Energy prices may have slipped very slightly in recent months, but the sustained cold weather means that many elderly and vulnerable people will still be in for an unpleasant shock when the next heating bill comes in.
Yet thousands of those facing soaring bills – or running the risk of hypothermia – could be radically reducing their heating costs… with a free, modern boiler.
And now those who have older parents and relatives are being urged to play a key role in making that happen.
“Everyone knows that older people are entitled to loft and cavity wall insulation if their homes aren’t fitted with the right levels,” says Deborah Stone of the advice website www.myageingparent.com, “although still many who could benefit are still not applying.
But what often is forgotten is there are very generous grants available as part of the UK government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to fit a modern boiler – typically worth several thousand pounds. That can easily slice up to £300 a year off someone’s heating bills… the value of a couple’s Winter Fuel Allowance.”
The free boiler grants are funded by UK energy companies and don’t need to be repaid. The key qualification criteria are that the person is living in either their own home or privately rented accommodation, which is heated by mains gas and they are receiving State Pension credits, whilst their old boiler must be either ten years older or more and not an efficient “condensing” type.
While old boilers run at typically 65 – 80% efficiency, modern condensing boilers harness heat from the flue gases to pre-heat the cold water entering the boiler. This can make them typically 90% efficient or even higher.
“A poorly insulated home could easily be losing over £300 a year, as well as leading to condensation and damp spots, which a health risk for everyone, but especially a vulnerable older person.
“But going through the application process, and having the boiler fitted can be worrying for some older people, which is why their younger relatives could play a major part in encouraging them to apply and overseeing the process if necessary.
“You’ll be protecting their pocket, their comfort and their health!”
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