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New hope for thousands enduring cold showers because of broken boilers

  • Research shows more than 23 million people have taken cold showers over last five years because of boiler problems
  • Findings released as British Gas unveils revolutionary boiler technology which self-diagnoses faults
  • New ‘Boiler IQ’ remotely identifies and reports faults, potentially alerting an engineer even before the boiler stops working
  •  Ex-NASA scientist helped develop the innovation -- the first of its kind in the UK

New findings released today by British Gas uncover the cold reality for Brits with boiler issues: Nearly 40% of people in the UK have endured cold showers in the last five years -- that’s over 23 million people! More than half of people (56%) have gone without heating for at least a day, and almost a fifth (19%) have even had to take one or more days off work because of boiler problems.

The research is unveiled as British Gas, the UK’s leading energy and home services provider, announces the launch of its latest innovation in the home, ‘Boiler IQ’. The revolutionary new technology harnesses the expertise of an ex-NASA scientist and is the first UK product to remotely take data directly from sensors in the boiler to detect faults, enabling British Gas to call an engineer for you.

The intelligent technology means faults can be diagnosed remotely, helping the engineer to know what replacement parts might be needed, ensuring the problem can be fixed more quickly. Last winter, British Gas got to 9 out of 10 HomeCare customers without heating or hot water on the same day when called before noon.

Boiler IQ is British Gas’ latest innovation as it bids to stand apart in the home services market, and forms part of the companys £500m investment in the smart connected home. The product will be available first to British Gas HomeCare customers with an eligible Worcester Bosch boiler, from 21st March 2016.

Matthew Bateman, Managing Director of Residential Services at British Gas, commented: “Boiler IQ is a hugely exciting innovation, helping British Gas to stand apart in the home services market, and offering unrivalled benefits to our HomeCare customers. 

“Our number one priority is to make customers’ lives easier and more convenient. We know from two years trialling this product just how important it is for our customers to be in control and have peace of mind that their home will stay warm, safe and working.  

“Research shows that more than three quarters of people say they would find a smart boiler service that spots faults and alerts them by text before they’ve noticed the issue helpful. Boiler IQ does just that, and will go a long way towards making cold showers a thing of the past.” 

British Gas’ new survey findings uncover the real inconvenience of having a faulty boiler, with almost 40% of people claiming boiler issues are more stressful than a broken phone (16%) and work deadlines (13%). More than a third of Brits (36%) say they have experienced the inconvenience of returning home to find their boiler has broken down, without prior warning. The intelligent boiler technology aims to remove the stress of being by taken surprise by a sudden fault.

The survey findings also reveal the nuisance of having to wait for boiler issues to be sorted out. 70% say that it’s frustrating waiting for more than 24 hours for an engineer visit and more than half of Brits (51%) are irritated by having to take days off work to sort the issue.

With Boiler IQ, the problem will be fixed sooner as it will have already been diagnosed. The engineer is also more likely to arrive knowing exactly what the fault is, enabling them to come equipped with the correct parts.

Boiler IQ will constantly monitor the boiler, sending data directly to British Gas. As soon as a fault is detected, the customer will be alerted by text and then telephoned to arrange an engineer visit. Spotting faults before customers notice a fix can be arranged more quickly. A trial which studied data from more than 4 billion individual boilers messages shows that Boiler IQ identifies faults, on average, 19-24 hours before a customer does.

It was developed by a team including ex-NASA scientist, Adi Andrei, who designed software to identify safety faults in domestic aircraft. He now works as senior data scientist at British Gas’ Connected Home.

Adi Andrei explained: “Boiler IQ works via multiple sensors that record data. It’s the same principle used to detect problems in aircraft. Hive Active Heating, British Gas’ popular connected home app, then sends us the data.

Many people will be surprised to hear that boiler behaviour is actually less predictable than a plane. It’s harder to know when something is wrong with a boiler than it is with a plane. Boiler IQ makes all that a little bit easier for us.”

British Gas plans to take the technology further in the future, and expects eventually to be able to predict faults even before a problem occurs in the boiler.

British Gas HomeCare customers with eligible Worcester Bosch boilers will receive free installation of Boiler IQ* with a monthly charge of £3 added to their existing Home Care product.  Those purchasing a compatible Worcester Bosch boiler from British Gas will receive free installation of Boiler IQ, which will include 12 months monitoring. Both offers are available until the end of 2016.

For more information on installing Boiler IQ Boiler into your home, please visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/BoilerIQ   

Boiler IQ is the latest in a series of innovative products launched by British Gas and Connected Home including Hive Active Heating, Hive Window or Door sensor, Hive Active Plug and Hive Motion Sensors. British Gas has also installed more than two million residential smart meters in the UK.

*When British Gas is already in the customer’s home for ASV/repair, the customer will still pay a £3 monthly monitoring cost

Notes to editors

About British Gas:

  • British Gas has more than 8,000 engineers who serve more than four million homes across the country, providing support when things go wrong in the home – such as broken boilers, faulty electrics or leaking pipes.
  • Last year British Gas got to 9 out of 10 boiler breakdowns among its HomeCare customers on the same day, when called before noon..
  • British Gas’ HomeCare service provides customers with unlimited callouts*, and covers the costs of both parts and labour**.
  • In 2015, British Gas installed more than 100,000 boilers.
  • In July 2015, Centrica plc announced a global investment of £500m over five years in innovation, to build on the success of British Gas’ Connected Home business. Connected Home is an international business unit which brings together the Group’s expertise in the UK and North America, the AlertMe platform, and the successful Hive brand.

 

*Your breakdown history will be taken into account in determining next year’s pricing, see terms and conditions at britishgas.co.uk/homecare-terms

**Limits and exclusions apply in certain circumstances

 

Methodology:

Research conducted by Atomik Research with 4001 respondents across the UK between 16th-18thFebruary 2016.

For more information contact:

Bieneosa Ebite
British Gas
08001077015
bieneosa.ebite@britishgas.co.uk

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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