By Jonathan CT Smith
Time is running out on loads of free deals to help you to insulate your home and save money on your energy bills. With the introduction of the Green Deal later this year, many of the free insulation deals available now will disappear.
Many companies offer ways of improving the energy efficiency of your home, some offering free items and some even giving you an incentive or gift vouchers. In addition to this there are also Government schemes that offer help, so you’re likely to have an option. Some of the best available schemes are listed below, but be aware that these are popular and can ‘sell-out’ quickly.
Note: From today, September 12th 2012, the Government is changing the eligibility criteria for the Warm Front Scheme – so more people can benefit from the scheme (and the underspend will be reduced). See our guidance on the Warm Front Scheme
Why insulate your home?
As many of us have experience, the British weather ranges from very hot to very cold. Insulation creates a thicker barrier for the temperature to pass through. This means that well insulated homes can be both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Many companies are offering two effective ways of insulating our homes: cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.
Free Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation
Most UK brick buildings are suitable for cavity wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation is possible when there is a space (cavity) in between the inner and outer walls. A good explanation of cavity walls and working out the type of walls you have can be found from the Energy savings Trust: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation/Cavity-wall-insulation (opens in a new window).
This can be a great way to improve the comfort of your house, reduce your bills and all without taking space away from your home. In addition to this, insulation has a long life, being useful for up to 40 years! So you really will be making a good investment. If you don’t qualify for a free scheme, it is nearly always a good investment as it usually takes 2-4 years for the savings to repay the initial costs. This is with typical savings of £100 and £175 for cavity wall and loft insulation respectively.
Free schemes pay for the installation so you can start saving on your energy bills immediately.
Schemes will have specific requirements including suitability and whether you have existing insulation. Most don’t require you to be a customer with them so it’s well worth enquiring. The following schemes are available to landlords and property owners with suitable homes. Some offer a scheme for private tenants, but if you struggle, make sure you talk to your landlord to get approval and ensure you can get the best deal.
If you are on an income related benefit check whether you are eligible for the Warm Front Scheme (link)
Free insulation schemes
Want cheaper electricity?
- its free
- no obligation
- no risk
Free insulation up to a value of £610 – Call 0800 0106 106 and quote MSE12 (£30 of M&S vouchers also available before 29th September 2012 but the scheme is on-going).
Free insulation up to £740 and £515 for cavity wall and loft insulation respectively – Call 0800 321 3456 or enter your details at: www.tescohomeefficiency.com/apply-today-insulation/ (opens in anew window)
Free insulation AND up to £300 for scaffolding (if your home needs it). If you receive certain benefits your could also qualify for a £200 reward (available up to 31st October 2012). For full details and to apply go to: http://www.edfenergy.com/products-services/for-your-home/winter-saving/winter-form.shtml (opens in a new window)
Scottish and Southern Energy:
Applications close on 30th September 2012 and insulation must be before 30th November 2012. You could also qualify for £75 high street vouchers if you are on certain benefits. For more information – http://www.hydro.co.uk/BeingGreen/Insulation/, to apply either call: 0845 0786 760 or complete the application form: http://www.swalec.co.uk/OnlineForm/Insulation/ (opens in a new window)
Available up to 30th November 2012 and you get £50 if you refer someone on benefits or the elderly. For more information and to apply visit http://www.britishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation (opens in a new window) or call 0845 971 7731
Terms & conditions apply with all, some not available outside England. Typically, the supplier will want to be able to install in two thirds of your loft space and walls. If you need extra work, such a scaffolding installation, you may be liable for this charge. The installers will commonly want a clear loft space so you may need to undertake this yourself, or if you are on certain benefits or over 70, the supplier may assist you with the cost of removals. Remember 0800 and 0845 calls can be charged on some networks.
The Warm Front Scheme (England only)
A few weeks ago the Government announced changes in the eligibility for the scheme so that more people can benefit. So even if you applied before and failed it is worth looking to see if you qualify now.
The Warm Front Scheme helps households install heating and energy efficiency improvements to their homes with grants of up to £3,500 (or £6,000 if you are off the gas network or alternative technologies are recommended)
Grants are available for items like:
- Loft insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
- Heating systems (gas, electric, LPG, oil fired etc)
Eligibility criteria – in general the house you are applying for must be poorly insulated and or not have a working central heating system. You must also be in receipt of certain income related benefits – like pension credit, income support, income based jobseekers allowance, child tax credit or working tax credit.
Read the full eligibility criteria (opens in a new window) http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Energyandwatersaving/Energygrants/DG_10018661 (opens in a new window) or call 0800 316 2085. (Note: Citizens Advice have said they will help with applications – http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/getadvice.htm)
Warm front equivalents in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Wales – Nest scheme (opens new window) or call 0808 808 2244
Scotland Energy Assistance Package (opens new window) or call 0800 512 012
Northern Ireland – Warm Homes (opens new window) or call 0800 988 0559
Want to improve your home further?
If you want to do more than insulation, then the Government’s Green Deal might be what you’re looking for. Many details are still to be released but this could be a way to improve your home without spending more that your standard energy bill payment. More details are available here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/green_deal/green_deal.aspx.
Follow us on twitter for frequent updates on Green Deal, renewable energy and energy efficiency news
Other possible improvements are available, including:
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
Want cheaper electricity?
- its free
- no obligation
- no risk
Heat recovery systems
Flue gas recovery devices
Cavity wall insulation Loft insulation
Flat roof insulation
Internal wall insulation
External wall insulation
Heating systems insulation (cylinder, pipes)
Innovative water systems
Water efficient taps and showers
Ground and air source heat pumps
Each company is yet to announce their individual scheme, so check this site for more Green Deal updates. For now, there’s plenty of opportunities available to improve your home for free or a very low cost. Take advantage of these schemes and reduce your bills, improve your quality of life and reduce your CO2 emissions.