Cold weather warning: 110,000 boiler breakdowns forecast – How to keep your home warm

With more torrential rain on the way and continued low temperatures expected, residents across the country are being urged to make sure their homes are ready for the winter weather. The Met Office has issued weather warnings for Friday through to Sunday for rain, with 1.5 to 1.9 inches forecast to fall. 

Temperatures dropped this week to the coldest in autumn so far, reaching a chilly -9.9C in Braemer, Scotland. 

As the mercury plummets, many of us are reaching for the heating to ensure a warm and cosy home. 

However, across the next two weeks, British Gas predicts its engineers will visit more than 110,000 homes to carry out boiler maintenance, repairs and vital safety checks.

Britons are being urged to prepare for the worst of the weather that’s still to come, looking ahead to what forecasters predict could be the ‘coldest winter in 50 years’.

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Now a local engineer has shared top tips and advice with Express.co.uk on making sure your home is winter-ready.  

British Gas engineer Hannah Hughes is urging residents to make sure their homes are ready for anything the weather might bring.

Ms Hughes, a British Gas service and repair engineer, said: “Rather than wait until the weather turns to find out something’s not working as it should be, we’re advising customers to prepare in advance. 

“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. Bleeding your radiators

When you haven’t used your heating for a while, air can enter the system and form bubbles at the top of your radiators, which stops them from working efficiently.

– If you test your heating and notice cold spots at the top of your radiators, switch them off and after they cool, turn a radiator key in the valve at the top to let the air out. It’s worth having a rag or a small container to hand to catch any drips.

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– Don’t forget that bleeding your radiators may cause the system pressure to drop – you can spot this by checking the pressure gauge on your boiler, and it’s easy to top up if needed.

– Cold spots at the bottom or in the middle of your radiators might mean you’ve got sludge building up – sorting this out is more complicated, and you might need to call an engineer to help flush out your system.

2. TLC for your boiler

In our experience, people often don’t give much thought to their boiler until something goes wrong with it – but regular services can prevent problems from arising at all.  

British Gas’s Homecare products mean customers can protect their boiler and have an annual service. 

It’s essential for keeping the household going, so it’s well worth looking after. 

3. Wrapping your pipes up warm

Frozen condensate pipes is one of the most common problems we come across – and it doesn’t actually require specialist training to fix.  

The best solution is to stop the water inside your hot water pipes from freezing in the first place – water expands when it turns to ice, which can lead to burst or damaged pipes.  

Insulating materials are an easy, cost-effective solution, available from most DIY stores – if you keep your water system nice and cosy, it will do the same for you. 

4. Keeping everything ticking over

Like a car that hasn’t started for a while, your boiler can seize up if it’s not turned on for an extended period of time. 

It’s a good idea to run your central heating for at least an hour a day during the colder months – even if you’re going away – to make sure it keeps running smoothly. 

Check out the boiler manual to find out how to set the timer.

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