You may have heard that free boilers are available from the big 6 energy companies to help low-income families to upgrade their heating system. You may be aware, however, that these grants have been reduced in the past 12 months as part of a Government policy to reduce subsidies imposed on household energy bills.
So are they still available?
Yes, sort of. If there’s a permanent resident of your property in receipt of tax credits, job seekers allowance, ESA, universal credit or some others, then they may be eligible for a grant. However, this does not mean the boiler will automatically be free. The funding available is linked to various factors, including the boiler’s age, the size of the property and whether it is insulated. Usually, the larger the property the better, and the less energy efficient your existing boiler is, the more chance that funding will be available.
You can apply for a grant online, or by calling BoilerGrants.info on 0333 212 0013. They will need to ask some detailed questions relating to the property ownership, the make and model of your existing boiler, and the exact benefits being claimed. You will then be referred to an approved installer in your area who will handle the application from then on.
Trust is hard to give. We understand that. You wouldn’t go to the local garage if you could identify the problem with your car on your own, and could fix it without help, so how can you be sure that the garages you’re visiting are working in your best interests? What if they’re charging more than they should? What if they’re taking shortcuts and not fixing the whole problem?
It’s the same when you choose a boiler engineer. You’re not able to install or repair your boiler on your own, but it’s stressful to let someone enter your home and do the work on your behalf.
That’s why Devon Boilersure exists. We want to help you make a confident decision when you’re selecting your boiler engineer, so we guide you through the process and make sure everything is covered. We check that all engineers signed up to the scheme have all the relevant safety certification. If you’re choosing an engineer, that’s the first thing you should do.
We also check that your engineer’s identity is true, and that they’re insured to carry out the work. Never work with an engineer that’s not insured, as things can and do go wrong.
You should always aim to get recommendations and references as a further assurance of quality. Anyone can say that they’re providing an excellent service, but genuine testimonials assure you that it’s true. We get three of these on your behalf.
Additionally, take time to get two or three quotes, Compare them, and ask for itemised information so that you know exactly what you’re paying for. It’s further assurance that you’re not being overcharged, or that you’re not paying above the odds for parts that can be found cheaper elsewhere. With the Devon Boilersure scheme, you get three quotes from local boiler engineers. Pick the one you want to work with, and when the work is complete you’ll provide a reference of your own. Your feedback ensures that everyone else using Devon Boilersure gets the same great service as you.
Your family rely on your boiler for heating and hot water in the home. If it stops working, you quickly feel the effects. In summer, a broken boiler is an inconvenience that you’d probably rather not think about. In winter, it’s a risk to your health.
You can rely on portable heaters if your boiler breaks down – and it’s good to have them in your home in case there’s an emergency. Still, it’s better not to put yourself in the situation where they’re needed. As well as servicing, which we talked about in a recent blog post, here are a few more things that you can do to help your boiler:
Keep It Running
Your boiler has to work hard to heat up from cold. It’s working hardest in the winter, when the pipes are cold and you often require higher temperatures. Avoid putting stress on your boiler by keeping it on a low level at all times. Often, constant low-level work is more energy efficient than switching your heating on for two or three hours a day.
Bleed Your Radiators
A build-up of air in your heating system can have a negative effect on temperatures and on your boiler. If your radiators feel hotter at the bottom than they do at the top, it may be time to bleed them. It’s a simple process, but will save you time and money.
Thaw Your Pipes
In cold weather, pipes can start to freeze. The cold pipes put strain on your system and may lead to expensive damage. If you’re able to find which pipes are freezing, simply warm them up with a hairdryer. This is more effective than turning your heating up and hoping for the best.
We started the Devon Boilersure Scheme to help you, the consumer, choose the right person to install your boiler. We check and vet all who are part of the scheme, and get you multiple quotes so that you can compare. The scheme ensures your safety, and puts you in control of your decision.
As well as choosing the right installer, you’ll want to choose the most appropriate boiler for your home. New boilers are energy-efficient, but you’ll save more money by selecting the one that’s suited to your needs.
Which Boiler Fuel?
First, consider whether you need a gas or electric boiler. Gas boilers are cheaper to run, but the existing structure of your home will play a part in your choice. If your existing boiler is powered by fossil fuels, it may be cost-effective to convert to a gas system. You can also save more than £500 with the installation of a wood-burning boiler in place of an existing electric one.
How Much Water?
