People are increasingly looking at electric heating due to the Government’s plans to phase out gas boilers. A popular choice for electric heating has always been storage heaters as they can be efficient and make the most of cheaper electricity during lower-demand times (at night usually).
If you are looking to install storage heaters, before paying full price you should check if you qualify for Government grants to install new high heat retention storage heaters. Brands such as Dimplex or Elnur are installed under storage heater grant schemes and the grants can slash the cost of installation and in some cases free storage heaters can be installed.
What follows is an explanation of 14 things to know about storage heater grants before applying!
1. Storage heater grants are available throughout England, Scotland and Wales
You can apply whether you are in London, Swansea or Edinburgh and there are installers accepting applications right now throughout England, Scotland and Wales. If you live in a busier or highly populated area there are often more installers to choose from and the more remote locations tend to have longer wait times. The grants are only available to eligible people though so please check if you qualify (there’s more about that below).
2. Homeowners, private tenants and housing association tenants are eligible for grants
Storage heater grants are available to homeowners, private tenants and housing association tenants. This means there are storage heater grants for landlords too! But in order for rented properties to be eligible, the rental property needs to have an “EPC” rating of E, F or G. If you live in a social housing property your social housing property will need to have an “EPC” rating of E, F or G. If you own your home you will need to have an “EPC” rating of D, E, F or G under ECO4 rules. If you live in rented accommodation or have a shared ownership scheme your landlord will need to consent to the grants but we find most landlords are pretty happy for their properties to have their heating upgraded and often are chuffed to hear their tenants are eligible for grants.
3. The type of heating you have (or have had) will determine how much funding you’ll get
The grant rules place an emphasis on existing heating and the most inefficient properties get the most funding. So if your property has never had mains gas central heating and is heated by either electric room heaters or electric storage heaters or doesn’t have any heating at all it is likely that the property will qualify for funding. Unfortunately, properties that have had a mains gas boiler previously aren’t eligible for grants for storage heaters. However, a quirk of the scheme is that if your previous heating such as a gas boiler has been completely removed leaving nothing at all you could still qualify for a grant. You won’t qualify if the boiler and/or radiators are still present at your home though.
4. What is your wall type? Walls are important when the installer works out funding for your property
When you apply you’ll be asked if you know your wall type so it will be handy to know what type of walls your home has. For example, cavity walls or solid walls. The reason you are being asked about your walls is that the funding calculation uses the wall type to work out how much grant money your home will get. If you don’t know your wall type you can search the EPC Register at https://find-energy-certificate.digital.communities.gov.uk or the Scottish EPC Register at https://www.scottishepcregister.org.uk if you are in Scotland.
5. You might get free storage heaters but if you don’t qualify for completely free storage heaters you could still be heavily discounted rates
In some cases, the storage heater grants will only pay towards the installation rather than fully fund the installation. You can use our storage heater grant checker to see if your installation will be fully or part-funded.
6. Free insulation often accompanies free storage heaters – win/win!
In many storage heater grant cases, free insulation is included in the installation. This means that your storage heaters will be installed alongside insulation which can often help you to save more money on heating bills and reduce your carbon footprint by reducing energy use even further!
7. Only Trustmark Registered Installers can accept and process storage heater grants – check your installer’s Trustmark status now!
If you want to make sure that you are getting a grant-worthy installation, then you should check your installers Trustmark status. This is important as it shows they have been vetted and approved by The Government Endorsed Body for the grant scheme. You can search for companies on the TrustMark website or use our grant checker to be connected with trustworthy installers in your area.
8. You don’t need to. claim benefits to qualify
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is the scheme that provides storage heater grants. The Government decided that low-income, vulnerable and inefficient homes should be able to access the grants.
The first (and fastest) way to be eligible for a storage heater grant is through receiving an eligible benefit.
Eligible benefits include:
- Child Benefit (if this is the only benefit you receive you will also need to meet the income rules here)
- Child Tax Credits
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – income-based (not contribution-based ESA)
- Housing Benefit (new eligible benefit from July 2022)
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – income-based (not contribution-based JSA)
- Pension Guarantee Credit
- Pension Savings Credit (new eligible benefit from 1 April 2022)
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credits
You don’t need to be currently claiming the benefit, but you need to have received the benefit within 18 months of the installation.
If no one in your household has claimed any benefits, you might be eligible for a storage heater grant under new rules up to 50% of applications can come from people that don’t claim benefits. Our grant checker will determine if you are one of the lucky ones and meet the criteria (it takes 60 seconds or less).
9. Timing could be everything to get electric storage heater grants
The current phase of the scheme is called ECO3 and it ends on 31 March 2022. From 1 April 2022 ECO4 takes over and with the next phase, there will be changes to the rules including who qualifies and additional requirements for EPC improvements. Because of this, our advice is to check what you are eligible for under the current rules and make sure that you will still be eligible under the next phase if you are going to wait before applying. This is especially important for anyone claiming the following benefits as they are being removed from the scheme from April 2022 (so the installation would need to be completed by 31 March 2022):
These benefits are only classed as eligible benefits until 31 March 2022 so if you only claim these benefits you should apply as soon as you can:
- Armed Forces Independence Payments
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Personal Independence Payments
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement
10. You will need to apply for a dual tariff before the storage heaters are installed
Storage heaters use off-peak energy and are most efficient when operated with a dual tariff electricity meter such as Economy 7 or Economy 10. They use the cheapest electricity rates, usually at night, when power demand is lower.
So before your new storage heaters can be installed you will need to have a dual tariff, Economy 7 or Economy 10 meter installed. You can arrange for the dual tariff or meter from your energy supplier and it shouldn’t incur a cost. The installer will ask for details of your tariff for the grant application paperwork that they’ll submit for you to make sure that the storage heaters will give you the best result when your electricity bill arrives.
11. Installers are in demand – get your application to the top of their queue
Installers get a large volume of enquiries and heating grants are in demand in the colder months. The installer might ask you for documentation such as energy bills or benefits evidence as they have to submit an application to Ofgem (the scheme regulator). If you can, we suggest providing documentation as soon as you can to make it easy for the installer to submit the grant application. Additionally, it’s worth checking what installers wait times are (we check with our network regularly and take the hassle out of this process) so you proceed with an installer that has capacity in your area. The easier you make it for the installer the quicker they’ll be able to install your new storage heaters.
12. Extra “Rule” if you already have storage heaters (old ones have to be removed)
If you already have storage heaters at your home and they are being upgraded with a storage heater grant there is a rule that says the existing storage heaters have to be removed as part of the funding rules. These rules are set by Ofgem rather than the installer but the installer has to evidence removing any old storage heaters. If you have other heating that doesn’t need to be removed (only if you currently have storage heaters that are being upgraded).
13. You can’t apply twice for the same measure (unless you move)
The scheme rules specify that you can’t apply for the same measure twice at the same property. So if you had heating installed previously under the ECO grants you couldn’t apply again at the same property. But if you move home the good news is that you can apply again at the new property!
14. How and where to apply for a storage heater grant
The initial application is online and very quick. You will need to answer some questions about your existing heating and after you have applied you might be asked to upload some documents such as energy bills, tenancy agreement or benefits evidence. If you’re eligible for a storage heater grant we’ll match you with a trusted and reliable installer that is accepting applications in your area. We’ll send an email with further instructions on the next steps and fingers crossed your new storage heaters will be installed within a week or two.