As you advance in age, you may find yourself in a fixed or limited income situation. A spontaneous expense such as a boiler replacement could be catastrophic for your budget.
There are approximately 2.5 million households in the UK seeking a new boiler replacement, and not everyone can afford it.
Luckily, pensioners and older people are some of the individuals who can meet the criteria required to access the boiler grant scheme. The awareness that help is available in the form of boiler grants, discounts, or payment schemes is comforting for such individuals and their families.
What is ECO?
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a UK government energy efficiency scheme. Its aim is to help reduce carbon emissions, eradicate fuel poverty, and provide grants to low-income households.
The scheme began in 2013 and has undergone amendments ever since. Originally set to run until 2015, it was extended to September 2018 due to its popularity.
The nation’s largest utility companies which include British Gas and the other “Big Six”, fund the ECO scheme.
Who is Eligible?
If you’re a pensioner or know one who doesn’t receive Pension Guarantee, you can be eligible for a grant if you meet the following criteria:
- Own your own home
- You’re a private tenant in the property you live in
- You’re in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit
- Are 60 years and above and receive working tax credit
In case you don’t receive pension credit, you could be eligible if you receive benefits such as income support, job seekers allowance, pension premium or a disability allowance. Note that your current income status will also be taken into account.
Is Your Boiler Eligible?
Having gone through the first hurdle, your boiler still needs to qualify. If you have a condensing boiler that’s under 10 years and in good working condition, that boiler doesn’t qualify.
A boiler should be under 86% efficient to qualify for a replacement. A boiler that’s 8 years old or more is more likely to qualify. An energy efficiency rating of between C and G is also eligible.
If you are eligible you could enjoy:
- A new gas condensing boiler at zero cost
- A-rated energy efficient boiler
- Free installation and huge savings on total boiler costs
- Lower energy costs
- Higher energy efficiency
- Increase in property value.
Disadvantages are few once you qualify for a free boiler. Nevertheless, you should be aware of factors such as:
- Not every property is eligible for a free boiler. Council or housing association tenants is one example
- Private tenants need to get authorization from the homeowner
- If your boiler is broken but still efficient, you may only qualify for a repair
- You may be required to contribute the extra cost if the installer does extra work beyond a standard replacement
- Replacement is eligible for gas boilers only. Oil-fueled boilers don’t qualify.
In some cases, you may not qualify for a free boiler, but you’re still financially disabled to buy a new boiler.
Alternative options include:
- Buy a boiler and pay for the installation upfront
- Rent a boiler or
- Take out a boiler finance plan.