Cash Leaks in the Home: experts advise on the top jobs to tackle this spring that will keep cash insulated in the home
From tackling leaking drains to unclogging gutters, new research1 released today reveals the avoidable ‘cash leaks’ that are costing homeowners on average £1,885. Failing to carry out essential home maintenance jobs that are typically prioritised for the spring months, means that UK (owner-owned) households are losing an additional estimated £6.8bn2 unnecessarily.
The new research from Gas Safe Register – the UK’s official registration body for gas engineers and gas businesses – which involved 2,000 UK homeowners, has revealed that due to the current cost-of-living squeeze more than 1 in 4 are trying to avoid spending money on fixing, or servicing and safety checking any of their household appliances until the worst happens and they are no longer able to use them.
So much so, that over one in five who were polled admitted to having avoided tackling regular home maintenance tasks, which have ended up costing them more in the long run. Top of the list was fixing a leaking toilet (25%) which, according to Checkatrade, can cost £40-£60 per hour to repair versus an emergency call out fee of £100-120 – but could lead to a devastating £2,000 on average, if the leak is major and you need water extracting from your home. This was followed by having gas appliances serviced and safety checked annually (21%) – and estimates from the experts at Checkatrade reveal the potential costs of leaving these and more issues unchecked, with the average cost estimated at £100 now vs. more than £400 further down the line, and clearing damp or mould (19%) (£225 to draught proof windows and doors now vs. £850 on average if damp proofing is finally required). Checking the roof for loose tiles (19%) and leaking taps (19%) made up the top five with costs going from £300 to more than £7,500 and £0 to up to £1,500 respectively3.
For over 15% of Brits who have experienced the ‘cash leaks’ in the home, they have been left out of pocket by more than £5,000.
With spring being an opportune time of year for home maintenance and getting odd jobs tackled around the house – Gas Safe Register has teamed up with TV presenter and financial adviser, Emmanuel Asuquo to warn homeowners of the false economy as well as safety implications of not tackling regular maintenance jobs, by revealing the savings that can be made by doing so this spring to keep cash insulated in the home.
Emmanuel explains: “More than ever, people are looking for ways to save money with the ongoing cost of living crisis, and there are definitely quick and easy ways to do this – from reducing your gas and electricity consumption to thinking smart when it comes to food shopping. But, avoiding tackling regular home maintenance jobs really can turn out to be a false economy, costing homeowners so much more in the long run.
“One thing we tackled at our house when we moved in two years ago, was getting our gas boiler safety and serviced checked straight away. Once we had a Gas Safe Registered engineer carry out the necessary checks, the results were instant – our house now heats up much quicker and stays warmer for longer, so we don’t need the heating on all the time. The engineer advised us to turn down our boiler thermostat, and it meant that our gas and electricity bill went down by 20 per cent!
“I’ve teamed up with Gas Safe Register to help households to be confident with the simple ways in which they can save money around the home – and by following all the tips to avoid ‘cash leaks’ in your home this spring, you can accumulate savings of £495 a year in household cash4 – more than enough to cover your annual gas safety check, which is in average between £80-£100. The costs can be high if repairs or replacements are needed, but you can’t put a price on the health and safety of your loved ones.”
As for who are the main home ‘cash leak culprits’, the research found that men are much more likely than women to put off tackling home maintenance jobs around the home, which has only ended up costing them more money in the long run (26% of men, as opposed to 17% of women). In fact, almost a quarter of men (21%) have ended up paying out over £2,000 in order to rectify issues in their home that they have put off, compared to just 8% of women.
Whilst it’s homeowners in Northern Ireland who have ended up forking out more in the long run by putting these jobs off, (42%), closely followed up homeowners in Greater London (38%), and those in the North East (29%).
When it comes to attitudes and behaviours towards gas safety and regular maintenance of all gas appliances in the home, separate research revealed that only a third of homeowners knew that house fires can result from not having gas appliances safety checked on annual basis, and just under half correctly identified that collapsing and developing nausea can indicate carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from unsafe and, or, unchecked gas appliances.
