For many spots in the world this year, this last winter’s extremes in both weather and economic conditions have been like no other. With many of the national and local economies stumbling to sustain themselves, and too many of their populations being out of work, this has put great strains on many social programs. And making matters worse for a lot of people has been the cost of fuel to heat their homes.
Many homes across the have older boilers and heating systems. The ideal replacement time for a home’s boiler is 12 years, but the costs of newer, more efficient systems are often prohibitive to many people. And extremes in weather can put great strains on older systems, threatening a possible system failure at any point.
Fortunately, the UK government, in partnership with a number of energy companies Geen warm water, has developed grants to assist homeowners with their boiler heating systems and home weatherproofing programs. The governmental and energy company voucher program, in its second year, still has grants and vouchers available for energy system upgrading mandates for qualifying UK households.
These programs are being offered to the broadest range of qualified households at a time when they need it the most.
Some of the grants available to homeowners are:
• The Scrap Boiler program, originally introduced in 2010, has provided more than 125,000 families with new energy efficient boiler heating systems. The homes were offered vouchers worth 400L off the purchase of an A- rated renewable energy system (e.g. biomass boiler or heat pump). Households with the new systems have reported savings ranging from 200L to 235L annually from the upgrades. Many companies like Northern Gas still have vouchers available to help their customers with their energy upgrades.
• Warm Front grants assist in making older homes weather-tight. Depending upon the age of the homes, many have their original insulation that may have settled, leaving gaps for cold air and moisture to seep in. With this grant, contractors can come in and install additional insulation where needed, caulk and plug any gaps, as well as seal and waterproof the basement.
• Boiler Financing. This program assists those who don’t qualify for the voucher to upgrade their heating boiler and with weather sealing. Many of the major energy companies have prepared easy finance payment programs making energy upgrades within reach, with flexible payments, no money down, and great interest rates over time.
To qualify for these grants, homeowners need to:
• Be 65 or older
• Have minor dependents 16 or younger
• Be diagnosed with a long term illness or disability
• Qualify under certain social services programs
The National Audit Office conducted a survey from grant and voucher homeowner participants on their level of satisfaction with both services and the efficiency of their systems, and found them to be very satisfied with having the improvements done.
With tough times still ahead of us, the last thing anyone should have to be concerned about is staying warm for the rest of the heating season, or having to make a major home repair. These energy upgrade vouchers and financing programs are still available for homeowners through their local major energy company or local government office.