THOUSANDS of households are missing out on £5,000 in free cash to help reduce their energy bills.
Help is available under the Boiler Upgrade Program allowing people to switch to heat pumps.
The program was first introduced last year to help households be more energy efficient.
You can get up to £5,000 to convert your boiler to a more eco-friendly model and save on energy bills.
A £450m plan has been set up to fund the transformation and cover installation costs.
The latest government figures released on Thursday revealed that only 16,052 vouchers have been used since May 2022.
This is 13,948 below the annual target of 30,000.
Below we explain more about the program and how you can participate.
What is the boiler upgrade plan?
The Boiler Upgrade Program is a £450 million fund providing grants to homeowners in England and Wales to purchase heat pumps.
You can apply for a £5,000 cost reduction and install an air source heat pump or biomass boiler.
Homeowners can also get £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump.
In total, this program aims to pay for 90,000 installs and will run until the end of March 2025.
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps work like a refrigerator but in reverse.
They take heat from the outside air, even when it’s cold, and use it to heat the liquid refrigerant and turn it into a gas.
This is then compressed and routed to a central heating system to warm up the radiator.
They heat your home at lower temperatures than gas and oil boilers, which can reduce your energy bills.
How does a heat pump work?
There are two types of air source heat pumps, air-to-water systems and air-to-air systems.
Unlike gas boilers, heat pumps operate on electricity and require less energy to operate.
This means lower emissions and hopefully cheaper bills since you won’t be using as much energy.
Typically, for every unit of heat in, you’ll get three units of heat, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
In contrast, for a conventional gas boiler, for every unit of heat coming in, you get less than one unit of heat coming out.
This means that, overall, three times less energy is needed to operate a heat pump than a boiler.
How much does a heat pump cost?
Heat pumps can be quite expensive and have deterred households from purchasing them in the past.
While homeowners can buy boilers from £500 to £1,500, the Energy Conservancy estimates that a heat pump can cost between £6,000 and £8,000.
But it is hoped that the grants from the Boiler Upgrade Program will help relieve people’s stress.
You will have to pay the difference if the pump costs more than the endowment but the idea is to get an amount close to what you would pay with the gas boiler installed.
Who can access heat pump funding?
This scheme is only open to domestic properties in England and Wales until 2025.
The property will need to have enough power to support an installed capacity of 45kWth or kilowatts of heat, including most homes.
In addition, your home will also need a valid energy efficiency certificate with no outstanding recommendations for insulation of loft walls or alcoves, unless you are exempt.
How do you apply for heat pump benefits?
You do not sign up for this program yourself.
Instead, you will need to find an MSC-certified installer to claim benefits on your behalf.
MSC is a certification program for installers of energy efficient products, and you can find those closest to you on the internet. MSC website.
However, it may be worth getting a few quotes to compare which option works best for you.
The installer will advise on whether a low carbon heating system is right for your property and if you can get funding.
Once you agree a price, the installer will apply for funding and then Ofgem, the energy regulator, will contact you to confirm that work is being done on your behalf.
How can I reduce my energy bill?
Switching to paying your energy bills with direct debit is one of the simplest ways to lower your charges.
Customers of some companies have the choice of how to set up their direct debits:
- Fixed Direct Debit
- Direct debit changes
With fixed direct debit, you will pay a fixed amount monthly. Your energy company will calculate your energy costs for the coming year and divide this amount into equal payments.
Most energy companies will use the average amount of gas and electricity used in previous years to calculate your monthly installments.
With a fixed direct debit, you can spread your energy costs without any surprises.
With variable direct debit, you can choose to pay different amounts monthly or quarterly, depending on the energy you use.
You’ll pay for the energy you use, which means you’ll likely pay more in the winter and less in the summer.
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