The number of callouts for boiler-related problems increased by 72 per cent from the first week of September to the first week of October, the AA reported this week.
That's hardly surprising given the cold weather we've experienced, which has forced millions to fire up their heating. Callouts are expected to increase further as temperatures are predicted to take a tumble this weekend.
But those who turn to tradespeople in an emergency are risking making things worse by not using qualified or registered plumbers. New research shows that two-thirds of people choose a plumber on cost, without worrying if they are registered with an approved contractors' scheme or have any professional credentials.
"Not using a properly qualified plumber is not only dangerous, it's a false economy and could end up costing the homeowner thousands of pounds and a lot of hassle to put right," warned Kevin Wellman from WaterSafe, a new national register of recognised plumbers.
It's estimated that Britons have been forced to stump up £2.6bn to pay for work to rectify botched plumbing jobs.
"Furthermore, there are the safety implications. Water safety in the home is of paramount importance, and by using a dodgy tradesman, homeowners are not considering the risk that contaminated water poses," said Mr Wellman.
The WaterSafe Installers' Scheme is a national register, accreditation body and online directory that can put you in touch with accredited plumbers in your area. For further information visit www.watersafe.org.uk.