Better Boilers

Better Boilers - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

If you’re a homeowner on benefits and your boiler is inefficient or broken, the Mayor Sadiq Khan's £1m Better Boilers scheme will replace or repair it for free.

You can explore important information on the scheme with these frequently asked questions.

 

Benefits of the scheme

How will the scheme support the most vulnerable?

This scheme will help fuel poor homes make considerable savings on their annual energy bills, and reduce cold-related ill health, as well as excess winter deaths. Other benefits include improved air quality and reduced risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

How much money will I save from a new boiler replacement?

The amount you save will depend on how inefficient your old boiler is as well as the size of your home and the number of people who live there, among other factors.

In a typical semi-detached home, upgrading heating controls and replacing a gas boiler that is around 80 per cent efficient (D rated) with a new boiler will save around £85 a year, whereas replacing a boiler that is 70% efficient (G-rated) could save over £300 a year. (This is based on a 70 per cent or below efficient boiler with no heating controls being replaced by an at least 90 per cent efficient boiler with heating controls.)

Households which have the worst performing boilers could save even more than this. Heating and hot water accounts for about 60 per cent of what a household spends in a year on energy bills, so an efficient boiler makes a big difference, especially to those households which are struggling to pay their energy bills.

How much energy will I save from a new boiler replacement?

The amount you save will depend on how inefficient your old boiler is as well as the size of your home and the number of people who live there, among other factors. Replacement ‘A’ rated boilers convert more of their fuel into heat, compared to old inefficient ones.

Will my boiler replacement help the environment – how much carbon will it save?

Replacing a boiler could save between 0.3 and 1.5 tonnes of CO2 each year depending on the efficiency of the boiler being replaced. 1.5 tonnes of CO2 is the equivalent of a return flight from London to San Francisco. Your boiler replacement will also have a positive impact on London’s air quality.

What if my home is poorly insulated? Is there further assistance I can get?

When they visit you for the initial boiler survey, Ecologic Energy – the company doing the boiler replacements and repairs on our behalf - will do a home energy check. They will see which energy efficiency measures are already present, planned, or required in your home, for example:

  • loft insulation
  • cavity insulation
  • solid wall insulation
  • smart meters
  • secondary glazing.

Ecologic Energy will then give this information to the Energy Saving Advice Service, which is run by the Energy Saving Trust, to see if there is any other help that they can give you. 

For information about other ways to make your home more energy efficient and to reduce your fuel bills, please go to the Energy Saving Trust website and the London Fuel Poverty Hub website.
 

Money and fairness

Do I have to help pay for my boiler replacement or repair?

No, you don’t have to pay a penny. If you’re a London homeowner on benefits and your boiler is inefficient or broken, it will be replaced or repaired for free.

What happens when the money runs out?

The Mayor has made £1m available for this scheme. When the money runs out we will close the scheme.

How will the scheme operate on a first come, first served basis?

Everyone who applies will be put into a queue ordered by the date and time of their application. Provided you have filled out everything correctly online, you will receive an email saying that your application has been submitted. 

Does being on benefits and having an inefficient or broken boiler mean that I will definitely receive a new boiler or boiler repair?

Yes, provided that: 

  • you live in London
  • you are the homeowner and live in the property 
  • you are in receipt of qualifying benefits, as set out in the scheme terms and conditions
  • the boiler is the main boiler to heat the home and: a) if it is in working order, is an 85-per cent or below efficient gas, oil, LPG or solid fuel boiler (SAP2005 energy efficiency rating as detailed in this database), or b) if it is broken, is a gas, oil, LPG or solid fuel boiler of any age or level of efficiency
  • the scheme is still open and there is money available
  • there are no other reasons for the replacement or repair not going ahead, such as us being unable to contact you, or very extensive additional works being required.

Will I receive the money for the boiler replacement or repair?

No. Ecologic Energy will undertake the boiler installation or repair and will be paid direct by us. 

How will you ensure that the most vulnerable people benefit from the scheme? 

The scheme is open to homeowners who receive qualifying benefits. We recognise that some people will be in more need than others. We are therefore actively:

  • working with boroughs, charities and other organisations to ensure that they publicise the scheme through a range of mechanisms, to ensure we help those most in need
  • making use of existing fuel poverty referral mechanisms across the capital, and fuel poverty schemes that already operate in London. 

How many households will benefit from the scheme?

We aim to replace or repair inefficient or broken boilers in around 500 homes in the capital.
 

