Staying warm and well this winter


21 February 2020

Image: woman in jumper looking at computer

With cold weather expected, we’ve pulled together some handy information to help you stay warm and safe during the colder months which we hope you’ll find useful.

The importance of keeping warm

Staying warm can help prevent colds, flu and serious health problems such as strokes, heart attacks, pneumonia and depression.

Try and stay active when you’re indoors, don’t sit still for more than an hour or so at a time.

Wear lots of layers of thinner clothes, this will trap warm air better than one bulky layer. Heat your home to at least 18°C.

Make sure you’re receiving all the help to heat your home that you’re entitled to. You can find more advice here on the NHS website.

Looking in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives

Image: A woman caring for her elderly neighbourCheck up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems, to make sure:

  • They're safe and well
  • Are warm enough, especially at night
  • Have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather

If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

If you're concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia, contact NHS 111.

What happens if my heating breaks down?

Image: A man checking the heatingIf your heating breaks down we’re here to help. Find out who to contact here.

If you’re a vulnerable person and currently have no heating or hot water, an engineer will arrive within four hours. Temporary heating is also provided between the winter months of October and March.


How to prevent frozen pipes

There are simple remedies to prevent water pipes from freezing during severe cold weather.

Image: A man checking pipes

This can be achieved by preventing cold air from entering the room or to warm any areas where cold air is unable to be stopped from entering. 

If pipes freeze check for pinhole leaks or cracks (after they've thawed) that can cause serious water damage to your home.

1. Leave the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink open, the room air can help to warm the pipes.

2. Place a lamp with a 60-watt bulb in the affected area to warm the walls and pipes. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.

3. Seal around doors, windows as well as inside and outside taps.

What to do if a frozen pipe bursts

The following steps describe what you should do as soon as you discover a frozen pipe:

1. Turn off the water supply - Turn off the main stop tap. You should find this under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters your home. After doing this make sure to turn off the stopcock in your cold water tank if you have one. This should be found in the attic.

2. Beat the burst - Protect everything around the pipe that appears to be frozen to avoid any damage if it bursts.

3. Thawing out - Open the tap nearest to the part of the pipe you think is frozen so the water can flow through when it has melted.

Thaw the ice inside the pipe by covering with a hot water bottle or using a hairdryer (taking care to keep it well away from any water), beginning from the tap end and working back toward the cold water tank. This will keep steam from being trapped by ice and potentially bursting the pipe.

You can find out more about reporting a repair here.

We also have further tips to help you repair heating without the need for an engineer. Find out more here.

Don’t let rising energy bills leave you cold!

Did you know we have dedicated energy advisers who are supporting residents to save money on their bills?

Our friendly team can:

  • Find you the best energy deals
  • Help you apply for grants and discounts
  • Show you how to save energy with simple changes in the home
  • Help you to access free LED light bulbs, radiator reflectors and water saving devices.

Find out more directly here or contact the team using our online form