Free Gas Central Heating Scheme
Information for Landlords
Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant residents are being offered free gas central heating systems as part of a new Portsmouth City Council initiative. If your tenant is eligible, your property’s heating system could be upgraded to gas central heating for free.
Please note that one of the requirements of accessing this funding is that the property’s walls and roof are insulated. An EPC survey will determine if any additional insulation is required and support and funding may be available to arrange for this.
1.0 Scheme process
Your tenant will have to make their own referral into the scheme. This can be done online or over the phone (See section 2.0)
Once the referral has been made, your tenant will be contacted by our scheme managers via the Warmer Homes contact team. They will be asked to prove eligibility, and the initial visit will be booked in.
1.2 Landlord permission
Before your tenant can proceed with the rest of the scheme, they will need to get signed permission from you, the landlord, for the installation.
Your tenant will be provided with the ECO3 Private Housing FTCH Declaration & Private Rented Sector Landlord Permission forms for you to sign. This will verify that the property as not had central heating installed at any point in the past and that you consent to one being installed. This form must state the EPC rating of the property.
Once signed by yourself, these then need to be sent back to the scheme managers via the pre-paid envelope provided.
1.3 Home energy advice visit
Before any works go ahead, your tenant will receive a free home energy advice visit – our partners at LEAP will send a highly qualified energy advisor to attend the property to help your tenant manage their energy usage through behavioural advice and the provision of small energy saving measures such as LED lightbulbs. They will also be able to help with tariff switching and signposting to any other applicable local services.
1.4 Gas engineer visit
Your tenant will receive contact from their assigned installer to book in a survey visit to have a look at their current heating situation to assess the feasibility of a gas central heating system installation. During this visit, the tenant will have the chance to advise the installer on their preferred location of the boiler, gas meter and radiators to be placed (within reason).
An Energy Performance Certificate will be drawn up for the property, also free of charge.
If your property is already connected to the gas mains, skip to section 1.7
1.5 SGN gas connection survey
If your property does not have a mains gas connection, the local gas network operator, SGN, will carry out a visit to assess the feasibility of bringing mains gas into the property. They will provide funding for this gas connection, and this will be totally free of charge if less than 23 meters of new gas pipes are needed. If more than this is required, or special scaffolding must be put in place, there could be a cost to you. You will be provided with a quote which you can accept or decline. If you decline the gas connection costs, the installation will not go ahead. There will be no costs to your or your tenant to drop out of the scheme at this point.
1.6 Gas connection
The gas connection will be carried out by SGN. This can take up to 8 weeks to complete.
IMPORTANT: You or your tenant will need to contact the existing electricity supplier to request that a gas meter is installed. This is the only part of the service that we cannot do on your behalf.
Any standing charges accrued during this period will be paid by the scheme until the works are complete, when this responsibility will be passed to the tenant.
1.7 Gas central heating system installation
An installation date will be booked in with the tenant. The old heating system will be removed and recycled, and the new boiler and radiator system will be installed. This should usually take 3-4 days. The installation can be carried out room by room, meaning your tenant will not have to move out during the works. See section 4.0 for further information.
1.8 Scheme completion
Your tenant will be taught how to use their new system, and will be given all applicable warranty documents.
A desk Energy Performance Report will be created to see the improvement to the property.
If you require an updated EPC to show the improvement in the property’s rating, you will need to pay for a private domestic energy assessor to carry this out. This usually costs around £40.
1.9 Gas safety checks
Once installed it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide an annual gas safety check of any gas appliance (such as a boiler) from a registered Gas Safe Engineer. This check usually costs around £50. For more information please see www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/index.htm and https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/.
2.0 Eligibility and referral routes
Eligibility for this scheme is dependent on your tenant. You can find more information on this at https://switchedonportsmouth.co.uk/am-i-eligible-for-warmer-homes/
2.2 Referral routes
Your tenant can apply online at https://switchedonportsmouth.co.uk/free-energy-schemes/free-gas-central-heating/
They can also apply over the phone using freephone 0800 038 5737.
They will be asked to provide the below information:
- Contact details
- Eligibility route
3.0 Organisations involved & key contacts
3.1 Portsmouth City Council
Portsmouth city council are the lead authority in a consortium of 10 local authority councils in the south of England. You can contact the Energy Services team with any questions on 023 9284 1947.
