Home emergency call-outs up 24%

Cold weather causes increase in boiler breakdowns

The AA's Home Emergency Response service says that last week saw a 24 percent increase in call–outs from homeowners compared to three weeks ago, due to boilers breaking down and pipes bursting in the cold weather.

Of that call–out increase, the service says 54 percent has been to repair boilers, 24 percent to fix plumbing problems and 9 percent to unblock drains.

Many unprepared for cold

With more cold weather forecast this weekend, the AA is urging householders to take some simple measures to protect their pipes and prevent them from freezing.

The risk of frozen pipes is elevated so people should keep their heating on at least some of the time, run their cold taps regularly and drain their outside tap if possible

Tom Stringer, head of AA Home Emergency Response

Tom Stringer, head of the AA's Home Emergency Response service warns: "We saw a sharp increase in call–outs last week as the temperature has dropped. Despite extremely cold winters for the last few years, many people are still unprepared for cold snaps."

AA Home Emergency Response has therefore suggested homeowners regularly take the following precautions to prevent emergencies resulting from winter weather.

How to avoid home emergencies

  • Make sure pipes in lofts and any other exposed areas are sufficiently insulated
  • Make sure the loft is also lagged – the current recommended depth of mineral loft insulation is 270mm
  • Keep heating on at low levels (even if you are away) to help prevent freezing
  • Leave loft hatch slightly open to allow warmer air to circulate
  • Locate your main internal water stop tap so you can turn off the main water supply in an emergency – normally found under the kitchen sink, under-stairs cupboard or where the service pipe enters the building
  • Have your central heating boiler serviced annually – preferably in the spring or summer

Tom continues "Home emergencies tend to happen a lot more frequently in winter and people often mistakenly think their standard home insurance covers them. We would suggest that people look carefully at their home insurance policy and if they find they are not covered, they should look at stand–alone home emergency policies to provide them with complete peace of mind."


24 January 2013