Boiler Upgrade Scheme: A Guide to Smart Heating Choices

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December 28, 2023

What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

In support of the decarbonisation of heat in buildings, the UK government has made available upfront capital grants through the boiler upgrade scheme for people in England and Wales who wish to install a biomass boiler or a heat pump.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) which was previously referred to as Clean Heat Grant is the newest scheme added by the government as it tries to achieve its goal of zero carbon emission in the UK by 2050. The scheme is therefore in place, to help make low carbon technologies more affordable for eligible households by reducing the initial installation cost.

Eligible homes can upgrade their current fossil fuelled boiler heating and hot water systems to more energy-efficient heat pumps in an effort to decarbonise the heating of their homes. A budget of £450 million has been earmarked for the scheme which is expected to run until 2028. This budget over the three years is part of approximately almost £4bn strategy to help reduce the carbon footprint in the UK.

While this free boiler grant scheme is only available for people in England and Wales, those in Scotland can click here to find out more about the HES funding Those who are in Northern Ireland can check with their local authority for any available alternative funding for boiler replacement grants.

free upgrade scheme

How does the Government Free Boiler Scheme work?

The government boiler scheme is aimed at encouraging more homeowners to move away from fossil-fuel based systems by reducing the cost of installing low carbon heating systems. Usually, it is more expensive to install a low carbon alternative when compared to traditional boilers and so it can prove to be a real challenge for homeowners who want to upgrade their existing heating system.

The government scheme for boilers funds common low carbon alternatives including air source and ground source heat pumps, as well as biomass boilers.

The free boiler scheme works in the form of a grant voucher which is given to the installer after installation and commissioning of the system. The amount is expected to be deducted from the homeowners upfront cost.

How much funding is available for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme UK?

The boiler upgrade scheme UK covers three low carbon heating systems with the level of grant increased just last month (23rd October 2023) from £5,000 to £7,500.

The notice of change was issued on Thursday 21 September 2023 by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in accordance with BUS Regulation 13(4) to increase the BUS grant level for air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps.

The change came into effect from Monday 23 October 2023. This allowed installers to apply for the newly increased grant amounts based on different technology types as shown below;

  • Air source heat pumps: £7,500

  • Ground source heat pumps: £7,500 (includes water source)

  • Biomass boilers: £5,000

Therefore, as long as households meet the eligibility criteria and redeem the voucher within the validity period, voucher applications made for heat pumps which are submitted on or after Monday 23 October 2023 will receive the increased grant amount.

As seen above, the government has included water source heat pumps to be in the same category with ground source heat pumps.

Note: Vouchers that have been issued will receive the grant value as stated on the voucher when they are submitted to be redeemed. These vouchers can be redeemed both before and after the 23rd of October 2023.

Also, a heat pump will only be eligible for the grant if it has a seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) of at least 2.8.

For this scheme, there are only certain circumstances where biomass boilers are eligible. Such circumstances include if they are in rural locations and the properties are not connected to the gas grid. In the case of heat pumps, it doesn't matter if they are on or off the gas grid.

You can check your eligibility and get more information on the government website

Boiler Scheme

Try the Free Eligibility Checker

What if I applied and have my application approved before 23 October 2023 at the Previous Value?

If you have already applied for your BUS voucher but your installer has not yet fitted your new heat pump, you will only be eligible for the previous amount of £5,000 for an air source heat pump and £6,000 for ground source heat pump.

However, you can ask your installer to cancel your initial grant and reapply so that you may receive the increased value of £7,500.

Therefore, you can revoke your voucher via your installers dashboard and reapply now that the new grant levels have come into effect. We also advise that you discuss with your installers about any potential withdrawal before taking an action.

Be aware that if the installers have received confirmation that their redemption application has been approved and processed for payment, they will not be able to withdraw the voucher.

Who can apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

apply for Boiler upgrade Scheme

To apply for the boiler upgrade scheme UK, you must meet these eligibility criteria;

  • You must live in England or Wales

  • You must own the property you’re applying for (whether this is a home, a business or a property for lease or rent)

  • You must have installed (or plan to install) your new heating system on or after 1 April 2022

  • You be replacing fossil fuel heating systems (such as oil, gas or electric)

Eligible Properties

Your property is eligible if it has a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.
To check your EPC certificate, visit the website.

Your home may also be eligible even if you do not have loft or cavity wall insulation as long as it is fitted before the installation of an energy efficient heating system.

You can also reach out to an MCS certified installer for more information on the eligibility of your property for a low carbon heating system.

Biomass boilers

You can get a biomass boiler under the following conditions;

  • That your property is in a rural location. If you are not sure of this, you can check the Ofgem guidance for property owners

  • That your property is off the grid

  • That your boiler has an emission certificate which shows that polluting emissions are at their lowest

Note that if your property is self-build, you cannot get a grant to install a biomass boiler.

Ineligible Properties

  • Most new build properties which the developer is still building. However, you may be eligible for a grant if the new-build home has a fossil fuel boiler.

  • Social housing

  • A property that’s already been given government funding or support for a heat pump or biomass boiler

Custom-build (Self-build) properties are eligible if they are eligible if they are built with the labour and resources of the first owner and owned by an individual. These properties also do not require an Energy Performance Certificate.

You may also need to show your installer evidence (copy of the title deeds) that the property is a self-build.

Eligibility of your Low Carbon Technology

The low carbon heating system you choose also has to fulfil these criteria;

  • They must be commissioned on or after 1st April 2022

  • Have a maximum installation capacity of 45kWth

  • Has to fully replace an existing fossil fuel system (such as oil, gas or direct electric)

  • Have a seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) of at least 2.8.

  • Be able to meet the hot water and space heating requirements of the property. You can always reach out to your local installer if you are not sure of the installation capacity of your property.

Note: Solar thermal heating systems and conventional hybrid systems that use a fossil fuel source are not eligible under this scheme.

A hybrid system may however be eligible if they are installed with a heat pump and solar thermal as long as the heat pump covers all of the heat and hot water requirements.

For more information, eligibility criteria and exceptions, please have a look at the government legislation.

How to apply the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

The application process is conducted through Ofgem, the Government’s scheme administrator and available only to MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) accredited renewables installers.

government boiler upgrade scheme

The application process involves the following;

  • Reach out to your local MCS accredited installer

  • Your installer will inform you if you are eligible for your proposed installation

  • You will receive a quote for the installation which should include the deduction for the BUS grant from your installer.

  • Your installer will send your details to Ofgem who will reach out to you via email to confirm that the installer has your permission to apply on your behalf.

  • Your installer will carry out the installation according to the requirements of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and in line with the industry standard.

  • Following full installation and commissioning, the installer will redeem the grant voucher and receive the grant. The time frame for redeeming the voucher is 3 months from the issue date (for an air source heat pump) and within 6 months of the issue date or 31st March 2028 for a ground source heat pump (whichever comes first).

What Next?

If you need help with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, you can contact Ofgem via their website on [email protected]

Telephone: 0330 053 2006

Days: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30am to 4:30pm
Wednesday, 9:30am to 12:30pm
Friday, 9:30am to 4pm

For issues with your newly installed heating system, speak to your MCS installer.

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