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Winter tips to protect your home

 

I'm worried the cold weather may cause my pipes to burst. What can I do?

Winter weather can burst your pipes and ruin your home. Follow these tips to keep the warmth in and the plumber out!

  • Freeze out trouble – when it's icy outside keep your pipes warm to avoid bursts.
  • Find your stopcock - the tap that turns off the main water supply is usually in the kitchen near the sink.
  • Set your Thermostat – during the day a good setting is between 18°C and 22°C for a comfortable temperature. If it's freezing outside set the heating to stay on continuously, but turn the thermostat lower for the night. Remember, the higher the thermostat the more fuel you use.
I am going to be away during the cold weather, have you any tips?
  • Leave the heating on continuously with the thermostat right down to 6°C. This will stop your pipes freezing, but it won't cost much.
  • If you are on a token type meter, ensure that there is enough credit to keep your home heated.
  • Ask a neighbour or relative to visit your home regularly and if there are any faults to report them immediately.
  • If you haven't got central heating turn the water off at the stopcock and drain off all the cold water. Then turn off the immersion heater.
  • If you have a solid fuel boiler, let the fire die out. Then drain off all the hot water.
  • If you require any further technical advice please contact us.
What do I do if my pipes burst?
  1. Turn off the water supply at the stopcock – As with frozen pipes, turning off the water supply is the first thing you should do.
  2. Drain your system – You need to get as much water out of the system as possible to prevent water from spilling through the house. Start by turning on all cold water taps and flushing toilets.
  3. Turn off you heating system – You need to turn off the central heating and close down the boiler. Remember to turn off immersion heaters. Once you’ve done this, drain the system still further by turning on all hot water taps.
  4. Switch off the electrics if necessary – If a burst pipe is near any electrical switches or fuse boxes, turn the electrics off at the mains.
  5. Collect the water – It seems like common sense, but you might need as many buckets, pans and any large containers to collect the water. If ceilings start to bulge, stand well back and use a long-handled implement to release the water. Make sure you keep some water for drinking.
  6. Call us – you can find our number on the Contact Us page of the website or call your usual Customer Service Centre number.
My home feels damp - what can I do?

There's always some moisture in the air, even if you can't see it. If the air gets colder, it can't hold all the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation and the most likely cause. However it would be useful to check and then report:

  • Leaking pipes, wastes, gutters and/or overflows.
  • Rain coming through gaps in the brickwork, roof, window frames, and around doors.
So how can I stop condensation?

During the winter months you may find you have more condensation in your home. This is found mainly on windows and can lead to patches of black mould forming.

The two main causes of condensation are due to a lack of either heating and/or poor ventilation.

Moisture from showers, unvented tumble driers, drying washing indoors and cooking all adds water to the air and condensation in your home. Follow these simple tips and it will help you keep your home condensation and mould-free.

  • Keep a small window slightly open to ventilate the room when you are in it.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom windows when cooking and showering to let steam out and use an extractor fan if you have one.
  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors when the rooms are in use, even if you have an extractor fan, to stop moisture reaching other rooms.
  • When boiling food, keep the pan lids on to stop steam escaping.
  • Don't put too many things in wardrobes and cupboards, leave space so air can circulate.
  • If you have to dry clothes in the house, use a clothes horse in front of the radiator.
  • Make sure tumble dryers are vented through an outside wall or window and never in the property.
  • Try to keep furniture away from radiators to avoid blocking out the heat.
  • Allow air to circulate by moving bulky items of furniture away from walls.
  • Never block ventilators or chimneys that may be needed to provide ventilation to your gas appliances.
  • In cold weather, keep the heating on low as much as possible, even if you are not home.
  • Get rid of mould and condensation, then draught proof your windows. Black mould can be easily removed with a cleaner available from most supermarket or hardware stores.
  • Don’t draught-proof bathrooms, kitchens or rooms with a cooker or gas fire.
  • Should there be a build up of condensation or water on your windows or window sills, regularly wipe down the affected surfaces to prevent the build-up of mould.

We are unable to get rid of your condensation for you. You will need to follow our advice to beat condensation this winter.

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