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North Wales residents urged to get winter ready

With the weather in North Wales forecast to drop below freezing this week, Hannah Hughes, a British Gas engineer who serves homes across Wales, shares her top tips for how local residents can make sure their homes are ready for anything the weather might bring.  

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British Gas is predicting more than 2,400 homes in North Wales and the surrounding areas to require support with problems in the home over the next two weeks. 

Recent research from British Gas suggests that a lack of knowledge could leave residents vulnerable to boiler or heating breakdowns. Although 91% of people across Wales are comfortable sorting out a blocked Netflix or email account, setting up a new phone or re-setting the WiFi, just 23% would know what to do in the event of a frozen pipe. 


Last winter, more than 10,000 homes in North Wales experienced a boiler breakdown, leaving residents unable to heat their homes. During the Beast from the East, temperatures of below -10°C and wind speeds of over 60mph led to the busiest week on record for British Gas, with 104 calls for assistance coming in every second – thirteen times usual call volumes.  Engineers across the country cancelled their holidays and stayed at home to be there for their customers.  

Hannah said:

“Our research shows that having no heating or hot water during the colder months is people’s worst winter disaster in the home.  There are some really simple steps people in North Wales can take to help prepare your house for winter and keep everything running like clockwork, but if something does go wrong, we’re always on standby to come to the rescue. 

“Here are some tips I’ve been sharing with my customers to help them keep a step ahead this winter.” 

1. Maximise the heat: There’s nothing better than settling down in front of your favourite box set as a family, but before you get too comfortable, think about where your heat sources are. Putting your sofa in front of a radiator may keep the best spot in the house extra toasty, but it will absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the room.

2. Look after your boiler: Stay ahead of the weather and make sure your boiler’s working properly before the first frost. For peace of mind, why not protect your boiler, heating, electrics and plumbing with one of British Gas’s Homecare products? You can have your boiler serviced every year from 40p a day. To find out more, visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/homecare.

3. Insulate your hot water system: Stopping heat from escaping doesn’t just save you money. When temperatures drop below zero, it’s important to make sure that the water inside your pipes doesn’t freeze and cause them to burst. Lagging materials are available from most DIY stores – an easy, cost-effective solution for protecting your water tank and pipes.

4. Be energy smart: It’s inevitable that our energy use will increase when the heating’s on over winter, but there is a simple way to keep track of how much you’re using – and spending. With smart meters, you’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, helping you to identify where you can make savings during peak energy season. To find out more about smart meters just visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/smartmeters.

5. Install a carbon monoxide detector: You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, and it kills around 30 people a year.  Fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable.  Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home – as well getting your boiler checked once a year, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted.  Available through British Gas or from your local DIY store, the detectors last between five and seven years, so check yours is in date and test it to be certain it’s working.