Stop-what? Research reveals millions of brits don't know how their home works

LV= research finds that 62% don’t have much knowledge about how their home works 
41% of Brits don’t know where the water stopcock is, and 40% don't know how to re-pressurise the boiler
In addition, 45% have had arguments with their partner because of home maintenance issues, with 24% calling on their parents when struck by a DIY emergency
With the average water leak costing £4,000, LV= encourages Brits to get up to speed on home maintenance  

New research from LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) has found that a staggering 62% of Brits have little knowledge about the functioning of their home, such as the heating system/boiler, radiators, electrics and water pipes, with 41% admitting they don’t know where their water stopcock is and 38% have no idea how to use it.

According to the nationwide study, 35% are clueless when it comes to finding their gas meter, 31% are unsure of where their fuse box is, and a shocking quarter (26%) don’t even know where the boiler resides.  

In fact, 31% of those polled said they would have no idea what to do even if they did find their fuse box and needed to reset the trip switch, whilst 32% have never checked the pressure of their boiler – even if they did know where it is.

Don’t leak it happen

According to LV= claims data, the average claim for escape of water from a burst pipe costs a whopping £4,000, however 44% claimed they’re clueless about how to fix a leaking pipe, leaving themselves exposed to more damage if a leak isn’t stopped quickly. Furthermore, in the summer months leaks do still occur, and the research showed that 53% also had no idea what a leak detector is, a devise which can help alert you to escape of water in your home as soon as it’s identified.

The data also revealed that for many it’s mum and dad to the rescue, as almost a quarter of Brits (24%) say their parents are the first people they call in a DIY crisis, a stat that increases by 141% when directed at young adults (18-29).

Almost four in ten (38%) of those polled admit they didn’t know how to bleed a radiator, 33% can’t descale a shower head, 32% don't know how to unblock a drain, with 45% having arguments with their partner because of home maintenance issues. As a result of this home-knowledge gap, 58% of the nation have had to live without hot water for a weekend because their boiler stopped working and according to LV=’s home emergency claims data, 27%1 of call outs were due to not getting the boiler serviced within the recommended timescales.  

Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance commented: “Our research has shown just how little we know about how our homes work, from bleeding a radiator to knowing what to do if there is burst pipe.”

“We know how much damage something like a leak can cause to our homes and the sooner you get to it, the less damage will be caused. The good news is knowing where simple things like your stopcock, fuse box and boiler are situated could help save you time and money. 

“With our weather becoming more extreme throughout the year, issues such as boiler faults and escape of water could become more frequent, and we’ve got handy hints and tips on how to better understand your home on our website. In the event of trying to fix something yourself, it’s also crucial you act safely. If in doubt, it’s always best to call in the professionals, which according to the research many already do.”


When it comes to basic home DIY 21% admit they’re useless when it comes to practical tasks, with 40% saying they couldn’t wire the plug on an electrical device, and 34% have never even changed a lightbulb. 

When asked why Brits don’t know about the "inner workings" of their house, half of those polled (50%) said they only worry about something when it goes wrong, while one in 20 admit they prefer to stick their head in the sand when it comes to all things practical. Over a quarter (27%) insist they just ‘aren’t practically minded’, while a further 21% insist they have more pressing things to worry about than how their house does and doesn’t function.

And it’s not just unexpected disasters Brits are struggling to deal with. 32% said they’d created a DIY disaster when they were trying to fix something themselves. Despite this, nearly half (46%) of those polled admitted they don’t have accidental cover included on their home insurance.

Furthermore, over half (57%) admitted that when they’ve tried to fix a home disaster, they made the problem worse. 21% have put a hole in the wall, 19% flooded their kitchen or bathroom,18% have cracked wall tiles, 13% have smashed a window and 8% have put a nail through a water pipe. According to the data, the average Brit forks out £284 a year on getting a professional to sort out their DIY bodge jobs. 

Perhaps, unsurprisingly 44% of the respondents polled wished they were more practical when it came to fixing problems in their house. However, 28% of those polled complained that TV home improvement shows make DIY look easy, lulling you into a false sense of security.

1. How to fix a leaking pipe - 44%
2. How to find the stopcock for the water - 41%
3. How to re-pressurise the boiler - 40%
4. How to wire a plug - 40%
5. Bleed a radiator - 38%
6. Find the electricity meter - 37%
7. How to restart the boiler - 36%
8. Read the gas meter - 35%
9. Find the gas meter - 35%
10. Change a lightbulb - 34%
11. Hang a picture - 33%
12. Turn the mains electricity off - 33%
13. Put up a shelf - 33%
14. Descale the shower head - 33%
15. Unblock a drain - 32%
16. Replace the broken light in the fridge - 32%
17. Where the fuse box is - 31%
18. How to get into the loft/attic - 27%
19. Find the boiler - 26%
20. Find the water tank - 17%

Notes to editors 

For further information please contact:

Natasha King, Senior Press Officer at LV= General Insurance
Mobile: 07443237651
Email: [email protected]


Research of 2,000 Brits was commissioned by LV= General Insurance and conducted by Perspectus Global in June 2023.

1 LV= General Insurance home emergency data – September 2022



About Liverpool Victoria General Insurance

  • LV= General Insurance provides car, home, pet, travel, landlord, breakdown and home emergency insurance to around 6.5 million customers in the UK.
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