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Last updated: 12th December, 2023


Britain's Biggest Winter Worries

Britain's Biggest Winter Worries

The UK is most stressed during the winter, and issues related to heating are some of the most common worries.

A study conducted by Firstbeat revealed that Brits are most stressed during November and December and least stressed during August.

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No surprise with the weather in this country!

Whilst much of this stress comes from meeting and chasing end of year deadlines, the cold, the dark and spending money on Christmas, have been found that nearly 30% of our winter worries are about our heating.

Research from Viva Manchester found exactly what makes us the most stressed during winter and compiled a list of our biggest concerns.

Top 25 Winter Stresses:

  1. Being without heating and/or hot water

  2. Paying more for energy bills

  3. Battling winter illnesses e.g. cold and flu

  4. Getting up when it’s dark outside

  5. Falling on ice

  6. Winter Blues – e.g. Seasonal Affective Disorder caused by darker days

  7. Burst pipes

  8. Constantly feeling cold

  9. Worrying about being able to afford the cost of winter energy bills

  10. Not being able to repair my boiler and having to purchase a new one

  11. Cold hands/feet

  12. Not having enough to pay for a significant home emergency over winter – such as replacing a boiler, burst pipes, roof repair

  13. Getting snowed in

  14. Putting on weight

  15. General Christmas Day stress

  16. Roof/gutter problems and repairs

  17. Not having enough money saved for Christmas

  18. The car breaking down

  19. My heating not being up to the task of keeping my home warm

  20. Doing less exercise

  21. Public transport delays

  22. Worrying my car will break down

  23. Worrying about break-ins

  24. Christmas party season

  25. Spending more on health and pharmacy products – i.e. cold and flu remedies, vitamins, lip balm

7 Winter Worries

Of these 25 worries, 7 of them are related to the heating of our homes. One in ten were concerned about their heating not being up to the task of keeping their homes warm, which is unsurprising as 45% of us have experienced their boiler breaking down during winter, at an average cost of £940.

Boiler Breakdwon

However, despite the average cost of covering home emergencies being £1,278, almost half of property owners don’t have anything set aside, with a third saying they wouldn’t be able to afford a new boiler system if their current one broke down.

Being ripped off for repairs is one of the largest sources of stress for two thirds of homeowners, with one in six claiming they overpaid on emergency repairs in the past because they weren’t aware of prices.

An average of £383 per home was spent on home repairs in 2018, but almost a quarter said they wouldn’t have the money to do the same again in 2019.

What to Do If Your Boiler Breaks Down

If your boiler breaks down this winter, there’s no need to panic. At iHeat we provide an online service that offers a fixed boiler quote and next day installation.

Not to mention, we also offer a great range of finance plans, so no matter how unprepared you are for a broken boiler emergency, you can still afford to replace your broken boiler.

New Boiler Benefits and Costs

Boilers can be a daunting purchase for many people as they’re an appliance with a lot of responsibility, providing heat for you and your family is something you want to get right. Boilers aren’t exactly a quickly disposable item either, potentially lasting you a decade.

Boiler costs can be split into two segments: the first is the actual boiler itself (unit price), and the second is the cost of the boiler being installed (set up) in your property by an expert engineer. 

Here at iHeat, we want to remove all of this undue stress and make the decision making process of upgrading to a new central heating system, as easy as possible.

Boiler costs can vary depending on a number of factors including their brand, model, fuel, output, warranty, labour and installation type. Typically a new boiler will cost between £1,845 and £3,500, below is a list of average boiler installations offered by iHeat (guide only).

Installation Type

Price (inc VAT)

Combi to combi swap


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System to combi conversion


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New boiler install


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Back boiler to a combi


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System to system


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How to Reduce Your Energy Bills

We also have helpful boiler advice on our blog on topics such as how to get your boiler ready in time for winter, how to bleed a radiator and what to do if your boiler loses pressure.

For a fixed quote on a new Which? Best Boiler, fill in your homes' details here and we'll do the work for you!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What months are British winter?

British winter typically lasts from December to February. These months often bring colder temperatures, frost, and the occasional snowfall. However, the severity of the winter season can vary depending on the year and geographical location within the UK.

What is the coldest month in the UK?

Generally, January is considered the coldest month in the UK. Average temperatures across the country can drop to around 3.5 degrees Celsius. However, some regions might experience slightly colder or warmer temperatures depending on their specific locations and weather patterns.

How cold is UK in winter?

During the winter months, temperatures in the UK can vary. Average daytime temperatures range from 2 to 7 degrees Celsius, while night-time temperatures might drop below freezing. Additionally, some areas might have colder temperatures and a higher probability of snow, like the Scottish Highlands or higher-altitude regions.

Is winter 2023 going to be cold UK?

While it is difficult to predict the exact weather conditions for winter 2023, recent surveys indicate a possibility of colder temperatures and impactful winter pressures. The severity of the winter season will depend on various factors such as global weather patterns and oceanic influences.

What is winter mode on boiler?

Winter mode on a boiler typically refers to settings that prioritise heating and hot water supply to ensure adequate warmth during the colder months. This mode helps to maximise the efficiency of your heating system, conserve energy, and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

How do I set my boiler for winter?

To set your boiler for winter, you'll need to select a heating schedule that suits your needs. This might include setting the thermostat to a higher temperature and adjusting the timer to account for the longer heating times required. Additionally, you should perform regular maintenance checks to ensure your system operates efficiently throughout the season.

What temperature should my combi boiler be set at in winter?

A typically recommended temperature setting for the central heating of your combi boiler during winter is around 18 to 21 degrees Celsius. However, this may vary depending on personal preferences, the size of your home, and insulation levels. Adjusting your thermostat accurately will aid in maintaining a warm and comfortable environment while keeping energy consumption in check.

Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.