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Should you turn your boiler off when you go on holiday?

Whether you are looking to soak up some sun during the summer or escape the debilitating winter cold, holiday time is exciting, especially given that most of us are only just getting the opportunity to travel post covid. Holidays also come with a lot of preparation beforehand such as packing, travel plans and ensuring the home is left in the best condition. Homeowners often wonder what to do with their central heating systems especially if they are traveling during the winter. We will be answering a popular question asked by many homeowners “Should I turn my boiler off when I go on holiday?”

Summer holidays vs winter holidays

The season in which you are travelling determines if you should turn your boiler off or leave it on. If you plan to travel during the summer, then you might get away with switching off your boiler

During the winter, however, it is recommended you do not completely switch off your boiler. While there might be some cost-saving benefits to having the boiler off, the risks involved far outweigh the reward and you might spend a lot more on damaged pipes or the boiler. Here are some of the benefits of leaving your boiler on when you leave for a holiday:

Prevent Frozen Indoor Pipes

During the winter, temperatures in the UK and many other countries drop below zero degrees at which point, water starts to freeze and expand. Pipes in insulated areas or along the exterior walls of your house are susceptible to cracks or bursts from the expansion of frozen water. Leaving your boiler on while on holiday keeps the water moving and above the freezing point. 

Cracked or busted pipes result in leaks and could you imagine returning home from a holiday to a flooded house? 

Cracked or busted pipes can also be very expensive to repair. There have been instances of homeowners spending upwards of £7,000 on repairs. This cost could add up from the damaged items and the inconvenience of searching for accommodation elsewhere as the plumbers conduct repairs. For cabinets that house plumbing pipes, it is advisable to leave this open such that heat can reach them to prevent freezing.

Avoid the Risk of a Damaged Boiler

Leaving your boiler off can result in the internal pipes getting frozen and damaged. Switching off your boiler can also result in internal leaks and the risk of irreversible damage is very high. Even if your boiler does not get to the point of replacement, there is a likelihood of its efficiency being compromised even after a repair. Aside from the damaged pipes, the valves and pumps could also seize up which potentially leads to central heating problems down the road. 

Return home to a warm house

Getting back from holiday to an ice-cold house can be a huge downer especially if you had travelled to a warm area. Other than preventing leaks and property damage, leaving your boiler on also ensures you return home to a warm house and you can settle back in quicker. As a bonus, you enjoy your holiday much more knowing everything back home is well taken care of. 

Best Practices to Leaving Your Boiler On

Realistically, you should not leave your boiler on 24/7 or at high temperatures since there is nobody home. So, how do you ensure your home has sufficient warmth without wasting energy and piling up your energy bills?

Establish a Schedule 

You should establish a routine where you switch on your boiler for a few hours every day you are on holiday. In the UK, the coldest hours of the day during the winter range between 2 A.M and 5 A.M. It is especially important to have your boiler on during these cold hours. You could also run the boiler a few other times during the day to keep everything flowing.

Utilize your thermostat

thermostat tips to keeping your boiler on when on holiday

A thermostat is an invaluable device you should invest and the beauty of thermostats is they can now be operated remotely through an app. A programmable thermostat enables you to regulate the hours your central heating is on and you can also regulate the temperature of your home. When you are away on holiday, a temperature of 15 – 18 degrees Celsius is ideal to keep the pipes and the boiler warm. Unless you live in a very cold area, avoid pushing the temperature beyond 20 degrees as this could increase your energy bills unnecessarily.  These thermostats are an absolute must-have nowadays, which is why we install them with almost all of out boiler installations in Bournemouth or Poole.

Prioritize rooms that need the most heat

Thermostats enable you to control the temperature of a room independently. Spaces such as the basement tend to house sump pumps which can freeze up and result in mould growth. If your boiler is in a cold room such as the loft or the basement, then you should prioritize heating these areas to keep the pipes around the boiler in optimal temperature. 


The majority of homeowners switch off their boilers while away as they are concerned about their energy bills. There are some tips you can implement to save on costs while your boiler is routinely on during the winter. The biggest cost you will save on, however, is the expensive repairs and replacements from completely switching your boiler off. 

Close all Windows and Doors before leaving

Other than preventing burglars from visiting your property, closing all windows and doors ensures cold air does not rush into your home. The rooms also retain more heat and your boiler does not have to work extra hard or long to heat up a room. Additionally, properly sealing the doors and windows also retains more heat in your home.

Frost Protection Thermostats

Modern boilers often come with an anti-freeze/anti-frost component that protects the internal pipework of the boiler. For boilers that might not have this component, investing in a frost protection thermostat is advisable. Frost protection basically works by keeping the water in your boiler above 5 Degrees Celsius. When the sensor detects water temperature has dropped below 5 Degrees, the boiler heats the water back up to 10 Degrees Celsius then goes off. At Senior Plumbing, we are specialists in Viessman boilers which have built-in frost protection thermostats.

Insulate your home 

insulate your home to turn boiler off when on holiday

Insulating your home is a great way to retain heat in your property and prevent cold air from seeping through the cold walls of the house. You could insulate your home using thermal paper or spray foam. The additional benefit of insulating your property is the savings extend beyond your holiday period. 

If you are looking for something more temporary, you could insulate indoor pipes to prevent exposure to the cold. If you have a regular or system boiler, you could insulate your hot water tank since the water starts to cool down rapidly. Insulating your hot water tank slows 

down the cooling rate and prevents the boiler from reheating the water again. 


Leaving your boiler switched on while you are on holiday is a good idea and with most modern boilers there should be no risks involved. For your peace of mind, we recommend servicing your boiler before you leave if you haven’t done so within the last year or so.

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Boiler installation in BH1 (Bournemouth)

Given the weather the other day, it was a surprise to get a call regarding a boiler breakdown for one of the local shops right in the center of Bournemouth. The shop owner said they were trying to wash up in the back, but their boiler seemed to be playing up and they were struggling to get any hot water flowing through.

I popped round about midday to have a look and it seemed that their Greenstar 40 cdi classic had been left without a service for way too long and they had a huge build-up of sediment and sludge which was preventing the boiler from functioning properly. This is typically why I insist on all my customers getting an annual boiler service, to make sure everything is ticking over correctly and so they avoid having to get an installation when the boiler could have been functioning for many more years to come. The system was so dirty that the pipe had probably reduced to about 10mm from an original 22mm. On top of this the boiler pressure seemed to be faily low, around 1.0 bar, which I then worked out was due to a leak, caused by corrosion.

After a long conversation with the customer, we decided that installing a new combi boiler was the best decision as this boiler would cost a lot to get back functioning, would likely only last 2-5 more years and be more costly on energy bills. I need to head back in a few days to install their new Viessmann, but above are the images from the boiler inspection and should be a warning to anyone looking to avoid a boiler service!

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Customer Story, Boiler Installation, Parkstone, BH12

Customer Story, Boiler Installation, Parkstone, BH12

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These photos show a picture of a boiler installation we did last week in Parkstone, BH12. The customer had had a boiler for about 10 years but it was starting to break down.

They had a boiler repair a year ago when their boiler failed to produce hot water for their showers and the radiators were not working at all. I wondered why there were already more problems with the boiler and so I asked about their boiler servicing. It turns out that they had never had a boiler service and barely looked after their boiler over the last 10 years. This was the reason that they have had to get a new boiler and the repair last year was not good enough. 

When we got to the property we removed the oldi boiler and began their boiler installation. The whole process took 4 hours because we had to change the old central heating system. Their new Viessmann combi boiler will provide their whole family with hot water. We informed them about the benefits of getting regular boiler services which will ensure their boiler lasts longer and healthier life

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Customer Story – BH4 Boiler Service & Installation

Customer Story - BH4 Boiler installation & Service

bournemouth boiler installation
At Senior Plumbing and Heating, I love building relationships with our clients. This is an example of a regular customer seeing great results with their boiler for years. 4 years ago, we installed their boiler in their home in Bournemouth, BH4. It was after they had been dealing with the problems that come with having an old, run-down boiler that was not looked after; their hot water ran out quickly and their water pressure was getting worse. After our installation, I informed them about the benefits of having an annual boiler service.    We have recently done our 3rd service on this couple’s boiler. After removing its parts, we inspected and cleaned them to ensure that all aspects of the boiler were working properly. When inspecting the flues, we found some small build-up. If this was not found during this service, it would have gradually gotten worse and worse and may have lead to boiler problems. This would have then resulted in a boiler repair – costing them more money than necessary. Luckily, we unblocked the flue so it was working as good as when we fitted it 4 years ago! After the service, we agreed to see them next year, for their next service.
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How Long Do Boilers Last?

There’s no denying the importance of boilers. In these cold and chilly winter months, they’re probably the most integral household feature – the heartbeat of your home. They keep the entire house warm, ensure rooms are cosy and welcoming, while pumping hot water to all of the radiators. 

Your boiler is the star of the show at winter. Such a key feature requires ongoing attention and a watchful eye. This is to guarantee your boiler is functioning to its optimum ability and not costing you excess amounts of money. It’s up to you to make sure yours is running in tip-top order – and one way of doing this is by working out how long your boiler is expected to last. 

So, how long can I expect my boiler to last?

Well, on average boilers last between 10 – 15 years. Of course, this is all dependent on the size of your boiler, its efficiency, and how well you look after it. If you’ve just installed a brand new boiler, you may be thinking: ‘great! I don’t have to worry about mine for another ten years.’ 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. As nice as it would be to close the door on your boiler and not have to worry about it for a few years, as a homeowner you can’t afford to do this. Boilers can be temperamental. We rely on them a lot, which means they go through a lot, and subsequently, a lot can go wrong. 

Boilers need attention. So, we recommend getting an annual check-up to make sure yours is in perfect condition and not costing you considerable amounts of money. 

How do I find a boiler that lasts longer?

Think of buying a boiler like buying a car. It demands plenty of research and thorough planning; you need to find one that’s perfect for you and your family, tried and tested. To help you find a boiler that’s guaranteed to last, we’ve put together a list of things you should do when you need a new boiler installation. 

  • Select a Boiler That’s Reliable and Efficient 

Look for well-known boiler brands that are proven to work. Unlike other things in life where you may choose to experiment or try the latest styles, it’s always best to stick with a tried and tested boiler. Brands like Worcester Bosch, Ideal and Vaillant are always safe options. 

These types of boiler have been around for years and are fit for homes of all shapes and sizes. Nearly all boiler engineers will also be familiar with these brands, making your installation a much smoother process. When it comes to looking for boilers that stand the test of time, stick to legitimate and trusted brands. 

  • Choose a Boiler Fit for Your Home 

It’s vital you pick a boiler that meets the demands of your home. When selecting yours, make sure you choose one with the right kWh output. This is very important, so pay close attention: 

If your boiler’s kWh output is too small, you’ll only put excessive pressure on the system and increase the risk of frequent breakdowns. On the other hand, a boiler that uses excessive boiler power will only see you use more energy than you need – expect your bills to rocket. 

When buying a boiler, make sure you consult with the engineers and choose one that’s perfect for your home. Consider the size of your home, the number of rooms and how often you’re likely to be using the heating. All of these will help you make a much more informed decision. 

  • Make Sure You Get a Gas Safe Registered Engineer to Install Yours

A boiler installation is not something you can afford to cut corners on. That’s why it’s essential you get a Gas Safe Registered Engineer to install yours. Boilers can be dangerous if installed incorrectly. If you go for an unregistered plumber, you risk your boiler leaking and potentially letting out carbon monoxide. 

Take the safe route and get a fully qualified engineer to fit yours for you. This will rule out all possible health risks and also save you considerable amounts of money down the line. 

  • Organise an Annual Service 

This is probably the most important thing of all. Think of it like a dentist appointment. As much of a hassle as they can be, we all need them. An annual service ensures that everything is in running order and safe. 

If you don’t arrange these check-ups, you risk a minor problem turning into a major issue. The smallest of leaks will only get bigger as time goes on – costing you serious amounts of money and increasing the chances of a carbon monoxide risk. The easy option: arrange an annual service. 

This is also the same for repairs. If you notice something is wrong, don’t wait around. 

When should you replace your boiler? 

As we mentioned before, the 10 to 15-year mark is usually the point when it’s time to get a new boiler. Even if yours appears to be performing as normal, it’s likely its efficiency rates have diminished over time. 

No matter how proud of your boiler you are, when they get to this age, they start to cost more money than they’re worth. A much better option is to look for a new one. 

If you’re unsure whether your boiler is on its way out and need help to make a decision, here are some tell-tale signs to look out for that suggest it’s time for a new boiler installation: 

  • Frequent breakdowns
  • Unusual noises 
  • Strange smells
  • Leaks 
  • Radiators taking a long time to heat up 
  • High energy bills 

Sadly, boilers don’t last a lifetime. The average lifespan is 10 to 15 years, but that’s not to say you can neglect yours until then. Boilers need regular attention to ensure they reach their sell-by date. If you think your boilers on the blink, please give us a call. 

We’ll provide you with a free no-obligation quote and send out one of our engineers to assess what needs to be done.