Yet, experts do recommend homeowners get all gas appliances (boilers, cookers and fires), flues and pipework, regularly maintained, serviced and safety checked annually by a suitably qualified and competent engineer on the Gas Safe Register.
Checkatrade estimates the average cost at £100 a year to have a gas appliance safety checked, to avoid unexpected and potentially more serious issues occurring. In contrast, if a boiler breaks down, each call-out could cost up to £200 and replacing a boiler can cost thousands of pounds. Not getting regular safety checks could also invalidate warranties or conditions of insurance policies.
With an increasing number of cash-strapped Brits due to the pressures of the cost-of-living – Gas Safe Register is urging households to always, for safety reasons, use a registered professional for any gas and plumbing works. Tackling these types of job unqualified can invalidate home insurance and warranties, leaving people significantly out of pocket if something goes wrong, as well as at risk of injury or worse. It comes as the survey found almost half (45%) of homeowners are more likely to try to find a makeshift solution to a home maintenance issue, rather than call out an expert tradesperson which would cost more money in the short term.
Rob Denman, Head of Professional and Field Services at Gas Safe Register, adds: “With the cost of living rising across the country, including higher energy bills, there is no denying that we’re all feeling the financial squeeze. But, much like with our health, prevention is better than cure when it comes to gas safety and keeping you covered for the unexpected.
“Boilers are among one of the most important appliances within our homes, as it keeps our water hot and our homes warm when it’s most needed – so it’s important that we stay on top of their upkeep. A regularly serviced boiler not only keeps it working efficiently, helping reduce bills, but can also reduce the risk of gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning – keeping you and your loved ones safe.
“Many engineers get busier in the autumn and winter months when central heating within homes is turned on, and at a time when badly maintained boilers throw up problems. By booking in your annual boiler service now, to detect early signs of wear and tear, replace any faulty parts and help keep it well maintained before it will be in increased use again this autumn, you can minimise disruption to your household.
“That’s why we want to encourage homeowners to adopt a routine of keeping on top of home maintenance, including ensuring they have peace of mind by considering booking their annual boiler service with a Gas Safe registered engineer.”
Mike Fairman, CEO at Checkatrade, said: “The winter can take its toll on our homes, from cracked brickwork to broken fences and even damp walls. With the weather warming up, spring is the perfect time to tackle these and not leave minor issues until it’s too late, particularly when it comes to gas safety appliances. Our platform has thousands of experts with a wealth of experience who can support with everything from gas boiler checks to unclogging gutters and more. Plus, jobs booked through Checkatrade are guaranteed for up to £1,000 for 12 months, meaning there’s no better time to book in a tradesperson.”
Emmanuel Asuquo and Gas Safe Register’s top tips for avoiding ‘Cash Leaks’ in the home this spring:
- Switch to frozen food: A good way to save money and cut down your food bill is to switch to frozen foods like fruit and vegetables, it avoids wastage and has a longer shelf life than fresh food. You could save up to £80 a year.
- Get organised: Planning your meals in advance can save you up to £200 a year. Not only can planning your meals save you money, asking your child/children to help plan can make them feel involved, teach them about the value of food and it means that everyone is on the same page. This will ensure that there is no extra spending during the week and less waste. WIN WIN.
- Get an annual gas safety check and service: A regularly serviced boiler means it will run more efficiently, helping to save on bills, but can also reduce the risk of gas leaks and carbon monoxide leaks – keeping you and your loved ones safe. Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix & service your gas appliance at GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
- Turn off standby: You can save around £65 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode. In our home, we have turned it into a game with our kids to see how many they remember to switch off.
- Ditch the tumble dryer: Dry clothes on racks inside where possible, or outside in warmer weather. Ditching a tumble dryer can save you around £70 a year.
- Turn the tap off: Don’t leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth, or washing dishes (use a washing up bowl). This can reduce your water usage and save you around £80 a year for a family of 4.
