Ryan Gill, Engineer
31 Jan : Updated 15 Nov ● 14 min read
In 2019, the UK government made a startling announcement: there would be a ban on gas and oil boilers.
According to government spokespersons, the purpose of the ban was to help the UK on its way to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, a goal currently set for 2050, by cutting back on the CO2 generated through the use of natural gas-fuelled heating systems.
The ban was initially set to come into effect in 2025 but was pushed back by Rishi Sunak after a policy U-turn in September 2023. The ban is now set for 2035 and will only apply to newly built properties. Properties that already have an oil or gas-powered boiler installed will, as things stand at present, not be affected by this ban.
Understandably, the chopping and changing that surrounds this ban has brought widespread confusion amongst property owners, many of whom have been rushing to replace their existing gas boilers to meet the deadline. In many cases, though, this isn’t necessarily a requirement, as we’ll explore in this guide.
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FACT: You can still purchase a new gas boiler; there is no current ban on the sale or installation of gas boilers.
As things stand at present, the government’s plan for supporting a phased transition away from fossil fuel-based heating systems is to ban the installation of gas boilers in new properties. In practice, this means that there will be no new gas boilers installed in newly-built homes after 2035.
The key thing to remember, though, is that you’ll still be able to use, purchase and install gas boilers in pre-existing properties (i.e. those built before 2035) once the ban comes into effect. The proposed restrictions are not set to be all-encompassing, so you may only find that you’re affected by the changes if you decide to move into or construct a new home after 2035.
FACT: You do not have to get rid of your existing gas boiler by 2035.
The biggest myth that has everyone in a panic is that if they have a gas boiler in their home currently, they must replace it before the 2035 deadline.
The gas boiler ban only applies to new boilers installed in new-build homes, not to any existing homes. New homes constructed from 2035 onwards must have an alternative heating system. Solar power and electrical boilers or heat pumps are new efficient alternatives in most cases.
Although there is no current legal requirement to replace gas boilers, government incentives exist to install renewable energy heating solutions. The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is one scheme that releases quarterly payments to homeowners who rely on renewable sources for home heating.
However, grants and incentives for renewable energy sources can be limited in terms of cost and time scales, meaning some property owners may struggle to make the significant infrastructure changes required to convert from a gas-based heating system.
Learn more about what's actually being phased out and what will replace gas boilers in 2035.
FACT: The government’s current goal is to work with manufacturers to encourage an 80% reduction in gas boilers in UK homes by 2035.
At present, the government intends to bring about a gradual phasing out of gas boilers in the UK to see an 80% reduction by 2035. There are no absolutes or formal deadlines placed on this, which is a policy pivot from the original announcement of a complete ban.
The plan is to encourage UK homeowners to decide for themselves that gas boilers aren’t the future of domestic central heating through education and incentivised alternatives.
Part of this process will likely involve greater levels of investment in greener technologies, such as hybrid heat pumps and solar panels, together with easier access to funding to support people as they switch from a traditional boiler.
Additionally, new properties will be built to far stricter fuel efficiency standards, with better insulation to make sure they’re able to perform as we need them to while using less energy.
FACT: The UK government won’t be issuing fines to people who haven’t replaced their oil or gas boilers by 2035.
Following announcements by the International Energy Agency (IEA), some people have grown anxious about facing fines of up to £10,000 if they don’t replace their gas boiler by 2035.
At present, the UK government has not stated that it plans to adopt this stance and issue fines to homeowners who don’t or can’t afford to transition to low-carbon heating systems.
Properties that already have gas boilers installed may be encouraged to upgrade to a lower-carbon heating system, such as a hybrid heat pump, but it won’t be mandatory.
FACT: Switching to a new or alternative boiler isn’t compulsory.
At present, the government’s plan is to begin phasing out gas boilers from 2035 onwards by targeting new-build properties only. In practice, this means that if you’re already living in or moving into a pre-existing property (whether it was built in 2033 or 1923), you won’t need to switch out your boiler for a new or alternative home heating system.
That being said, some homeowners choose to upgrade their boiler due to the money it will save them in the longer term. A new A-rated boiler will outperform an older, less efficient boiler by a country mile, meaning it makes both financial and environmental sense to switch if you’re able to.
Learn more about the process of upgrading your boiler by reading our guides on the pros and cons of electric and gas boilers, the best type of boiler for your home, and the potential savings you could make by switching to a more efficient model.
FACT: You can still purchase gas and oil boilers; there is no current ban on the sale or installation of these types of boilers in the UK.
If you have an older gas or oil boiler in your home, you can still purchase a new gas boiler or an oil boiler as a replacement. Modern gas boilers are very efficient (up to 95% more so than their predecessors), so you may still wish to consider replacing an old gas boiler with a new, A-rated model, even if your existing system isn’t broken.
Both environmentally and economically, investing in a high-efficiency boiler makes total sense. With better insulation and more advanced internal technologies (such as condensate pipes to recycle hot water instead of letting the heat energy escape into the atmosphere), a modern boiler will mean you use less fuel when heating your home and providing hot water to your taps, baths and showers.
FACT: Electric boilers are not the only available option if you’re looking to replace your gas boiler.
Even though the government has said it plans to encourage a gradual shift away from gas and oil boilers, this process will likely take many years, given how reliant on this type of home heating system we are in the UK.
For this reason, traditional oil and gas-powered boilers will still be available to buy should you wish to continue using them.
Of course, you’ll also have the option of buying an electric boiler, hybrid heat pump, or biomass boiler if you decide that one of these alternatives will best meet your household’s heating and hot water needs.
