Free Boilers & Boiler Grants: Updated for Universal Credit 2018/2019

Thanks to an environmental scheme from the government, it is possible to get a completely free boiler. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can receive a boiler grant for up to 100% of the cost and installation of a new appliance. You don’t have to pay this money back, saving you an incredible £2,000.

Update: The majority of the benefits listed below are being replaced by Universal Credit. This is gradually being rolled out across the country by the Department for Work & Pensions.

You can get a free boiler on Universal Credit if you earned £1,250 or less after tax in any period within the last 12 months and have at least one of the following:

  • A child under 16
  • A child under 20 (not at university or studying for NVQ Level 4 or equivalent)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independent Payment (PLP)
  • Limited capability for work, or limited capability for work and work-related activity

How to get a free boiler

The Energy Company Obligation

Boiler grants are just one of several energy efficiency measures on offer from the ECO. The goal of the ECO is to help households on lower incomes reduce their carbon emissions and pay less for heating. As the name implies, the scheme receives financial support from large energy companies. This includes British Gas, E.on, and the other members of the “big 6”. It also includes energy companies who are deemed large enough based on the amount of customers they have.

Other energy saving measures available from the ECO include:

  • Loft insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Solid wall insulation

ECO October 2018

The current phase of the ECO initiative comes to an end on 30th September 2018. Its replacement will run from 1st October 2018 to 31st March 2022.

The new scheme will place extra focus on the most poor households, as almost a third of those supported by the current scheme are not on low-income homes. Another change is that grants for free oil and LPG boilers won’t be available any more.

How it works

The process is relatively straightforward. After determining that you are eligible, a contractor will come round in order to review the existing installation. They will also consider other factors in order work out exactly how much financial support you are entitled to. While boiler grants can and do cover 100% of the cost, you may be required to contribute a certain percentage of the total. This depends on several factors, such as the energy efficiency of your home. On the plus side, the grant is not a loan, and you will never have to pay the money back.

Once these things have been settled, a qualified heating engineer will install your new boiler. This shouldn’t take too long – swapping an old combi boiler with a new one in the same place generally doesn’t take longer than a day. The engineer may also replace the heating controls with a modern programmable thermostat. Replacing an old G-rated non-condensing boiler with an A-rated condensing boiler can save you up to £340 a year. The new boiler will also be quieter, safer, and faster at heating the hot water and your home. Plus, with an annual service, you’ll probably have a manufacturer’s extended warranty of anywhere up to 10 years.

Am I eligible for a boiler grant?

The eligibility criteria are very strict. You must live in either your own home or in privately rented property and have a connection to the gas main. You also need to receive a certain combination of income-related benefits, such as Job Seeker’s Allowance and income support.

The boiler which will be replaced must also be a non-condensing boiler which is at least eight years old. Non-condensing boilers are always less energy efficient than condensing boilers. (Click here to learn more about this topic.)

What are the benefit criteria?

Free boiler for pensioners and over 60s

  • You will satisfy the benefit criteria if you receive Pension Credit

Free boiler with Child Tax Credits

  • You will satisfy the benefit criteria if you receive Child Tax Credits and you live in a home whose annual income is less than £16,010 per year.

Free boiler on Income-related benefits.

If you receive either Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance, or Income-based Employment & Support Allowance, you will satisfy the criteria if you receive at least one of the following components. Note that full-time education excludes higher education, i.e. university or NVQ Level 4 equivalent or higher:

  • Pension Premium
  • Employment Support
  • Disability Living Allowance (Higher Rate)
  • Child under 16
  • Child under 20 (not in full time education)

Free boiler on Working Tax Credits

You will satisfy the benefit criteria if i) you receive Working Tax Credits ii) you live in a home whose annual income is less than £16,010 per year and have at least one of the following:

  • Disabled worker allowance
  • Severe disability allowance
  • Over 60 years old
  • Child under 16
  • Child under 20 (not in full time education)
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