Bierce helps to deliver the free home energy advice service (LEAP), and administer the free gas central heating programme through Warmer Homes. They will also carry out the EPC survey on your property.
SGN manages the gas distribution network in your area. Where a gas connection is required, SGN will verify the feasibility of getting this installed either fully or partially funded. For any issues encountered with the gas connection process, you can contact SGN on 0800 183 0025.
3.4 Liberty Gas
Liberty is one of our accredited installers in your area. If assigned to your property, Liberty Gas will carry out a technical survey of your property first and will then proceed with the full installation. For any issues, you can contact Liberty Gas directly on 0800 876 6509.
3.5 Aura Gas Limited
Aura Gas Limited is one of our accredited installers in your area. If assigned to your property, Aura Gas Limited will carry out a technical survey of your property first and will then proceed with the full installation. For any issues, you can contact Aura Gas Limited on 023 9225 2171.
3.6 Dyson Energy Service
Dyson Energy Services is one of our accredited installers in your area. If assigned to your property, Aura Gas Limited will carry out a technical survey of your property first and will then proceed with the full installation. For any issues, you can contact Dyson Energy Services on 0800 833 018.
3.7 Agility Eco
Agility Eco is managing the programme and providing funding for the installation through Warmer Homes. You can contact the Warmer Homes team on 0800 038 5737.
4.0 Equipment guide
The final central heating system will consist of an A+ rated combination boiler, radiators (numbers depending on the size of your property), a programmer to control the function of the heating system, thermostatic radiator valves (TRVS) on all but one of the radiators, a room thermostat, a circulation pump, and all necessary pipework.
Please note that grants to individual properties are limited so that as many eligible clients as possible can benefit from the scheme. This may affect the type of system provided, and the way in which it is installed.
Combination boilers provide instantaneous hot water and are therefore quite large in size. The boiler installed in your property will be a ‘balanced flue’ unit, which means it will take the air they need directly from outside the house and the exhaust from the burner goes back out through the same vent. Because of this the boiler must be fitted to an outside wall.
Boilers cannot be fitted in main living rooms, main bedrooms, and bathrooms or anywhere the exhaust from the boiler could cause an obstruction. Please discuss boiler position with your tenant and the heating surveyor and take their advice on its location.
Leaks from the taps within the property may occur after the new system has been fitted. The installer will check and rectify any issues following the installation. Any leaks which occur after they have left are not the responsibility of the scheme. You can contact the installer to fix any issues but this may be subject to a call out charge.
The new boiler will come with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty as standard. This will cover the boiler should it breakdown during this period.
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) will be fitted to all radiators with the exception of the radiator in the room with the main room thermostat (supplied and fitted under the grant works).
Where possible the radiators will be fitted ‘back to back’ (using a dividing internal wall). This reduces the necessity for long pipe runs.
Some of the pipes from the new boiler to the radiators may need to be surface mounted. In this case, every effort will be made to route the pipes in the tidiest possible positions (along skirting boards, in corners of walls etc.). Where pipes are routed under floors no liability can be taken by any partners of the scheme for any resulting damage. All due care will be taken to prevent any damage.
Structural ‘making good’ will be carried out, but the painting of pipework, walls skirting boards or door frames etc. does not form part of the grant works and will need to be arranged by yourself after the work has been completed.
A programmer will be provided and will control the operation of the heating and hot water. Your tenant will be given instructions on how to set the unit and gain the most benefit and comfort from the system. The programmer will be fitted near to the boiler on a convenient wall.
A main room thermostat will also be provided, which can be used to control the temperature of the main living areas. This thermostat will be connected back to the programmer, so that the system can regulate the operation of the boiler to achieve the temperature set.
A power supply will also be provided to the boiler, from the nearest socket or junction box. These wires will be run along walls.
4.6 Removal of material
The new combination boiler will not require a hot or cold water tank as part of the hot water system. If these are already in place within the property, they will be removed by the installer within the grant costs. However, they can be left in the property if the removal will cause any issues.
Where any of these units have been arranged to be removed, the installer will make every attempt to leave pipes and wires neat and safe. Pipes will be cut back to a wall or ceiling or will be capped to prevent leaks. Wires will be cut back and taped, and the fuse supply will be removed. Any items removed from the property and any material used in the work will be removed by the heating installer.