Updated: Monday 13 August, 2012
By Martin Fagan
A new energy efficient boiler can massively cut your gas bills, but the upfront costs deter many from making the upgrade.
However, there are number of sources of funds that could pay for a new boiler or at least offer reductions.
The government’s boiler scrappage scheme, launched in January 2010, was a runaway success, with 24,000 calls per day being made to its hotline in the first few days.
The scheme had enough funds to upgrade 125,000 boilers - around half of the vouchers were gone in the first six weeks and the scheme was closed by March 2010.
The £400 discount is now not available, but a number of energy firms appear to be offering their own boiler scrappage schemes. However, a closer looks reveals that, while some are indeed offering money off a new boiler, it’s not as much as the headline rate would suggest.
Others appear to offer a discount, but deeper reading of the small print reveals that this “discount” is actually the projected savings you’ll make on your energy bill if you buy a new boiler. For instance, E.ON says on its website that a new boiler can save up to £225 a year on household energy.
As for actual cash discounts on new boilers, these vary, both in generosity and the fact that the headline rate often isn’t quite what it seems. For example, until Friday 31 August, 2012, British Gas (www.britishgas.co.uk) says you can save £654 when you buy a new boiler through its discount scheme. However, looking at the small print you discover you only get £150 off the actual boiler and a year’s aftercare service worth £204. The remaining £300 of the deal is what British Gas says you’ll save off your heating bills.
Until Wednesday 31 October, 2012, SSE (formerly Scottish & Southern Energy) is offering a more generous £400 off selected A-rated boilers, along with free two-year boiler and central heating protection cover worth £405. SSE says the package means you can “save up to £1,105” but, as with British Gas, the remaining £300 “discount” is actually what SSE estimates installing a new boiler will save you on your energy bills.
Another scheme that offers discounts is the government’s Warm Frontscheme. Although it doesn’t offer a discount on a new boiler, the scheme does offer grants towards loft insulation, draught-proofing, cavity wall insulation and hot water tank insulation, and also grants towards central heating, including replacing a boiler. The total available to each household to cover all these measures is £3,500, or £6,000 where oil central heating and other alternative technologies are recommended.
Warm Front is aimed at low income and vulnerable households. For more information on the scheme, read the