UK families were forced to pay out more than £787m in unexpected boiler repair bills last year.
Nearly a fifth of households (18 per cent) faced at least one boiler breakdown in the last year, and the average cost of repairing it came to £270, according to energy price comparison website uSwitch.
However, a quarter of a million households were forced to pay more than £1,250 to get their boiler in working order again.
Emma Bush, energy expert at uSwitch, said: "It's easy to take a working boiler for granted, but when things go wrong it can be expensive to fix – not to mention leaving you and your family shivering through a period with no central heating.
"With consumers already facing energy price rises in the coming months, the sudden shock of having to repair a broken boiler – possibly costing over a thousand pounds – could deliver a tough blow to household finances.
"To give yourself some peace of mind and protection against boiler bill shock there are different options available to suit every household. If you are concerned about your boiler and it is over six years old, boiler cover with an annual service could be a good option for extra peace of mind."