Government Free Boiler Scheme 2018

Under the Government’s ECO scheme, some residents in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible to receive money towards a new replacement boiler.

By replacing your old boiler with a new one, you could save up to £350 each year on your energy bills.

To apply for the ECO scheme, you must call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.


What's in This Guide to the Government Free Boiler Scheme?

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Government Free Boiler Scheme in England, Scotland and Wales

The new boiler grant is part of the Government’s Energy Companies Obligation (or ECO) scheme. Introduced in 2013, the ECO scheme helps homeowners or private tenants on a low income (or certain benefits) to replace their old, inefficient and/or faulty boiler completely free of charge, or at a heavily subsidised rate. Since it was launched, replacement boilers have been installed in 173,770 homes under the ECO scheme.

The ECO scheme is a Government initiative aimed at reducing the overall amount of energy that we use. By working with the key energy providers in the UK, the Government have made it a legal obligation for these companies to improve the energy efficiency of households across England, Scotland and Wales by providing funding to the most vulnerable individuals.

Some of the energy providers involved with the ECO scheme include: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, OVO Energy, Scottish Power and SSE. If you’re signed up with one of these suppliers, they should contact you to let you know if you’re eligible for a free boiler. If you aren’t with one of these suppliers but do qualify for the grant, you can still get help from them under the ECO scheme.

The current ECO scheme is only open until September 2018, before it's replaced with a scheme that will help only the most fuel-poor households. So it's worth applying now if you believe you are entitled to assistance towards the cost of a new boiler.

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Who Qualifies for the ECO Scheme?

Government funding for the ECO scheme is limited, so the eligibility criteria for the grant is strict. In general, you must be receiving at least one benefit from the Government and have a household income of less than £20,000 per year. You must also own your own home or have permission from your landlord to replace your existing boiler if living in a rented property. The ECO scheme only applies to households in England, Scotland and Wales.

If you fit into any of the categories below you will qualify for the ECO scheme:


Pension credit

Automatic qualification


Child tax credit (household income below £15,860)

Automatic qualification


Income support, or income related employment and support allowance

You will need one of these further qualifiers:

1. Disabled child premium

2. Child tax credit including disability element

3. Child under 20 in full time education

4. Child under 16

5. Disability premium

6. Pension premium


Working tax credits (income below £15,860)

You will need one of these further qualifiers:

1. Aged 60 or over

2. Be in receipt of disabled worker element of severe disability element

3. Responsible for child under 16 who lives at the property

4. Responsible for child under 20 who lives at the property, in full time education which is not higher education


Income based job seeker’s allowance

You will need one of these further qualifiers:

1. Disabled child premium

2. Child tax credit including disability element

3. Child under 20 in full time education

4. Child under 16

5. Disability premium

6. Pension premium


To receive funding from the ECO scheme, your boiler must be more than 8 years old and you must be a homeowner or private renter. Those in council owned properties cannot apply directly. To find out if you're eligible, you can call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

If you do not qualify for the ECO scheme but you are still worried about the costs of installing a new boiler, there are other options. Many big companies offer finance options on their boiler installations. Most of these options offer low, fixed interest rates and you could be paying only £10 to £20 a month for your new boiler. To find out more, visit our guide to boiler finance.


Could You Save With A New Boiler?

Select How Many Live In Your House To Find Out!


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How Does the Government’s ECO Scheme Work?

STEP 1: You apply for the scheme

You need to complete a quick application form to apply for the scheme and find out if you qualify.

You can apply online, through the Energy Saving Trust’s boiler grants website. Alternatively, you can telephone: 0300 123 1234.

You will be asked some questions about your personal circumstances, home and current boiler.

You will find out as soon as you’ve finished the survey if you’re likely to be eligible.


STEP 2: A local installer arranges a home energy assessment

If eligible, your contact details will be passed on to an approved, local installer. They will usually contact you within 24 - 48 hours, to arrange a suitable time to carry out a free, energy assessment in your home.*

*While the energy assessment is usually free, in some cases a small contribution may be required. Check with the installer before they come out.


STEP 3: A home survey is completed

The boiler installer will visit your home, to:

  • Check your boiler
  • Carry out an energy assessment of your home
  • Check your benefit paperwork
  • Let you know if the new boiler grant is available to you


STEP 4: Arrange an installation date

If you qualify for a free, replacement boiler, you can arrange an installation date with the installer.

Before installing your new boiler, the boiler engineer should let you know:

  • The work they plan to carry out
  • How long it will take
  • Whether there are any additional costs involved

In most cases, the replacement will be free, unless it’s not a straightforward replacement, i.e. you plan on changing the position of the boiler or adding additional radiators.

Note: If you are a tenant, you should always get the landlord’s permission before agreeing to any work on their behalf.


STEP 5: Your new boiler is installed

Enjoy the benefits of a warm home and save up to £350 each year on your energy bills!


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What Are the Benefits of the ECO Scheme?

Those who are eligible could benefit from:

A free (or heavily subsidized) new gas condensing boiler

An A-rated, energy efficient boiler

Free installation

Reduced energy bills and savings of up to £350 each year

Increased property value


Find Out Much a New Boiler Will Cost You


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Are There Any Drawbacks to Applying for the ECO Scheme?

There seem to be few disadvantages to claiming your free boiler, if you’re eligible.

However, you should be aware of:

You must have a broken or old, inefficient boiler

Not every home is entitled to a free boiler; council or housing association tenants will need to apply to their own schemes

Private tenants must get the landlord’s permission

You may be offered a repair, not a replacement (e.g. if your boiler is broken and isn’t classed as inefficient)

There may be an extra cost if a fitter needs to carry out additional work, above and beyond a standard replacement**

The scheme covers replacement gas boilers only (e.g. you won’t be covered if you have an oil-fueled boiler)

** The gas engineer should inform you of this before the installation.


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What Are Your Options If You Don’t Qualify for a Free Boiler?

If you don’t qualify for a free boiler, and are considering a replacement boiler, you can:

  • Buy a boiler and pay for the installation upfront
  • Rent a boiler
  • Take out a boiler finance plan

If you can afford it, buying and paying for a new boiler upfront will always work out cheaper as there are no additional charges or interest to pay. You will own the boiler outright and can start taking advantage of the savings from your energy bills right away.

Renting a boiler works like leasing a car. With low upfront costs, you pay for your boiler and installation at a set monthly fee. Servicing and repairs are usually included within the rental fee. However, you won’t own your boiler until the lease ends. Lease periods can be long and it could work out expensive over the long term.

Boiler finance schemes are credit agreements that allow you to spread the cost of a new boiler over a fixed number of months. These buy now, pay later finance schemes, mean you can own your boiler and have it installed right away. Interest rates and additional charges will apply.


If you can afford a new boiler without the need for a grant, finance or backing of a Government scheme read more about new boiler costs or see our guide to the best boilers.


Could You Save With A New Boiler?

Select How Many Live In Your House To Find Out!


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