Icy cold winds, snow and dropping temperatures are forecast to cause destruction on the lead up to Christmas. To keep the house warm during cold weather, many of us will turn to our heating – but British Gas revealed to Express.co.uk that as we switch on our boilers, many could be breaking down during this crucial time.
Engineers are urging residents to keep their homes cold-weather ready to avoid a boiler breakdown call-out over the festive period.
British Gas is predicting the next two weeks to be the busiest of the winter so far for its engineers, with more than 104,000 homes expected to need help with broken-down heating and hot water systems.
As we get ever closer to Christmas, freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall are to be expected, as the country heads deeper into what forecasters have predicted could be the ‘coldest winter in 50 years’.
Record low temperatures are forecast to bring an icy reminder of the Beast from the East in the coming months.
During the now-legendary weather event of two years ago, the country was blanketed in snow and prolonged sub-zero temperatures saw 104 calls to British Gas every second, from people needing help with their heating and hot water systems.
Hannah Hughes, a British Gas service and repair engineer told Express.co.uk: “We know that having no heating or hot water during the colder months is people’s worst disaster in the home, and this week could be the first real test for many household heating systems.
“Now is the time to test your boiler and make a few small changes around the home to ensure your heating and hot water systems are ready to withstand the weather.
“These are my top tips to help people stay warm and safe in the home this winter.
“Remember, a heating system that’s in good shape won’t use more energy than it needs – which will help keep heating bills down.”
1. Shutting out the cold
You wouldn’t leave the back door open when the heating’s on – but warm air could be escaping without you realising.
Not only do draughts let warm air out – they let cold air in, too!
Draught excluders are available from most DIY stores, and they’re an easy and affordable way to draught-proof your home.
As well as sealing the joins around your doors and windows, don’t overlook extra measures like letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings.
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3. Being energy smart
Unsurprisingly, winter is peak season for energy usage.
If you have a smart meter installed, you can see how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, helping you to identify where you can make savings.
To find out more about smart meters just visit:www.britishgas.co.uk/smartmeters.
4. Embracing the latest tech
If you think there might be a problem with your boiler, you can simply say to your Google Home or Google Nest device (or to the Google Assistant app on your smartphone), “Ok Google, talk to Boiler Support”.
The system – developed by British Gas expert engineers – will then help you troubleshoot the issue.
Another good idea is to use a smart thermostat to control your heating on the go, so you can avoid wasting money on energy you’re not using.
If you’re stuck at work or delayed on the way home, you can use your smartphone to stop the heating from coming on too early and warming up an empty house.
5. Getting the help you’re entitled to
It’s always worth finding out if you’re eligible for extra assistance with your energy bills, especially before the cold weather sets in.
There are £140 winter rebates available through the Warm Home Discount scheme, and face-to-face advice, financial support and grants are available from the British Gas Energy Trust (even if you’re not a British Gas customer).