Free windows? Can I get a window grant?
New windows can make a considerable difference to your property's efficiency and how much it costs to heat - but if, like many homeowners, you don't have the budget to replace old, draughty windows, you might require a window grant to help. Double-glazing provides good insulation, noise reduction and usually comes with a warranty of around 20 years, reducing utility bills by at least £60 to £120 a year.
Are you eligible for a window grant? The best thing to do is speak to local window fitters in your area and find out. Fill out the form below and we'll send them your requirements. Time to complete: 30 seconds.
Today we'll look at the different window grants available, how they work, and whether you will be eligible to apply. Find out more about the window grants available in the UK.
Green Homes Window Grants
The Green Homes Grant Scheme launched in July 2020 and is open to property owners or landlords looking to improve energy efficiency.
While not specifically targeted at double-glazing, you can use a Green Homes Grant to cover or contribute toward the cost of installing new windows, although there are some caveats.
The complication is that successful applicants need to use the voucher for at least one primary measure, including things like:
- Installing insulation in walls or roofs
- Fitting a low carbon heat source
You can use the scheme to repair or replace windows or fit secondary glazing. Still, these projects are secondary measures, so they need to be combined with other improvements to be eligible.
Vouchers are worth up to £5,000, or £10,000 for some benefit recipients, covering up to two-thirds of the work cost (or 100% for certain households).
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The Energy Company Obligations Scheme
Another potential option is to look at the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) initiative, which similarly offers grants to support homeowners with improvements.
Again, it's not specifically intended for window replacement costs but is open to people on low incomes, in vulnerable homes, in receipt of government benefits, or living in fuel poverty.
The scheme provides grants initially for insulation and boiler repairs but can be partially used to replace or upgrade inefficient windows as an energy-saving measure.
Social housing tenants living in homes with E to G energy ratings can also apply for help with putting in a new heating system or improving their insulation.
Green Deal Government Loans
The Green Deal scheme used to offer government grants but ended in 2015 due to a shortage of applications.
While the grants no longer exist, you can still apply for a loan, paying for the work in instalments.
Applicants don't receive any discount but can use a Green Deal provider registered with the scheme and split the cost at a fixed interest rate for the loan duration.
Although there isn't a predetermined charge, and suppliers can set their own interest rates, the yearly repayments cannot exceed the savings you're expected to make on your energy bills.
Eligibility Requirements for Window Grants
Each scheme has varying criteria, but most people receiving some form of benefit will be eligible for government support.
Below we've run through some of the common types of benefits and any requirements you'll need to meet to qualify.
Benefit types eligible for government energy-efficiency grants:
- Pension Credit.
- Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit (income thresholds apply).
- Working Tax Credit, Income Support and Universal Credit (restrictions apply).
- Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowances (conditions apply).
There are also limits on the window grants offered depending on the type of home you live in and whether it's rented - owner-occupied properties are all eligible.
For example, you can use a grant to upgrade from single to double-glazing or improve existing double-glazing in a privately rented home, but only if the energy performance rating is between A and E.
Council property tenants can apply, but permitted homes must have an energy rating of between E and G.
Applicants without an up to date energy performance certificate may need to arrange a survey before they can apply for a window grant.
What Can I Do If I Am Ineligible for Window Grants?
There are several options available, and it's worth noting that some window fitters may offer finance packages to help you spread the cost of the work in the same way as the ECO scheme.
If you're looking for ways to finance your window replacement, it's worth comparing several providers as the interest charges may vary - and you need to know that the savings you will make will justify the added interest expense.
You may be able to apply for related grants or income support, such as subsidies towards heating bills and local grants available from councils and local authorities for people in their region needing financial assistance.
Other solutions could be to look at reducing your expected cost, so perhaps:
- Installing secondary glazing to improve energy efficiency without replacing the windows themselves.
- Replacing only those frames in the poorest condition and spreading the work over time.
- Calling out a local window fitter to quote on repair work - many windows can be improved with re-sealing, draught excluders or damage repair.
- Opting for a low-cost window such as white UPVC with standard double-glazing, which is usually the most economical option.
It's also possible to reduce thermal heat wastage by sealing cracks in frames or skirting boards, using heavy curtains, and fitting an energy meter so you can keep an eye on any unnecessary energy usage.
Tips for Applying for Window Grants
Even if you're confident you are eligible for window grants, our advice is to read the guidance carefully and re-check the qualification criteria on the government website.
Like the Green Deal, some schemes are loans rather than grants, so while you'll get a very reasonable price, you will have to pay this back.
It's also important to recognise that, although some window grants are government-backed, they aren't necessarily organised with HMRC or another government body.
Instead, you need to choose from a list of approved installers or participating window fitters and contact them directly to arrange a quotation and see how much of the cost the grant would cover.
