rundown and if you are trying to determine who the best boiler installation company is, check out our Warmzilla and Boxt reviews.

Who Can Apply for the ECO4 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 benefit:

  • 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.

How Do You Apply for an ECO4 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.

Reasons for replacing a boiler

The primary reason for replacing a boiler is if it is broken. A broken boiler is useless and will not be able to heat the home or provide hot water, and can even be dangerous if the system is leaking gas or in danger of overheating.

It is vital that if you notice any signs that your boiler is broken, you get it fixed or replaced immediately.

Another key reason that many people decide to replace their boilers is due to them being inefficient.

An efficient boiler will use the least amount of energy possible to keep your home warm, which will inevitably save you money on your heating bills.

Inefficient boilers will cost more to run and tend to be unreliable, leaving you vulnerable to tepid water and a cold home in the winter.

Boilers’ level of efficiency reduces heavily as they age. Most boilers will each have a rating that can indicate how efficient they are from A to G, with A being at least 90% efficient and G being less than 70% efficient.

Generally, boilers should be E or above and it is now against the law to rent out a property that has an efficiency rating of F or G.

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Replacing a boiler is an investment that can save lots of money in the long term, and to reduce the upfront costs the Government have introduced schemes that can help pensioners and those on low incomes.

Did you know the efficiency of your boiler can impact the amount of energy it uses and ultimately impact your heating bill costs? Check out our guide to the best condensing boilers if you are interested to find out more. 

You may also find our review of the best eco-friendly boilers of interest.

Got a common boiler problem? Check out our quick fix guide on boiler lockout, boiler ignition faults, boiler PCB faults, faulty diverter valves and boiler timer issues.

Which other free boiler schemes are available?

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

As well as replacing boilers, this scheme also covers repairs and updates to the insulation in your home such as adding insulation to the loft or cavity, as well as any upgrades to your heating.

For this scheme, as well as the criteria mentioned above, 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. 

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.

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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.

Check out our boiler brand price guides and comparisons:

Winter Fuel Payments

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

To be eligible, you either need to get the 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.

Heard about the gas boiler ban and wondering what the alternatives to gas boilers are? Read our complete guide to replacing your gas boiler with a heat pump.

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 cheapest to run, you may be surprised to find out that it is not a halogen heater.

Free boiler replacement for pensioners conclusion

The Government has introduced a number of schemes that aim to help pensioners with replacing their boiler, if not for free, for a heavily reduced price.

Whilst the requirements for a free replacement are quite stringent, there are other schemes that are worth looking at if you think you qualify.

Ensuring that your boiler is efficient and heats your home effectively is important as it not only reduces your heating bills, saving you money but means the system is far more sustainable and will last longer.