Is £400 enough to persuade you to upgrade your boiler

The Government's scrappage scheme gives cash to homeowners seeking to replace inefficient boilers.

The first application forms for people to claim £400 under the Government's boiler scrappage scheme were posted out this week. Some 6,000 people had pre-registered for the forms, which were issued by the Energy Saving Trust from Monday.

But with just 125,000 possible grants available under the scheme, experts say anyone delaying applying could miss out.

"There are approximately four million G-rated boilers in the UK which qualify for the scheme, but there are only 125,000 grants available," says Kevin Miles, chief executive of npower retail. "Our advice is don't leave it too late, get it before it's gone."

His company, along with British Gas, is matching the £400 offered by the Government to give people up to £800 off the cost of a new boiler which could be as much as a third off the cost of an installation.

But Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com says the scheme may not go far enough for many. "While it is fantastic to see such measures put in place to help combat high fuel prices and carbon emissions, I am not sure it is enough to help encourage customers to replace their boilers as the overall costs are still high."

Plumber Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, goes even further. He claims the scheme will fail to benefit those who really need it and is just an attempt to win votes.

"A new boiler costs around £2,000, so Labour's £400 subsidy is only going to help people who could have afforded a new boiler in the first place," says Mr Mullins.

"They say it will help poor families cut their heating bills by £200 a year, but where does the Government propose this group are going to get the other £1,600 from?"

Even if you can afford a new boiler, should you rush to take advantage of the scrappage scheme? Annie Shaw from website cashquestions.com, warns people thinking about applying for the grant to think about the costs.

"The boiler scrappage scheme looks attractive, but consumers should beware of hidden costs unless their old boiler is actually on the point of packing up," warns Shaw.

"Modern condensing boilers can be more expensive to fit and maintain than older less fuel-efficient models. While you will find that your gas bills will go down with a modern boiler, don't underestimate the potential cost of repairs and parts. Because modern boilers contain more temperamental electronic parts, these may need more regular and expensive attention.

"Even with the proposed scrappage grant of up to £400 from the Government, installing a new boiler will almost certainly cost you more over five years than keeping an old, well maintained, albeit less fuel-efficient model. If you are thinking of replacing your old boiler for "green" reasons, don't forget to factor the eco-cost of manufacture, transport and installation of your new purchase and the disposal of the old one into your calculations," says Ms Shaw.

Her concerns are echoed by energy expert Gareth Kloet of Confused,com. "The cost of a new boiler will vary considerably plus there are installation costs to add which can also vary depending on the location/accessibility and price of the installer's time.

"Anyone considering taking advantage of the boiler scrappage scheme should therefore resist being bamboozled by the headline offers. Instead it's vital to shop around and consider the total cost of both the replacement boiler and associated installation costs."

Pensioners and low-income households have also been warned to check out their eligibility for a Warm Front grant before applying for the boiler scrappage scheme. If they apply for the scrappage scheme, they will forfeit their right to the Warm Front funding, which could give them up to £3,500 towards the cost of improving their home, although the money must go towards such things as loft insulation, draught-proofing and repairs to an existing heating system, as well as a new boiler.

In fact under Warm Front you can only get £300 towards the cost of a new boiler so if that is the only improvement you need, then the scrappage scheme will be the better option.

Bearing all that in mind the temptation to cut up to £800 off the cost of replacing a dodgy, old boiler could be hard to resist, but how can you qualify?

The boiler scrappage scheme covers the least-efficient gas boilers which have the lowest G-rating. A Corgi-registered professional can tell you whether your boiler is eligible for scrappage, but there are a couple of quick tests you can do at home. If your boiler has a permanent pilot light it is likely to be G-rated. If it is more than 15 years old and gas-fired, then it is probably eligible and if it is oil-fired and more than 25 years old, it is likely to be eligible.

You must live in England and be either a homeowner or a private tenant. Landlords of multiple properties can apply, as long as each voucher is assigned to a different property.

If you are eligible you can apply for vouchers from the Energy Saving Trust, which you must use towards buying any A-rated or equivalent gas, oil or LPG boiler, boilers with a passive flue heat recovery device, micro CHP units or MCS-registered biomass boilers and heat pumps. Solar thermal energy systems are also covered if combined with an eligible boiler replacement. Electric boilers are not eligible, regardless of manufacturer.

To get the additional £400 from npower or British Gas, you'll need to talk with the companies directly. In fact npower's offer goes further, offering to provide £400 for those with boilers up to a c-rating. That means people with newer boilers may yet be able to get some cash off of a replacement even if they don't qualify for the Government scheme.

When it comes to saving money, don't just stop by getting a more efficient boiler, says moneysupermarket's Scott Byrom. "Combining a new boiler with a move to the cheapest energy tariff could see customers saving up to £525 a year on their energy bills," he says.

"There is a desperate need for Britain to become more energy efficient, and cutting household bills is a key part of this. Households should act immediately to ensure they are on the correct tariff for their usage and region – and moving online to a dual fuel direct debit deal is the easiest way to make savings on their energy bills."

Family in need: 'We were left without heating'

No heating during the big freeze left Jeremy Stewart with little choice but to replace his boiler. But the timing has meant he'll save £800 on the cost.

"We had put up with the boiler playing up for a while, and we had continued to get it repaired rather than replacing it as the thought of spending £3,000 on a new boiler just before Christmas didn't appeal," says Jeremy, a marketing director who lives in South Oxfordshire with his wife, Sonia, and daughter, Amelia.

"However, when the boiler became even more unreliable early in the new year, it left us without heating during the big freeze, which made us assess whether now was the time to replace, rather than repair, it.

"I had read about the boiler scrappage scheme, so we looked into whether our boiler qualified."

The family have lived in their current home for five years, but the boiler was installed when the house was built in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Therefore it does qualify for the scheme.

"I spoke to a few suppliers, from big energy firms to local companies, but I was impressed with the service I received and the deal offered by npower," says Jeremy. "They explained the scrappage scheme to us very well, confirmed our boiler qualified, and have kept us up to date on when an engineer will be able to reach us.

"We will save around £800 in total. For us, the boiler scrappage scheme came at the perfect time as it has enabled us to replace our old, unreliable boiler at a much lower cost."

Cash grant: How to apply

For more details on the Energy Saving Trust £400 voucher call 0800 512 012 or go to www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.

For further information on npower's £400 offer call 0800 0722 999 or visit www.npower.com.

For more information on British Gas's £400 offer visit www.britishgas.co.uk/yourboiler or call British Gas on 0800 009 4450.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

    £18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

    £50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?