Callouts for broken boilers up by 72%

AA encourages householders to perform some maintenance checks on their home

Callouts for broken boilers

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

The number of callouts for boiler-related problems increased by 72% from the first week of September to the first week of October,1 coinciding with householders turning their heating on.

One in fifty won't turn their heating on until December

Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership 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.

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

Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership

"It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's always a good idea to put the heating on for a few minutes in the summer from time to time. This can help make sure make sure it's working properly and keep the system ticking over.

Despite above average temperatures in September, more than a quarter (27%) have their heating on already.2 Four out of ten (39%) plan to switch theirs on in October while two in ten will wait until November.

A resilient 31% said they'd never turn their heating on in September, whatever the weather. One in fifty says they'll hold out until December – those living in Wales are the likeliest to wait.

A third don't have an annual boiler service

Research by the AA/Populus Home Panel shows that, in preparation for winter, 69% have their boiler serviced and 81% put their heating on to check it's working.3

Mrs Brooker commented: "Around a third of householders don't have their boiler serviced each year. An annual service could flag up any potential problems – you might not otherwise realise there's an issue until the boiler breaks down, or something goes wrong when you need your heating most."

There are other checks which can be done before winter sets in, although many of these are neglected, especially among younger householders.

Over 65s surpass under 35s in all areas of home maintenance checks. Younger respondents are most likely to perform simple checks such as feeling radiators to see if they need to be bled and to stop any obvious draughts. They are least likely to check their gutters are clear or insulate exposed pipe work.

Cold weather checks around the home

Task

Under 35s
who check

Over 65s
who check

Feel radiators to see if they need to be bled

70%

85%

Turn heating on to make sure it's working

74%

84%

Have your boiler serviced

40%

79%

Look at the roof for slipped tiles or slates

28%

71%

Block obvious draughts

66%

69%

Check exposed pipes are insulated

28%

67%

Check gutters are clear when heavy rainfall is expected

26%

61%

Check the loft is adequately insulated

31%

60%


1 AA Home Membership claims data.

2 Research carried out by the AA/Populus Home Panel among 2,110 adults aged 18+, 26 September to 4 October 2013.

3 Research carried out by the AA/Populus Home Panel among 1,631 adults aged 18+, 22 August to 4 September 2013.

Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. 

10 October 2013