Winter heating: how to make sure yours doesn't break over the holidays

Winter heating is all about maintenance to prevent a breakdown. Here's what to do to prevent the stress of a freezing home

winter heating
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Worried about winter heating related nasty surprises? Nothing is quite as unpleasant as coming to a freezing cold home following a burst pipe or boiler breakdown, with over a quarter of us (27 per cent) saying that problems with heating cause us extreme stress. To say nothing of the cost, with the average boiler breakdown alone costing homeowners in excess of £900 per fix. 

So, how can you prevent winter heating problems – and what to do if an emergency does happen?

1. Check boiler pressure

This is the most basic – yet essential – check every home owner can give their boiler. The ideal boiler pressure is 1.5 – if it's very low, there could be a leak somewhere. Very high pressure is also not good and could lead to a breakdown. Read more about boilers in our essential guide. 

2. Bleed radiators

How do you know when it's time to bleed a radiator? When the top of the radiator is cold while the top is hot, or when there's too much of a gurgling noise, too often. Too much air trapped in the heating system will lead to an inefficient use of energy or a breakdown. 

Find out how to bleed a radiator in our guide. 

3. Locate your stopcock 

It's amazing how many of us realise they don't know where the mains cut-off is in their property until there's an emergency. Frozen pipes are the most common culprit for burst pipes in winter – if this happens to you, it's essential to know how to turn off the water straight away. Typically, the stopcock will be located underneath the kitchen sink, but in older properties this can be behind the bathtub in the bathroom. 

4. Check your thermostat is working

This isn't exactly an emergency-type situation, but a thermostat that's not working is still an annoyance, leaving you with rooms that are either freezing cold or overheated. If yours is playing up, it might be time to replace it with a new one (consider one of the smart thermostats in our buyer's guide). 

* tips and data courtesy of Boxt