The government this week unveiled its new £450m Boiler Upgrade scheme, which could provide homeowners with £5,000 grants towards the cost of replacing their old oil or gas boilers with more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as heat pumps.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a key part of the government’s ‘Heat and Buildings Strategy’, which aims to tackle emissions created by homes and businesses. The scheme aims to provide funding to 90,000 households across England and Wales to replace their oil or gas boilers with green energy alternatives.

One of the main alternatives to gas or oil boilers are heat pumps, which essentially work by drawing warmth from either the air or the ground, condensing it and pumping it around your home. They more than halve carbon emissions from heating your home, are highly efficient and depending on your property, provide cheaper running costs, but the main barrier to more people having them in their homes is the significant upfront installation costs, which can range from £5,000 to £15,000.

The point of the grant is therefore to bring the cost of a heat pump down to a similar level as a standard boiler installation, with the aim that by 2030 it will cost the same to install a green heating option as a gas boiler. As a further part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the government is also investing £60million worth of funding in pioneering heat pump technologies to further support the goal of making green energy a more affordable option for everyone in the future.

When will the grant be available?

The grant will be available from next April and is likely to run from 2022 through to 2025.

Who is eligible for a boiler grant?

There has not been any clear indication given yet whether the grant will be provided on a means-tested basis, but currently, it would seem that anyone who owns their home, or is a landlord and is replacing their boiler may be able to access the grant through their installing company from April.

How do you get the grant?

Rather than individuals being handed £5,000 to do with as they please, the idea is that the grant will be available to those replacing their boiler when their old one gives up the ghost.

So, from next April, those wanting to access the grant will need to contact either their energy provider or an approved heating system installation company when they are replacing their boiler. These companies will then provide the discount to the consumer and claim the grant back from the government.

Why is it being brought in?

While many of us may think that our boiler alone can’t make that much difference, heating for homes and workplaces makes up almost a third of the UK’s carbon emissions and so it is a huge area of focus for the government’s Net Zero Strategy which aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The government recently announced the intention to start banning gas and oil boilers as soon as 2025, which understandably caused a huge amount of concern, with people worrying that they would be forced to replace their boilers before they can afford to or need to. However, the government has provided its assurance that if introduced, the ban will apply to new properties being built and that no one will be forced to replace their boiler by the ‘green police’. Instead, they are introducing this grant to encourage people to opt for greener alternatives when the natural lifecycle of their boiler comes to an end and they look to replace it.

There has been some criticism that the grant is nowhere big enough to make a significant impact on the wider market, and falls far short of helping the government meet its aim of seeing 600,000 heat pumps or alternative energy heating systems installed a year by 2028.

What are your thoughts on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme? Would you consider installing a heat pump or other alternative energy heating system in your home? We’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch on the Rest Less Community, a place where you can get tips and support from like-minded people.

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