If you are receiving income-related Employment Support Allowance, you could be eligible for help with the costs of upgrading your system. A grant can be anything up to 100 per cent of the value of a new central heating system, which will then save you significant sums on your ongoing bills. When you’re already losing income due to a sickness or disability, the last thing you need is for your fuel bills to be higher than they should.
If you’re eligible, your heating system could be replaced under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. This is a government-funded initiative that requires each of the country’s largest energy suppliers to help the UK’s homes become more energy-efficient. These companies have targets to reach based on the percentage of the market they serve and will involve promoting measures that could save energy, such as better insulation and upgraded heating systems. The energy companies work with various installers to assess homes and then the government funds any diagnosed upgrades.
If you have a sickness or disability that has meant you’ve lost income, you may be in receipt of Income-Related Employment Support Allowance. This payment is given to you to help you pay for the costs of living while your income is reduced. If you’re in this situation, you’ll want to make sure you are making the most of your allowance, not overpaying on bills.
If you do receive this benefit and you own your own home or have permission from your landlord to make heating alterations, you are likely to be accepted for help under ECO, provided your home could benefit from improvements.
How do I apply?
Applying for the grant or help under ECO is easy. Simply get in touch with your energy supplier to find out how to get the process started. Even if you’re not with one of the largest providers, you’ll still be eligible for support. Many of the largest suppliers have application forms for ECO on their websites, so you can get the process started in a matter of minutes.
As well as the applicant, the boiler that requires replacing must qualify as well, for a home to receive a free central heating grant via the ECO scheme.
In order to answer the established criteria, the boiler that needs replacing must be operating with an efficiency level no greater than 86 percent of its top capacity. Boilers that are operating with this standard of efficiency are typically rated from C to G, with the most efficient boiler carrying an A rating. Boilers that are around five years old or more are commonly found in this category and will meet the set criteria.
If boilers are confirmed to be damaged beyond viable repair expenses, they are also eligible for a grant as well as those with faults in functionality. Common faults in older models of boiler that could see them qualify include constantly requiring repressurising, pilot lights that won’t stay lit, models that leak water and produce considerable noise or those that are not able to provide basic central heating and hot water.
Even if a boiler has none of these issues, if it is C rated or lower for efficiency or is five years or older, it should be eligible to be replaced for free.