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Frequently Asked Questions

Helpie FAQ

  • Is this available in Northern Ireland?

    The ECO4 scheme is currently only available in England, Scotland and Wales.

  • Can I apply if I live in a caravan, barge or houseboat?

    We cannot currently help with caravans, barges, or houseboats. The criteria are set by central UK Government.

  • Why can’t flats/apartments qualify for the scheme?

    The scheme is to install insulation, solar panels and air source heat pumps. Unfortunately flats and apartments aren’t suitable as the householder must own the roof space for solar panels, and the air source heat pump needs to be mounted to the outside wall of the property – usually in a garden. Also, things such as external wall insulation are difficult to install at height for just one property.

  • I live in a park home, am I eligible for the scheme?

    Unfortunately, we can’t currently help with park homes.

  • Can I turn my air source heat pump on and off?

    We wouldn’t recommend turning your air source heat pump on and off. This will reduce the performance and efficiency of your system. An air source heat pump is designed to maintain an ambient temperature for your home. The consistency of heat produced by air source heat pumps helps keep your home warm for longer.

  • Do air source heat pumps work with older radiators?

    Most property radiators are large enough for air source heat pumps. However, it may be necessary to increase your radiator sizes in order for your room to retain the same level of warmth as a standard boiler. The ECO4 scheme includes new radiators for free as part of the grant.

  • Do air source heat pumps work in really cold conditions?

    Air source heat pumps work in all weather, even in minus temperatures. Whilst they’re less efficient in temperatures below zero, they still work really well. Over 60% of homes in Norway use air source heat pumps, where conditions are much colder than the UK.

  • Does an air source heat pump require a lot of ongoing maintenance?

    A modern air source heat pump only requires an annual service, just like a typical boiler. This is just to make sure that the equipment is performing at optimal levels. All heat pumps come with extended manufacturer warranties.

  • How much space does an air source heat pump need?

    A modern air source heat pump is about the same size as a washing machine and can be installed in most properties with a small garden or yard.

  • What’s the difference between an air source heat pump and a ground source heat pump?

    A ground source heat pump requires substantial work and expense in order for it to be installed. Installers must drill deep bore holes in the ground and install extensive pipework underneath your garden in order for this to work. Air source heat pumps can be installed with minimal disruption and do not require extensive underground work.

  • Will internal wall insulation reduce the size of my room?

    Internal room insulation involves foam insulation boards being installed on the internal wall of your home on purpose-built wooden beams. These boards will then be covered and plastered. You will lose about 10cm of room space from each wall. Wall insulation is one of the most important methods of insulation to reduce heat loss.

  • How is an air source heat pump cheaper when electricity is expensive?

    An air source heat pump is incredibly efficient, which is why it is one of the most affordable ways to heat your home. Through the pump, on average 1kw of electricity is converted into about 3.5kw worth of heat. This means that your heat pump can run at about 350% “efficiency” whilst an average oil boiler or LPG boiler runs at around 70-80%.

  • What will external wall insulation involve?

    External wall insulation will involve special insulation cladding being attached to the external wall of your property. This cladding is then rendered to provide a good finish.

  • Are there any cheap ways to insulate my home?

    There are a range of ways you can insulate your home yourself without having to pay for extensive works. This can be done with simple draught excluders underneath internal and external doors, fitting your carpets with underlay, or using thicker curtains on all windows.

  • I already have loft insulation, does my house still need to be insulated more?

    Great news! Loft insulation is a great start to insulating your home. However, it is important to insulate walls and floors to prevent additional heat loss. About 25% of heat is lost through the loft, but more can escape from other areas of your home.

  • How is it free?

    The ECO4 Scheme – short for Energy Company Obligation – is funded by Energy Companies. This funding comes from the 8% green levy charged on all energy bills. The green levy is on average £12 per month on energy bills. The green levy doesn’t just fund the ECO4 scheme, it funds other schemes and grants too.

    You will never be asked to pay for any of the upgrades as part of the ECO4 scheme.

  • Will the insulation be disruptive?

    There are several different insulation options. Some of these are disruptive to your home, whilst others aren’t. For example, loft insulation will provide little disruption to most homes as installers will just be laying roll or foam boards in your loft out of sight. However, things like internal wall insulation can be disruptive and will involve walls being replastered.

  • I don't have a cavity walls, so how can you insulate my walls?

    Just because you have solid walls, doesn’t mean they can’t be insulated. Cavity wall insulation isn’t the only type of wall insulation available. There are a range of other internal and external wall insulation methods available to households with solid walls.

  • What happens to the electricity I don’t use?

    If you don’t use the electricity at the point of generation, you can either store this energy in a battery, or you can sell this back to the grid as part of the Smart Export Guarantee.

  • Do my solar panels need to be maintained?

    You don’t need to carry out any regular maintenance on your solar panels. It is important to monitor the surrounding area to detect any shade from trees that may grow over time.

  • Can the solar panels be recycled?

    Over 90% of modern solar panel components can currently be recycled. With a typical life-span of 40 years, we feel that there will be additional recycling options available once your solar panels reach their end of life.

  • How long do solar panels last?

    Manufacturers typically provide a 25 year warranty with solar panels. After this time, performance tends to reduce, but they do still work well. Solar panels can last for over 40 years.

  • Do I need to clean my solar panels?

    Modern solar panels are self-cleaning. Thanks to the beautiful British weather, any debris or dirt is removed with regular rainfall.

  • What if my roof is unsuitable?

    If the roof on your home is unsuitable, you can get ground-mounted solar panels.

  • Does an air source heat pump use lots of electricity?

    An air source heat pump is powered by electricity. Generally, from 1kw of electricity, an air source heat pump will generate 3.5kw worth of heat. An air source heat pump is cheaper to heat your home than LPG, Oil, Coal and Electric Storage Heaters.

  • Will my heat pump be loud?

    A heat pump typically makes about the same noise as a standard household refrigerator. The heat pumps that we install have a noise output of between 40-60dB.

    Household ApplianceTypical Noise Output
    Refrigerator50dB
    Dishwasher55-70dB
    Tumble Dryer70dB
    Toilet Flushing75-85dB
    Air Source Heat Pump40-60dB

    It is also important to remember that an air source heat pump is located outside your property, not inside. So this noise will be further reduced by doors, windows and walls.

  • Will I own the solar panels myself or will you take ownership of my roof?

    This isn’t a roof rental scheme. You will own the solar panels in full, outright, from day one. The full costs are completely covered by the ECO4 scheme. You won’t have to pay and you won’t have to give away any ownership of your roof or have any rental agreements. You won’t have any problems selling your house and there won’t be any charges placed on your property.

  • Is there an age limit for the scheme?

    There isn’t an age limit for the scheme.

  • Do you have to be on benefits to be eligible?

    You don’t have to be in receipt of benefits to be eligible for the scheme. This is a means-tested scheme, but this does not mean that you have to be in receipt of benefits.

    Somebody living in the household must be in receipt of a means-tested benefit OR your total annual household income must be below £31,000.

  • Does it need to be sunny for solar panels to work?

    Solar panels work well in a range of different conditions. Modern solar panels are reliant on daylight rather than direct sunlight to work, so they work perfectly fine in the majority of places.