Staying warm at home is really important for keeping well during the winter. Keeping warm can not only help prevent physical illnesses such as colds and flu as well as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia but it can also help look after your mental health.
We've put together some simple tips that will help you stay warm and well, as well as some advice for protecting your home against the effects of cold weather. Scroll to the bottom to find out about getting help with your energy bills and for other sources of information and advice.
- Try and keep your home heated above 18 degrees C.
- Visit the Government website – www.gov.uk - to find out if you are entitled to receive financial support towards the cost of your heating bills.
- Keep basic items such as soup, dried goods, long life milk and teabags in the cupboard in case you can't get to the shop.
- Have plenty of hot food and drinks to keep you warm.
- Take advantage of the winter flu jab available through the NHS or, in some cases, your employer.
- Try to keep active to stay warm.If you cannot walk around, try chair-based exercises.
- Layer up - several thin layers are better at keeping you warm than one thick layer.
- Know where your stop tap is located -you'll need to turn it off quickly in the event of a burst pipe.
- Keep your kettle filled and store bottles of water in case your water is turned off.
- Be a good neighbour - keep an eye on others living around you and if you have any concerns, please let us know.
- Follow the Government guidelines on reducing contact with others, washing your hands and wearing a facemask.
- Keep an eye on how to book your Coronavirus vaccination as it becomes available on the NHS website, here.
Frozen pipes can cause your heating to stop working and result in bursts.
- You can prevent pipes from freezing by insulating them with pipe lagging.
- If you do find that pipes inside your home have frozen, gradually warm them up using a hair dryer or fan heater before putting your heating back on to prevent them from bursting.
- Turn off the main water supply at the stop tap until the pipe is thawed.
- If you get a burst pipe switch off the stop tap and then drain the system by running all the taps into your sinks and bath.
- Outside taps: In colder weather, we recommend turning off the water supply to your outside tap using its stop tap. Open the tap to drain any water from the pipes and cover an exposed pipework with pipe lagging to prevent frozen and potential burst pipes.
Frozen Condensing Boiler
If your condensing boiler stops working in very cold weather, the condenser waste pipe outside your home may have frozen. Try defrosting it by pouring over hot water.
Once thawed, you will need to reset the boiler. You can do this by holding the reset button for 10 seconds and then waiting for the boiler to fire.
Help with the cost of heating your home
There are a number of grants and benefits available to people who are struggling to afford their energy bills. These include the Winter Fuel payment, Cold Weather Payment, Warm Home Discount Scheme and Grants to pay off energy debts.
Citizens Advice have a really useful guide to all of these, here.
You can also go straight to the Government website here.
Other useful contacts
Energy Saving Trust
For impartial energy advice www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
NHS Winter HealthAdvice
Website: www.nhs.uk or tel: 111
MET Office Updates
Tel: 0370 900 0100
Age UK - Winter Health Tips
Tel: 0800 169 2081 or visit the website www.ageuk.org.uk