Home Improvement: a complete guide

8 December 2022 by Robin - 9 minutes of reading time


What is a home improvement? What are different types of home improvement I may be eligible for? If you wish to improve your housing, you may be able to earn certain grants. This Your Benefits article will walk you through everything you need to know about these different government aids for home improvement.

What are home improvement grants?

Home improvement grants are amounts of money awarded to help you in improving your home. They may cover the costs of improving your home, either partially or completely. There are different types of home improvement grants.

What is the Green Homes Grant?

There are a number of grants that you may receive to make your home more energy efficient. Homeowners and residential landlords may use a Green Homes Grant. This would cover part of the costs incurred by such an endeavour.

Note that applications for the Green Homes Grant scheme are now closed. If you applied before 13 March 2021 5pm, your application is still eligible. You will be contacted if it is successful. You may redeem any vouchers you have until their expiry date.

Vouchers awarded by this scheme may cover the costs of improvements done to your home. More specifically, up to two-thirds of the improvement’s cost. The maximum amount you may earn is £5,000.
You may earn certain benefits which would qualify your costs to be 100% covered. In this case, the maximum contribution is £10,000.

Am I eligible for Green Homes Grant?

If you sent your claim on or before 31 March 2021, you qualify for a voucher if you:

  • are the owner of your home
    • this includes shared ownership and long-leaseholders
  • are the owner of a park home situated on a residential site
    • this includes Traveller and Gypsy sites
  • are a residential landlord, either in the social or private rented sector
    • this includes housing associations and local authorities
The home you may be trying to claim may have been built recently. If it has not been previously inhabited by someone, you may not claim Green Homes voucher for it.

What can I use the vouchers for?

There are various things you may use the Green Homes Grant for. The different home improvements you may do are split into two categories. They are ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ measures.

The primary measures include improvements to insulation and low carbon heat in your living room, for example. Secondary measures include improvements to doors, insulation, draught proofing and heating control. If you get at least one primary measure done, you can use the voucher to cover the cost of a second measure. 

What counts as a primary measure?

The following insulations measures are considered primary measures. They are covered under the scheme:

  • internal or external solid wall insulation
  • cavity wall insulation
  • park home insulation
  • room in roof insulation
  • pitched roof insulation
  • flat roof insulation
  • loft insulation
  • under-floor (solid or suspended) insulation 

There are also low carbon measures that count as primary. They are covered by the voucher. These help homes reduce their carbon footprint.
This can in turn help you reduce how much money you are spending on energy bills. As such, the following measures are eligible under Green Homes Grant:

  • hybrid heat pump
  • biomass boiler
  • solar thermal 
    • this is an evacuated tube collector or liquid filled flat plate
  • ground source heat pump
  • air source heat pump

What counts as a secondary measure?

What counts as a secondary measure?

A primary measure must be done in order for the costs of a secondary measure to be covered. You cannot get a higher amount covered for the secondary measures compared to the primary measure. If the voucher covered a certain amount for the primary improvement, it may not exceed that for the secondary. You may not repair secondary measures you have already installed in your home.

The following are covered as secondary measures under the scheme:

  • external energy efficient replacement doors
    • this can include the replacement of doors installed prior to 2002, or single glazed doors
  • double or triple glazing
    • as a replacement for single glazing 
  • secondary glazing
    • as an addition to single glazing
  • hot water tank insulation
  • draught proofing

These may already be installed on your property. You may not use the voucher to replace them. You can only use Green Homes Grant to install new secondary measures.

How can I use the vouchers?

For each improvement, you will receive a separate voucher. That voucher will only be valid for the specific improvement or measure you applied for. It cannot be used on a property different from the one you applied for. Vouchers can also not be used by a person different from the applicant of the vouchers.

You can begin work only once your voucher has been given to you. As such, work may not be started earlier than this. In the case that it was, the costs cannot be covered by Green Homes Grant.

