Boiler breakdowns expected to affect 200,000 homes in winter

EXPERTS warn that Brits are in for a big freeze – as gas engineers expect to visit more than 200,000 homes with broken heating and hot water systems during December.

This includes more than 44,500 visits anticipated in the Christmas week alone.

British Gas fixes around 1.2million boilers every year


British Gas fixes around 1.2million boilers every year Credit: Getty Images – Getty

Each year, British Gas fixes around 1.2 million boilers, with December traditionally associated with a spike in demand.

People are being advised to prepare their homes now to avoid being caught out – and to make sure their heating and hot water systems can see them through into the new year and beyond.

Bleeding radiators, wrapping pipes in insulation and installing carbon monoxide detectors are all important ways of ensuring the home stays warm and safe over winter, and to reduce the risk of a system breakdown.

Sunny Solanki, a British Gas service and repair engineer, said: “This year more than ever, being stuck without heating or hot water is the last thing anyone wants – especially as we’re all spending more time at home.

How to save on your energy bills

SWITCHING energy providers can sound like hassle – but fortunately it’s pretty straight forward to change supplier – and save lots of cash.

Shop around – If you’re on an SVT deal you are likely throwing away more than £300 a year. Use a comparion site such as, uSwitch or to see what deals are available to you.

The cheapest deals are usually found online and are fixed deals – meaning you’ll pay a fixed amount usually for 12 months.

Switch – When you’ve found one, all you have to do is contact the new supplier.

It helps to have the following information – which you can find on your bill –  to hand to give the new supplier.

  • Your postcode
  • Name of your existing supplier
  • Name of your existing deal and how much you pay
  • An up-to-date meter reading

It will then notify your current supplier and begin the switch.

It should take no longer than three weeks to complete the switch and your supply won’t be interrupted in that time.

“I always tell my customers that preparation is key – you don’t need to be a qualified engineer to do a few small things around the house that’ll keep your heating and hot water system working as effectively as possible.”

Other top tips to keep homes warm and working include leaving the central heating running for an hour a day – even if you won’t be in.

As well as making sure no heat is lost through loose-fitting letterboxes, window frames or even draughty chimneys and keyholes.

Sunny Solanki added: “Remember, a system that’s in good shape will also keep you warm and safe for longer without using more energy than it needs – helping to keep your bills under control.

“And while it can be rewarding to resolve minor issues on your own, we’re on hand if you’re ever uncertain – and we’re all taking the necessary safety precautions on home visits, including wearing full PPE.”

For more advice on energy saving and winter-proofing your home, go to the British Gas website.

Gas boilers are to be banned in new-build homes within the next three years – two years earlier than planned.

It comes the same year the government laid out plans for gas boilers to be ditched from homes or upgraded by 2050 to cut the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere.

Getting your boiler fixed can be an expensive business, and the average cost is £182 each time. Compare any quotes you get so you can see if they are reasonable.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announces plans to ban fossil fuel gas hobs and boilers in all new-build homes from 2025


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