What to Do If Your Boiler Breaks Down


Household maintenance can be tricky at the best of times, with endless costs and little fixes here and there. But a broken-down boiler could well be the worst of the lot; their absence is keenly felt, especially in the winter, and they are expensive to fix. A survey found that on average 1 in every 5 UK homes suffer a boiler breakdown each year – so what can be done in the event of it happening to you?

Call an Engineer

Boilers are complicated and dangerous pieces of equipment, and repairs should not be attempted by anyone who isn’t an accredited and experienced professional. As such, the first thing you should do is reach out to an engineer – either through your energy company or by researching local boiler repairmen.

Source Alternative Heating

With your boiler out for the count until a professional can get round, your first port of call should be to secure alternative means of warmth – especially in the colder months. You could invest in an electric heater, such as an oil-filled radiator, which can warm rooms by simply being plugged into an outlet. Heated fans are also an option, for circulating warm air around larger spaces. Selective heating can help you here as well; rather than leaving appliances on in every room and running your already-expensive energy bills even further up, not to mention the risk of fire, pick one or two rooms to keep warm. You might choose the living room and bedroom, to ensure comfort until the boiler is repaired.

Ensure Your Home is Insulated

Thinking about your loft insulation is probably the last thing you’ll be doing in the event of a broken-down boiler, but knowing your home’s insulation will cut it for conserving heat is half the battle. More importantly, there are short-term measures you can take to reduce the amount of heat lost in your home, which you can employ to keep the house as warm as possible until your central heating is back up and running. For example, you can make judicious use of draught excluders to prevent cold air creeping in under doors. Rugs are a great way to trap heat, and to prevent you feeling the cold through your feet. Keeping curtains shut can keep rooms warm too, forming a layer of air insulation between the outside window and your room.

Check Your Warranty

Find out whether your broken boiler is still under warranty, whether with the manufacturer or the service who installed it. Boiler repair or replacement can be an incredibly costly endeavour, so if your boiler is not under warranty you’ll want to make other arrangements, and see if your home insurance can soak up the cost. If replacement is looking likely, be sure to look at combi boilers for a replacement; they are less expensive, and as such less harmful to your excess or to your emergency fund – whichever will be covering the expense.

Make a Cuppa

With not much left to do but wait, it’s time to make yourself a hot drink. Hot drinks and food will raise your mood as well as your temperature; cosying up with a cup of tea and some blankets in your draught-excluded, oil-heated living room is perhaps the comfiest possible way to weather the cold.

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