Since 1 April, eligible households have been able to apply for £5,000 government grants to replace their existing gas boilers with more environmentally-friendly heat pumps. Announced last year, the scheme is part of government moves to cut UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

The grants are available to homeowners and landlords in England and Wales, unless your home is a new build. To qualify you must have a current Energy Performance Certificate with no recommendations to insulate your home. The scheme will run until 31 March 2025, operating on a first-come, first-served basis.

The government has allocated £450 million to replace up to 90,000 boilers through the scheme. In addition, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced, in his spring statement that there will be no VAT to pay on heat pumps for five years.

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Grants of £5,000 are available to install air source heat pumps and biomass boilers and could cover up to 75% of the cost. Ground and water source pumps attract grants of £6,000 but are more expensive to install.

People wishing to take advantage of the scheme should find an MSC certified installer in their area and get quotes. The installer will apply to Ofgem, which manages the scheme, for the grant. The customer will pay the balance.

The pumps absorb heat from the air, ground or water around a building – working like an air conditioning unit in reverse. They are normally three times as efficient as gas boilers, but are powered by electricity, which is generally dearer than gas. At a cost of around £10,000 they are also costly to fit and require larger radiators. The government has said it will bring in measures to ensure heat pumps are no more expensive than gas boilers in the long run.

Read more about this story on the BBC website.