Homeowners face hefty fines if gas boilers are not replaced before they are banned

The government is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Homeowners could risk being landed with a hefty fine if they fail to replace their old gas boilers with eco-friendly alternatives.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that gas boilers should be banned from 2025 to aid the fight against climate change, and achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

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Low-carbon alternatives

The IEA has said that no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold from 2025 onwards, unless they are compatible with hydrogen.

Almost a third of the UK’s carbon emissions come from heating systems, and ministers have warned this needs to be rapidly cut if the government is to achieve its vow of making the country carbon neutral by 2050.

If the government adopts the advice from the IEA, it will mean that new homes will be required to have low-carbon alternatives to gas boilers fitted instead.

Homeowners who already have a gas boiler may also need to replace it with a new eco-friendly system if it breaks down.

The IEA wants to make it mandatory for homeowners who already have a gas boiler to replace it with a new eco-friendly system, or undertake significant renovations to make it more green.

However, replacements can be expensive, with eco-friendly heat pumps typically costing around £10,000.

It has been reported that government officials are planning to introduce penalties for those who do not comply with the planned eco rules, according to Bloomberg news.

Enforcement options “could include the threat of financial penalties for non-compliance”.

The fines are expected to be at the centre of net-zero plans due to be announced in the coming weeks.

Electricity-only replacements

It is expected that homes could become electricity-only in order to achieve the target of net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

Some properties in the UK are already set up like this, with home making use of electric-powered storage heaters as opposed to radiators.

Another option is to use a heat network to pump hot air and water through homes, although these are very expensive to install.

These use a refrigerant to absorb natural heat found in the air, ground or water, which is then transferred to the cold water system in a house, heating it up and pumping it to radiators and hot taps.

Despite the costly installation, the system would likely save homeowners a lot of money on heating bills in the long run.

Currently, around 30,000 heat pumps are installed in the UK each year, but the government wants to significantly increase this to 600,000 per year by 2028.

As the pumps run on electricity, this can be sourced in more eco-friendly ways, such as by using solar panels.

Another option would be to install boilers which use hydrogen instead of carbonised gas, which is much better for the environment as the only by-product of burning hydrogen is water.

Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “Ofgem will be announcing millions of pounds of investment to create a more flexible energy system to support the electrification of vehicles, renewable generation and low carbon forms of heat.

“Securing the investment is only half of the answer. Climate change can only be tackled if consumers are engaged in the process.

“For this to happen the transition to a low carbon economy needs to be fair, inclusive and affordable.”