Get Winter Ready

It’s that time of year again – as the temperature drops, and the days get shorter there are things we can all do to ensure we stay warm and safe over the winter months.

The rise in energy bills and cost of living crisis means it’s more important than ever to do what you need to do to keep your home warm and yourself safe during winter.

The sections below offers information to help you prepare, save money and stay safe.

Pipes & Plumbing

Cold weather can freeze pipes, so it's a good idea to keep your home warm by putting the heating on regularly. Frozen pipes can cause lots of problems including burst pipes. If you think you have a burst pipe turn the water off in your home and report a repair.

The video below provides useful advice on how to identify and prevent frozen pipes:

For information on how to safely unfreeze a frozen pipe please see the video below:

Boiler & Radiators

Prepare your boiler for winter to make sure it doesn't break down.

Having your boiler break down during winter and being left without heating and hot water is a situation nobody wants to find themselves in. Follow these steps to make sure your boiler is ready for the winter and to help reduce the chance of your boiler breaking down.

Worcester Bosch are our boilers of choice, hear direct from the manufacturers how to get yours ready for the winter. Click here for advice on their 5 steps to be winter ready.

Condensation, Damp and Mould

Condensation, the most common cause of damp and mould. As the weather gets colder we often stop opening windows and start drying clothes indoors - this can cause condensation/moisture to form on walls and windows. If left for too long condensation can cause mould. 

To understand how to prevent condensation and how to remove mould please see further information here.

You can also download our Condensation Damp & Mould Guide [pdf] 1MB.

The video below provides some tips on preventing condensation:

Doors, Windows & Draughts

Draughts can cause heat to escape from your home, so it's a good idea to draught proof your house. The video below has more information:

Did you know that draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money in your home?

By blocking up unwanted gaps around windows, doors and the floor that let the cold air in and warm air out, you’ll use less energy to heat your home this winter – which in turn will save your money on your energy bills.

Keep reading for quick and simple advice on how to draught-proof your home this winter.

Windows

For windows that open, buy draught-proofing strips to stick around the window frame and fill the gap between the window and the frame. There are two types of draught-proofing strips:

  • Self-adhesive foam strips, which are cheap and easy to install, but may not last long.

  • Metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached, which are long-lasting, but cost a little more.

Make sure the strip is the right size to fill the gap in your window. If the strip is too big, it will get crushed, and you may not be able to close the window. If it’s too small, there will still be a gap.

For sliding sash windows, it’s best to fit brush strips or consider getting a professional to carry out the work for you.

If your windows don’t open, use a silicone sealant.

Doors

Draught-proofing your front and back doors can stop a lot of heat from escaping. There are four main areas to consider draught-proofing:

  • Keyhole – buy a purpose-made cover that drops a metal disc over the keyhole.

  • Letterbox – use a letterbox flap or brush. You’ll need to measure your letterbox first to make sure you buy the right size.

  • Gap at the bottom – use a brush or hinged flap draught excluder.

  • Gaps around the edges – fit foam, brush or wiper strips like the ones we suggested above for windows.

Internal doors between two rooms only need draught-proofing if they lead to a room that you don’t normally heat during the winter months. Keep those doors closed to stop the cold air from moving into the rest of the house.

If there’s a gap at the bottom of the door, block it with a draught excluder – you can make one stuffed with used plastic bags or bits of spare material..

 How much could you save?

Draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you money. 

What’s more, draught-free homes are more comfortable at lower temperatures, so you may be able to turn down your thermostat by one or two degrees, saving even more on your energy bills!

Ventilation

Air needs to flow in and out of your house so it stays fresh, dry and healthy. Make sure you don’t block or seal any intentional ventilation, including:

  • Extractor fans – these take out damp air quickly in rooms where lots of moisture is produced (for example, kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms).
     
  • Underfloor grilles or airbricks – these help keep wooden beams and floors dry.
     
  • Wall vents – which let small amounts of fresh air into rooms.
     
  • Trickle vents – modern windows often have small vents above them to let fresh air trickle in.

The information for Damp, mould and condensation is on it’s way soon.

Gas Safety

It's vital that you let us carry out gas checks throughout the winter period. This ensures your heating system is working properly and keeps you safe.

If you suspect you have a gas leak, you must phone the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 and ensure you are safe before calling us.

Essential gas safety work - please call us on 0333 200 7304 if you have any concerns

Benefits of a Boiler Service

Just like a car, a boiler needs to be well maintained in order to keep it operating at its best. An annual service helps ensure that your boiler is running as efficiently and safely as possible. There are a number of key benefits of a regular boiler service.

Extends your boiler life

Regular servicing ensures your boiler can deliver reliable heating and hot water comfort year after year.

