ecoTEC Plus Combi LPG
If your boiler breaks down and you need to fork out for a replacement, you might be able to save money by claiming a grant towards the cost, or even a free boiler, from the government.
Boiler grants, eco schemes, rental schemes and even boilers that are claimed to pay you back in savings can all help you to avoid that initial outlay. But not everyone is eligible for these schemes and, sometimes, choosing an option that takes care of the upfront cost can leave you out of pocket in the long run.
Here, we take a detailed look at the various options to help you decide which is best for you and your budget.
Under the government’s Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme, some homeowners and private tenants can get their old, inefficient boilers replaced completely free of charge, or have the cost of a replacement heavily subsidised.
The scheme is a way to ensure that bigger energy suppliers help struggling families to reduce their carbon footprint and make their homes more efficient, whether by improving insulation or installing a new boiler.
Government funding is limited for this scheme, and the benefits-related criteria are quite stringent. You’ll also need to own your own home or have permission from your landlord.
If you meet the criteria, and your boiler is more than eight years old, then you should qualify for new one.
Your energy supplier should advise you if you're eligible for an ECO grant. However, even if you're eligible, a supplier doesn't have to install an energy-efficient measure in your home. Some suppliers don't seem to offer any further help once they've fulfilled their obligations for the current ECO phase, which is due to end in March 2022.
The energy companies involved in the ECO scheme are:
List last updated 13 July 2021
The Affordable Warmth Obligation (which replaced the Warm Front ) is part of the ECO scheme. You can get help with the cost of replacing or repairing your boiler, as well as other energy-saving improvements.
Again, you’ll need to be receiving certain benefits to qualify, and either own your home or be renting privately. If you live in social housing, you might still be able to get help with insulation or a new heating system if it’s being installed for the first time. Your home would also need to have an energy rating of E, F or G – you can find your home's rating on your Energy Performance Certificate.
The Affordable Warmth Obligation is available in England (0300 123 1234), Scotland (0808 808 2282) and Northern Ireland (0300 200 7874). In Wales, the scheme is called Nest and is managed by British Gas (0808 808 2244).
This scheme provided money-off vouchers to eligible homeowners, enabling them to upgrade their G-rated boiler to a more efficient one. All the money used for this is now gone, but some suppliers still offer discounts using a similar scheme.
As this is not a government scheme, we'd recommend getting a few quotes. This is because, in some cases, a new boiler might be more expensive than it should be, even with discounts.
If you’re not eligible for any boiler grants or a free replacement, then you could consider renting a boiler. These are also known as pay-monthly boilers.
Some companies will install a boiler in your home for no upfront cost – you make monthly payments that cover the cost of the new boiler and installation, as well as potential repairs, maintenance and annual servicing.
However, renting a boiler is a long-term commitment. The amount you pay each month depends on the size of your deposit and your chosen repayment period. You could be tied in for as long as 12 years, for example.
Once you've paid off the boiler, your monthly payments will keep covering repair, maintenance and annual servicing.
If you go down this route, be aware that you might be charged interest on missed payments, and this could potentially accrue on a daily basis until you pay it off. So falling behind on payments could suddenly become very costly.
If you can't afford the upfront cost of installing a new boiler, or want a peace-of-mind scheme so you know your boiler is covered, then renting could be a good option. Just be aware that you'll be in a long contract, and you might not save any money in the long term compared with having a new boiler installed upfront and taking out boiler cover for the same length of time.
The most cost-effective option in the long run is to buy and install a reliable boiler, and then pay for a service each year, plus any extra repairs that might be needed on an ad-hoc basis.
If you assume that the boiler will never need to be repaired, then with an annual boiler service it will cost around £1,200 over 12 years* – a staggering £2,256 difference.
The average cost of a boiler repair is currently £161.50, so you’d need to have a lot of problems with your boiler to justify the extra cost of getting boiler cover. Choosing a reliable boiler will help to minimise the likelihood of you having to pay out.
There's a big difference between the most and least reliable boilers. We’ve surveyed more than 11,000 Which? members to find out about the problems they’ve experienced with their main gas or oil central-heating boiler.
Of the boilers from our survey that are six years old, more than six in 10 of those from the least reliable brand have developed a fault.
The graph below shows the percentage of boilers that have broken down when bought new in every year from 2013 to 2019.
Using all this information, we’ve been able to rate big-name boiler brands, including Alpha, Baxi, Glow-worm and Worcester Bosch. The ratings are based on whether people who own up to six-year-old boilers have ever had to have their main boiler repaired since they bought or acquired it.
When you've decided on the best and most reliable boiler for your home, check out for a stress-free and reliable boiler installation. You can use our free search tool below to find an accredited local trader.