Who Qualifies For a Boiler Grant? Full Guide (2023 Update)
1,000s of people in the UK are eligible for free boiler grants, repairs, or a subsidised boiler installation.
Below we’ll cover the different types of funding available for boiler grants in the UK, eligibility criteria, and how to apply.
The ECO and HHCRO Schemes Explained
The UK’s ‘Boiler Grant Scheme’, aka the ‘Free Boiler Scheme’, is formally known as the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) and forms the basis of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). Semantics aside, ECO4 and the HHCRO are essentially part of the same programme.
Dating back to 2013, ECO scheme has a primary objective of slashing carbon emissions and reducing fuel poverty across the UK. Since the programme’s 2018 update, it’s been centred around the HHCRO, which provides free boiler and cavity wall insulation grants to help low-income and vulnerable households heat their homes.
To this end, HHCRO compels medium and large energy suppliers to promote various measures that can help reduce energy costs. These measures include boiler replacement and repairs, and insulation of various parts of the building envelope. Below is a list of all participants in ECO, although some aren’t party to boiler replacement grants or repairs:
- British Gas
- E.ON Energy
- EDF Energy
- Scottish and Southern Energy
- Scottish Power
- First Utility
- The Co-operative Energy
- The Utility Warehouse
- Economy Energy
- Green Star
The list is subject to change and can be found on Ofgem’s website.
What kind of fuel does your boiler use?
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Who Qualifies For A New Boiler?
HHCRO grants are typically available for:
- Privately rented properties (you’ll need the landlord’s permission to have work completed)
- Owner-occupied properties
Generally, HHCRO grants aren’t available for social housing tenants. However, those living in social housing with an EPC rating of E, F or G, could qualify (check the GOV.UK site here).
Qualifying for a free replacement boiler under the ECO4/HHCRO scheme isn’t easy. That said, the list below gives a breakdown of the accepted benefits that could make you eligible for a boiler grant under the programme:
- Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit, or Pension Guarantee Credit
- Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living, Severe Disablement, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance or Carer’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Benefit
- Industrial Injuries Disablement
- Disability Living Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Personal Independence Payment
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement
Apart from the credits above, there are some income-related and energy savings criteria applicants must satisfy to qualify for a boiler grant:
- The total household income must not exceed a specified amount. This threshold varies depending on the number of children and adults in the household and the applicants’ benefits.
- The upgrade must produce enough savings to justify the grant. This means that smaller properties (which are easier to heat than large homes) might not qualify simply because they won’t see a significant reduction in energy bills.
Keep in mind that these qualification criteria are subject to change. So, it’s always best to check the GOV.UK website for the full and up to date list.
Which Boilers Are Eligible For Replacement?
While the criteria above pertain to the applicants and their properties, the condition of the existing boiler destined for replacement also plays a role in the eligibility equation. That’s because swapping one new, efficient boiler for another won’t generate the desired energy savings — or reduce CO2 emissions.
To this end, ECO4/HHCRO uses the following criteria — on an individual basis — to decide which boilers are eligible for a replacement under the grant:
- The boiler’s age
- The boiler’s energy efficiency
- Whether the boiler is in good working condition
- The property must be connected to the mains gas supply
Boiler Grants For Pensioners
If you want to learn more on how to get a free boiler grant as a pensioner, you can check out our detailed guide here.
However, as a pensioner, you can also save on energy by taking advantage of the schemes below:
- Warm Home Discount
- Cold Weather Payment
Boiler Grants For The Disabled
The only grant meant specifically for the disabled that could entitle the beneficiary to a free boiler is the Disabled Facilities Grant. However, remember that you can still check the criteria for the ECO4/HHCRO grants mentioned above.
This grant scheme isn’t specifically for replacement boilers. Instead, it’s designed to make a property suitable for living, which includes providing a heating system that is suitable for your needs.
To apply for a free boiler grant, or an upgrade to your existing heating system visit the GOV.UK application page.
