Search press releases

Advanced search options

British Gas data predicts festive boiler breakdowns for more than 50,000 Brits

  • British Gas data reveals engineers visited more than 2,000 homes on Christmas Day last year
  • Engineers are predicted to visit more than 52,000 homes during Christmas week
  • 61 per cent of households say having no heating is their biggest worry over the festive period

Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for families, but households should make sure that checking their boiler is on the list of festive preparations as British Gas predicts its HomeCare engineers will visit more than 52,000 homes during Christmas week to help fix problems with heating or hot water.


According to independent national research commissioned by British Gas*, having no heating or hot water would be the number one disaster in the home over the festive season. However, this was the reality for more than 2,000 households who were helped by a British Gas engineer on Christmas Day last year.  This number doubled on New Year’s Day with visits to more than 4,000 households.


Matthew Bateman, Director for Field Operations at British Gas, said: “For us, Christmas Day is also about helping our customers in particular those who have no heating or hot water and our vulnerable customers such as the elderly. That’s why our expert engineers will be on standby to help people who are facing real emergency situations.”


Providing further insight into the nation’s households over the festive period, British Gas’ data from nearly 70 million smart meter readings taken on Christmas Day last year shows the majority of people woke up at 6am and used around 20 per cent more electricity than usual in the morning.  


Furthermore, the peak period for electricity use moved to 1pm from its usual time of 5.30pm, which suggests that people prepared their main Christmas meal before the Queen’s speech.


Data from British Gas also highlights that Christmas Day is the lowest day on average for gas consumption in December across the country, which indicates that friends and family spend time together in groups or choose to go out for the day.

Notes to editors

* The research was undertaken by 3gem research on behalf of British Gas between 21st – 23rd November 2017, on a sample of 2,000 UK adults in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations.


British Gas top tips to help UK households stay a step ahead of winter:


1. Bleed your radiators: to make sure they are working properly: If your radiators have cold spots at the top, this means you have air in the system, so you will need to bleed them to get them working efficiently.


a) To do this, turn the system off and when cool turn the radiator key until the air stops and water runs consistently. Once you have turned the system back on, the problem should be solved.


b)Cold spots in the bottom or centre of the radiator may be an indication of sludge build up and the need for system flushing.


c) Bleeding your radiator may result in pressure dropping. If you have a pressure gauge make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.


2. Block the breeze: Make sure all of your windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draught excluders, which you can buy from most DIY stores, is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills.


3. Stay safe: It’s vital to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and that you test it regularly.


4. Love your boiler: Check to make sure that your boiler is working properly before winter sets in. The older your boiler, the more inefficient it will be. If you have a pressure gauge make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.


5. Wrap up your water tank and insulate hot water: The materials can be purchased from most DIY stores and help to conserve heat and save you money.


6. Insulate your pipes: Burst pipes are a huge issue during winter months. To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated by using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.


7. Be energy smart: Why not speak to your energy supplier about a smart meter? You’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using, in pounds and pence, with a smart meter monitor. In turn this helps you to better understand your energy consumption and identify where you can make savings. Find out more:


8. Maintain your drains: If you're trying to keep your drains outside well maintained, it's a good idea to make sure they are clear of debris at the point at which they enter the ground. This involves checking your gullies for autumnal leaves and twigs to ensure that they don't restrict water flow at any point.


9. Control your heating remotely with Hive Active Heating: Using Hive Active Heating means you can control your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone with the Hive app, so you can ensure your home is warm when you need it to be. Find out more:


10. Peace of mind: British Gas has a range of HomeCare products to help keep your home a step ahead of winter with protection for your boiler, heating, electrics and plumbing. With HomeCare you can have your boiler serviced every year for less than 40p a day. Find out more:

For more information contact:

Bieneosa Ebite
Senior PR Manager
British Gas
01784 84 3000

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy and services company, serving more than 10 million homes and over 400,000 businesses across the country. More than 8,000 highly-trained engineers guarantee the highest quality of service for our residential and business customers. We also provide a range of innovative offers and services including connected home Hive™ products, smart meters, and the online tradesman service, Local Heroes.

Share release