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Last updated: 06 April 2021
Heating accounts for 55% to 60% of the average British home’s energy bills. And if your boiler is ageing and inefficient, it could be driving up your energy costs by around £200 a year. For some households, that extra cost pushes them into fuel poverty.
Additionally, inefficient boilers
inflate British households’ carbon emissions, by 140,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, according to the Energy Savings Trust, and will need to be replaced if the UK is to hit its decarbonisation goals.
To reduce carbon emissions, bring down energy bills and tackle fuel poverty, in 2010 the government launched the Boiler Scrappage Scheme. It gave households with the least efficient, G-rated boilers a £400 voucher to spend on a new, high efficiency boiler.
The scheme has since been discontinued by there’s other assistance available to homes with inefficient boilers.
What was the Boiler Scrappage Scheme?
The Boiler Scrappage Scheme was a £50 million government initiative, launched in 2010 to give 125,000 British households with the least efficient, G-rated boilers financial assistance to replace them.
Eligible households received a £400 discount on the installation of a new, A-rated boiler, in the form of a rebate issued by the Energy Savings Trust. Some energy companies, including Big Six
suppliers British Gas and npower, matched the rebate, potentially giving their customers £800 off the cost of a new boiler.
Over its run, the Boiler Scrappage Scheme helped tens of thousands of households replace their inefficient, outdated boilers, upgrading to new models which used less energy, reducing their bills and carbon emissions.
The scheme has since closed.
Who qualified for the Boiler Scrappage Scheme?
The Boiler Scrappage Scheme was open to owners and landlords of domestic properties in England with boilers that received the worst efficiency grade under the Energy related Products (ErP) directive: a G rating.
G-rated boilers are those which are less than 70% efficient, compared to the 92% efficiency of A-rated models. G-rated boilers are typically those which are more than 15 years old and have a pilot light which doesn’t go out. You can check the efficiency rating of your make and model of boiler online.
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Why should you replace your old boiler?
The cost of buying and installing a new boiler averages more than £2,500, a substantial investment even with the relief the Boiler Scrappage scheme provided. But an inefficient boiler could be inflating your energy consumption and bills by so much that a replacement could pay for itself within several years, depending on the size of your property. According to the Energy Savings Trust, households can save around £200 on their utility bills each year by upgrading to a new boiler.
And your boiler doesn’t have to be G-rated for it to make financial sense to replace it. If your current boiler is D-rated or worse, it might be worth swapping it for an A-rated model.
You’ll also spare yourself the cost of emergency repairs and replacements of a malfunctioning boiler, or even the cost of alternative, warm accommodation if your boiler fails in the depths of winter, making your home unsafe to live in.
But the benefits of a new boiler extend beyond your own home and bank account. A new boiler can reduce your household’s carbon footprint substantially. According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), 20% of the UK’s emissions are from the heating of our spaces and water. If every home in the UK had a high efficiency condensing boiler with heating controls, we’d collectively save enough energy to heat 1.9 million homes for a year and would keep 6.7 million tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
What help exists now for households with inefficient boilers?
Although the Boiler Scrappage Scheme no longer exists, households can still find some assistance to offset the cost of replacing their old or malfunctioning boilers.
- Energy Company Obligation (ECO): a scheme that requires large energy companies to financially help low income and vulnerable households improve the energy efficiency of their homes and avoid fuel poverty. Eligible households—those in receipt of certain benefits or living in social housing with an EPC rating of F or G and supplied by a participating energy company—can receive money to pay for the installation of insulation, double glazed windows and heating controls and the replacement of inefficient or broken boilers.
- Boiler insurance: some specialist boiler cover policies pay out for the replacement of broken boilers. Inefficiency isn’t enough reason to claim, however. The boiler will need to be broken beyond financially sensible repair and typically also older than seven years old.
- Boiler warranties: Most new boilers come with two-year warranties, allowing you to claim for the full cost of a replacement if yours is faulty.