Cold temperatures can be harmful to your health, especially to people over 65, babies and children under five, people who are pregnant, anyone who has a disability or long-term health condition, people on a low income, and people with a mental health condition.
During the winter months, it’s important to keep your home warm.
We know the rising cost of living has made many people worried about paying their bills. If you’re worried about money and heating your home this winter, please contact our Tenants First team on 01226 787878 or complete the form below.
There’s help and support available during the cost of living crisis, including our warm and welcoming spaces.
Here are some practical hints and tips to keep yourself and others safe and well during extreme cold weather. You can also download the Keep Warm and Well leaflet here.
Know what weather conditions are expected in your local area and plan ahead as necessary.
Extreme cold spells can affect other services such as power and water supplies, and public transport.
Snow and ice create slippery surfaces, so take extra care when travelling or walking outside.
The Met Office’s Weather Ready campaign provides lots of useful information about getting ready for winter and the steps you can take to prepare yourself for severe weather.
A cold home can cause health concerns. Ideally you should heat your home to a temperature of at least 18 °C. This is particularly important if you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease.
If you’re under the age of 65, active and wearing appropriate clothing, you may wish to keep your home at a comfortable temperature even if it’s slightly lower than 18°C.
Remember to check on friends, family, and neighbours, particularly people with young children or older people who are more at risk.
If you're worried about someone sleeping rough this winter, please report it through Streetlink, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 01226 773870.
If all your power is off and you think there’s a power cut, you can check online with Northern Powergrid (the local network operator).
You can also call 105* no matter who provides your electricity. It’s a free number and they will put you through to your local network operator.
Be prepared for a power cut before it happens:
Northern Powergrid and Northern Gas Network Priority Services Register
Power cuts or an interruption to your gas supply can cause worry, especially if you or someone you care for is vulnerable. You could benefit from joining the free Priority Services Register if you, or someone you care for:
They will give you extra support or advice in a power cut or interruption to your gas supply. To find out more about the service or to join, please visit the Northern Powergrid website here or the Northern Gas Network website here.
Ideally this should be to a temperature of at least 18 °C during the winter.
Some people can feel the effects of the cold more than others.
Be prepared for the cold weather before it arrives. Read our tips and advice for preparing your home and to know what to do in an emergency.
Flooding can happen at any time of year so it's important that you're always prepared. Find out if you're at risk of flooding.
You can visit the GOV.UK website for general advice about flooding or call the Environment Agency on 0345 988 118.
Flood warnings and keeping up to date with the latest information
When winter comes, we don’t want you to get caught out. There are things you can do to be prepared for extreme cold weather. Read through the actions below, and make sure you know how to report any repairs to us.
The ideal temperature for a bedroom is 18°C (64°F) and 21°C (70°F) for a living room. Check your thermostat or use a room thermometer to monitor the temperature and keep your bedroom windows shut during cold nights.
If you’re worried about keeping your home warm and managing to pay your bills this winter, help is available. Please contact our Tenants First team on 01226 787878 or complete the form below.
It’s important that you give us access to your home when we call to do your annual gas service. This test helps keep your boiler efficient, find any small problems and fix them before they get worse, but most importantly, keeps you and your family safe.
Pre-check your heating for winter
We understand the importance of having a warm and comfortable home, especially when the weather turns cold. To make sure your heating works when you need it most, there’s a simple routine to follow.
Running your heating system for five minutes every month will check that all the working parts and the system is in good working order.
If you do find that your heating doesn’t come on, there are a few basic checks you can undertake before calling up for a repair:
If you’ve tried all of the above, and your heating still isn’t working then call our Repairs Hotline on 01226 787878 to log an emergency repair.
Keep your prepayment meter topped up
If you’re on a prepayment meter, make sure your meter is topped up with payment, so you have power when you most need it. If the weather is really bad it may be hard to get out of the house to get your card topped up. Make sure you’ve claimed the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme.
Prevent frozen pipes
Freezing pipes are the main cause of bursts in bad weather. Follow these tips to save you unnecessary expense and distress:
Locate your stop tap and valves
Stop taps are often under the kitchen sink or where the main water pipe enters your home. Check yours now to make sure it works, and no water comes through your taps. If you can’t find it or it doesn’t work properly, let us know. Finding out now means that you’ll be able to turn your water off straight away if you do have a burst pipe in the future.
Label other valves in your home. This will help you know where they are so you can turn them off in an emergency.
If you get a leak
Turn off the water at the main stop tap, then turn on all your hot and cold water taps. This gets rid of all water in your pipes.
If the leak is on your central heating system, turn off at the main switch. If you have an immersion heater you’ll need to switch this off too, then follow the steps above. If you have a solid fuel boiler, allow the fire to die out. Once the system is cold, turn the cold water mains off at the stop tap and turn on hot water taps to help drain system.
Beware of bulging ceilings – if water has been leaking through the ceiling and it’s bulging, don’t enter the room as it may not be safe.
If water is leaking near electrics or appliances, switch your electric off at the mains fuse board, then turn off your water as above. If the fuse board is wet, don’t touch it.
Call our Repairs Hotline immediately on 01226 787878.
During severe cold weather, we often get more calls to our Repairs Hotline. Please only call 01226 787878 for emergency repairs.
Any non-urgent repairs can be made using our App on your Smartphone. If you haven't already downloaded it, use the links here for iPhone or here for Android.
During bad weather, please be aware:
There may be a longer wait on our Repairs Hotline 01226 787878.
It might take us longer to get to your repair. Please be patient and we’ll get to you as soon as we can. We may have lots of emergencies and if the roads are bad, we may not be with you as quickly as we usually are. We’ll get to all emergency repairs in 24 hours and make safe. We prioritise older and vulnerable customers.
When you’ve reported an emergency repair, please wait in for us. If you need to go out, leave a key with someone and leave a note to tell us this. The person will need to be nearby and be prepared to wait in while we do the repair.
We may need to cancel some prearranged repairs. If we do, we’ll contact you to let you know.
For safety reasons we can’t go up on a roof in high winds. We’ll attend and do what we can from the ground and protect your home from the inside.
Check for power cuts with Northern Powergrid before calling us:
If you’re going away when it’s forecast to be low temperatures, you can take steps to protect your home from frozen pipes and leaks.
Turn your water off at the main stop tap.
Keep your central heating on a low setting or set to come on at 2am for two hours each night. This will minimise the risk of tanks and pipes bursting.
If you’re going away for more than two weeks and don’t want to leave the heating on, the system should be drained down before you go and filled up again when you return. We can do this for you, but you’ll have to pay a standard charge of £50. To arrange this, phone us on 01226 787878.
Make sure a friend or family have a key and that they check your home regularly.
Tell us you’re going away by phoning 01226 787878 and let us know who you’re leaving a key with. This is for if we need to access your home in an emergency such as flooding.
If you’re going away for a long time, let your insurance company know. They’ll be able to tell you if your policy is affected.
10th floor, Gateway Plaza, off Sackville St, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2RD
Berneslai Homes Limited is a company controlled by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 4548803