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Lockdown Blamed for Rash of Boiler Breakdowns

As lockdown kept us home this winter, we used our boilers more, increasing breakdowns and energy bills, new analysis from Hometree revealed.

Heavier boiler use in the colder months means around half of boiler breakdowns happen in the winter, boiler and heating cover provider Hometree says. In a typical winter, this means 2.5 million households suffer from a heating failure when it’s most disruptive.

But Hometree found that boiler breakdowns were 12% higher than usual this winter. It attributed this to the national lockdown and the greater strain our heating systems have been placed under as we stayed home from workplaces, schools and pubs.

A 12% increase in boiler breakdowns would equate to three million households coping with cold rooms and lack of hot water and during months when they couldn’t seek out the warmth of offices, schools or friend’s homes and couldn’t turn to gyms for hot showers.

Hometree said increased boiler use has also led to higher energy bills this winter. A 12% increase in using your boiler translates to an extra £55 per year on your energy bills.

Hometree said the figures show the importance of having boilers serviced before each winter, particularly after the heavy use of this winter, even if the next time the mercury dips we expect to have returned to normal life.

Kemley Sellars, head of marketing at Hometree, said: “With the boiler being a crucial component in ensuring that homes are kept comfortable during the coldest months, the additional usage whilst working from home has meant increased wear and tear.

"It really highlights the importance of having your boiler serviced in the coming months, ensuring that it’s working for next winter where many may have transitioned post-Covid to working from home more often.”

In addition to having your boiler serviced every year, Hometree recommends homeowners insulate their pipes to prevent them from freezing. 

To keep your heating system in good nick you should also check your radiators for cold spots, which can be caused by trapped air. If you find any, you may need to bleed the radiator.

You should also keep on an eye on your boiler pressure. If it drops, you could lose hot water.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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