By Rohan Lewis
The government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, or BUS, was launched on 1st April, and applications will be accepted from May 23rd. It provides a grant of £5000 towards the cost of removing your gas boiler, and plumbing an electric air-source heat pump (ASHP), sited just outside your house, into the central heating system instead. The scheme is due to be administered by OFGEM, and you can read more about it at
£5000 is a significant subsidy, but will probably amount to only one third to one half of the total cost for an average house, given that more or larger radiators are often needed as well as the heat pump itself and associated controls.
But with gas prices rising, (and electricity prices falling as more renewables come onstream), it is worth considering for a well-insulated property. Modern heat pumps have a Seasonal Coefficient of Performance of 2.8 or above, which roughly means that you get 2.8 times as much heat as you would from feeding the same amount of electricity into an “electric fire” or storage heater.
Although the scheme is scheduled to last for three years, it is likely to run out very quickly because, as usual, the government has backed it with only a small pot of money – enough for 90,000 homes, compared to the millions of homes in England and Wales which would be eligible.
So, if you are considering this change (and it is one I made a year ago myself under a previous scheme, called RHI), now is the time to get in contact with a registered installer of ASHPs. There appear to be only ten of them in the Hull area – their details can be found by searching the Microgeneration Certification Scheme website
If you don’t have a current (<10-year-old) Energy Performance Certificate for your house then your first step will probably be to get one (mine cost £75) – the installer can advise on this.