You may be able to get some grant funding to make your home more energy efficient. A lack of proper insulation and ventilation can lead to lots of other problems, like serious damp and mould appearing in the property. You might be entitled to money off the cost of insulating your home or you could get the property insulated for free.
Grants for insulation and new heating systems
Every year the NI Sustainable Energy Programme publishes a list of grants. These grants are provided by private energy companies. The grants can help with the cost of
- new heating boilers and controls
- energy efficient lighting
Each grant has its own eligibility criteria and you need to be on a low income to qualify for many of them. The grants open in April each year. By December, the money is often all used up so you should apply as soon after April as you can.
Phoenix gas provides a range of incentives and offers for new and existing customers. Check their website for details.
Homeowners who have an oil heating boiler which is over 15 years old and inefficient can apply for a Boiler Replacement Allowance. You can apply if your annual household income is less than £40,000. The maximum allowance is £1,000.
The amount of money that you will get depends on your income. If your household income is less than £20,000 the basic grant is £700. This will increase to £1,000 if you have to install controls as well as a boiler.
If you earn between £20,000 and £40,000 the boiler grant will be £400, rising to £500 if controls need to be installed.
You are free to choose your own installer. Where the engineer is working with gas, s/he must be a registered Gas Safe engineer. If you are installing a new boiler, you must apply to your local council for Building Control approval. The Building Control fee will not be covered by the grant.
The Housing Executive manages applications for this allowance. To find out if you are eligible for the grant, call 03448 920 900 or register by email.
Affordable Warmth Grant
Homeowners and private tenants living in areas with high levels of fuel poverty may be eligible to an Affordable Warmth Grant. Your council should write to you if it thinks you are eligible to apply for this scheme. If you haven't received a letter from the council, but think that your property should be included in the scheme, contact your local council and ask to speak to the building control department about the Affordable Warmth Grant.
To qualify for help under this scheme, you need to be earning less than £20,000 a year. If you rent privately, you'll need your landlord's permission before any work can go ahead and your landlord will have to pay 50% of the cost of the work. The maximum amount that will be spent on any one property is £7,500. If your property is selected for solid wall insulation, this can increase to £10,000.
If you get a letter about this scheme, fill in the enclosed survey and send it back to the council. The council will send all the responses it receives to the Housing Executive. The Housing Executive will then visit householders to check that they are eligible for the scheme and to inspect their properties to see what work is necessary.
If a property needs a lot of work, you'll normally be asked to start by insulating your home. If this doesn't improve the situation you may be allowed to replace the heating system or repair or replace your windows. You shouldn't do any work until you've received a formal certificate of approval from the council, explaining what work you are authorised to do.