If your voucher was given to you on or prior to 31 August 2021, its validity will be for 3 months.

You may be able to ask for an extension. Situations change, and that is normal. You may have experienced a change in circumstances outside your control.
If this is the case, your situation may be assessed by a scheme administrator. They will see if a short extension could be considered.
You may contact the Green Homes Grant administration through different means. Online, through the contact form, via email (customer@green-homes-grant.service.gov.uk) or by telephone at 0300 131 0053.

Home improvement loans

There are a variety of loans you may be entitled to. These loans will allow you to carry out home improvements. However, most loans are given by the state or your local authority. 
Instead, they might be awarded by banks. You may qualify for a loan with low interest rates. Your Benefits may be able to help you see what you are entitled to, and help you reduce your bills.

What is the ECO scheme?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme aims to combat increased carbon emissions. It is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain. It allows people to cover the costs that might arise from making their home more energy efficient, for example.

How does it work?

The ECO scheme allows people to have their home improvements funded by energy suppliers. The improvements have to be towards making your household more energy efficient.
As such, they may include things like wall or loft insulations and heating measures. They also include things like boiler grants. Such improvements allow someone to change their boilers free of charge.

The right insulation or home improvements might really make a difference on your energy bills. As such, do not hesitate to take advantage of the ECO Scheme if you believe that you might be eligible.
Your Benefits advisers also offer their expertise to allow you to save on your energy bills. Do not hesitate to call on them if you would like to see how this can be done for you.

Am I eligible for the ECO scheme?Am I eligible for the ECO scheme?

You may be eligible for the ECO scheme under certain condition. If you receive the Warm Home Discount Scheme and are a core group customer from scheme year 9 onwards, you qualify.
However, you may also not earn this benefit. In this case, you may qualify if you earn one of the following benefits:

If you earn Child Benefit, your income is what determines if you may earn the grant or not. The table below contains information about income limitations. You may not earn more than the amount relevant to your situation. Otherwise, you may not qualify with Child Benefit alone.

Income limitations for earning Child Benefits and qualifying for certain other benefits
Number of children or young persons Income of a single claimant Combined income of a claimant couple
1 ≤ £18,500 ≤ £25,500
2 ≤ £23,000 ≤ £30,000
3 ≤ £27,500 ≤ £34,500
4 ≤ £32,000 ≤ £39,000

You may also qualify because of your social’s housing energy performance certificate (EPC) rating. If it is E, F or G, you might qualify. Rating D may earn you an innovation measure. 
Contact your local council if you believe you should be benefiting from the ECO scheme. They should be able to refer you to an obligated energy supplier.

On top of the requirements listed above, you must own your home. If you do not, you must have permission from your landlord. If you live in a social housing, this means the authorization of your management company or social housing provider.

Can I get a boiler grant?

The boiler grant is a part of the ECO scheme, to allow you to get rid of old inefficient boilers. You are then able to replace your boiler for free. This is to allow low-income families to make their homes more energy efficient. To qualify for the scheme, you must receive one of the benefits above.

How much you may receive depends on your home specifically. An assessment can be done to determine this. Many times, this can be done free of charge. Sometimes, you will need to make a small contribution. 

You may be unsure if you qualify for this grant. You can use the free simulator to see how much aid you are likely entitled to.
Many people do not claim the aid that they can earn. On top of this, we offer a service to take care of your administrative tasks for you. Do not hesitate to call on us if you need any help.

How can I get a boiler grant?

You may believe that you are eligible to get a boiler grant. In this case, your energy supplier should have contacted you.
If they have not done so, you should contact them instead. The date for a technical survey would have to then be arranged. There, the specific boiler options will be determined for your situation.

The installer will assess the situation themselves. They will also take care of the necessary documents. Warranty and maintenance information should be taken care of by them. 

Robin is a writer for Your Benefits, writing about aids that people may be entitled to. He is currently working on his Master in journalism at the Institut Supérieur de Formation au Journalisme in Lille.

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