Covid: Boilers fail under the strain of home working and furloughed tenants

Widespread working from home and tenants on furlough put a strain on boilers last winter, according to heating specialist Hometree, which saw a 12% increase in year-on-year boiler breakdowns.

As many tenants wanted warm homes all day, the most common complaints were a lack of heating, low boiler pressure and leaks, while during colder snaps frozen pipes problems peaked. 

More than 50% of boiler breakdowns take place during the winter, which adds up to just over 2.5m UK households suffering a heating failure and then having to pay an average of £200 to get their boiler back up and running.

Hometree says the figures are likely to represent a 12% increase in overall heating use, meaning that the average household will see their bills increase by an extra £55.

Wear and tear

Kemley Sellars, head of marketing, says: “With the boiler being a crucial component in ensuring that homes are kept comfortable during the coldest months, the additional usage whilst working from home has meant increased wear and tear.

“It really highlights the importance of having your boiler serviced in the coming months, ensuring that it’s working for next winter where many may have transitioned post-Covid to working from home more often.”

To prepare boilers for next winter, Hometree recommends that landlords check radiators, service boilers, insulate pipes and check boiler pressure; to avoid a pressure drop, it suggests they check and use the filling link/loop, and bleed radiators if the pressure is too high.

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