Home → Finance→

Who Qualifies for a Boiler Grant?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated October, 21, 2022

Homeowners in the UK can apply for government-backed funding that will replace their old, inefficient boiler with a new A-rated model. 

However, to access this scheme and enjoy savings of £300 and more a year, there are certain criteria you need to meet.

So, who qualifies for a boiler grant and how can you apply?

What Is the Free Boiler Grant Scheme?

There are several ways you can get a free or discounted boiler through grants and government-backed schemes, most of which apply to households that live in fuel poverty, receive government benefits or have low energy-efficient homes. 

Out of all the boiler grants available in the UK, though, the ECO Scheme is still one of the most popular. 

This programme, funded by some of the biggest utility companies in the UK, was launched in 2013 and it is currently in the fourth and final stage, also known as ECO4. This phase started on 1 April 2022 and will run until the end of March 2026. 

During this time, companies with a minimum of 150,000 customers are obligated to repair or replace inefficient heating systems with eco-friendly devices. This means eligible homeowners can replace their old boiler with an upgraded model for free or for a fraction of the cost.

Companies are also obligated to install wall cavity insulation and loft insulation, as well as smart heating controls, in order to make homes more energy efficient and help households cut down on high energy bills. 

Unlike the previous phase, ECO3, which saw the installation of nearly 134,000 boilers, under ECO4 suppliers will only be allowed to replace 5,000 boilers a year, or 20,000 boilers through the duration of the scheme. 

Since ECO4 is focusing on boosting households’ EPC rating, the programme will no longer provide boiler grants in the UK for the installation of free LPG or oil boilers (although suppliers can still repair broken models under this boiler grant scheme).

Eligibility criteria is also stricter, which means that fewer people will qualify for a free boiler under ECO4. 

Who Qualifies for a Boiler Grant?

In general, to be able to get a grant for a new boiler you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your home must have an energy efficiency rating lower than D (i.e. D, E, F or G). You can check your home’s EPC rating here
  • You must own the property (residents of council-owned properties or privately rented properties are not eligible although they could get a free boiler under the ECO4 Flex programme) 
  • You must receive at least one government benefit, such as Universal Credit or Child Benefits (see the full list below)
  • The home must be connected to the main gas supply as LPG and oil boilers are excluded from the scheme (coal-fuelled heating systems have been excluded since ECO3).

What benefits qualify you for a new boiler?

You will automatically qualify for a new boiler grant if you receive any of the following government benefits: 

  • Income based jobseekers allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Income Related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Pension Savings Credit
  • Child Benefit
  • Housing Benefit

Note: If you receive Child Benefits, you need to fall within these income thresholds to qualify. 

Single claimants Members of a couple 
One child£19,800£27,300
Two children £24,600£32,100
Three children£29,400£36,900
Four children or more £34,200£41,700

Recipients of the following non-means tested benefits no longer automatically qualify for a new boiler grant (they did under ECO3):

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • War Pensions Mobility Supplement

ECO4 Flex 

If you don’t qualify under the terms outlined above, you could still get a free boiler under the ECO4 Flex scheme.

This part of the ECO programme targets households that have low income (usually less than £35,000), but do not receive benefits. It is a voluntary programme that allows local councils to tap into 50% of the government’s £4 billion in funding. Eligibility criteria are set by local councils, so if you think you can qualify, contact your local council for information. 

Note: If you rent from a private landlord, the home must have an EPC rating of E, F or G and you need the landlord’s permission to get boiler replacement grants. 

How much is a boiler grant?

The size of the grant depends on the energy efficiency of the home. Once you check whether you are eligible for a grant, your energy supplier will carry out a free energy assessment that will determine the energy efficiency of your home and thus the amount of funding you will receive. 

Keep in mind that this assessment is not always free-of-charge and you might be required to pay a small compensation. 

The cost of a new boiler is about £2,500—households eligible for a free boiler will get one without the need to repay anything, but in reality most homes will be able to receive grants that will cut £200 to £400 off the overall boiler installation cost. 

Did you know: Admiral and other top home insurance companies in the UK can provide insurance for your brand-new boiler?

How to Apply for a Free Boiler Grant?

The best way to apply for a free boiler grant is to contact your energy supplier. 

Suppliers that participate in the ECO4 scheme include

  • British Gas
  • Bulb
  • E (Gas & Electricity) Ltd
  • E.ON 
  • Ecotricity
  • EDF Energy
  • ESB Energy
  • Octopus Energy
  • Outfox the Market
  • OVO 
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy 
  • So Energy
  • The Co-operative Energy 
  • The Utility Warehouse
  • Utilita Energy 

The list is subject to change, so make sure you check Ofgem’s official site for the full list of suppliers. 

You might be contacted by an installer directly. In this case, ask for credentials—an installer working under the ECO boiler scheme must have a registration number and be TrustMark accredited.

How much electricity can you save with a new boiler?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating accounts for 55% of your energy bill, which means that replacing your old inefficient boiler with an upgraded version will save you an average of £100 annually and more. 

Here is a breakdown of savings for a single detached house in England, Scotland and Wales based on the energy efficiency of an old boiler.

Considering that the average electricity and gas bill in the UK for a two-bedroom house was £708.40 in 2021, an upgraded boiler can significantly lower your expenses. 

Other Ways You Can Get a Free Boiler

Boiler Upgrade Scheme 

This scheme can help households install low-carbon heating systems by providing up to £5,000 discount off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler, air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps. 

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will run from 2022 to 2025 and all owners of properties in England and Wales can apply provided 

  • The home has an installed capacity of up to 45kWth 
  • You have an old fossil fuel heating system 
  • You have a current energy performance certificate that has no recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation

Your installer will advise on the best heating source and apply for the grant on your behalf.

Grants for white goods

Several charities and companies, including British Gas and E.ON, provide white goods grants for low-income earners or people on benefits. And while most of these offer appliances such as fridges and cookers, it might be worthwhile to check whether any of them subsidise boiler purchases or repairs. 

Other government heating grants in 2022

  • Warm Home Discount—eligible residents could get a one-off discount on their electricity bill. The scheme is currently closed but will re-open in November 2022. 
  • Cold Weather Payments—also re-opens in November 2022 and awards around £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between November and March
  • Winter Fuel Payment—provides between £250 and £600 to eligible pensioners as help for their electricity bills.

Boiler scrappage schemes

The government-backed boiler scrappage programme may be closed for applications, but there are several energy companies that have similar schemes of their own. Check for quotes and see how big of a discount on a new boiler you can get by scrapping your old model. 

Getting a boiler on finance 

If you cannot afford a new boiler and you don’t qualify for government-backed grants for boilers, you can get one with 0% financing deals or through 0% spending credit card.

A payday loan is another alternative. Keep in mind though that if your income is low, getting a loan might put you in serious debt so make sure to weigh out all the pros and cons before applying for financing. 

Bottom Line 

An energy-efficient boiler can save you at least £100 on energy bills a year, however, it is an expensive purchase that comes with additional costs such as installation and maintenance. 

Luckily, those on low income and with low EPC ratings could get free or heavily discounted boilers through a government boiler grant, such as the ECO4 scheme, or via grants by energy companies. If you are having problems paying your heating bills contact your energy supplier or local council and check whether you are one of the UK residents who qualifies for a boiler grant.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.