- Load up: Try and do a big load of laundry (combine your laundry) every time you have to do a wash rather than small loads frequently.
- Ditch the bath: Encourage your household to take showers rather than baths - this can drastically reduce your water usage. We have a timer set for 5 mins to make sure the kids don’t spend too long in the shower.
Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas businesses which are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. By law, anyone working with gas must be listed on the Register. Visit https://www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk for more information.
The Home Cash Leak Data
Data from Checkatrade
Fixing a leaking toilet
- £40-60: Average cost per hour to hire a plumber plus parts (the plumber may charge for the job rather than the hour)
- £100 - £120: Average cost for emergency call out fee plus the cost of the repair (if the leak is major and you need water extracting from your home, it could cost you around £2,000)
Getting gas appliances serviced i.e. gas boiler
- £100: The average cost of getting gas appliances serviced and safety checked once a year
- £410: The average cost of emergency boiler repair
Clearing damp/mould spots
- £225: Draught-proofing your windows and doors and blocking up any cracks in your floors and skirting boards
- £850: Average cost of damp proofing a home
Checking the roof for signs of moss or loose tiles
- £300: For a roofer to repair one or two cracked tiles and prevent a leaking roof/water ingress
- £7,500 - £16,250: The total costs of a new roof (for a 64m² gable roof)
Retightening leaking taps
- £0: Tightening your tap is free and you can do it yourself
- £330 – £1,500: Repairing your property’s main water service line
Unclogging the gutters
- £50 – £250: Roof gutter cleaning costs will vary depending on your house size, on average compared to water damage
- £7,500 - £16,250: Compared to water damage, pests and roof repairs, total costs of a new roof between £7,500 - £16,250 (for a 64m² gable roof)
Retightening leaking water pipes
- £330: Fixing a leaking pipe
- £330 – £1,500: Compared to the extent of damage a leaking pipe can cause (e.g. repairing your property’s main water service line)
Fixing leaking drains
- £240: Clogged drain repair cost
- £500: Drain repair cost
For more information and / or further press enquiries, please contact:
- Georgia Laudat at Georgia.Laudat@kindredagency.com or 07947 504 086
- Sophie Lanning at Sophie.Lanning@kindredagency.com or 07792 108 131
- Amy Dance at Amy.Dance@kindredagency.com or 07557 052 453
Notes to editors
1 Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Gas Safe Register. OnePoll surveyed 2,000 UK homeowners (aged 18+) with gas appliances in their homes between 20th and 27th March 2023.
2 Figure calculation:
- There are 27.8 million households in the UK, according to latest ONS figures. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/bulletins/familiesandhouseholds/2020
- Of which an average of 65% are owner occupied, equivalent to 18,070,000
- One fifth of (nationally representative) homeowners surveyed by Gas Safe Register have ignored warning signs in their homes, and have ended up spending an average of £1,885 per homeowner on maintenance tasks, that have ended up costing them more in the long run than regular maintenance or a proper fix, would have
- Based on 20% of UK owner occupied homes, equivalent to 3,1614,000, failing to tackle spring household maintenance jobs has cost UK households approximately £6.8bn (£6,812,390,000)
3 Estimates based on latest available data from Checkatrade
4 A calculation based on all the annual savings listed within Emmanuel Asuquo and Gas Safe Register’s top tips for avoiding ‘Cash Leaks’ in the home this spring.
About Gas Safe Register
Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas businesses who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. By law all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. To find a Gas Safe registered engineer visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the gas registration body in 2009.
When people across the UK need a tradesperson, Checkatrade is their first stop. Every member has to pass up to 12 rigorous checks to join and then Checkatrade checks their reviews to make sure they’re written by real people, about real jobs. There are 6.2 million reviews on Checkatrade.com, so wherever people are, they can see – and trust – what their local community thinks of a tradesperson’s work.
Checkatrade was set up in 1998 by one man who wanted to help his community. Owned by Homeserve Plc, Checkatrade now helps millions of homeowners all over the UK – and flies the flag for tradespeople who take pride in their work.