The myths surrounding a total switch over to electric heating have, in part, arisen due to misconceptions about the carbon emissions generated by different types of boilers. Whilst gas and oil boilers do indeed emit greenhouse gases as a byproduct when running, electric boilers aren’t carbon neutral, either. The generation of electricity in the UK at a national level does result in substantial amounts of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, so electric boilers aren’t entirely eco-friendly in that sense.
FACT: There will be no obligation for you to install a heat pump, and most UK homes will have to be far better insulated before this can be a viable option.
Even though the UK government has said heat pumps will play an instrumental role in helping us transition towards a low-carbon future, there are no obligations for homeowners to replace their gas boilers with an air or ground-source heat pump.
Instead, the government plans to encourage the adoption of heat pumps and hybrid heat pumps by working to make them more affordable and accessible (although it’s unclear as of yet exactly when and how this will happen).
In a statement published in July 2023, the UK government reviewed its target to facilitate the sale and installation of approximately 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028, acknowledging the barriers that would make achieving this challenging. For heat pumps to become the primary form of home heating system, significant changes to the UK’s housing stock would need to be made, as existing homes simply don’t have the installation space required.
If your property does have enough space, there are government grants available to help cover the costs of getting set up with a heat pump. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, for example, provides up to £7,500 of funding* per property.
*At present, funding is only available for upgrades to air-source and ground-source heat pumps, not for hybrid heat pump systems.
FACT: The costs attached to heat pumps are significantly higher than gas boilers.
There’s no getting away from the fact that, at present, the upfront cost of a heat pump is far greater than that of a traditional gas boiler. Whilst you can replace an existing gas combi boiler with a new, A-rated boiler for around £1,500, you could be paying upwards of £8,500 (sometimes even more than £15,000, depending on the type and capacity) for a heat pump.
By comparison, hybrid heat pumps (an air-source heat pump paired with a specially engineered gas boiler) are a more affordable option, with prices, including installation, starting from £5,595 when you buy and install through a reliable provider such as BOXT.
When we look at the running costs of heat pumps and gas boilers, several factors come into play. On the one hand, heat pumps are slightly more efficient than boilers, so they’re able to heat your home using less energy. On the other hand, heat pumps use electricity, which is more expensive per unit than natural gas (27p/kWh compared with 7p/kWh, based on the October to December 2023 price cap).
FACT: There is a wide range of new boilers available to buy from reputable manufacturers at price points to suit all budgets and capacity requirements.
Okay, so replacing or upgrading your boiler isn’t an expense you want to be covering every other week, but fortunately, you don’t have to.
When specified, installed and commissioned correctly, a new boiler is a one-off investment that will transform your house into your home.
With BOXT, getting a new boiler can cost as little as £1,795, and that includes installation by a Gas Safe registered engineer along with all your attachments, smart heating controls, flue and warranty. Plus, when you take care of your boiler by getting a qualified engineer to perform its annual service and health checks, you can expect it to last 15 years.
What’s more, it’s important to contextualise the upfront costs associated with a new gas boiler against the potential savings you could make annually on your home’s energy bills. If you upgrade an inefficient boiler (one with an E, F, or even G rating for energy efficiency), you could cut your heating bills by hundreds of pounds each year, which will help provide a return on investment over the course of your boiler’s lifespan.
Read our full report to get a better idea of how much you could save each year on gas bills by upgrading your boiler to a more efficient model.
We take a look at how much gas the average UK home uses (by the size of the home), how your energy bills are calculated and what the benefits are of trying to use more gas in the home.Read more
FACT: Gas boilers can still be purchased and installed in Scotland.
In the summer of 2023, the Scottish parliament reviewed and updated its plans relating to the banning of gas-powered heating systems in both domestic and non-domestic properties. This ban is now set to come into force in the spring of 2024.
But as is the case in the rest of the UK, this legislation will only apply to new-builds, meaning those living in Scotland’s existing housing stock will still be able to buy and install gas boilers after this date.
So for now, the SNP’s strategy looks to be following in the footstep’s of Westminster and working towards a more gradual phasing out by stopping the installation of gas boilers in new properties. This policy realignment is to ensure the individuals and businesses that depend on gas-powered heating systems don’t bear the brunt of the country’s wider efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.
Looking for more guidance? Read our expert’s write-up on whether gas boilers will be banned in Scotland.
FACT: You can still replace your heating system with a gas boiler.
The word 'ban' is slightly misleading, as the reality of the situation is that there will still be many instances where gas boilers are permitted, since the so-called ‘ban’ only applies to newly-built homes.
Rather than implementing an outright ban on the sale and installation of gas boilers, the government simply wishes to reduce the number of homes that use gas boilers. This means that, whilst we’ll probably see more campaigns encouraging the purchase of environmentally friendly home heating systems, homeowners will still be able to purchase and use gas boilers.
Why is this going to be the case for the foreseeable future? Well, the vast majority of UK homes are built to operate using gas-powered heating systems, meaning it would be logistically and financially impossible just to ban them overnight.
What’s more, gas boilers are still the cheapest heating system to buy and install, so keeping them in situ for the time being will be essential for ensuring that UK residents are able to heat their homes, especially since the cost of living crisis is impacting us all in one way or another.
Here at BOXT, we’re on a mission to make it easier and more affordable for you to heat your home. Our team of boiler experts are on hand to provide no-nonsense advice on everything from boiler ban myths to replacement boiler grants, making sure that you have access to all the information you need to choose the home heating system that’s right for you.
Apply online today in minutes to receive no-obligation quotes for new, A-rated boilers. Get a boiler quote from BOXT today and find out how much you could be saving on your energy bills.
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