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Should I turn my boiler off when I go on holiday?

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Although the idea of taking a holiday is exciting, it is never as simple as just jetting off. It comes with a lot of planning and considerations, which can be stressful if you have to do them last minute. Among the things you have to consider is whether to leave your boiler running or turn it off before going away on your holiday.

Well, the decision on whether to switch off your boiler when going on holiday hinges on the time of the year you intend to leave for the holiday.

Is it dangerous leaving my boiler on or off when on holiday?

You have to admit that this is one of the things currently troubling you. Well, there is no need to worry about if your boiler is a modern one and you’ve been regularly servicing it. If, however, your boiler is old and in need of dire repairs, it becomes another story altogether.

For instance, old and poorly maintained boilers tend to seize up when switched off for a long time. If you are taking a long summer holiday, you can come home to a boiler that won’t start. You will then have to dig deep into your pockets to pay for repairs that’ll get the boiler up and running again.

On the other hand, if you leave such a boiler running when you are not home during the cold season, there is a chance it will develop some faults and even break down. If it is in an abysmal state, it can even leak poisonous carbon monoxide into your home while you are away.

A summer holiday

If your planned holiday falls in summer, then you can switch off your boiler and head out without having to worry about any consequences. This is because temperatures are consistently warm during this time, and the boiler would have been in rare use even if you were around.

However, assuming that you’re leaving some family members behind, they will still require access to hot water. Therefore, you should set your boiler to hot-water only mode which will save you a lot in heating bills.

If you have a combi boiler installed, you won’t have to worry about switching it off as it tends to stay on standby mode by itself until there is demand for hot water.

A winter holiday

If you, however, plan to go on holiday during the colder seasons of the year, especially winter, you should consider leaving your boiler running.

Leaving the boiler running in the chilly weather will keep your home warm and prevent the pipes from freezing if a particularly cold spell were to hit the country. Moreover, it will ensure that you don’t come back to an iced property.

But for the sake of saving on unnecessary heating bills, you can’t just leave your boiler running full blast while you are away. There are various measures you can implement to implement to ensure your bills remain within an acceptable range while ensuring your property is kept warm and cosy.

What to do before going away on holiday in winter

  1. Set your thermostat to its lowest settings

Since you aren’t around to enjoy the heating in your home, you can as well set your thermostat to its lowest setting. Ideally, you should set it to a temperature between 12°C and 14°C to keep your home moderately warm at a cost-efficient level.

If you have a smart thermostat, you can also set your central heating to come on just before you return from your holiday.

  1. Turn on the frost protection feature

Most modern boilers have an antifreeze setting that maintains your boiler at a low operating temperature to prevent pipework freezing.  Also, when the frost protection feature is on, some boilers tend to switch off when they detect warm outdoor temperatures.

  1. Turn off the hot water tanks

If your central heating system has a water storage tank, consider turning it off before jetting off for your holiday. The reason is simple. You won’t be needing any hot water if your home is empty while you are away on holiday.

  1. Set a timer

Another feature of modern central heating systems you can leverage when going on a holiday in winter is the timer. Using this feature, you can set your boiler to come on for an hour during the coldest time of day. Then, after the cold spell passes, the boiler will switch itself off and go back to hibernating.

  1. Ask friends or family to turn on your boiler when you are away.

If none of the above measures works or suit your plans, you can always ask for help from friends and family. Talk to your family, close friends, or even a good neighbour and request them to turn on your boiler a few times while you are away.

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