Don’t forget £5,000 grant to help replace gas boilers

 In Air Source Heat Pumps, Infrared Panel Heaters

Many home owners may not be aware that they can apply for a £5,000 government grant to replace their gas boiler with environmentally-friendly heat pumps, says Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.

“It is part of Parliament’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas which is responsible for climate change and heating up the planet,” said Ron.

He said the government has set aside £450m to cover a maximum of 90,000 boilers in the upgrade scheme, which is available to existing homes and non-domestic buildings in England and Wales. 

But he pointed out that although private rented accommodation is also eligible, that is the landlord’s decision while the scheme is not available for those in social housing or a new-build property.

They can be used for the following four systems – air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, water source heat pumps and biomass boilers, the latter is for those living in rural areas.

The government is providing £5,000 for households to install air source heat pumps (ASHP), which would cover between 75 per cent and 50 per cent of the cost and £6,000 for the less commonly used ground source heat pump (GSHP) or water-source heat pump. Note the cost of installation, such as digging a hole, could be significantly higher.

A heat pump is an electrically powered device that absorbs heat from the air, ground or water around a building and passes it over tubes containing refrigerant fluids to produce heat.

A box of about one metre square is needed to stand outside – close to, or attached to the property – to draw in the air to the heat pump while a ground source heat pump needs much more space outside.

Home owners will also need space inside for a control unit and heat store. 

Ron added that to be eligible home owners must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) issued in the last ten years and the certificate should have no outstanding recommendations to install loft or cavity wall insulation. 

If it does, residents will need to insulate their home first.

If people are interested the first step is to contact an MSC-certified installer, of which there are 773 in the UK. Once they have provided a quote, the installer will then apply for a voucher from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), which is managing the scheme.

If Ofgem approves the voucher, it will send a direct payment to the installer after the work is completed. The householder will then pay the remaining balance.

Installation must be completed within three months of the voucher being approved for an ASHP, or six months for a GSHP.

But Ron warned residents that if they had steel radiators and pipes they would need to be replaced by aluminium ones and their homes would need to be well insulated if they were to have an air source heat pump fitted.

“Once they have calculated all the costs they can apply for the grant,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd at Keele University, Staffordshire. “But if they think that is too expensive, a cheaper option may be to have infra-red panels fitted instead with a solar assisted heat pump.” 

For more information on heat pumps and infra-red panels, call Ron on 0845 4746641 

Caption: The government is giving a £5,000 grant to help householders replace their gas boiler with an environmentally-friendly air source heat pump.

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