If you own a home that could do with some energy-saving renovation, you could claim up to £650 from the Government's Green Deal scheme. From late January 2013 in England and Wales, all sorts of home improvements will qualify, at varying rates, and they include an upgrade to your heating oil boiler.
If you switch to a condensing oil boiler (from a non-condensing boiler or something else) then you may be eligible for a £310 Green Deal rebate. However, don't immediately rush out and buy a new condensing boiler if your current boiler is working fine. It's better to keep a slightly less efficient boiler going (with yearly servicing of course) than to spend thousands on a whole new system. Furthermore, DECC (the Government department responsible for the scheme) points out that you could claim more money back by investing in a renewable heat system instead - solar heating or ground source, for example.
So, a new boiler may reduce your outlay on heating oil, but several other Green Deal efficiency measures can help too: all sorts of insulation (loft, wall, flat roof, floor, hot water cylinder); draught proofing; heating controls; storage heater replacement; warm air units; waste water heat recovery; secondary/double/triple glazing; energy-efficient doors.
Another reason for not rushing out and spending money on those home improvements is that there are a few hurdles to getting cash out of the scheme. You need to have your home assessed, and this assessment could mean that you have to carry out other improvements as well in order to qualify. You must use a "Green Deal Provider". You must apply for your voucher(s) by phone or online. Only once you have the voucher can you get the work carried out, and after that you'll be able to claim your cashback. Another important caveat is that there's a sizeable chunk of money - £125 million - but the cashback rates may reduce after the first £40 million is dished out.
More information and a full list of rebates is available on the DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) website: Green Deal Cashback for householders You can also read their glossy PDF brochure. To register your interest now, call the Energy Savings Advice Service on 0300 1231234.
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