To help keep you and your home as safe as possible this winter, it’s a good idea to do some regular home maintenance checks.
We've also included tips and links to help you get the most out of your home and reduce your energy costs where you can. There's also advice on support if you're struggling.
Check your boiler
One of the most important things at this time of year is making sure your heating and boiler are working properly before it gets really cold. If there’s a problem, please get in touch so we can book an appointment to fix it. Don’t wait until winter to see if there’s an issue.
We carry out annual gas safety checks in your home. If your check is due, please keep your appointment. These checks are legally required and important for your safety. If you’ve missed your appointment or need to change it, get in touch to rebook it as soon as possible.
If you’re a leaseholder or shared owner, you’re responsible for your own gas boiler and appliances and you should use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your appliances. Find out more about gas, electrical and fire safety for shared owners and leaseholders here.
- Give your gas boiler pressure a check before things turn cold. It will run best at around 1 to 1.5 bar and you can check this via the gauge on the front of your boiler unit. (If the green area of your gauge is different, please use that pressure range instead.)
- Check your radiators - if any are hot at the bottom and not the top, there’s too much trapped air and you need to bleed the radiator so hot water can fill the whole system and radiate more heat into the room.
- If your boiler stops working in icy weather, you might have a frozen condensate pipe. This pipe is usually of white plastic and runs from the boiler through the wall to an outside drain. It’s quick and easy to defrost yourself and get your boiler back up and running.
Keep your home warm and reduce condensation
There are a number of things you can do to keep your home as warm as possible but also let out any moisture to avoid condensation and reduce the risk of damp and mould.
- Use your timer to turn the heating up for when you need it and on low when you’re out
- If you can, use your controller and set the hot water and heating to come on so they're ready for the times when you need them, rather than being on all the time
- Set your water temperature to 60°C so that you're not spending more on energy than you need to
- Move any sofa or other big items of furniture so they’re not blocking heat coming from radiators
- Open your curtains during the day to let in the sunlight (and free heat!) and close them when the sun goes down, to make the room cosy and keep out draughts. Draught excluders in front of doors are also a cheap and effective way to retain heat.
- Get all our tips on how to reduce condensation - and information on how we can help if you have more of a problem.
- Find out about government support with fuel bills and advice on dealing with your energy supplier.
- Check out our videos on using electric storage heaters and off-peak immersion tanks , so you’re not paying more than you need to. And how to reset trip switches on your fuse box if the electric goes off unexpectedly.
- If you’ve got an air source heat pump system, we’ve also got some great user guides and videos for you .
Help avoid burst pipes
The damage caused by a burst pipe can be devastating in the home. When water freezes it can cause the pipes to swell and crack – then, when it defrosts, the water will come pouring out. To avoid this happening you should:
- repair or report any minor leaks before they have chance to develop into a bigger one
- leave your heating on low if you’re away from home in cold weather, to avoid pipes freezing
- fix dripping taps – even a slow trickle can cause a burst pipe
- make sure your boiler service has been completed when we've made an appointment with you
- make sure you know where your stopcock is, and that you can turn it on and off, so you can turn off the water at the mains in an emergency – to limit the damage.
- if you have a garden tap, you should also have a separate stopcock or isolation valve just for this. Ideally, turn off the supply in the winter to stop the pipe from freezing. Once you’ve isolated it, leave the garden tap open so any remaining water can expand. (Don't forget to turn the tap off before you turn the water supply back on though!)
- Find out how to turn off your stopcock to minimise any damage , and get advice on what to do if a pipe does freeze.
Make sure you’re covered
Don’t forget that we insure the building you live in, but we don’t insure your personal belongings and home contents. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a risk that your belongings could be broken, damaged or stolen. Find out more about cost effective home contents insurance.
Cost of living support and other money saving tips
We have brought together lots of sources of cost of living support and advice to help you face rising costs: from government fuel support funds to money saving tips. And information on all the services and support we offer as SNG.
There are also special sections on other sources of local support, food banks, heat hubs and lots more in each geographic area.
Cost of living support
From saving money on your weekly shop to support with debt advice or getting a job, we've brought together sources of support and advice to help you face rising costs.
Debt Advice service
Are you struggling with debt and unsure about where to turn for help? Or feeling overwhelmed by which Debt Solution may be right for you? Maybe you’re getting letters but don’t feel able to open them?
Employment and skills
We’ve helped thousands of residents with their work goals and we can help you too: from getting into work to finding better paid work or gaining a qualification.
Lower fuel bills
Help’s available from your supplier or Sovereign if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills. See links to grants and schemes, plus what to do if your energy supplier goes out of business.
Avoid condensation, damp and mould
More about how and why condensation forms, how to minimise it – and how we can help if it’s a more serious problem or you have rising damp or penetrating damp (such as from a leak or faulty roof).
Useful guides and videos on looking after your home, such as how to avoid frozen pipes, unblocking a sink or what to do if your heating’s not working, plus advice on condensation, damp and mould.