The government says a new boiler can save more than £200 a year
A government scheme that gives households in England £400 off the cost of a new boiler has been launched.
The boiler scrappage scheme was announced in the pre-Budget report last month.
According to the government it will help households cut their energy bills, reduce CO2 emissions and support thousands of jobs.
Up to 125,000 households in England could benefit from the scheme, which is costing the government £50m.
People who own their homes or landlords who rent homes are eligible, but social landlords, housing associations and boiler installers are not.
There are about 3.5 million homes in England with the least efficient types of boilers.
How do I do it?
To qualify households need to have a working G-rated boiler. It is likely to be G-rated if it is more than 15 years old and gas fired.
HOW TO APPLY
Check your boiler is G-rated - the age or a permanent pilot light tend to indicate if it is
Ensure it is in working order and is the main boiler to heat the house
Shop around and arrange a quote for a new boiler from a qualified installer
Contact the Energy Saving Trust with details and receive a voucher before the work starts
Pay the installer in full, then send the receipt and the voucher to be refunded £400 - some suppliers will also offer £400 off the price
A permanent pilot light is also a good indicator as to whether a gas boiler is G-rated. If the boiler is oil-fired and more than 25 years old, it is also likely to be eligible.
Householders aged below 60 can only apply if the boiler is the main boiler used to heat the home and is in working order. For those aged above 60, the device does not have to work.
Once you have found out if your boiler qualifies for replacement, the next step is to arrange a quote for a new one from a qualified installer. This could cost anything between £2,000 and £3,000.
Then, you need to provide the Energy Saving Trust (EST) with details of your old boiler and the installer you have chosen fit the new one. The EST will also want confirmation the installer has actually visited your home and provided you with a proper quote for the work.
Assuming all that is in order, a voucher worth £400 will be issued from 18 January. This will be refunded once the work has been done and the EST has received both the invoice for the work and the voucher. It is valid for 12 weeks.
The householder pays the bill in full to the installer and then claims the £400 back from the EST.
The £400 rebate should take no more than 25 working days of the paperwork reaching the Trust.
Energy companies are expected to use the scheme to drum up business. British Gas, the biggest installer of boilers in the UK, is planning to match the government's £400 discount.
OTHER HELP WITH BILLS
Home Energy Saving Programme
Winter Fuel Payment
Cold Weather Payment
Warm Front or Warm Deal schemes
Energy companies' social funds
Other firms are offering similar savings too. The government says the scheme will help to safeguard jobs across the industry which, it says, employs about 130,000 installers.
The government says upgrading a boiler can save a household more than £200 a year. It has also estimated that replacing 125,000 G-rated boilers will save about 140,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
Catherine Allinson, from Balham, south London, has had her boiler for more than 10 years and hopes to upgrade to a new one with the help of the scheme.
"My current boiler is pretty inefficient, and has not been terribly reliable this winter," she said.
"I hope the new boiler will save me money in the long run, so it is worth the investment now, and with the boiler scrappage scheme, I should be able to get a little bit of money off the full cost of the boiler, so that will help," she added.
The scheme is only being run in England, with the devolved authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to make their own decisions on whether they will run similar schemes.