Buying a new central heating boiler is a large expense for homeowners of any age, but replacing your boiler when you are over 60 may not have financially have been an option for you before now. It is estimated that 2.5 million homes across the UK are in need of a new boiler, but thanks to a new government scheme, if you are a pensioner and meet the requested criteria, you may be eligible to access a boiler grant through the new ECO scheme and have yours replaced.
Is it completely free?
A new central heating boiler can typically cost in excess of £2000, so who is funding this scheme? Well, the ECO scheme (or energy company obligation scheme) has been set up by the government to help those who considered vulnerable by meeting set criteria, and the grants issued are controlled by the Big Six energy suppliers; British Gas, EDF, EON, nPower, Scottish Power and SSE.
In some cases the new boiler installation is completely free, as long as your boiler is broken or inefficient and meets the criteria involved. In some instances you may be asked to make a financial contribution if the grant does not cover the full cost, but, whatever grant you receive will always be 100% yours and you never have to pay a penny of it back.
Who can claim?
With the cold snap descending, it is important to be prepared; no one wants to be left without hot water or heating at this time of year. But with energy bills and the cost of day to day living on the rise, purchasing a new central heating boiler for the over 60’s may not be possible, especially if you are on a limited income.
However, generally speaking, if you receive Pension Credit or are over the age of 60 and receive Working Tax Credit then you may indeed qualify for one of the ‘Affordable Warmth’ grants. You must own your own home, or rent privately (and you must always obtain the landlord’s permission before proceeding with any work in your home).
Is it really worth it?
If you are not eligible to have the full cost of your boiler taken care of, is it really worth putting the extra money towards replacing your old one? If your boiler is more than 8 years old, then chances are it is not as energy efficient as the boilers available on the market today.
As an example, a brand new ‘A’ rated boiler with the correct installation could save you up to 35% on your energy bills over the course of the year, and all new boilers come with guarantees for up to 6 years, so you don’t need to worry about breakdowns. Brand new boilers run at about 90% efficiency, whereas older boilers, by comparison, can range up to this anywhere from 60% efficiency. In numerical terms, for each £1 you spend on your heating, only 60p is actually going towards the gas; 40p is wasted.
Recent figures taken from the Energy Saving Trust show that a new ‘A’ rated boiler could save you as much as £350 over the course of a year. All boilers available on the scheme are ‘A’ rated, and you can choose from well-known brands such as Worcester Bosch, Vaillant and other leadering manufacturers.
If you think you may qualify for this scheme, please find out more information here.