Replacing an old heating boiler is usually very expensive, costing upwards of £2,000, depending on the size of your home.
But hanging onto an inefficient ageing boiler is far more expensive in the long run with higher energy bills and money wasted on maintenance plans and spare parts.
But the drive for the thrifty use of energy is high on the Government agenda and has created some great money-saving opportunities for anyone whose boiler is about to go pear-shaped or too old to be energy efficient.
Here are some of them:
Free boilers and insulation
The big energy suppliers are giving various freebies to those receiving certain benefits, from new boilers to insulation. This is to meet their Energy Company Obligations (ECO). For example, a new boiler can save you more than £300 and cavity wall insulation can save up £140 off energy bills year. An uninsulated loft fitted with 270mm of new insulation, will save another £180 a year.
So you could qualify if you get tax credits, or income-based benefits, such as pension credit or income support. But private homeowners who don’t come under these schemes may qualify for a free boiler – housing association and council tenants do not as there are already schemes in place for them. As well as financial factors they take into account the age and condition of your boiler and the damage its doing to the environment.
To check if you qualify for free insulation and/or a boiler call the Energy Saving Advice Service and answer a few basic questions on 0300 123 1234 (England), 0800 512 012 (Wales) or 0808 808 22 82 (Scotland).
You can also ring the different energy suppliers and it does not necessarily matter if you are not a customer of that particular utility company:
- EDF Energy. Fill out an application form online or call 0800 096 8634. See its eligibility criteria. If the boiler installation requires extra work, such as additional radiators, in some cases EDF Energy may ask for a contribution. It will let you know beforehand.
- E.on. Apply via E.on’s site or call 0330 4001195. See its eligibility criteria. Eon says there may be an extra charge if it needs to carry out extra work, for example, putting in additional radiators or moving a boiler to another location. It will let you know beforehand.
- British Gas. British Gas (BG) is working with the Energy Savings Advice Service (on 0300 123 1234) to offer new boilers. Call the helpline to see if you’re eligible. You can then tell them you’d like British Gas, or another provider, to install the boiler.Whilst BG attempts to cover the full cost of installation, there may be charges for extra work, such as asbestos removal, new piping or if you request an alternative boiler model.
- Npower. Apply on Npower’s site or call 0800 980 3355. Also see its eligibility checker.
- Scottish Power. Apply on Scottish Power’s site.
- Scottish & Southern (SSE). Fill out an online enquiry form. See its eligibility criteria. SSE says installations are subject to a survey. If replacing your boiler will not save enough energy to help it meet its targets or there are technical problems, it may ask you to contribute towards an installation. It will let you know beforehand. If this happens, it’s worth trying another providers instead.
Paying a fixed monthly appoint for the boiler and maintenance charges
If your boiler does go and you want to spread the financial impact, then several manufacturers are offering “a free boiler” for monthly payments, which includes ongoing maintenance charges.
One is Ecovision Systems, experts in renewable energy systems, many of which are installed on the nearby Highgrove Estate. the country home of Prince Charles.
The company is also behind Hassle Free Boilers which will replace your old boiler with an brand new energy efficient model without any upfront payment or alternatively a part payment. If you choose no upfront payment you would pay £35 per month for the next 12 years and get the following:
- get all-inclusive complete cover 24/7
- a new super-efficient Vaillant boiler
- a 12 year guarantee
If you work out the maths this amounts to over £5,000 but once done you can expect your gas bill to fall by up to 40%. Its comparable to buying your own boiler and then paying say BG Home Cover at £9 per month. You will be tied in to it for 12 years, unless you sell your home and pay the outstanding balance. The month cost also rises with inflation at 3% per year and there is also a credit check.
Hassle Free Boilers does not yet cover the whole of the UK including Inner London – but there is a postcode checker on their website.
There are several companies doing this kind of deal including www.everlastingboilers.co.uk who do not require a credit check.
These are useful devices which are put on the top of your radiator so that you use less energy heating up a room.
The Radiator Booster MK3 is a long plastic device that you place on top of your water radiator and which will help cutting your heating bill. It uses a small thermostatic fan, driven by electricity, to draws the heat trapped behind the radiator and distributes it more evenly around the room.
Our test found that using the radiator booster did heat the room up more quickly, the thermostat needed to come on less often and energy consumption dropped. It costs about £24 and you can find out more at www.radiatorbooster.com and in the video below: