Home maintenance ‘mares: three in five Brits fail to prepare their homes properly for winter


  • Three in five Brits don't prepare their homes for winter, despite three quarters having previously experienced a seasonal maintenance issue
  • One quarter rely on costly call outs to resolve the problems, spending on average £114 each time
  • E.ON is partnering with DIY expert Craig Phillips to provide helpful hacks everyone can use to feel confident in getting their home winter-ready
  • E.ON is offering homeowners £4001 off the cost of a new installed, energy efficient boiler

With the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, new research from E.ON among 2,000 UK homeowners2 reveals that the changing seasons can take their toll on more than just our mood.


The research highlights that almost three in five Brits (58%) fail to prepare their homes for the winter months, neglecting some of the essential tasks that will help to keep our homes warm and comfortable for colder weather. This is despite more than three quarters of people (77%) having experienced a seasonal problem in their home previously.


As a result around one quarter of Brits (22%) are relying on emergency call outs, spending on average £114 each time. For some the cost is even higher, with 13% paying between £200 and £700.

Home maintenance ‘mares

When it comes to home maintenance and preparing for the colder months, the most common issues Brits face tend to be with draughty windows and doors (41%), followed by radiators failing to heat up because they need bleeding (38%), the boiler losing pressure (29%) and burst guttering (5%).

While the most frequent reason for emergency call outs is a broken down boiler (69%), the research shows that we also tend to get someone in to address some of the simpler tasks around the house such as bleeding radiators (42%), resetting the pressure on the boiler (35%), and even programming the heating or hot water (10%).

Can we fix it?

The research highlights a lack of confidence and know-how when it comes to certain tasks around the home. Just one in three (31%) people knew how to fix the problems themselves - with one in ten (10%) saying a lack of know-how meant they simply never got around to doing anything about the task that needed doing.


The tasks that people felt the least confident about varied from keeping homes warm to maintaining guttering. Many said they wouldn't feel confident enough to attempt to re-pressurise their boiler (45%), clear the guttering (41%) or put up curtain poles (37%) to help better insulate windows.


It's cheaper than we think

But we are also overestimating the cost of measures that help to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. For some of the most common problems, the savings can often outweigh these initial costs.


Estimated average cost to resolve

Actual cost to resolve

Potential energy saving3

Draughty windows and doors


Adhesive weather-proof tape: £5
Double glazing:
£200 per window

By installing double glazing between £40-£160 (depending on the type of house)

Poor loft insulation


People on certain income related benefits may qualify for free loft installation3

Up to £70 per year


Poor insulation of tanks and pipes


Insulation sleeve: £1 per metre 
Hot water cylinder jacket: £15

Up to £10-£30 per year





DIY expert, Craig Phillips, says: "When it comes to DIY, it's common to feel wary of undertaking some tasks yourself - but a little know-how can often go a long way. For some home maintenance, it's important to consult expert help; especially when it comes to replacing a boiler. But for other tasks, especially when it comes to keeping our homes warm and ensuring the heat stays inside, there are simple things we can do ourselves quickly and cheaply that really pay off.


"Whether that's taping up the windows, insulating your loft or even changing the curtains or blinds around your home - often it is the small things which can make a big difference. Understanding what to do and when can play a key role in saving money in the longer term."


Craig's Winter Tips:

  • Loft insulation is one of the most effective ways to stop heat escaping from your home and reduce energy costs.The most well known and most inexpensive type of insulation is mineral wool which can be rolled between the loft and ceiling joists and can be easily installed without the need for professional help. You should aim to achieve a minimum depth of 270mm. If you require storage space in your loft, this is a fantastic opportunity to insulate and board out the loft.This is not only another great way of trapping the heat into your home but it will also give you a lot more storage space.
  • A typical home can lose about a third of its heat through uninsulated walls, so it's worth having walls properly insulated.There are a number of types of insulation that can be used, depending on the type and age of the property and the amount of money you have available.Low income households may be eligible for free insulation4.
  • Insulating hot water pipes with foam insulation sleeves can save energy by cutting the need to reheat water and prevent pipes from freezing.Fitting a cylinder jacket on the water tank can reduce heat loss and cut a household's gas bill by around 5%.
  • Draught-proofing your home to stop heat escaping is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save energy and money in your home.By filling gaps around windows, doors, pipes, loft hatches and even keyholes and letterboxes with draught-proofing supplies from local DIY stores you'll prevent warm air escaping, meaning you'll use less energy to heat your home.It's a good idea to also ensure all doors and windows are closing properly and that they have the correct draught excluding strips fitted.
  • Bleeding radiators to let trapped air escape will ensure that your heating system is working as efficiently as possible.If rooms aren't heating up or if radiators feel cold at the top and hot at the bottom this could be a sign that your radiators need bleeding.Bleeding your radiators is something that can easily be done without the need for a professional.


Mike Feely, Energy Efficiency Expert at E.ON, says: "We've created a list of handy hacks designed to help make home maintenance a little easier for everyone. Putting off home improvements over the winter months can be costly and at a time when we'd all rather be looking forward to Christmas festivities, it's important to take the necessary steps to prepare.


"Our research indicates that many people feel less prepared than they'd like to when it comes to undertaking some of these tasks - at a hefty price tag of £114 on average. We want to highlight the simple things that people can do to make their homes more efficient now; whether that's insulating against draughts, or ensuring your boiler is as energy-efficient as possible.


"Currently we're offering homeowners £4001 off the cost of a new, installed energy-efficient boiler, meaning people getting ready for winter can benefit from a warmer home and possibly save up to £3505  a year on their energy bill. With real savings to be made, we want to show people the value that they can add simply and easily now, before the cold really sets in."


For more information about how to save energy in the home, and to find out how your energy use stacks up compared to similar homes, please visit eonenergy.com/savingenergy.



Notes to editors

  • 1. £400 discount applies to new boiler installation from E.ON and is subject to survey. The offer is available to E.ON customers and non E.ON customers. The £400 promotion may be withdrawn at any time to new customers. If they have a survey booked in the offer will be honoured within the quote. A full no obligation quotation will be provided detailing all the costs and it will be up to up if the customers if they want to go ahead,
  • 2. The research was conducted by OnePoll between 28/09/16 - 06/10/2016 among 2,000 UK homeowners.
  • 3. Expected savings figures sourced from the E.ON Homebuyer's Guide.
  • 4. E.ON is helping people who are on certain benefits and own or privately rent their home to get free loft and cavity wall insulation and funding towards a new boiler through the Affordable Warmth Scheme. This is part of ECO, a Government led scheme helping people heat their homes for less. For more information, visit eonenergy.com/for-your-home/saving-energy/need-little-extra-help/home-improvements.
  • 5. £350 savings information taken from the Energy Saving Trust. Estimated figures are based on installing a new A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls (TRVs), in a gas-heated detached home from a G-rated boiler with a programmer and room thermostat. Figures are based on fuel prices as of March 2016 and vary depending on how old and inefficient the existing boiler is and the fuel your boiler uses.




For more information please contact:
Naomi Troy: 02476 180 523 / Naomi.troy@eon-uk.com

Jag Bickham: 02476 181 308/ Jag.bickham@eon-uk.com

Published by Jane Branscombe