Boiler Grants For Landlords
Believe it or not, there are free boiler grants available to landlords.
With these, the qualifying criteria are based on the tenant, and not the landlord. So, if a tenant was to qualify based on income and the receipt of benefits, it could mean a free boiler installation, or at the very least, access to boiler repair grants and upgrades.
You’ll need to speak to your tenant and visit this page here to see if they qualify.
Boiler Grants for Charities
It’s a little thin on the ground when it comes to boiler incentives for charities, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any options.
Currently, the best option available is the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, or the Energy Redress Scheme.
What’s the Energy Redress Scheme?
Rules get broken.
When the rules around the ECO Government scheme are broken? Large energy companies get fined.
The Energy Saving Trust has been appointed by OFGEM to distribute the funds from these fines efficiently, via Redress.
If you run a charity that doesn’t have close links to utility companies, your charity may be eligible for a boiler grant.
You can find more about Energy Redress and your charity’s chance of getting a free boiler grant here.
I Don’t Qualify for a Free Boiler Grant, Now What?
As we’ve mentioned, only a small percentage of the population can actually qualify for a free boiler grant. If that’s you, we suggest you make the most out of it.
For everyone else, there’s never a good time to replace a boiler; it’s a large upfront cost. For that reason, you should do as much research as possible; you’d be surprised at how much money you could save by shopping around. Check the new boiler deals.
We’d suggest doing two things, and in both scenarios, financing will be available (usually from around £12-25 per month).
Get a Fixed Price Online
First, we’d go to Heatable. They’re a company focusing on technology rather than salespeople, meaning installations on Worcester boilers here are usually the cheapest when compared to local installers.
Due to the nature of their relationship, you’ll also get things like boiler filters, smart controls and a long warranty.
Getting a boiler quote is easy. You have to answer a few anonymous questions about your property and heating system (simple toggle navigation), and Heatable will generate a range of suitable boilers along with fixed-price quotes.
Get a Quote From Local Installers
Whilst Heatable offers the fastest (and often the cheapest) way to get a new boiler, don’t discount your local installers. You can jump here, book in up to 3 quotes, and compare them back-to-back with the Heatable quote you got above.
A few things worth asking include:
- How long is the warranty on your new boiler (we’d suggest 5 years or more, while Heatable offers up to 10 on Worcester boilers)
- Whether they’ll hot flush the system (this protects your new boiler)
- If smart (or at least new) controls are included in the boiler installation price.
FAQs About Boiler Grants
Before we finish the post, we’d like to field a few common questions about boiler grants in the UK.
Who is eligible for a boiler grant?
Generally, to be eligible for a boiler grant, you must meet the following criteria:
- Receive qualifying government support (such as child tax credits)
- Be a homeowner
- Have an old, inefficient boiler
- Have a mains gas connection
- Meet income and energy savings criteria
Can you get a free boiler if you are over 60?
You may be eligible for a free replacement boiler if you’re over 60 and receive the Working Tax Credit. You’ll also need to meet the criteria below:
- Have a gas boiler that’s not working or is old
- Be a homeowner or rent private accommodations
- Live in England, Scotland, or Wales
You can read more about boiler grants for pensioners in our guide here.
Do British Gas do free boilers?
British Gas do not offer free boilers directly. However, the energy supplier is one of the Big Six companies that subsidize boiler grants in the UK.
Can Age Concern help me with a new boiler?
Since Age Concern has merged with AgeUK, the charity doesn’t offer replacement boiler grants. However, it may help you apply for various benefits and government support, which may, in turn, help you pay your heating bills or purchase a replacement boiler.
AgeUK can also perform a home energy check, during which the handyperson can install various equipment to help make your home more energy efficient.
Thanks for reading our guide to boiler grants.
Got questions about the ECO4 scheme, or anything else on this page? Managed to obtain a boiler grant and want to share your experience?
Drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.