To keep your home protected this winter, we have put together a guide with some of our top tips as well as a list of emergency numbers you may need.
1. Keeping warm inside
- To stop the warmth escaping from your home, keep doors closed whenever possible. If you can feel a draught underneath them try using a draft excluder.
- If you can feel the cold coming in your windows or the side of your doors, you can seal the gap with weather sealing tape. You could even draught-proof your letterbox, cat flap or keyholes.
- Closing your blinds or curtains will also help keep the heat in. It is important to keep yourself warm too – so make sure you put on an extra layer or clothing and drink hot drinks to keep up your body temperature.
2. Keeping your home free from condensation
Condensation is essential moisture in the air. There is always moisture in the air and you cannot always see it, however, everyday things like, cooking, washing, drying clothes and bathing produce more moisture which may lead to damp and mould if not managed daily.
Excess moisture in the home usually settles on cold surfaces, such as windows or places where there is little air movement. It moves about your home and will settle in any room in your home, where it finds a cold place to condense, such as a bedroom or behind a wardrobe, not necessarily the ones where the moisture was produced. If surfaces are left wet, water droplets form soaking into walls, woodwork, carpet and your belongings. Mould will grow giving off an unpleasant smell and the spores of mould are risk to health, especially those living with respiratory problems such as asthma.
By taking simple steps everyday, you can help prevent condensation, damp and mould becoming a problem in your home.
- Keep bathroom and kitchen windows open when in use to allow steam to escape.
- Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed to prevent moisture moving to other rooms If you have an extractor fan, use it when cooking or bathing, to help clear moisture.
- Don’t block air vents. Keep furniture away from walls to allow air to circulate.
- Try low level heating throughout the day rather than quick blasts. Adjust thermostats to control your heating.
- Mop up any condensation or moisture everyday from windows and surfaces.
- Put lids on saucepans when cooking.
- Line dry clothes outside or use a clothes horse rather than over a radiator.
3. Dealing with frozen or burst pipes
The main risk to any property in periods of cold weather is water damage due to burst pipes. Reduce the risk of pipes freezing by ensuring that you have enough gas or oil to heat the property.
If you are going to be away from your home during a period of bad weather, think about giving a spare key to a friend, family member or neighbour who can keep an eye on the property if the weather takes a change for the worse.
If your pipes freeze, you will need to act quickly to reduce the risk of them bursting. You should:
- Turn the water off at the stopcock.
- Try to thaw the pipes, by placing warm towels or a hot water bottle on them or using a hairdryer on it’s lowest setting. Remember, pipes must be thawed slowly.
If the worst happens and the pipes burst, you should:
- Turn the water supply off at the stopcock.
- Try to stop any escaping water with blankets, buckets or towels.
- Turn off your central heating, immersion heater and any other water heating systems.
- Drain the system by turning on all your taps and flushing the toilet several times.
- If there is a risk to electric turn the supply off by the main trip switch located within your fuse box.
- Contact the repairs line.
- Inform any neighbours who may be affected.
Emergency Contact Numbers:
- In case of emergency: 999
- Phoenix Natural Gas: 0800 002 001
- Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
- Water Service NI: 0345 744 0088
- National Gas Emergencies: 0800 111 999
- NIE: 03457 643 643
- Flooding Incident Line: 0300 2000 100