Government Free Boiler Scheme & Grants 2024

Last updated: May 20, 2024

Have you heard about the government-free boiler scheme and want to know if you qualify? This guide will provide you with all the information you need to determine your eligibility and how to apply.

As of May 2024, over 50% of households in the UK reported an increased cost of living attributed to higher electricity, food, and fuel costs.

Installing a new, A-rated boiler can help reduce fuel costs and make it cheaper to heat your home and water.

If you’re struggling with an old, inefficient boiler and can’t afford to replace it, the UK government’s free boiler schemes and grants can help!

If you qualify, government schemes and grants can help you obtain funding to cover the full or partial cost of a new boiler.

Some of the best government schemes and grants for a new boiler include the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).

Here’s everything you need to know about government-free boiler schemes and other options you can consider if you don’t qualify.

Worcester Bosch boiler installed with funding from the government free boiler scheme
Image by Worcester Bosch

Key Takeaways:

  • Government-free boiler schemes and grants include ECO4, BUS, and Home Energy Scotland Grants and Loans.
  • They allow you to access funding for a boiler’s full or partial cost.
  • You can qualify for ECO4 if you’re a homeowner and receive certain benefits.
  • BUS provides upfront capital grants for installing biomass boilers in England and Wales.
  • Home Energy Scotland offers grant funding, and interest-free loans to help you install renewable systems like biomass boilers.
  • If you don’t qualify for the grants, you can still access boilers on finance and spread the cost into affordable monthly payments.

What Are The Government Free Boiler Schemes and Grants?

Free boiler grants and schemes are funding options offered by the UK government to help low-income and vulnerable households at risk of fuel poverty improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

The schemes are part of the government’s strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions by helping households upgrade their homes and heating systems.

With buildings accounting for around 20% of all emissions, the government has set huge targets for reducing the carbon footprint of the housing stock in the UK.

Government schemes and grants aim to make homes in the UK greener, which can significantly impact the country’s carbon footprint.

What Government Schemes and Grants Are Available?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme

Also called the free boiler grant scheme, ECO4 is a government and energy company initiative with a few major goals. These include:

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

The ECO4 scheme allows some of society’s most vulnerable households to apply for a grant to replace their old or inefficient boiler for free, helping them reduce their heating bills in the long term.

The scheme obligates energy suppliers with more than 150,000 domestic customer
accounts to install energy efficiency and heating measures in homes in Great Britain.

ECO4 is worth £1 billion annually and will run until March 2026.

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

How Do You Qualify For A Free Boiler Grant?

You must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for a free boiler grant. These include:

  • The applicant must be the property owner, e.g., not a landlord.
  • The current boiler in the property must be at least 8 years old. If the boiler has a fault affecting its operation and efficiency or is broken, it can be 5 to 8 years old.
  • The property must be connected to the main gas supply.
  • The applicant must receive a qualifying benefit.

What Types of Benefits Are Accepted?

As mentioned, you must receive certain qualifying benefits to qualify or be entitled to a government boiler grant. These include:

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Housing Benefit (new eligible benefit under ECO4)
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit (new eligible benefit under ECO4)
  • Child Benefit*– depending on income threshold
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*If you claim child benefits, we must 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 you should bear in mind that you may have to meet other income thresholds.

How old is your boiler? Should you consider repairing the boiler or looking at the latest boiler prices? It’s no secret that boiler efficiency deteriorates over time.

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 claiming as a couple:

Number of ChildrenIncome Threshold
Four or More£41,700

If you are a single parent claimant:

Number of ChildrenIncome Threshold
Four or More£34,200

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.

LA Flex stands for Local Authority Flexible Eligibility, an extension of the core ECO4 scheme. It allows participating local authorities to refer private households living in fuel poverty or on low income and vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.

LA Flex aims to widen the net and reach households who may not be able to afford the costs of a new efficient boiler.

With LA Flex, you can qualify for free funding to cover the costs of energy-saving measures like replacing inefficient or efficient but broken boilers.

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

How Do You Qualify Under LA Flex?

  • Those in fuel poverty. This involves households spending at least 10% of their net income heating the home.
  • Those who are vulnerable and at risk during the cold weather.

You can qualify for LA Flex funding to pay for a new boiler through the following routes:

  • Route 1 (Low household income): An annual household income under £31,000.
  • Route 2 (Health): People with health issues exacerbated by living in a cold home. These include cardiovascular, respiratory, and mobility issues and those with immune-suppressed conditions.
  • Route 3 (Multi-proxy eligibility): A household in Energy bands E, F, or G and meeting any two of the following criteria:
  • The home is in the LSOA 1-3 area.
  • The householder receives a Council Tax rebate based on low income only.
  • The householder is vulnerable to living in a cold home, as identified in the NICE Guidance.
  • The Local Authority scheme, which aims to support vulnerable and low-income households, has referred the householder.
  • Household members get free meals in school.
  • The household struggles with sustained debt on mortgage payments and utility bills. The mortgage lender, the energy supplier, or Citizens Advice has advised the household to seek support from the local authority.

If you’re eligible, you can get up to £10,000 as a homeowner and £5,000 as a private or social housing landlord.

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

How Do You Apply for A Free Boiler Grant?

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply by contacting your current energy supplier, or through the following 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.

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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

Ensure you’re as detailed and precise as possible. 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.

Once 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 approval notice, you must 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.

They’ll 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.

Which Other Free Boiler Schemes Are Available?

Apart from the ECO scheme, other boiler grants are available for which you may be eligible. These include:

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

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

It aims to support the installation of heat pumps and biomass boilers in homes and non-domestic buildings in England and Wales.

The scheme operates similarly to the Green Homes Grant Scheme. The government contributes a fixed sum to the upfront costs of low-carbon heating technologies, and you pay 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.

Grants of £5,000 are available for biomass boilers and are offered at a flat rate.

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

Use our guide to learn about the different types of boilers, including condensing boilers, LPG boilers, oil boilers, and Opentherm boilers, and calculate boiler size.

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.

Who Qualifies for A Boiler Grant Under BUS?

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

  • You own the property you’re applying for, including a second home, business, or rental property.
  • Your property is rural 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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Do All Properties Qualify for A New Boiler Grant Under BUS?

No. 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 Do You Apply for A Boiler Grant Under BUS?

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.

Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland offers grant funding, interest-free loans, or a combination of both to help homeowners and self-builders in Scotland install renewable systems like biomass boilers.

Upon proving that a heat pump is unsuitable for your property, you can access funding of up to £15,000, made up of a £7,500 grant plus £7,500 as an optional loan.

The grant rises to £9,000 if you live in a rural or island home.

Boilers on Finance If You Can’t Get A Grant

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.

Government Free Boiler Scheme 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 ECO4 scheme if you recieve the right combination of benefits.

You may also want to consider the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). If you live in Scotland, you can apply for grant funding or an inetrest free loan through Home Energy Scotland.

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.

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