Boiler replacement scheme powers ahead
If your boiler is over 15 years old then the good news is that an extra £6m in funding has been made available to help a further 8,000 homes in Northern Ireland upgrade.
It means that the total number of houses likely to benefit from the government's Boiler Replacement Scheme will rise from 16,000 to 24,000.
So far, over 6,500 local households have had new boilers installed, including retired couple Stanley Stewart (78) and his 77-year-old wife Marie.
The Stewarts, who have five children and 15 grandchildren, got rid of an oil system at their Cregagh property and connected to natural gas.
"It was simple to swap over and done in a day but we wouldn't have considered upgrading if it hadn't been for the grant," Mr Stewart said.
"Now we only use hot water as we need it whereas before we used to have to heat the tank so there was a lot more waste."
Housing Minister Nelson McCausland said the scheme, which began in September 2012, has facilitated around 600 installations a month.
"In less than a year, more than 6,500 homes have had new boilers installed, each one seeing an increase in thermal efficiency," he said.
"More than 70% of those with new boilers are also on lower incomes, exactly the kind of people I wanted to support.
"With this additional £6m, I want others to take advantage of the savings – potentially £2,700 over 10 years in an average three-bedroom semi-detached house."
The scheme offers owner-occupiers a grant of up to £1,000 to replace inefficient boilers, with energy efficient condensing oil or gas boilers – switching from oil to gas, or switching to a wood pellet boiler.
It is available to those who earn less than £40,000 a year with an inefficient boiler of at least 15 years and is dependent on total gross income. Alastair Pollock, Business Development Director of Phoenix Natural Gas, said many households were choosing to upgrade to high-efficiency natural gas heating systems.
"Improving the energy efficiency of your home is a smart investment, and we would encourage those that are eligible for this grant not to miss the opportunity to take it up," he said.
NI Natural Gas Association spokesman John Miskelly said the extra funding would help householders with old inefficient heating systems to upgrade.
If your household income is less than £40,000 a year with an inefficient boiler of at least 15 years, contact the Housing Executive on 03448 920900 or visit www.nidirect.gov.uk for further information.