Broken Boiler Callouts Up 72% As Winter Starts To Bite

The blue skies of summer have reluctantly given way to grey clouds and the lush green leaves that garnished the trees last season have transformed the pavements into a wash of rusty reds and oranges.

Autumn is here and winter is hot on its heels. It’s not just the country’s aesthetic transformation but also the tumbling temperatures which are tell-tale signs the year is turning, and the arrival of chilly climes has been swiftly followed by a regional boiler switch-on.

However, people are finding that after a glorious summer and long spells of pleasant weather, their boilers are struggling to kick back into action.

AA Home Membership reported a considerable rise in the number of callouts for boiler-related problems as households start to switch the heating on after a long, hot summer.

Callouts increased by 72% between the first week of September and the first week of October, the time of year when people typically start turning the central heating on.

Head of AA Home Membership, Helen Brooker, said: “It seems as though the cooler temperatures have been a bit of a shock to the system after a mild start to the autumn. Many people are turning their heating back on for what could be the first time in months only to find that something’s gone wrong.”

She advised people to turn their heating on for a few minutes in the summer every so often to ensure everything is working properly and to keep the system ticking over.

“If you spot problems earlier in the year there’s a better chance of fixing it before the mercury drops,” she added.

She stressed that an annual service could bring any problems to light, providing the opportunity to fix them in advance rather than being left with no heating when it’s most needed.

According to the AA/Populus Home Panel 69% of people have their boiler serviced in preparation for winter.

Avoiding illegal gas jobs

The AA expects callouts to undergo further increases as temperatures continue to fall on the run up to winter.

However, recent figures from Which? revealed that around 250,000 illegal gas jobs are carried out every year, putting homes and families at risk.

If you discover a problem with your boiler and decide to invest in a new one, it is imperative to make sure any new gas boiler is fitted by a competent person in accordance with the Buildings Regulations and Gas Safety Regulations.

Badly fitted gas appliances can put you and your family at risk of gas leaks, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

You should always check the Gas Safe Register to ensure the engineer completing the work is registered before having a gas appliance installed or an existing appliance serviced.

There is even a week of the year dedicated to gas safety (Gas Safety Week, 16-22 September 2013), highlighting the importance of using registered gas fitters and checking gas appliances on a regular basis.

For peace of mind, ask gas fitters for their ID card as this is one way to prove that they are registered.

Boiler Guide is a great website where homeowners can find and receive quotes from approved Gas Safe Registered engineers in their local area.

The easy to use website matches your personal requirements with pre-screened and consumer rated companies so that you are only contacted by professional firms which are registered and approved. The service is free of charge for consumers to use.

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This guest article is courtesy of energy journalist Kate Anderson.