Inline with the 2008 Climate Change Act, the U.K. initiated the most extensive energy efficiency program to tackle carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty in vulnerable communities.
This energy efficiency program, the Energy Company Obligation, otherwise known as ECO, has held the goal of making homes in the U.K. more energy efficient while also tackling issues such as fuel poverty and environmental safety and conservation.
Developed in 2013, the government-funded scheme has made considerable strides in the home energy landscape and changed the fuel poverty landscape, resulting in more than 3.1 million home improvements.
April 2022 kicked off the ECO4 phase of the government-funded scheme, promoting the move to make all housing more energy-efficient by 2035. In continuation of the previous three phases, ECO4 brings a more customer-friendly plan to fruition, focusing on low-income, vulnerable, and fuel-poor households and communities.
There are some extensions to ECO4 that are important to know as a homeowner, including the First Time Central Heating grant.
What Is the First Time Central Heating Grant?
Making home heating more affordable and efficient is the primary goal behind ECO4 and the First Time Central Heating grant.
“Affordable warmth” is a term commonly used when discussing the ECO4 phase of the ECO scheme. Here, the core focus is the population with the greatest need for not only energy-efficiency but affordable fuel and energy sources too.
This involves upgrading older and less efficient boilers and heating systems with new, energy-efficient replacements for the homes that need it the most. Combined with cavity wall insulation, under floor insulation, and roof insulation, it will be cheaper to heat your home, as less fuel and electricity will be required to heat it. This leaves both the environment and your wallet in a good place.
As a part of ECO, the First Time Central Heating grant aims to help these low-income, vulnerable, and fuel-poor households access funding to install a central heating system. These grants do not need to be repaid and often cover most, if not all, of the cost of installing a central heating system in qualifying homes. The remaining cost, however, is contributed by the household.
How Do You Know If You’re Eligible for the Grant?
If you receive a qualifying government benefit, you may be eligible for the First Time Central Heating grant under ECO4. Both the main ECO scheme and LA Flex (an extension of ECO4) plans accept applications for the First Time Central Heating Grant, and both require that the household in question has no existing central heating system.
The list of heating systems that enable a household to qualify for the grant are as follows:
- Electric room heaters
- Gas room heaters
- Gas fire with back boiler
- Solid fossil fuel fire with back boiler
- Electric underfloor or ceiling heating
- Bottled LPG room heating
- Solid fossil fuel room heaters
- Wood biomass room heating
- Oil room heaters
- No heating in place at all
The eligibility criteria for ECO4 and LA Flex differ, however.
For ECO4, you must be receiving one of the following government benefits:
- Pension Credit Guarantee Element
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Child Benefit
The LA Flex extension to ECO4 targets low-income, vulnerable, and fuel-poor households and doesn’t specifically focus on benefits. This gears more towards situations where living in a cold home could make things much worse, for example, homes with the elderly, sick, young children, or pregnant women.
Aside from the benefit eligibility requirements for the First Time Central Heating grant, you must also be a homeowner or private renter. In addition, your property must meet the Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC, rating requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions About the First Time Central Heating Grant
Do radiators come with the grant?
Yes. Radiators are included, alongside fitting, installation, and warranties on the equipment being installed.
Are private tenants eligible for the grant?
If you live in a rented property as a paying tenant, you can qualify for the First Time Central Heating Grant. However, landlord permission is always required, and the EPC rating will be checked. An EPC rating of A, B, C, D, or E is also required to qualify for the grant.
How much money does the grant include?
This varies on a case-by-case basis. The cost of installing central heating for the first time in a home depends a lot on the home itself, including its size and layout.
Having a central heating system installed in your home can cost between £2,300 to £5,500. Once your application for the grant has been accepted, you will learn more about how much money you will receive towards your new heating system.
Do Warranties and Industry Standards Still Apply with a Grant?
In short, yes.
What can the grant be used towards?
The First Time Central Heating Grant can be used towards central heating system items including the boiler, pipes, and radiators, and for things like fitting, installation, and parts. The warranties for all associated parts are included, as they would be in any other situation.
How the central heating system is installed in each household falls back on the industry standards and procedures for each home. This could include regulations on how it is installed, the number of radiators, the type of piping used, and the presence of thermostatic radiator valves.
Choose Simply ECO for Your Boiler Replacement and Maintenance Needs
If you are looking to reduce your heating bills with an efficient boiler or are seeking tips on extending the life of your current boiler, look no further than Simply ECO Ltd.
Simply ECO Ltd. was established to assist people in fuel poverty to gain access to Carbon Saving and Energy Efficiency Measures. Being a Green Deal Approved Installer means working through our panel of approved funders. We can assist consumers in fuel poverty to access government grants to carry out home energy efficiency improvements and carbon reduction measures.
With over 6000+ boilers installed since 2014, we are the largest installer of boilers in Birmingham and surrounding areas. Contact us to get started on reducing your heating bills today.