Top Home Mistakes Costing the Nation

Money down the drain? HomeServe engineers reveal the top home mistakes that could be costing the nation.

A radiator being turned down with ceramic piggy bank on top of it

HomeServe engineers reveal the top home mistakes that are costing the nation, and share helpful home hacks to avoid unnecessary costs.

  • Six in ten homeowners neglect simple maintenance tasks
  • Neglecting basic home maintenance tasks could lead to costly repairs, with unblocking drains alone costing £346.77
  • HomeServe engineers reveal their top home maintenance hacks

According to research carried out by home assistance provider HomeServe, many UK homeowners are not tackling simple maintenance tasks such as unblocking their drains which could be costing them £2 billion collectively in repairs.1

While we’re all known to put off that list of tasks at home in favour of something we feel is more purposeful, HomeServe’s research into home maintenance has revealed that 30% of homeowners say they “don’t know how” when it comes to carrying out home maintenance tasks.

The research has revealed the nation has been shying away from these simple household tasks over the last two years:

  • Two in five (40%) haven’t unblocked their drains
  • Just under of a third (32%) haven’t bled their radiators
  • Only 29% have insulated their boiler condensate pipe
  • Only 50% of people checked their pipes for leaks which could damage other parts of their home
  • Only two-fifths (42%) draught-proofed their home

However, neglecting these simple home maintenance tasks can cause bigger issues down the line. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of homeowners have called out an engineer to their property to fix something in the past two years and BCIS data2 shows common household fixes such as unblocking a private drain could cost £346.77, repairing a leaking pipe caused by frost damage could cost £190.77 and draining and isolating a radiator could cost £103.93.

Chris Houghton, Home Expert at HomeServe, says: “We understand that home maintenance might not be for everyone for a number of reasons. But if you’re able to take some proactive steps to maintain your home, it can save you significant time and money in the long run. If in doubt, speak to a professional. HomeServe’s experts are on hand to help.”

However, the good news is that these issues are often preventable, and HomeServe engineers can offer their top tips on how to save homeowners both time and money:

  1. Hot water woes: During the cold months of the year your water will enter the home colder than in the warmer months. Reducing the flow of the tap slightly by turning the tap handle will keep the water inside the boiler for longer. By doing this, you should find the water from the tap should flow slightly hotter.
  2. Boiler pressure wisdom: Boiler pressure maintenance is a task many people overlook. With daily encounters with pressure-related issues, our engineers stress the importance of maintaining the water pressure between 1 and 1.5. To make this task fool proof, they suggest marking the pressure gauge with a Sharpie, providing a visual cue for optimal pressure levels.
  3. Cold weather pipe protection: The sight of frozen condensate pipes is a familiar one for our engineers during winter. To spare homeowners the inconvenience of thawing pipes with hot towels or water bottles, they recommend a proactive approach. Insulating plastic condensate pipes with materials from a local DIY store can prevent the nightmare of waking up to a cold house. Last minute drop in temperatures? Consider wrapping your pipes in a towel for a quick fix – it might prevent a costly broken pipe.
  4. DIY blockage buster: Blocked toilets are a common callout for our engineers. Armed with everyday items like carrier bags and old mops, they advocate a simple DIY fix. By wrapping and firmly securing a plastic bag over a mop head and giving it a few gentle pushes, homeowners can often clear blockages at the back of the pan without the need for professional intervention.
  5. Efficient insulation: Improve the insulation and sealing of your home to prevent drafts and maintain a consistent temperature. Seal gaps and cracks in windows, doors, and walls, and ensure proper insulation in the attic and walls. This helps to reduce the load on the heating and cooling system.

To find out more expert home maintenance tips, please visit our helpful guides.


Notes to editors:

About the research

Unless otherwise stated, data is based on Opinium commissioned research amongst 2,000 UK adults (18+) in January 2024.

For more information, or to arrange a media interview, please contact:

Liam Reeves – Third City

Telephone: 07398 268 187

Niamh Finnie – Third City

Telephone: 07761 669 176

A little bit about HomeServe

As one of the country’s leading home assistance providers, HomeServe has 30 years’ experience looking after UK homes. From plumbing, drainage, boiler, heating, or electrics cover to new boilers and one-off repairs, they're always looking for ways to bring you better care for your home, through their range of products and services. With a nationwide network of Home Experts and a claims line that’s open 24/7, 365 days a year, you can count on them to be there when it matters most.

Diversity and inclusion

HomeServe is proud to promote equality and inclusion through all their partnerships, including Business in the Community, Stonewall, Race at Work Charter and the Business Disability Forum. In recognition of these efforts, they’ve become a signatory of the Race at Work Charter, voted Best Place to Work for Women 2020, achieved accreditation to become a Disability Confident Committed employer and are now ranked in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. In 2021, HomeServe also earned a place on the list of European Great Places to Work.

HomeServe - we’re on our way.

ONS data shows that there were an estimated 15.5 million homeowners in the UK in 2021. According to Opinium research commissioned on behalf of HomeServe, 40% of Brits say they haven’t unblocked their drain in the past two years. BCIS Job Costs Data shows that the average cost of unblocking a private drain costs £346.77, meaning that these 6,200,000 households could face a combined bill of £2,149,974,000

Data source: BCIS Job Costs Data, September 2023.