Free Heat pumps are now available in the Fort William area
Government grants for free heat pumps are now available for properties in rural Fort William through the updated Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.
Heat pumps are a new type of energy efficient heating system that use heat from the outside air or ground to provide hot water for your central heating and taps inside your home.
Generally, heat pumps can be split into two categories: ground source – where heat is drawn from the ground, and air source – where heat is collected from the ambient air and compressed to provide heating for your home.
Currently government grants are only available for free air source heat pumps in Fort William.
Who is eligible for a heat pump grant in Fort William?
The updated and rejuvinated Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4) is nof focused on providing full energy efficiency improvement projects for properties in rural parts of Fort William where households are living in fuel poverty.
Many homes are still heated with inefficient heating systems like oil and LPG boilers. The new grant scheme is designed to provide free upgrades for these types of properties. To qualify for a free heat pump someone living in the property must be on benefits or tax credits. The property must also meet minimum insulation requirements in terms of wall and roof insulation.
If you live in a stone built or brick built property with an older heating system. Your walls must be insulated before a heat pump is installed. The good news is this will also be installed for free along with the air source heat pump as part of the grant scheme.
How do air source heat pumps work?
Heat pumps convert the air from the outside environment into heat for your central heating and hot water taps. Hot water can also be stored in a tank or cylinder in the same way as a boiler would provide heating and hot water for your home.
So how do the grants work?
Up until the spring of 2022 the ECO grant scheme focused on upgrading the insulation of properties throughout Scotland. Over the last 10 years thousands of properties have benefited from free home insulation products like cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.
However many rural properties were not eligible for energy grants as they are stone built. Cavity wall insulation cannot be installed in this type of property. In addition there was a different eligibility criteria and most stone built properties could only benefit from measures like solid wall insulation if they were electric heated (storage heaters, panel heaters etc).
New eligibility for heating and insulation grants
From July 2022 until March 2026 ECO will focus on installing free air source heat pumps in properties which are currently heated by oil or LPG central heating. There will also be limited funding for first time central heating systems for electric and solid fuel heated properties. The existing heating systems in these properties will also be upgraded free of charge with air to water systems. Some funding is also available for properties which have non-condensing gas boilers which are over 20 years old.
To qualify your property must aso meet the minimum requrements for insulation recommended for energy efficiency. If your property construction type is solid stone or brick you will be eligible for free solid wall insulation (internal). Some cavity built construction types will also qualify as stated above,. These must also be insulated before a new heat pump is installed. Energy efficiency measures including loft insulation, wall insulation and under floor insulation will no longer be installed as single measures but will still be viable as part of a complete heating and insulation project.
Free for families on benefits or tax credits
Some of the disability benefits which were eligible under the old ECO3 scheme have been removed and have been replaced with new means tested benefits. The Government consultation on this concluded that the new benefit criteria would reach more families who live in fuel poverty. The ECO4 eligible benefits are as follows –
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Child Benefit
- Income Support
- Universal Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income based ESA
- Income based JSA
- Pension savings Credit
- Pension Guarantee Credit
- Warm Homes Discount
How to apply for a new heat pump / insulation grant in Fort William
Applying for a free heat pump is a hassle free process. There is no complicated grant application process and we will guide you all the way from your initial enquiry through to installation.
Submit an enquiry form Use the form at the bottom of this page to provide us with a few details. Nothing too personal. We will ask for a few general details about your property size and construction, your existing heating type and a little about the energy efficiency rating and existing insulation. If you are unsure of anything just leave it blank. A member of our team will then be in touch to discuss whether or not you qualify for free a heat pump.
Free home survey We can then arrange for a free home assessment by an experienced and fully accredited energy efficiency surveyor. The surveyor will carry out an indepth survey at your home to determine if your property is suitable for heat pump installation. They will check to see if there is room for it to be installed in your garden, and look at your existing home insulation and ventilation.
If your insulation is sub standard they will arrange for it to be brought up to the correct standard recommended by building regulations. This is because we must improve the overall energy efficiency of your property by a certain amount. This is linked to your EPC rating. So we need to do all we can to improve the energy efficiency of your home before we install a heat pump. This means your home can heated as efficiently and as cheaply as possible.
Heat Pump Survey When the energy survey is complete the assessor will arrange for an indepth heating survey from an accredited heating engineer. They will look at your home in a bit more detail. They will check your existing pipework and radiators etc to see if anything else needs replaced for free before they install the air source heat pump. We then claim the funding from the Energy Company Obligation scheme and you have your new heat pump for free. You don’t even have to apply for a grant. All you need to do is provide us with evidence that someone in the property claims one of the eligible benefits.
What are the benefits of an air source heat pump?
Unlike most other heating systems air source does not rely on combustible fuel to provide heat. This means they are bad for the environment because of the carbon emissions they emit. Heat pumps use existing heat which is already in the environment. The only power they use is the electricity which is used to compress moisture and transform it into heat. They produce much more energy than they use so are one of the most sustainable forms of heating available.
Costs less to heat your home