Tips and advice for looking after you and your home this winter
We know that winter can be a challenging time, as people struggle to heat their homes and deal with isolation during the dark evenings.
We want to keep you and your homes safe, particularly during the winter months. So, we have pulled together some information and tips which we hope will be useful.
Click on the below headings to find out more information.
- General tips for looking after you and your home in winter
- Heating and boiler information
- Damp, mould and condensation tips and information
- Ice and snow
- Lights and electrics
General tips for looking after you and your home in winter
Try to be as prepared as possible. Having these things handy will help you when you need them most;
- Hot water bottle
- A torch, most mobile phones now come with a torch
- Lightbulbs, make sure you have spare so you’re able to replace them
- Books and magazines
- Stock the cupboard and freezer, with bread / milk and things for a hot drink/soup or easy-to-cook meals.
- Keep simple cold, flu and throat remedies in the house
- Bottles of water
- Emergency contact or friend you can reach out to if you're in need
- Mobile phone, always charged
- Incommunities repairs and emergency contact number 0330 175 9540
- If you have a power cut, you can call Northern Power grid from any mobile, by simply dialling 105
- National Gas Emergency Service phone number 0800 111 999. Call this number immediately if you smell gas or if your CO alarm sounds.
In case of emergency, make sure you know how to turn off your electricity, gas and water. For your water, you may have two taps to turn off, which are your stop-tap and surestop.
You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants include the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment. For more information visit;
Heating and boiler information
Keeping your home warm and dry will not only protect your health, but it will also mean that your home and belongings stay free from damp, mould and condensation.
The below tips and information should help you and your home stay warm this winter.
- If you haven’t used your heating yet this winter, it would be a good idea to turn it on for a short time, just to check that everything is working as it should
- When you first turn your heating on for the winter, run your central heating for 20-30 minutes, to make sure that all your radiators heat up as expected
- Make sure you know how your thermostat and radiator valves work, if you have electrical storage heaters make sure you have set your input and output charges appropriately
- Set your heating to come on earlier rather than just turning up your thermostat to warm your house quickly
- The Energy Savings trust recommends heating your home to between 18 & 21 degrees during winter months, while you’re in your home.
- Set your radiator valves higher in the rooms where you spend most time
- Make sure you have enough credit on your gas and electric meter
- Keep your bedroom window closed at night
- Keep curtains closed at dusk and use a draft excluder on external doors
- If you’re going away during winter, set the thermostat to 5°C to help prevent frozen pipes. If the water pipes freeze, make sure you are familiar with what to do.
We have prepared some handy videos which will help you with basic tasks to do with your boiler, radiators and other heating systems.
Damp, mould and condensation tips and information
It’s crucial that we work together to keep your home free from damp, mould and condensation.
Damp, mould and condensation are much more common in winter, as we tend to keep our windows and doors closed to keep warm.
Allowing air to circulate in your home is one of the main things that you can do to stop the build-up of condensation, damp, and mould. Opening windows when you’re cooking can help air circulate, and it can also save you money in the long run. This is because your heating system has to work twice as hard to heat air that is full of moisture.
We have prepared a handy video full of ways to help you prevent damp, mould and condensation building up in your home.
There are lots more information and tips available
Bonfires can be extremely dangerous when they are not managed properly. They can also lead to ASB issues and be a nuisance for many neighbourhoods.
As you would imagine, we receive the most complaints about bonfires around the time of bonfire night, but there are also issues throughout the winter season.
There are some things that you can do to help us keep you and your neighbourhood safe.
Such as, please contact us about dangerous bonfires or piles of rubbish that could be set alight in your neighbourhood.
What makes a bonfire unsafe:
- When it is too close to a building, road, power lines, trees and utility supply points
- When it is poorly stacked, too tall and unstable
- NEVER put white goods, cylinders, gas canisters, petrol, oil or chemical drums, tyres, foam-filled furniture/carpets on a bonfire
- Also, you should NEVER spray or throw petrol onto bonfires.
For safety advice please call 0330 175 9540.
As many of you will already be aware, we don’t allow bonfires on land that belongs to Incommunities, this includes gardens. We would always urge people, particularly those with young children, to go to properly organised displays.
We work with Fire Service, Police and Local Authority to make sure that any bonfires which appear on open land are checked for unsafe materials. Any bonfires built too close to buildings, road, power lines, trees and utility supply points will also be removed.
Ice and snow
Ice and snow can catch us by surprise every year, but there are some basic tips that you can do to help look after you and your friends and family as the weather turns cold.
- Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in the icy weather. If you’re not able to do this yourself, then please don’t attempt to. It’s always best to ask a friend or neighbour to help, rather than risk having an accident
- Wear hats, scarves and gloves when you go out
- Wear several layers of clothing to trap in the warmth
- Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside
- In severe weather conditions stay inside – especially if you have health problems
- If bad weather is predicted, make sure you have extra food items in the cupboards and freezer in case you’re not able to get out to the shops
- Don’t delay in getting treatment for minor winter ailments like colds or sore throats.
- Visit your local pharmacist for advice on treatment before it gets worse so you can recover quicker
- Open your kitchen cupboard doors on a night to help air to circulate
- Eating regularly helps to keep energy levels up during the winter Hot drinks, hot water bottles and a blanket can all help you keep warm.
Roofing and the structure of your home
During winter, small leaks and drips can sometimes turn into bigger issues if they aren’t sorted. There are a few things that you can look out for and do, which will help to protect your home and belongings.
- Look out for broken or loose downpipes, these are the long pipes that come from the guttering on your roof.
- Keep an eye out for missing slates and tiles on your roof, they can sometimes come loose after heavy wind, storms, or snowfalls.
- If you have water leaking from your guttering, there could be a section missing, or it could need clearing.
- Most homes have airbricks, these are bricks that contain small holes. They help to keep the air circulating and do a really important job in helping to keep your home free from condensation, damp and mould. It’s important that you don’t block or tape over the holes as it can cause damage to your home and belongings in the long run.
All the things above may not cause immediate damage, but they can cause bigger issues over time if they aren’t reported and dealt with.
If you spot any of these issues at yours, or your neighbour’s home, then please report it to us on 0330 175 9540.