The recent cold winter will have made many people realise how much they rely on their boiler, especially if it broke down or they left it too late to place their top-up kerosene order with Emo Oil before the temperatures plummeted. Many households would have spent a few days shivering, waiting for an engineer or a delivery, so here’s some handy tips for staying warm during a boiler emergency.
Invest in secondary heating
This could be a few electric radiators, or maybe a gas fire or even an open coal or log fire. Secondary heaters are always more expensive than your central heating, so whichever method you have, you should do what you can to keep the costs down.
- wear more layers so that even if the house is a few degrees colder than usual, you don’t feel it so much;
- exclude draughts wherever you can, even if this means putting clingfilm over your windows, masking tape over redundant keyholes or placing rolled-up towels under doors;
- keep curtains closed to keep in heat;
- break out the hot water bottles, blankets and picnic flasks so that you can stay warm in bed and while sitting still; having a flask of hot tea ready by your side is so much better than braving Ice Station Kitchen, and
- only concentrate on the rooms you always use – leave the spare room and any unused reception rooms shut off until you’re warmed up again.
Heating your water
If you have an immersion heater then at least you can heat up your water; the same applies if you have an electric shower, as you can take a shower and even run a bath if you’re patient enough.
Unfortunately, if you rely solely on your boiler for your hot water, then life will be a bit more difficult as you’ll have to boil kettles for washing up and possibly for bathing, too.
Other alternatives for keeping clean are visits to the local pool for a shower, tapping up your friendly neighbours (don’t forget to reward them with a bottle of wine) and strip-washing, which is unpleasant in a cold bathroom, but better than nothing.
You might be worried about the cost of boiling all those kettles and using your immersion heater, but chances are your boiler will be up and running again after a few days so you can easily absorb the extra costs – don’t forget, you’re not using your fuel oil during this period.
Your washing machine and dishwasher
Your washing machine and dishwasher will still function perfectly well. They’ll both have integral heaters which will bring the temperature of the water up to that required, even if it comes into the machines much colder than it usually does.
Don’t forget to turn off the immersion heater
If you have been using your immersion heater for a few days, just remember to turn it back off once your boiler’s fixed as it will rack up extra costs if you leave it on for a few weeks!