Maximises energy efficiency

An annual service ensures that your boiler is as energy efficient as possible, helping to keep fuel bills low.

Safety

A regular service will ensure your boiler components are checked and operating safely.

Staying Safe

When the longer winter nights arrive, take a fresh look at your home security and remind yourself of how to stay as safe as possible when out and about.

At home

· Keep front and back doors locked at all times and keep keys and valuables out of sight and reach from cat flaps, letterboxes, and downstairs doors and windows

· If you’re out in the evening make sure you leave an energy-saving light on or a battery powered candle, and draw the curtains. If it’s dark before you get home, use timer switches to turn on energy-saving lights

· Light up your front door with solar dusk to dawn lighting – make sure it’s visible from the street

· Make sure your home is visible from the street by keeping bushes and fences less than one metre high at the front of your property

· Don’t forget about garages, sheds and outbuildings – make sure they’re locked and secure too

· Try not to leave your house in silent darkness. Just leaving a radio on could make a potential burglar think twice.

· Never leave a spare key outside your house, burglars know all the usual hiding spots

· Keep bins away from windows when they’re not being used as they can be used as a climbing aid for burglars

· Consider joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.  Click here to find your local scheme.

Out and about

· Plan ahead before you go out. Know where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and how you’ll get back. Let someone know where you’re going, and be prepared for a change of plan

· Keep your purse or wallet and keys close and secure. Only take out essential items, and if you can leave valuables at home, do

· When you’re out, always walk with confidence, and stick to well-lit, busy areas, using the route you know best

· Avoid quiet or badly-let alleyways, subways or isolated car parks. Walk down the middle of the pavement if the street is deserted

· Remain aware of your surroundings – don’t walk along texting, making a phone call or listening to music. As well as being distracting, this advertises your valuable to criminals

· Trust your instincts – if you don’t feel safe then change your route, remembering to stay in well-lit and busy areas. Don’t be tempted to take short cuts

· Be a good friend and stay safe by sticking together. Always avoid walking alone at night

· If you regularly walk home in the dark, get a personal attack alarm – they are widely available and inexpensive

· If you regularly jog or cycle, vary your route and times you go out, particularly if you go alone. Try to avoid wooded or remote areas and stick to well-lit roads, or main paths and open spaces. Stay fully alert of your surroundings and don’t use headphones

Physical & Mental Health

Physical & Mental Health

It can be hard to stay healthy during the winter. Motivating ourselves to exercise is hard when it's cold and dark outside, and our appetite for comfort food increases.

Your winter health

Keep moving

Keeping active actually boost your immune function, You needn’t worry about joining a gym or donning the lycra and sweat bands!  Everyday chores such as washing up and hoovering all count as physical activity.

Keeping active can lift your mood as well as boosting your energy levels.  While you  may not feel like it at the time, try to do little and often.  If you are able to get up and walk around, this is an opportunity to make yourself a warm drink or snack.

Eat warm, Eat well

Hot meals and drinks help to keep you warm, so eat at least one hot meal each day and have hot drinks during the day.  Keep basic and long life food items in the cupboard or freezer in case its too cold to go out shopping.  You could also do your food shopping online and get it delivered to your door.  Include a good range of foods in your diet and aim for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, so that you’re getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins.

Frozen vegetables are as good as fresh, if not better. Your body needs proper nutrition at all times, but especially during cold and flu season when your immune system is under threat.  You need to drink plenty too.  Having a hot drink before bed and keeping one in a flask by your bedside can offer warmth, comfort and hydration if you wake early feeling the chill.

  • Diet - the NHS website has some excellent advice on eating a balanced diet.

  • Exercise - In addition to the NHS website there are lots of great online workout videos you could use to workout at home.

  • Vaccinations - Flu vaccinations are especially important this year, for more information please click here.

  • Norovirus, also called the "winter vomiting bug", is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days. Find out more here.

  • Find advice on how to stay well in winter, including getting the flu jab and keeping your home warm here.

  • Budget dinners how to make balanced meals on a tight budget:

How to eat for less than £2.35 a day - BBC Food

Healthy Eating on a Budget | MyPlate

Budget dinners - BBC Food

Mental Health

Winter can make us feel low

  • For information on how to keep the blues away this winter Beating the winter blues | NHS inform

  • Find out how to help lonely or socially isolated elderly people in your community, including volunteering for organisations that support older people, here.

Budgeting advice and support

Winter can put us under a lot of financial pressure, especially when it comes to heating bills and the current cost of living crisis.

Please go to dedicated our cost of living area where you can find out about the help we offer, along with an area that lists trusted organisations, who can also offer further help and support

If you need information on this website in a different format such as accessible PDF, large print, Easy Read, audio recording, British Sign Language or braille, please click here to let us know. For all other enquiries please click here.