Villagers were left unable to use their showers, doorbells and even car key fobs for several days in the latest case of suspected wireless interference.
Families in Kingsclere on the Hampshire-Berkshire border, spent much of the festive season without heating after the failure of household systems which rely on digital technology.
One family, the Smiths, were baffled when their heating, shower, doorbell and even their car’s remote-control door locks refused to work. They then discovered similar problems were being experienced by their neighbours.
Chris Smith spent more than £250 trying to fix the heating and shower but neither worked until late on Dec 27.
A spokesman for Ofcom, which oversees radio communications, said: “Often these problems can be caused by a video sender that transmits a television signal to other sets in the house. They are not the source of all the problems but in a lot of cases interference is tracked down to those devices.”
Mr Smith, who had the heating system installed 18 months ago, said he did not know of anyone nearby with a video sender.
In October, people living in a street in Southampton reported that their remote car key fobs had stopped working. The problem was tracked down to a faulty video sender which was “leaking” a frequency which interfered with the fobs.
Residents in a street in Windermere, Cumbria, had similar problems in March 2010, which were eventually traced back to a wireless device used to take orders at a nearby restaurant.
Mr Smith has now concluded that the common link between the failed devices was that they all used radio-frequency identification (RFID).
But he said: “The question is: what caused the blocking of the RFID frequency in the village and how do you even begin to find out? Kingsclere is in the shadow of the Hannington television transmitter, so it could have been engineering work that went wrong and unnoticed over the holiday period.”
The Hannington transmitter serves the surrounding area. Arqiva, the company responsible for it, admitted that a strong signal could affect RFID devices, but said on this occasion it was not to blame.