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What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and How to Apply in the UK?

Ciaran Wark
By: Ciaran Wark
Updated: 8th January 2024

Boiler Upgrade Scheme

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, first launched in April 2022, is a £450 million scheme initiated by the UK Government as part of a wider £3.9 billion Heat and Buildings Strategy.

The grant scheme is designed to help homeowners upgrade their traditional fossil fuel boilers to a low-carbon heating system. Specifically, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and biomass boilers are all available for grant funding through the initiative. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is set to run until 2028.

By incentivising property owners to invest in low-carbon heating, the government hopes to increase the number of low-carbon heating system installations in England and Wales. This will help reduce carbon emissions from home heating to net zero by 2050.

Up until October 2023, the scheme offered £5,000 towards air source heat pump and biomass boiler installation costs, and £6,000 towards ground source heat pump costs. In September 2023, the government announced that the grant amount would increase for both air source and ground source heat pumps to £7,500. The grant amount for biomass boilers will remain at £5,000.

In this guide, we’ll explore exactly how the Boiler Upgrade Scheme works, how to apply, and how much the grant can help you save.

During the process of installing your new low-carbon heating system, you will have to choose the right installer for the job. With numerous installation companies available, the process of narrowing down options can be time-consuming.

Save yourself countless hours of searching by getting your boiler quotes directly, using Boiler Guide’s quotes service. All you have to do is fill in our 30-second form, then we’ll connect you with up to 4of the best installers for your project. All of the installers in our network have been vetted by us, and we’ll only connect you with those based in and around your local area.

Our service is completely free and you’re under no obligation to accept any of the quotes you receive.

For up to 4 tailored heat pump quotes from the best installers in your area, visit our trusted sister company, GreenMatch

See more reviews:

How does the Boiler Upgrade Scheme work in 2024?

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is available to property owners in England and Wales. Funding for your new low-carbon heating installation is granted as a fixed sum.

Through the scheme, you can receive:

  • £7,500 for a new air source heat pump
  • £7,500 for a new ground source heat pump
  • £5,000 for a new biomass boiler.

The grant is paid directly to the installer and then deducted from the total upfront cost, following the successful commissioning of the new heating system.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme increase to £7,500

From October 2023, a new grant of £7,500 dedicated to heat pumps will be introduced. The increased grant level of £7,500 will apply to both air source and ground source heat pumps.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced this increase in grant level on 21 September 2023, and the upgraded amount will become available from 23 October 2023 to applications submitted on or after this date.

Those whose applications have been approved before this date will receive the original grant amount for both air and ground source heat pumps. It is possible, however, for installers to withdraw their application and reapply.

Are you eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in the UK?

To qualify for a BUS grant in England and Wales, property owners must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Ownership: You must be the owner of the property you’re applying for, whether it’s a commercial property, your primary residence, or a property you rent out to tenants.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): Your property must possess a valid EPC with no outstanding loft or cavity wall insulation recommendations.

For the chosen air source or ground source heat pump:

  • Commissioning date: It should have been commissioned on or after April 1, 2022.
  • Replacement of fossil fuel system: The pump must entirely replace a fossil fuel heating system, including oil, gas, or electric boilers.
  • Capacity: It should meet the heating and hot water demands of your property and not exceed 45kWth in capacity.

If opting for a biomass boiler:

  • Off-gas grid property: Your property must be off the gas grid.
  • Rural location: The property should be situated in a rural location.
  • Emissions certificate: The boiler must have an emissions certificate demonstrating minimal pollutant emissions.

You cannot claim the grant for:

  • New build properties, unless you’re building your own home.
  • For the replacement of an existing low-carbon heating system.

For residents in the UK outside of England and Wales, similar low-carbon heating and boiler grants are available in your region:

  • Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan (Scotland): receive an interest-free loan or grant for energy efficiency measures.
  • CLOSED: Boiler Replacement Scheme (Northern Ireland): receive grants for boiler replacement costs. This grant closed in September 2023.

If uncertain about eligibility, seeking out a professional heating installer who can make an assessment of your home heating situation and your potential eligibility for the grant is recommended,

To do this, you can either spend countless hours researching the best installers in your area, and even longer waiting for them to respond to your query, or you can leave it to the team at Boiler Guide.

Our quick and easy service puts you directly in touch with up to 4 of the most suitable heating engineers in your area. You can then arrange a quote with them individually, and choose the one that offers the best deal. It’s simple, free to use, and you’re under no obligation to accept any of the quotes you receive.

For up to 4 tailored heat pump quotes from the best installers in your area, visit our trusted sister company, GreenMatch

See more reviews:

How much can you save with the government Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

One of the most obvious barriers to increasing the number of low-carbon heating system installations in the UK is their expensive supply and installation costs. With a BUS grant, however, each of the low-carbon technologies becomes considerably less expensive.