Eligibility

Are all types of domestic boilers eligible for replacement?

Gas, LPG, solid fuel and oil fuelled boilers are all eligible. Electric boilers are not. 

How will I know if my working boiler is 85 per cent or less efficient and therefore eligible for replacement? 

It is likely to be 85 per cent or less efficient if it is gas fired and over ten years old.

Find out for sure by searching this database for the make and name of your boiler.

What if my current boiler is not on the boiler database?

There is a Better Boilers helpline, run by the Energy Saving Trust on our behalf. They will be able to assist if you are unable to determine whether your boiler is eligible. You can call the helpline 0808 108 9414. Calls to this number are free from UK landlines and mobiles.

My boiler is both broken and inefficient. Will it be repaired or replaced?

If your boiler is 85 per cent or below efficient, it will be replaced whether it is working or not. Broken boilers which are above 85 per cent efficient will be repaired where it makes financial sense to do so. Otherwise, we’ll replace them. 

Does my current boiler qualify for replacement if it is mainly working but faulty (for example, if the thermostat is broken or the pilot light keeps going out)?

Yes, as long as it is working, 85 per cent or below efficient and the main source of heating for the home, your boiler will qualify for replacement. 

What benefits do I need be receive to qualify for the scheme?

You need to be in receipt of one of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (and your income is £16,010 or less)
  • Working Tax Credit (and your income is £16,010 or less)
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit (and you earned £1,250 or less after tax in any assessment period in the last 12 months)

For certain benefits, one of the following must also apply:

  • you get Child Tax Credit and your child’s disabled
  • you get Disabled Child Premium
  • you get Disability Premium
  • you get Pensioner Premium
  • you receive a work-related activity or support component - if you’re claiming income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • you’re 60 or over - if you’re claiming Working Tax Credit
  • you get a limited capability for work or work-related activity element - if you’re claiming Universal Credit
  • you get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment - if you’re claiming Universal Credit.

I’m not on benefits, can I get other assistance if I have an inefficient boiler?

Yes. You may be entitled to £400 towards a replacement boiler from the London Boiler Cashback Scheme, subject to you meeting the eligibility criteria and the availability of funding. 

Do only domestic properties qualify for the scheme? 

Yes. Non-domestic properties do not qualify. 

I own my home but live elsewhere. Do I qualify for the scheme?

No. You must be a homeowner and live in your property (i.e. you must be the owner occupier).

Do council and housing association properties qualify for the scheme? 

No. The Support Team for London’s RE:NEW programme are already working closely with councils and housing associations to support them to retrofit their stock, with support plans in place with 69 social landlords across the capital. 

I am a private landlord with tenants who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Can I apply for a boiler replacement?

No. If you are a private landlord you might be entitled to £400 towards a replacement boiler from the London Boiler Cashback Scheme, subject to you meeting the eligibility criteria and the availability of funding.

I live outside of London. Is this scheme running in the rest of the UK?

The scheme is a London-specific initiative, running only within Greater London. 
 

Boiler installation and repair

How long will it take for me to receive my boiler replacement or repair, once I have applied for the scheme?

If your application is successful, typically you will be contacted by Ecologic Energy within a week of making an application. They will get in touch with you to arrange a visit to your home to look at your current boiler. It may, however, take longer than this if we need to make further eligibility checks. 

Who will install or repair my boiler? 

Ecologic Energy will undertake all boiler replacements and repairs on our behalf. All Ecologic Energy installers are registered with Gas Safe (formally CORGI), and, for installations and repairs of oil boilers, OFTEC.

If I am successful in applying, what will my boiler replacement or repair include? 

All replacements will be new ‘A’ rated efficient, ultra low NOx boilers – best in class under the Code for Sustainable Homes. Where appropriate, replacement or repaired boilers will include new thermostats or boiler controls and thermostatic radiator valves. You may be given a choice of the type of thermostat/heating control to be installed.

You will receive key documentation and information about the installation or repair, including:

  • Gas Safety installation certificate (if your old boiler is being replaced)
  • instructions and advice on how to operate the new boiler and controls
  • a warranty for the replacement or repair: a) a five-year manufacturer warranty will be given for a new boiler. However, regular servicing, which may be a condition of the warranty, will be the responsibility of the homeowner b) a two-year warranty will be given for any repairs to your boiler or heating system. 

Can I use a local installer to undertake the work? 

