With winter weather well and truly setting in, new research has revealed that more than half of North East residents are pinning their hopes on a white Christmas this year, but many are not really prepared for a cold snap.

The survey found nearly two fifths of people don’t check their central heating is working before it’s time to turn it on, and almost half fail to get their boiler serviced ahead of winter, leaving them open to a potential Christmas disaster.

According to the research by British Gas, more than two fifths of people in the North East have had to endure a cold shower in the past five years* because of a breakdown at home.

British Gas engineers across the region are urging people to check their homes before the cold really sets in and get themselves snow-ready as temperatures are set to drop to four degrees in the North East.

Matthew Bateman, Managing Director of Field Operations at British Gas, said: “Our top priority is to help keep our customers’ homes and businesses warm, safe and working during the winter months, and as the UK prepares for a cold snap, our engineers are already on standby if anything goes wrong.

Stephanie Walker, a British Gas engineer in Newcastle, said: “Simple things, like blocking draughts to stop heat escaping, or bleeding your radiators, can help keep your home warm, yet our research shows that very few people actually do them to prepare for the winter months. It’s things like this that can really make the difference in getting your home snow-ready, so everyone can focus on enjoying that white Christmas they’ve been hoping for!

“To avoid even bigger problems, getting your boiler serviced annually can help detect issues, so is really worth looking into now, before the winter weather takes hold.”

Last winter, British Gas completed nearly 200,000 plumbing jobs, and with meteorologists predicting a cold snap this November, its engineers are expecting to visit more than 70,000 homes in the next week.