Press release

Over 50s gear up for 'The Big Switch On'

Tuesday 22 October 2013

• Last week of October traditionally sees over 50s reaching for the thermostat
• One in five over 65s does not service their boiler annually*
• Saga expects a 55% increase in call outs in October
With the night's drawing in and the clocks going back, October usually heralds 'The Big Switch On' for the over fifties as they fire up the boiler for the first time in months.  Saga Home Emergency is expecting to see call outs by the over 50s increase by 55%** in the coming weeks as many discover the boiler has developed a fault during the summer months.

Five and a half million over 50s households are expected to turn their heating on in October, although a hardy one in six over 65s say they plan to wait until November before they flick the switch.

Last winter a quarter of 55-64 year olds and almost a fifth of over 65s had something go wrong around the home which needed to be repaired,  although much of this could be avoided by a regular service and a few simple preparations.

One in five over 65s do not have an annual boiler service and nor do a third of people aged 55-64.  However over 55s are more likely than younger people to carry out simple maintenance such as bleeding radiators, clearing gutters and insulating pipes to ensure their house is ready for winter.  

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented; "Whilst the over 50s are savvy enough to carry out regular checks and maintenance, a large number still experience problems  at this time of year when they switch on their heating.  Our boiler boffins are on standby as we have planned for a doubling of calls over the next few weeks."

From the end of October Saga will be offering Defaqto 5 star rated Home and Heating Emergency cover free for a year with Saga home insurance policies.

What can people do to avoid problems around the home in winter?
•    Keep the heating on a low constant temperature throughout the day
•    If going away keep the loft hatch open slightly to allow warmer air to circulate and lessen the risk of frozen pipes in the loft.
•    Insulate pipework
•    Have the boiler serviced in the summer so if there are any issues they can be resolved before the heating is really needed.
•    If pipes do freeze, thaw them out gently using hot water bottles or a hairdryer.
•    Locate the main internal stopcock so it can be switched off in the event of an emergency. It is usually under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters the building.


Notes to Editors
  • *Research carried out by the AA/Populus Home Panel amongst 1631 adults aged 18+ between 22 August and 4th September 2013
  • **Based on Saga claims data

About Saga Home Emergency
Saga Home Emergency is exclusively available for people over 50 and offers:
  • Approved tradesmen available 24/7
  • Guarantee on repairs.
  • Saga Home Emergency offers a choice of three cover levels to ensure people have the right protection for their needs: