From Spring 2022, five thousand pounds will be offered to homeowners, to help replace gas boilers throughout England and Wales. Traditional gas boilers will not be sold after 2035, and for new builds, they are banned from being installed from 2025. The newer low carbon alternatives are systems like heat pumps, which takes low temperature heat from the environment (air and ground); solar thermal panels; infrared heating panels, and solar powered electric heating. As an increasing amount of the generated electricity comes from low carbon sources, boiler units that run on electricity, are surprisingly much greener than gas powered ones.

These alternatives are currently expensive. Ground source heat pumps range from £11k to £16k, due to the extensive pipework that has to be buried underground. Air source alternatives cost up to around £18k. Obviously the size of the property to be heated will affect the size and cost of such units. The grants however, will only help fund around 95k new installs, out of the current 25 million existing gas boilers.

The good news is that according to the EDF energy website, once installed, a heat pump can dramatically reduce your bills. “it’s about 9 -16p per kWh using standard electric heaters. A typical air source heat pump might cost about 4.7p per kWh to run, but if you use cheap-rate Economy 7 electricity, or switch to our GoElec tariff, this could be as low as 2.3p!”

The thinking behind the grants, is to encourage replacement to eco-friendly boilers when houses need new ones. There isn’t any obligation (nor will there be) to change perfectly working boilers for new ones. Although expensive at the moment, it is expected that prices will drop and technology will improve in the coming years, making these systems the more obvious choice to homeowners.

In a recent YouGov poll, 4% of those surveyed say they are “very likely” to swap their boiler in the next few years; a further 12% saying they are “somewhat likely” to do so; 20% say “not very likely”; 40% “not likely to do so at all,” and 24% “don’t know”.