What is the First Time Central Heating Grant?

The First Time Central Heating Grant, or FTCH, is a government scheme aimed at reducing the UK’s carbon footprint by 2050. The government plans to do this by making homes more efficient to heat.

what is First Time Central Heating

What is the First Time Central Heating grant?

The ‘First Time Central Heating Grant’ is an extension of the ECO3 Scheme. ECO3 is the core scheme brought in by the government. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) places legal obligations on larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic premises. It’s part of a system of grants given by the government in an attempt to become kinder to the environment by lowering the UK’s carbon footprint by 2050

You might have seen the term “Affordable Warmth” thrown around. Affordable Warmth is focused on the part of the population most in need. This includes low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households. With ECO3, the Government has set the eligibility criteria which will result in approximately 6.6m households being eligible for the scheme. In addition, it will allow up to 25% of the obligation to be met through measures delivered under Local Authority Flexible Eligibility.

In a nutshell, ECO3 is a scheme created by the UK Government in order to reduce our overall carbon footprint by making home heating more affordable and more efficient. It focuses on swapping out old and less efficient boilers and alternative heating systems with new energy efficient replacements, as well as renewing cavity wall insulation, under floor insulation and ‘room-in-roof’ insulation. All of these aspects work together to make it cheaper to heat your home by requiring less resources (gas and electric) to heat it.

“First Time Central Heating”, or FTCH, is an aspect or extension of this ECO3 scheme which, rather than simply swap out an old boiler for a new one, the whole system is created including boiler, pipework and radiators. It’s a big job, but often the whole cost is covered under the scheme. It’s aimed at people whose homes have never had a central heating system in place. 

What are the Eligibility Criteria for First Time Central Heating?

There’s two ways to apply to get First Time Central Heating – either through the main ECO3 scheme, or through LA Flex. Both have different eligibility criteria but both require your household to have no existing central heating system. Instead, it’s likely that you’d have one of these heating systems instead: 

  • Electric room heaters, including direct acting room heaters, fan heaters or inefficient electric storage heaters
  • Gas room heaters; including fixed mains gas room heaters; or
  • Gas fire with back boiler; or
  • Solid fossil fuel fire with back boiler
  • Electric underfloor or ceiling heating (not part of an electric boiler); or
  • Bottled LPG room heating; or
  • Solid fossil fuel room heaters; or
  • Wood/biomass room heating; or
  • Oil room heaters

What makes LA Flex different to ECO3?

LA Flex is closely related to ECO3 in that it’s an extension to the ECO3 scheme. It’s essentially more funding that’s given to Local Authorities to pin point those households who fall out of the main umbrella of ECO3’s eligibility, yet still would greatly depend on the free funding schemes. It’s essentially the same scheme, with a different application process (for us, because we do all of the leg work for you).

It has a slightly looser set of rules that ultimately results in the same thing for you – a free boiler replacement, new cavity wall insulation and underfloor heating. Different Local Authorities have different rules and boundaries for LA Flex, but if you apply through Borthwick Heating and Insulation we’ll take your application to where it needs to go.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for LA Flex and ECO3?

Both LA Flex and ECO3 also require the applicant to be the homeowner, if you’re currently renting then unfortunately you aren’t eligible for either of these schemes. They also require your home to have either no boiler at all, which should be accurate for you for First Time Central Heating, or that your boiler to be at least 7 years old. Over time boilers become less efficient with constant use – so if you have a 10 year old boiler that still has it’s “B” rating sticker on, chances are that it isn’t actually that efficient any more.

7 Years marks the time frame in which pretty much all boilers have worn down enough that replacing them makes sense. After this is where the requirements change.


For Eco 3 you have to be in receipt of a government benefit. This includes:

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit Element
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • War Pensions Mobility Supplement
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Child Benefit *

*If you claim Child Benefit we will need to ask some additional questions to check if you qualify.

What is LA Flex

With LA Flex it’s targeted towards those on low income but not on benefits and those in situations in life where living in a cold home could make things worse. This would include the elderly, pregnant women or those with a young child (under 5) and those with medical conditions that are worsened by cold environments.

Most local authorities would class ‘Low Income’ households as those with less than £27,000 as their total household income per year, but these figures do fluctuate in areas, particularly where the cost of living is higher than average. You must be a “Low Income Household” and meet one of the criteria which results in you being affection negatively by living in a cold household to be entitled to LA Flex Funding. 

The Good news for you, is that we manage the application and the paperwork for you – to get started all you have to do is fill in the questionnaire on the ‘Apply for First Time Central Heating’ Page which you can find with the button below. We’ll do all of the leg work for you and make it as simple as we can from your side.

What happens after I apply for First Time Central Heating?

Applying for Free Boiler Funding through Borthwicks Heating and Insulation takes you 2 minutes because we do all of the leg work for you. It’s a simple form to fill out and it just needs some of your details and your household’s details. 

After that, your details go to our admin team, who double check your household details to make sure the information we have is correct. Occasionally homeowners assume they have a solid stone wall when they actually have a cavity wall, which means they don’t realise that they’re also eligible for cavity wall insulation too, which is also free under the same funding scheme. 

The admin team will organise time slots with surveyors in your area, and then schedule a time with you for the surveyor to come out and have a quick look at your house before we send in our installation team to make sure everything is in check.

Once we get the okay from the surveyor, we send our team in to fit your new Central Heating system and any extras you’re entitled to, such as cavity wall insulation or underfloor insulation. 

Then we handle all of the paperwork regarding your application for government funding, which means you don’t have to worry about a thing.

To get started, you can apply for the ECO3 ‘First Time Central Heating’ Scheme here, or use the button below.

Borthwick Heating Inuslation UK is a trading style of Borthwick Group (Energy) Limited Registered in England & Wales| Company No. 06753929 

Borthwick Heating & Insulation are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We are a Credit Broker and not a lender. We offer Credit Facilities from a panel of lenders. Borthwick Group (Energy) Limited is the full legal and registered trading name of all activities that advertise themselves as Borthwick Heating & Insulation and online as www.borthwickheating.co.uk


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