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The Boiler Upgrade Scheme – What Do We Know About Heat Pump Funding

It’s a pretty fair and accurate assumption to make when we say that things are going to be changing in the future with regards to the way in which we heat our homes. However, now is not the time to panic because you still keep your gas boiler and you can still have a new one installed.

But, we think it is important that we all continue to understand what lies ahead and how things might change for us. We all have a moral duty to consider our planet and environment so looking at our possible options now, will help us to make an informed decision in the future.

This brings us to heat pumps.

Heat pumps are considered to be one of the alternatives to gas boilers in the future but we are sure that you have heard about the cost of heat pumps. The figures that you might have seen might have ranged from £10,000 to £15,000 and in reality, these figures are not too far away from reality.

So, you might be wondering how you are going to cover the cost of this kind of system, especially when you have to switch and have no choice?

What Are Heat Pumps?

Heat pumps provide a highly efficient and low carbon solution when it comes to providing heart and hot water to your home. They are not used commonly across the UK but this is a technology that the government is pushing. The government has committed a lot to pushing this technology forward while it is also doing everything possible to reach its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

However, as it stands, heat pumps cost a lot more than your standard gas boiler which can prove a problem when it comes to choosing your next heating system. Despite this, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme has been put in place.

This scheme forms part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy from April 2022 and it will give homeowners the chance to offset the cost of installing low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps.

So, what do we know so far about the scheme?

Who Can Apply for a BUS?

The scheme is open to domestic property owners and the property must be a privately owned residential property and not used for social housing. It must also have a valid Energy Performance Certificate with no recommendations for cavity or loft insulation.

How Much Funding is Available?

It is possible to claim up to £5,000 for air source heat pumps and biomass boilers while you can claim up to £6,000 for ground source heat pumps.

What technology is included in the scheme

The scheme covers a range of low carbon technologies such as air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps. It will include biomass boilers in some instances, particularly if the property is located in a rural area where a gas connection is not available and a heat pump is not possible.

What doesn’t the scheme include?

There are some exclusions that would mean that you wouldn’t be able to apply for the scheme if they relate to you. This includes

  • Hybrid systems that rely on a source of fossil fuel
  • Biomass boilers in homes that could be heated using a heat pump or are connected to the gas grid
  • Solar thermal heating systems. Even though they can be installed with a heat pump, the heat pump has to provide all of the heat and hot water load as there is no funding available for solar thermal systems
  • New builds although a custom, self-build might be eligible
  • Social housing. There are other funds available to cover the cost of installation of low carbon heating.

What is the process of applying?

The scheme provides funding as a voucher. As it currently stands, the voucher process will need to be handled by the installer on behalf of the homeowner.

  1. The homeowner will receive a quote from an installer that is accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). They will only need to obtain one quote although homeowners are advised to obtain three quotes.
  2. The application will then be submitted by the installer before the installation and then approved.
  3. The new heating system will installed by the accredited installer
  4. The voucher is then redeemed by the installer after the installation has been commissioned and registered, with the value being taken from the invoice. Vouchers have to be redeemed within three months for air source heat pumps and biomass boilers and within six months for ground source heat pumps.

What are the requirements for installers?

Installers will be expected to meet some requirements, this includes:

  • Being MCS accredited for the technology being installed
  • Registered with a scheme administrator such as NICEIC
  • Employing or subcontracting workers that have industry-specific qualifications.
  • They also have to hold membership with an associated consumer code such as RECC.

Are there any system requirements?

In order to be eligible, homeowners have to install low carbon heating technology that completely replaces their fossil fuel system. There is an exception to this should the property be a self-build and it is the first heating system to be installed.

There are some certain requirements relating to the performance of the heating system that will be installed. This can include new systems having to provide 100% of the heating and water demand for the home. Heat pumps must also have a minimum Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) of 2.8 while the system must not have a load capacity greater than 45kW.

Along with this, the new system must not use any fossil fuel and must follow the MCS design completely when it is installed.

How does this scheme differ from the current RHI

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will be replaced by this new scheme in April 2022. The RHU works as a payback scheme that gives homeowners payments on a quarterly basis based on the energy they use over seven years. In contrast, BUS is a voucher scheme, so it works differently. The aim of the scheme is to provide financial assistance for homeowners to make the switch to low carbon heating technologies.

There are certain differences in the technologies that the schemes cover. The BUS won’t provide for hybrid systems that have a fossil fuel energy source as it requires the technology to provide all of the heating and hot water. In contrast, the RHI will only fund heat-only systems.

So, even though the change is still some time off, if you are in need of a new boiler, we have everything you need. Get in touch and find out how we can help you get a new boiler in an affordable way!

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