Thirty percent of 1,000 homeowners in England and Wales have not had their boiler serviced in the last 12 months, and 14% have not had their boiler checked for over two years, according to recent research by the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors.

With the Department of Health estimating that 40 deaths per year are from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, this lack of maintenance could be putting lives at risk, the APHC has said. Regular servicing by a qualified heating engineer can detect potential leaks and defects, and engineers will check that all CO alarms are in good working order.

John Thompson, chief executive of the APHC, has suggested timing a boiler service in the summer. "It's understandable that many people turn off the heating and forget about it for a few months during the summer, but a few simple precautions can greatly reduce the stress and inconvenience of the heating not working when it gets colder,” he said.

"As well as ensuring the system is in good working order, in many cases householders will see energy savings from achieving maximum efficiency from their heating, as well as reducing emergency call-out fees in the event of a breakdown."

The APHC recommends using its search facility at to find a local qualified and reputable heating engineer for an annual service.