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Boiler broken? Keep calm and read our top tips

All the preparations are in place and the presents are wrapped – but what would you do if the boiler stops working and you were left without heating and hot water over Christmas?

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) have some advice on how to reduce serious damage to property and how to find an emergency plumber to fix the problem.

Plumbers are in high demand during the Christmas season, especially if the weather turns colder and finding a reputable plumber at short notice at Christmas can be challenging.

To avoid frantic calling around and relying on unreliable website searches take some time to prepare emergency contact numbers, but if you choose a rogue tradesman it could leave to more problems and unexpected costs.

For major water leaks – turn of the water supply at either the main stop tap, usually located in the kitchen or the boundary stop tap, provided by the water company at the boundary of the property often next to the water meter. Some older taps could also affect your neighbours as well!

Smaller internal leaks – these can be stopped using isolation valves next to the relevant appliance and can quickly stop a problem without turning the entire water supply off. Either turn the lever or use a screwdriver to stop the water supply.

Hot water systems – to stop water entering the hot water system on a hot water cylinder find the gate valve (usually in the airing cupboard), turn this off and turn on any hot taps to empty the cylinder of water. On a combi boiler the lever operated isolation valve will be located under the boiler.

Gas leak – of everything piped into a home, nothing is more dangerous than natural gas. If you think there is a gas leak: Turn the gas off at the meter using the emergency control valveOpen doors and windows and ventilate the areaDo not smoke or use naked flamesDo not operate any electrical switches or appliances (turning them on or of can cause a spark) Call emergency services to report the leak on Oil Leaks – oil is highly flammable and can be isolated via the tank isolation valve on the outlet of the tank or appliance isolation valve on the boiler or range as the pipeline enters the property.

We know that many people only search for a plumbing or heating engineer in a distressed situation, when they are desperate to get the heating and hot water working as quickly as possible.

This can lead to rushed decisions and sadly, the opportunity for rogue traders to take advantage in an emergency.

We strongly advise homeowners to have the contact details of reputable tradespeople at hand or have access to the right organisations to quickly search for a reputable trader.”



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