A regular boiler, which heats water and stores it in a separate cylinder, will save you money if you use a lot of water. Families with children, in particular, can benefit from this system. A combi boiler doesn’t use a storage cylinder, so it’s more efficient for an individual or a couple that don’t consume as much. Combi boilers can also be installed in smaller spaces.
For Your Protection
All boiler engineers registered with our scheme have had their certification checked. They’re all covered by insurance so that you’re not liable in the event of an accident and all have received confirmed positive references from previous customers. Once you’ve chosen your boiler, apply for three quotes from Boilersure registered engineers within 15 miles of your home.
When was the last time you thought about how your boiler works? It’s likely that you considered it when you got your boiler installed, when you moved into a property and had questions about the existing system or when winter hit and yours stopped working. Unfortunately, a broken boiler is a relatively common occurrence and can be dangerous for families that rely on heating and hot water. Fortunately, regular boiler servicing can prolong the life of your boiler and reduce the need for repairs.
Like cars, boilers are at a higher risk of breaking if you don’t keep them in the best possible condition. Once your boiler is installed, regular servicing will keep it running as efficiently as possible.
As well as protecting you from expensive repair costs, servicing your boiler each year could cut your household energy bills by 10-15%.
Regular servicing can also protect you from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, though it’s recommended that you also install CO alarms in your home.
The cost of annual boiler servicing will vary from provider to provider, but typically costs less than £100. For that price, you enjoy peace of mind and a lower energy bill. On the other hand, the average cost of boiler repairs has been found to be almost £250, making it easy to see how prevention is better than cure.
The Devon Boilersure Scheme
Boiler engineers that are members of the Devon Boilersure Scheme have been checked and vetted for your safety and security. Engineers will install energy-efficient boilers, and may be happy to arrange an annual servicing contract.
Your boiler might be in a small cupboard, where it’s not noticed until something goes wrong, but regular checks will protect your health as well as your bank balance.
Replacing your old boiler with a new one is often an expense which comes along just when you don’t need it. We cannot do without a boiler for very long – we rely on it for our heating and our hot water – both essential in the UK climate. So when your boiler is broken it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
However it is not just broken boilers which should be replaced. There are huge benefits in energy savings which can come from a replacement boiler. Regardless of your reason for getting a new boiler, the savings which can be made may go some way towards making you feel better about the amount of money you will need to spend.
Things to think about when replacing you old boiler
- Your boiler accounts for 60% of your homes’ energy bills and so an efficient one is important.
- Modern boilers are condensing which means they use the energy created more efficiently rather than venting it to the outside of your home.
- You may be able to take advantage of scrappage schemes or government programs to get money off your boiler.
- Always make sure your installer is correctly registered with Gas Safe.
- Expect to spend around £3000 for a new boiler with installation.
- Make sure your thermostat works well and is correctly set to ensure you are making the most of your new boiler.
The savings you could make on a new boiler
Boilers are given a rating depending on how efficient they are. These range from “A” rated to “G” rated. Most modern boilers are now “A” rated and the following estimates of savings are based on this type of condensing boiler and take into account the type of boiler you currently have.
These figures are based on a three bedroom home which currently uses gas central heating without any other sources of energy.
- If you are replacing a “G” rated boiler you can save £300 per year
- If you are replacing an “F” rated boiler you can save £200 per year
- If you are replacing an “E” rated boiler you can save £150 per year
- If you are replacing a “D” rated boiler you can save £105 per year.
You can see that if you are replacing a very old and inefficient boiler you could make your money back within ten years.
To find an approved boiler installer in Devon, simply use our quick online form and up to three installer will contact you to provide a quote.
At some point in your life you’ll probably encounter a cowboy trader. From the outside they’ll appear polite and honest, but inside they’ll be calculating how much profit they can make with as little work as possible.
However, there are many tradesman out there who care about the quality of their work. They strive to give the very best service for a fair and honest price. How do we know this? Because we speak to such tradesman on a daily basis.
If your boiler needs upgrading to a more efficient model, or is beyond repair, the Devon Boilersure Scheme is here to help you source three quotes from the very best Devon boiler installers in your local area. To become a member, we check Gas Safe accreditation and insurance certificates and we also contact three previous customers to ensure they are happy with the service their received from the installer.
And by local, we mean local. You’ll only be contacted by installers within 15 miles of your home, which helps to support local businesses and gives you the reassurance that they’re only down the road should they need to return to your property at a later date.
The scheme has yet to officially launch, but we’re already getting a fantastic response from installers across Devon. It takes time to vet each installer and followup references, but we’re confident that the Devon Boilersure Scheme will be open to the public very soon. Watch this space!