Gas boilers to be banned from new homes by 2025 – what you need to know

, Gas boilers to be banned from new homes by 2025 – what you need to know, The Evepost BBC News
, Gas boilers to be banned from new homes by 2025 – what you need to know, The Evepost BBC News

The Government wants to replace gas boilers with green alternatives in the coming years, but many households fear they will be left to pick up the bill.

By 2025 builders will be banned from fitting conventional gas boilers in new-build homes, and ministers are reportedly considering outlawing the sale of the devices completely by the mid-2030s.

Instead homes in Britain will likely be heated by heat pumps, which can be prohibitively expensive to install, or hydrogen systems, which are still in development.

Millions of draughty homes will also need to be better insulated in order to preserve energy and keep homes at optimal temperatures.  

But will you be forced to replace your existing boiler, and how much will it cost you? Telegraph Money takes a look. 

When does the gas boiler ban come in?

The Government announced that by 2025 newly-built homes cannot have gas boilers installed, and must instead be heated using low-carbon alternatives. This ban will not apply to new boilers fitted in existing homes.

However, in a hydrogen strategy unveiled last month, officials said the Government would also explore “enabling or requiring” new natural gas boilers to be “easily convertible to use hydrogen” by 2026. This could apply to new boilers fitted in existing homes.

The Government’s climate change advisers have also recommended a ban on sales of conventional gas-only boilers by 2033. Around 1.7 million of these devices are replaced in Britain every year. 

What are the alternatives to gas boilers?

As a total ban on the sale of gas-only boilers is not expected until the mid-2030s, a device fitted today would likely last most of its typical 15-year lifespan before it would need to be replaced with a low-carbon alternative.

Even when the ban does come in, it would only apply to new installations, and as of yet there has been no suggestion working gas boilers would need to be replaced.

Installing low-carbon heating today would cost more than a gas boiler, though costs will likely come down considerably before any ban.

In May, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it would “incentivise” people to switch to low-carbon alternatives, while making sure boilers are replaced in a way that is “fair, affordable and practical”.

The Government said it was continuing to test hydrogen as a low-carbon heat source but “was not going to force people to remove working boilers.”  

Hydrogen is being trialled in test homes, and Centrica, which owns British Gas, predicted it would be over a decade before it was available for domestic use.

There are no hydrogen-ready boilers yet on the market, but upfront costs are estimated to be slightly more than gas, with additional purchase costs of around £250.

The ban on gas boilers is likely to include an exception for hydrogen-ready devices, which work on natural gas but can run on the alternative when it is available. 

The Government’s advisers previously said hydrogen will only be suitable in around 11pc of homes, meaning some “hydrogen-ready” boilers could be installed but continue to run on gas.

, Gas boilers to be banned from new homes by 2025 – what you need to know, The Evepost BBC News

Meanwhile, heat pumps have also been explored as an alternative. The Government wants 600,000 of these devices installed in homes each year by 2028.

There are two types of heat pumps currently available. Air source heat pumps pull ambient heat from the air and increase the temperature using a compressor. This is then used to heat radiators and water. Ground source heat pumps are similar but draw heat from pipes buried in the ground. These have higher up-front costs but run more efficiently.

Questions have been raised over both the cost of the devices and their effectiveness in heating homes when compared to traditional boilers. 

Last month the Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitted heat pumps were inferior to traditional boilers, adding that while gas boilers had been “refined over many years … heat pumps are still in their infancy”.

And earlier this month, Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, said that the boiler alternatives were “very expensive” and policy changes were needed to make them realistic.

Will my energy bills go up?

Heat pumps are usually powered by electricity, which is much more expensive than gas or oil, but they are three to four times more efficient than traditional boilers. This means running costs are similar, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The Energy Savings Trust said a standard air source heat pump installed in an average-sized, four-bedroom detached house would be between £395 and £425 cheaper to run a year than an old “G-rated” gas boiler.

It could be between £500 and £550 cheaper than a G-rated oil boiler or up to £1,300 cheaper a year to run than a G-rated LPG boiler. Newer gas and oil boilers are cheaper to run, however, so the savings would be smaller.

Can I get paid to switch?

A Censuswide survey for the RSK Group, the services provider, found that eight in 10 people would be willing to change how their home is heated to reduce the impact on the environment. However, when asked how much they thought a heat pump system might cost, the average estimate was £3,290.  

While a replacement gas boiler can cost around £1,000, an air source heat pump full system installation can cost between £7,000 and £14,000, with ground source heat pumps costing between £15,000 and £35,000.

More than half of respondents to the Censuswide survey said the high upfront cost was the most likely reason to persuade them not to install a heat pump. As a result, eight in 10 respondents said they would only install a heat pump system if they received financial support from the Government.

Those who said they would need a grant to persuade them to install a heat pump would, on average, want a grant to cover 46pc of the cost.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, also known as the RHI, is a Government grant designed to promote the use of renewable heat that will run until March next year.

People who join the scheme and abide by its rules receive quarterly payments for seven years, based on the amount of renewable heat that their system has produced. This can help offset some of the costs of installing an air source heat pump, but does not match the 46pc grant that people expect on average.

Some energy firms, such as Igloo Energy, offer schemes that help meet the upfront costs of fitting a heat pump in exchange for the quarterly subsidies.

The Government is launching Clean Heat Grants from April next year, which will replace the Renewable Heat Incentive and last for two years. It will offer grants of up to £4,000 to help install devices such as heat pumps.