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Free boilers and the Energy Company Obligation

Did you know that energy companies like British Gas and npower have a legal obligation to help transform UK homes into more energy efficient abodes?  

Okay, so it’s not all households. But still, if you meet the criteria for a 100% grant you just might be entitled to a brand new boiler – and better still, it probably won’t cost you a penny to install.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? So no doubt you’re wondering how you go about getting your hands on an energy efficient boiler replacement? Well the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is the place to start. Funded by the country’s energy suppliers the scheme is designed to help vulnerable fuel poor households on certain benefits get a new energy saving boiler or home insulation to help bring down household energy bills.

With energy prices only going one way, and that way being upwards, one sure way to bring down heating and hot water costs is to install an A rated energy efficient boiler. Swapping your old boiler for an energy saving condensing boiler should achieve annual savings of up to £300.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The ECO as it’s more commonly known is available to homeowners and tenants renting privately in England, Scotland and Wales. You’ll need to meet certain criteria to apply, namely be in receipt of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (on an income of £16,010 or less)
  • Working Tax Credit (on an income of £16,010 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of £1,250 or less in any assessment period in the last 12 months.

For those people on Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance or Working Tax Credit the following conditions will apply:

  • You have a child who is less than 16 years old (if said child is in education they must be under 20) living at the property
  • You’re aged 60 and above (applies if you have Working Tax Credit)
  • You are in receipt of Disabled Child Premium
  • You are in receipt of Disability Premium
  • You get Pensioner Premium
  • You have a Work Related Activity or Support Component (with Income-Related Employment Support Allowance)

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of £1,250 or less in any assessment period in the last 12 months. One of the following must also apply:

  • You have a child under 16 living at the property
  • You have a child under 20 in full-time education (not university) living at the property
  • You have limited capability for work and/or work-related activity
  • You get a disability living allowance (DLA)
  • You get a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you think you might meet the strict criteria to be eligible for a new boiler visit Once you’ve answered a few questions on the website we’ll tell you whether you’re eligible to apply. Please note that funding is extremely limited though now.

If you’re not eligible, Boiler Guide can help you to source competitive free quotes for a new replacement boiler.

*Editor's note: although touted as a scheme to replace boilers for free when it was originally launched in January 2013, due to funding cuts more people are being asked to make a contribution towards their new boiler. The boiler grant will meet some of the cost and the householder will need to make up the shortfall.

Becky Mckay

About the author

Becky Mckay

Becky is one of our home heating and renewable energy experts and has a wealth of experience writing about the world of heating.

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