Here are some of the key considerations to keep in mind:
- Window grants aren't available to everybody - they're primarily for specific property types with certain energy ratings, aimed at individuals or families on a low income or receiving benefit support.
- Even if approved, the ECO scheme might not mean you receive a window grant. That's because the suppliers contribute financially to the scheme, and if they have used all of their funding pot, they might not have any further grants available.
- Grants tend to cover the cost of replacing single-glazed windows with double or triple-glazing or adding insulating panels to double-glazed windows if they don't meet building regulation standards. You can't use a grant to replace windows if they are in good condition and you'd like to update the colour, for example.
- ECO grants are only available from participating energy companies, so you must choose from the supplier list.
- Most grants won't cover 100% of the windows, and you'll often be asked to contribute (although that depends on your income and financial situation).
You still have the option of choosing which supplier you work with and aren't obliged to apply to an existing energy provider, even if you pay for your utilities through them, so it's vital to check comparable quotes and get the best deal you can.
Grant funding works in rounds, so if a grant isn't currently available, that may be because the current round has closed, so you can check whether you will be able to apply next time.
Checkout this video which explains how to check which grants you may be eligible for:
Benefits of Replacing or Upgrading Windows
There are many compelling reasons to replace your windows, particularly if they are inefficient, cold, draughty, and making it expensive to heat your home:
- Cost savings - double-glazing or high-performance triple-glazing is energy efficient and reduces outside noise. The gap between the panes is filled with gas, which acts as a thermal barrier and stops heat escaping, so you won't need to keep your boiler on for as long or at as high a setting.
- Reduced moisture - older windows tend to experience condensation, which means air seeps between the panels and water forms on the inside. Condensation can lead to rot, dampness, mildew and harmful spores, which can cause serious health problems.
- Low maintenance - a modern double-glazed UPVC window is the easiest option and requires almost zero maintenance. The windows are quick to clean, don't shrink or crack, and do not require regular varnishing or painting to stay in great shape.
- Appearance - replacing tired glazing can transform the look of your home, making it a place you're comfortable to live with improved curb appeal.
If you are a homeowner or landlord, replacing your windows can also increase your property's value, adding to security, energy efficiency and noise protection that are all pretty high on a buyer's wish list.
Window Grants - Frequently Asked Questions
Below we'll run through some of the frequently asked questions we receive about UK window grants, what they cover and who can apply.
Can I Apply for a Grant to Cover the Cost of Replacing My Windows?
Potentially, yes. Grant schemes such as ECO and the Green Homes Grant are open for applications, although there are many requirements and eligibility terms.
For example, you could use the Green Homes Grant to pay for some costs, but the project would need to run alongside another improvement, such as upgrading your insulation.
ECO grants are available from participating energy supplies, but you need to be below a certain income bracket and, in some cases, be a benefit recipient.
Some grants will cover all costs, and others have a maximum cap or require a contribution, so a grant doesn't always mean that your new windows will be entirely cost-free.
Are There Window Grants Available for Pensioners?
Yes, if you receive the State Pension and have a pension credit payment, you are likely eligible for the ECO grant scheme and the Green Homes Grant.
While most Green Homes vouchers cover up to two-thirds of the cost, you can get a voucher of up to £10,000 to cover 100% of the work if you receive certain benefits.
Note that Green Homes is focused primarily on boilers and insulation, so you should plan to have this work completed simultaneously, with your window replacement a secondary project.
How Do ECO Window Grants Work?
There are a few steps to check whether you're eligible for an ECO grant and whether your preferred suppliers have funding available:
- Contact one or several suppliers participating in the scheme, and check whether they're currently accepting applications.
- Run through the eligibility assessment - this is where the supplier has to verify whether you meet the criteria set by the government.
- Provide proof of eligibility, such as the most recent energy certificate for your property or letters showing that you receive qualifying benefits.
- You may need to contact your landlord for permission if you are a tenant in rented accommodation, and the landlord will need to complete a separate form.
- The supplier will offer you a grant if they approve the application, and you can either schedule the work or contact other suppliers for quotations.
It's worth noting that local authorities may have other support programmes available, so if you are not eligible for an ECO grant or your supplier cannot help, your local council may be able to.
What Can I Do If I Am Ineligible for an ECP or Green Homes Grant?
Even if you don't qualify for a grant, there are many affordable ways to upgrade your windows.
One is to consider the Green Deal loan, where you borrow the money needed and pay it back at a yearly cost that must be lower than the amount you're saving on your energy bills.
Another is to ask your window fitters whether they offer finance packages, allowing you to split the costs - although this won't be government-backed, so you should check the terms of the financial deal carefully.
You can also look at making your home more energy-efficient, installing secondary glazing, or hiring a contractor to repair any defects in the frame that will make the windows more efficient, even if you aren't replacing the whole unit.
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