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24 Hour #NoBoiler Challenge

Don't miss a thing

By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 30/11/2016

Those avid followers among you will know that my wife suffers from an auto immune disease, triggered by sudden changes in temperatures; mainly the cold. You can read about it here in more detail but even from the limited information I’ve just given, you can imagine how ‘pleased’ she was when I told her I’d agreed to take part in the SSE #NoBoiler challenge!

In case you’re wondering, it’s a challenge to turn off your boiler for 24 hours and live without the associated luxuries; hot water & central heating.

We felt that considering we’re in the midst of a relatively warm November and we have warm blankets coming out our ears, we’d be alright.

Half an hour before we flicked off the switch, she spent a good 45 minutes in a hot bath, making sure she made the most of it.


I switched it off and we continued with our day. Obviously, when it came to getting dressed, I added an extra vest, Jen too and of course Teddy. I figured an extra vest would be more than adequate to take the edge of the chill off, but as the day went on the house gradually grew colder, I soon realised that maybe I’d misjudged it. I soon found us all adding even more layers to what we were wearing.

Ted didn’t seem to even notice; perhaps this was down to the fact that he spends most of his day charging round at 100 mph. To be honest, I could have attached a turbine to him to convert is energy into heat!

As the evening drew nearer I thought I should probably get this whole cold shower thing out the way. Last year I competed in an Ironman 70.3 and to prepare for the open water swim, I used to have cold showers to get used to the temperature of the lake. That was a whole year ago, and again, I didn’t fully anticipate just how cold it was. Foolishly, I added shampoo to my head. What was I thinking? I should have jumped in, rinsed for a few seconds and jumped out. Yet here I was covered in soap suds that would, at some point soon, need to be washed off.


I ended up just sticking my head under the jet stream, which was more than cold enough!

Fortunately, I’d remembered to put my towel on the rack to get nice and warm so once I was out, at least I could wrap up in a warm towel. However, I’d forgotten that the towel rail was controlled by the central heating! Argh!

We made sure that all the beds in the house had plenty of blankets laid out. I offered to generate some body heat with the wife, but she said she’d rather freeze and with that we tucked down for what wasn’t actually too bad of a night. The 4 blankets, hot water bottle and bed socks my wife had on kept her pretty warm and the Chronic Urticaria at bay. Our holiday last month to the Isle of Wight in a glamping Eco Lodge was good practice! Ted too, had some pretty cool bed socks to keep him warm!


The morning after, I couldn’t wait to flick the boiler back on. The gentle hum of the pilot light coming back on was music to my frost bitten ears. (Ok, a bit of artistic license but it was a good feeling to know that I could jump in a warm bath.)

The point of a challenge like this is to get people thinking that they should really look after their boiler. I take it for granted that I’ll have a warm house with hot water on demand but for many this isn’t the case.

And even then, for those who share this luxury, if you haven’t got boiler cover or at least turned the boiler on early so you can check it’s all still working before the winter hits, it can easily go very wrong, very quickly. I for one wouldn’t want to spend another 24 hours without central heating or hot water, let alone a few days.

My advice, get your boiler turned on early, get it serviced & make sure it’s covered against breakdowns.

To help you avoid a similar fate, SSE is offering 3 months free annual boiler cover for a limited time.

You’ll get unlimited parts and labour, unlimited call-outs with no call-out fees, and an annual boiler service worth £85.

Check out their website


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