No. All installations and repairs will be undertaken by Ecologic Energy - the sole installer for the Better Boilers scheme. You will not have to, or be permitted to, arrange for an installer to do the work. 

What if I have a problem with my new boiler once it’s been installed or repaired? Who can I contact?

When you have your boiler replaced or repaired under the scheme, Ecologic Energy will provide details on how to contact them if there is a problem with your installation or repair.

What if my broken boiler cannot be repaired?

We’ll replace it. 

What if other parts of my heating system need repairing?

During the initial boiler survey undertaken by Ecologic Energy, additional repairs may be identified as necessary in order to make the boiler operate fully and effectively. Additional repairs and measures which will be covered include:

  • broken/cracked radiators
  • gas supply pipe upgrade
  • powerflushing (where a repair is being carried out, rather than a boiler replacement)
  • extension of other pipework
  • minor decorative changes, such as boxing in pipework (only where the replacement boiler is a different size to the old boiler, or where the new boiler requires additional pipework).

If the works are extensive a further survey may be undertaken by ecologic-energy. 

In exceptional cases, Ecologic Energy may consider the additional repairs or measures required to be too extensive to be covered by this scheme. In these cases, the replacement or repair will not be eligible for the scheme.

General cosmetic improvements/repairs to the property, such as redecoration or making good of walls and carpets, will not be covered. 
 

Quality assurance and fraud

Will there be checks on the quality of the boiler installation or repair?

We have rigorous quality assurance checks in place to ensure each boiler replacement and repair is of a high standard:

  • the boiler installer and repair company, Ecologic Energy, will:
    • talk to you about what the boiler installation or repair will entail before the work starts, to ensure that you're happy with the proposed work
    • ensure that the you (and any third party who has applied on you behalf) signs off the boiler installation or repair, to ensure they're happy with the quality of the work
    • conduct a gas safety check before leaving your home
    • undertake further quality checks on one in five homes after the installation/repair(s) have taken place, and check the remainder through photographic evidence provided by the Ecologic Energy installer
  • Ecologic Energy is also a member of Trust Mark, which will also do spot checks on the quality of work
  • the Greater London Authority will also ensure that a further five per cent of all installations and repairs are audited to ensure overall quality and customer satisfaction. 

How will fraudulent claims be prevented?

We have rigorous requirements and checks in place to make sure that we prevent fraud, so that boiler replacements and repairs are delivered to eligible households. In the unlikely event of fraud being detected, we will report and prosecute. These checks include the following: 

  • property checks: we will use the Land Registry to confirm that you are an owner occupier, and other details
  • benefits checks: once your application for the scheme has been received, the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the organisation administering the scheme on our behalf, will submit relevant details to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They will do this using a DWP-approved online process for benefits verification. If your application cannot be verified, EST will get in touch with you to obtain a copy of your benefits award letter(s)
  • boiler checks: on arriving at the property, Ecologic Energy will check the details about your boiler that you provided in your application, including: a) make and model b) condition of the boiler, i.e. whether the boiler is in working order or broken c) that the boiler it is the main boiler used to heat the home.

We reserve the right to conduct other checks and monitoring procedures.

How do I know that the person who visits me is from Ecologic Energy?

All people working on the scheme will carry a photographic ID with them. You can phone 020 8804 8151 to further check that the identification is genuine.

Ecologic Energy engineers always make appointments and will never arrive unannounced. They never work outside normal working hours (8am to 5pm Monday to Friday) without making an arrangement with you first.

Do not allow any unexpected visitors to enter you home without checking with Ecologic Energy first.

Better Boilers and other government schemes

Can I apply for Better Boilers if I am having my boiler part-funded by the Energy Company Obligation?

Yes. A boiler replacement or repair can be undertaken in conjunction with existing Energy Company Obligation funding, where it is available and identified by the homeowner when the application is made. 
 

Applying for the scheme

Is it only possible to apply online? 

You are encouraged to use the simple, user-friendly online application process. If you can’t do this yourself, and can’t find anyone to help you, you can apply over the phone by calling the Better Boilers scheme helpline on 0808 108 9414. Calls to this number are free from UK landlines and mobiles.

How can I get more information about the scheme? 

These FAQs should answer most of the questions you have about the scheme. However, if you have any other questions or queries or wish to make a complaint, you can contact the Better Boilers scheme helpline by email at [email protected] or by phone on 0808 108 9414. Calls to this number are free from UK landlines and mobiles.