In the case of a £10,000 air source heat pump, which is at the lower end of the usual price range, the new cost becomes more in line with the average cost of a new gas boiler.

Following a successful grant application, homeowners are responsible for covering the remaining heat pump or biomass boiler costs. The table below shows how much this could be, based on the average price of each low-carbon heating technology.

How much can you save with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
Technology type Supply + installation average cost BUS grant amount Supply + installation costs with BUS
Air source heat pump £13,000 £7,500 £5,500
Ground source heat pump £21,000 £7,500 £13,500
Biomass boiler £12,500 £5,000 £7,500

Is it worth it to replace your boiler with a heat pump in the UK?

There are various advantages of heat pumps compared to gas boilers. Firstly, as a low-carbon heating system, heat pumps do not emit CO2 into the atmosphere while they operate.

On the other hand, a gas boiler, such as a popular combi boiler, has an emissions intensity of 0.213 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kWh (kgCO2e/kWh). A gas boiler with an efficiency of 85%, therefore, surpasses the emission intensity of heat pumps by over fivefold.

Not only will this reduce your home’s overall carbon footprint but, the more homes with a heat pump, the less air pollution you’ll find in your local area.

Another important point of comparison is the running costs of heat pumps vs boilers. Based on today’s energy prices, an air source heat pump will cost £400+ more per year to run for the average sized home, with annual heatings demands of 12,000kWh.

However, according to the Energy Savings Trust, a semi-detached home in England, Scotland, and Wales could save up to £1,100 in yearly running costs, depending on the type of heating system being replaced and its efficiency. For example, compared to an outdated, G-rated gas boiler, you could save £295 per year.

Is it worth it to replace your gas boiler with a biomass boiler in the UK?

Biomass boilers are most suitable for homes with plenty of dry storage space to keep the fuel. While biomass heating is classified as a low-carbon heating solution, especially compared to other boiler types, the burning of solid biomass fuels in households contributes to particulate emissions and can intensify levels of air pollution in your area.

In terms of running costs, you can also expect to save money by switching from a gas boiler to a biomass boiler.

Pellets are the most commonly used biomass fuel in UK households which typically costs £245 per tonne. An average-sized home will require around 2-3 tonnes of wood pellets per year to heat their home, although this varies depending on the size of your home. This amounts to £490 – £735 per year.

How can you apply to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

Applications for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme are facilitated through an MSC-certified installer of your choice. The process can be summarised in the following steps:

  • Select a suitable MCS-Certified installer: Choose an installer certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MSC).
  • Assessment and eligibility: The chosen installer will evaluate your home and existing heating system to determine whether you’re eligible.
  • Agree on a quote: If deemed eligible, you and the installer must mutually agree on a quote for the proposed work.
  • Grant application: The installer will proceed to apply for the grant on your behalf by submitting your details to the energy provider, Ofgem.
  • Confirmation by Ofgem: Ofgem will reach out to you to confirm your details and verify your agreement with the installer’s assessment.

After these steps, the granted amount will be deducted from the total installation cost. It’s important to remember that the installer must redeem the grant voucher within three months from the issue date for an air source heat pump or biomass boiler and within six months for a ground source heat pump.

To find the right installer, it’s important to collect quotes from multiple options before making your choice. This way, you can save money by choosing the installer who offers the most competitive deal. This could take you hours of research, and you could end up waiting many days before you receive enough quotes to compare.

For a hassle-free solution, use Boiler Guide’s free quotes service. Simply fill in our quick 30-second form, then our team will connect you with up to 4 of the most suitable installer options in your area. You’ll then receive their tailored installation quotes which you can freely compare to find a good deal.

For up to 4 tailored heat pump quotes from the best installers in your area, visit our trusted sister company, GreenMatch

See more reviews:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the boiler upgrade scheme end date in the UK?

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is set to run until 2028 and first commenced in April 2022. Low-carbon heating systems commissioned on or after 1 April 2022 are eligible for funding under the scheme.

Is the boiler upgrade scheme worth it?

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is worth it considering the sizeable reduction in the supply and installation costs of low-carbon heating technologies. Once installed, these systems will save you money in annual running costs and will reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

How do you qualify for a Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

To qualify for a BUS grant in England and Wales, property owners must be the owner of the property they’re applying for and their property must possess a valid EPC with no outstanding loft or cavity wall insulation recommendations.

Ciaran Wark

About the author

Ciaran Wark

Ciaran is an experienced content writer, editor, and researcher at Boiler Guide. Ciaran has become and expert in energy saving and eco-conscious living which he uses to help inform Boiler Guide's readers.

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