By Katie Binns
A new Boiler Upgrade Scheme from the government will be available from April 2022, giving you £5,000 to replace your gas boiler.
The aim is to help everyone decarbonise their homes by ditching fossil fuel guzzling boilers, which will also help reduce heating bills.
The scheme, which replaces the Clean Heat Grant, will likely mean homeowners have to apply through their local council. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme and why gas boilers will eventually be banned.
What does a Boiler Upgrade Scheme mean for a gas boilers ban? How much will a replacement cost?
Gas boilers could be banned from 2035 to make homes more eco-friendly and halt climate change.
But, replacing boilers with heat pumps could cost on average £10,000, which more than half of consumers say they can not afford. There is the hope that this price can be lowered to around £5,500 if manufacturers make more of them. With a grant on top, the cost of an eco-heat pump could be lowered to £500 - a more affordable prospect for most people.
The government has set aside £450m to pay for £5,000 grants under its new Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
What is an eco-heat pump?
Heat pumps transfer heat or warmth from one place to another. For example, heat from the soil in the garden to the hot-water system in the house. Compared to a boiler, a heat pump only uses a small amount of electricity - often achieving a 200%-600% efficiency rate because the amount of heat produced is higher than the energy used. Plus, more than half of UK electricity is already low carbon.
Currently, around 35,000 heat pumps are installed every year. The government aims to fit 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.
What are the advantages of an eco-heat pump?
The eco-heat pump will cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. At present, about 25 million homes in the UK are heated by natural gas. This household energy use accounts for 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
As well as the obvious benefit to the planet, an eco-heat pump will reduce your energy bills. A four-bedroom house, for example, could expect to save £1,300 on their heating bills, according to tradesperson platform Rated People.
This could be good news for households facing shocking rises in their energy bills looking for ways to cut energy costs.
What are the disadvantages of an eco-heat pump?
Installing a heat pump is currently expensive and disruptive. Your home needs to find space for a hot water cylinder and may need bigger radiators and overall better insulation.
What about hydrogen-ready boilers?
The hydrogen-ready boiler is a cheaper alternative to the eco-heat pump, costing around £2,000. It is also less disruptive to install than the eco-heat pump and can be slotted into the same space as an old gas boiler.
Although there are concerns that the hydrogen-ready boiler may never deliver any actual carbon saving. That’s because this type of new boiler needs hydrogen from low carbon sources to be available in the local grid and there are still issues about the practicality and cost of this. There are also safety concerns surrounding its use.
How does the Boiler Upgrade Scheme work?
The £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme will run for three years by which time the government hopes the cost of heat pumps will fall by half.
The £5,000 grants will be available from April next year so you will have to wait until then to apply.
The government has not yet specified how to apply for a grant but says the funding will be available in a similar way to schemes like the Upgrade Grant. This means applications for a grant will likely be via your local council.
The scheme has already been criticised by environmental campaigners who point out the £450m set aside will only lead to 90,000 heat pumps being installed.
Are gas boilers being banned?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is part of the government’s bigger plan to make the UK greener and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Gas boilers will be banned in all new-build homes from 2023 - two years earlier than planned - and boilers could be banned from 2035 with the possibility of fines for homeowners who do not meet the new rules.
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