This Halloween, fear the warming dead

This Halloween, fear the warming dead

Richard Harvey, Category Director for Heating at Plumb Center, explains why this Halloween is the perfect time for installers to warn their customers to fear the warming dead.

At this time of year, ghouls and ghosts and other frightening happenings are everywhere to be seen.  From adorable toddlers trick or treating with Mum and Dad, mischievous teenagers taking it all a bit to far, or you and I mixing it up at this year’s fancy dress extravaganza, scary scenarios are the norm. (We’re not going to mention killer clowns.)

The good news for those not fond of the living dead, life tends to return to normal as soon as October 31st has passed. Or so most people think. What they don’t realise is the warming dead are here all year round in the form of zombie boilers.

Thankfully, zombie boilers don’t roam the streets with a blank expression and a thirst for human flesh, but they do hide away in our homes gorging on energy and taunting us with the fear of a freezing winter breakdown.

You know the stats already, I’m sure. Over nine in every ten of the UK’s 25m homes has gas central heating. A third of these – some 9m homes – are estimated to be dependent on an aging and inefficient boiler for their heat and hot water, and 2m of these are reckoned to have a boiler so decrepit they’ve been tagged ‘zombie boilers’: they’re alive, but not in any rational form. That’s a terrifying number. If they were real zombies, it would be an apocalypse.

Of course, we all know this is nonsensical. Aged boilers burn cash without giving any discernable heat, they belch out unwelcome emissions, and they’re disproportionately prone to throwing a strop when you least want it. But homeowners are seemingly oblivious to the threat.

So this Halloween – and beyond – we’re calling on installers to play their part in hunting down and slaying the warming dead and use this zombie analogy to help paint a picture of despair their customers can understand.

Here’s five facts to scare, sorry share, with your customers:

  • It’s estimated that 1 in 4 homeowners experience a boiler breakdown each year. It’s a fact that the older the boiler, the more likely it is to conk out with no notice and our own figures show that over two thirds of boiler sales are over the winter months. Simply put, at this time of year, a zombie boiler is a domestic disaster waiting to happen.
  • According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating accounts for around 60% of what you spend a year on energy bills. Switching from an aged G-rated boiler to a new A-rated model will save its owner up to £350 a year.
  • The most common sign a home is harbouring a zombie boiler is noise. Low pressure, a worn-out fan or pump, or a blocked pipe will culminate in a woeful cacophony or moans and groans. If their boiler sounds like an angry beast, it’s time to deliver a fatal blow, not simply deliver some short term pacification.
  • You can’t control a zombie: they’re a law unto themselves. They’re either on or off and that’s an expensive way to exist. Pair some contemporary controls with a new boiler and your customers could be shaving another £75-£155 a year off their fuel bill.
  • It’s not just boilers that can stray into the zombie zone. Radiators are a common victim, as the foul sludge an aging system inevitably creates renders them inefficient at best, and at worst redundant. Zombies hate filters and water treatment additives: use them as your weapon. Always make sure your customers know that radiators may all look alike, but there’s a vast difference in performance between old and new too: poor performing rads will strangle a new boiler and deplete those efficiencies you’ve already told them about.

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