Winter weather

When winter comes we don’t want you to get caught out. This section provides you useful information to help you protect you and your home.

We have put together our Cold Winter Weather video to give you some advice.

When it’s snowy and icy you may find the Met Offices ‘The Snow Code Guide’ helpful as it you information on getting about.

The Met Office have also put together a useful 10 point checklist to prepare you for Winter.

Pre-checking 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 is a simple routine to follow – By running your heating system for 5 minutes every month, it will ensure that all the working parts remain free and that the system is in good working order.

If you do find that your heating does not come on then there are a few basic checks you can undertake before calling up for a repair:

  • Do you have credit on your meter and is your meter showing ON (if you pre-pay for your gas\electric)?
  • Is the programmer / timeclock in the ‘on’ position telling the boiler to fire up?
  • Is the room thermostat turned up above the current room temperature so that the boiler knows to fire up?
  • Does the pressure gauge (on pressurised heating systems with no heating tank only) show that it is up to the correct reading, around 1 – 1.5bar?
  • Is it cold outside? Is the condensate pipe frozen? Pouring warm water over the black / white plastic pipe outside can melt and clear this.

If trying the above still fails to get your heating working then call us on 01226 787878 to log a job.

Another important part to this is to make sure that you give access in the first instance when we call to do your annual gas service. This test helps keep your boiler efficient, our engineers can find small problems and rectify them before they turn into big ones, but most importantly, keeps you and your family safe.

How to stop pipes freezing

Freezing pipes are the main cause of bursts in bad weather. Follow these tips to save you unnecessary expense and distress.

  • Pipes and tanks in your loft should be insulated – please advise us if they are not.
  • Report dripping taps, cracked or dislodged roof tiles, blocked or leaking gutters now! We can fix them before it is too late!
  • Do you know where your stop tap is? Finding out now means that you can turn your water off straight away if you do have a burst. Stop taps are often under the kitchen sink or where the main water pipe enters your home. Check them NOW to make sure they work and no water comes through your taps. If you can’t find it or it doesn’t work, phone us.
  • Label other valves in your home. This will help you know where they are so you can turn them off in an emergency.
  • Leave heating on low and switch it on regularly. During very cold periods it’s best to leave your heating on low or set it to come on 2-3 times per day. Set it to come on at 2am each night for about 2 hours.
  • In extreme weather leave your loft hatch open slightly. This allows heat to rise into the roof- space to help prevent pipes in your loft from freezing up.
What to do 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.
  • Is the leak on your central heating system? If it is then turn off at the main switch and if you have an immersion heater you will need to switch this off to, 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 is bulging do not enter the room as it may not be safe.
  • Is water leaking near electrics or appliances? If so switch your electric off at the mains fuse board, then turn off your water as we’ve already explained. If the fuse board is wet do not touch it and call our Repairs Hotline immediately on 01226 787878.
What to do when you have reported your emergency repair

When you have reported this on 01226 787878 please wait in for us. If you need to go out then 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.

Please also 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!

Help and advice with heating your home this winter

The ideal temperature for a bedroom is 64°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C) for a living room. Check your thermostat or use a room thermometer to monitor temperature, and keep your bedroom windows shut on a winter’s night.

You could get £140 credit towards your electricity costs with the Warm Home Discount Scheme.  This is a government scheme and is not the same as cold weather payments and winter fuel payments.

You may qualify if you are:

  • getting the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
  • on a low income

Check with your supplier to see if they offer the Warm Home Discount – not all suppliers are part of the scheme.

If you’ve applied for the Warm Home Discount but you switch supplier before you get the payment, you have to apply again with your new supplier. Your new supplier might have different rules about who gets the discount. This doesn’t affect you if you get the discount automatically, without having to apply.

Follow this link to find out more about the Warm Home Discount Scheme .

Looking after your health this winter

It’s really important to look after your health during the cold winter months.  This is especially the case if you are an older person. As you get older it takes longer to warm up which can be bad for your health. The cold thickens blood and increases blood pressure, and breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.

If you are or know an older person please make sure you have everything you need to keep warm and well. The NHS have produced a useful ‘Stay Well This Winter’ leaflet which contains messages including:

  • Making sure you get your flu jab.
  • Taking advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay your heating
  • Visiting your local pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell.
  • Looking out for people who may need a bit of extra help over the winter.

You can download this leaflet from the right hand side of this page.



Going on holiday this winter?
  • 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 are going away for more than two weeks and don’t want to leave the heating on then the system should be drained down before you go and filled up again when you return. We can do this for you but you will have to pay a standard charge of £50, phone us on 01226 787878.
  • Make sure a friend or family have a key and that they check your home regularly.
  • Tell us you are going away by phoning 01226 775555 and let us know who you are leaving a key with. It stops us from having to break in if your home is flooded.
  • If you are going away for a long time let your insurance company know. They will be able to tell you if your policy is affected.
Do you have home contents insurance?

Get covered, get protected, don’t get caught out!

In the last few years tenants who have had leaks and bursts in their home haven’t had home contents insurance and have ended up with huge bills to pay for their new decoration, carpets, furniture and belongings. Visit the Home Contents Insurance page and sign up today.

Are you on a prepayment meter?

If you are then please 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!