Cold Weather Information 2013


December 2013

Now that the cold weather is upon us, here are some tips on how to protect your home and keep warm.

Winter Proof Your Home

It’s never too early to take a few simple steps to protect your home and help those most important to you. These quick easy steps should protect you and your home from the most likely effects of a cold snap and may even save you money in the long term.

  • In very cold weather if you have a water tank or pipes in your loft, leave the door open slightly to allow heat into the roof space
  • Keep your curtains closed at night to prevent heat escaping.
  • Never leave a tap dripping it could Freeze!
  • If cold weather is forecast, and during a cold snap, keep your heating on overnight at a low temperature so pipes won't freeze - simply turn your thermostat down to 15 degrees Celsius.
  • Check that the stopcock works so that you can turn off the water if there is a burst. It is usually in the kitchen or bathroom. If you can’t find it or it is leaking or you can’t turn it off, contact your Housing Repairs Service for help and advice.

Please be aware – if you do get frozen pipes, and there is a burst, we may ask you to pay the cost of sorting any damage to your home, and to your neighbours' homes if the burst affects them too.

Frozen Pipes!

If you find that you have no cold water during cold weather, unfortunately this usually means your pipes have frozen. At this point, as there is nothing that can be done until the weather improves, you should locate your stopcock and turn off the water supply. If you do not know where your stopcock is please contact a neighbour, call AHP or the emergency numbers (if the office is closed) as they may be able to suggest places it could be located. Finding the stopcock is vital as there is a possibility that when the pipes defrost there could be flooding, not only in your home, but in the property below (if you live on the first floor or above).

If you find that one of your pipes have burst please:

  • Turn off the water supply at the main stopcock, the electricity supply at the mains and the water heater.
  • Turn on all the taps to drain your system. If you can, collect the water in the bath for washing and flushing the toilet.
  • Warn your neighbours in case it affects them.
  • Telephone AHP (or the emergency contractor if it happens outside office hours).

Some simple steps to prevent frozen and burst pipes:

  • Ensure outside taps are fully switched off (no drips) and are protected with purpose-designed insulation.
  • Ensure your central heating (or immersion) is switched on at least once a day to allow the water to heat up.
  • If you are going away, programme the heating to come on daily and leave the loft hatch open slightly.

Keep Warm and Well this Winter

Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm. Cold weather can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. You may be more susceptible to these health problems if:

  • You are over 60
  • Are on a low income and can't afford heating
  • have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • You are disabled

Every winter in the UK, 25,000-30,000 deaths can be linked to the cold weather. It is estimated that 32% of households in Aberdeenshire are in fuel poverty. This is when a household spends more than 10 percent of its income to keep warm.

Keeping Warm

Here are some simple tips to stay warm and safe in your home during the winter:

  • During the day heat your main living room to around 18-21˚C and the rest of your home to 16˚C.
  • Heat all the rooms you use during the day
  • Make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
  • If you have one, set the timer on your heating to come on about ½ hour before you get up and to switch off ½ hour before you go to bed.
  • If you receive certain benefits during the very cold weather you may qualify for a cold weather payment from the government.
  • If you receive certain benefits you may qualify for a Warm Homes Discount from your energy supplier. Contact your energy supplier or our Housing Energy Advice Officer for more information.
  • Try to keep the temperature in your bedroom above 18˚c overnight
  • Wear plenty of thin layers rather than one thick one
  • Wear clothes made of wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibers
  • Have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • Stay active

Check AHP’s Energy Advice webpage for information on how to save money on your fuel bills or contact the Housing Energy Advice Officer on 01224 540813

House Insurance

This is a good time to check that you are properly insured. Your landlord is only responsible for insuring the building, not the contents belonging to the tenant. You are at risk of losing all your possessions through fire, flood or burglary if you are not insured. AHP does not arrange home contents insurance at this time however we do recommend you take out home content insurance through

Thistle
Contents Insurance
0845 601 7007

If you would like an information leaflet about this insurance scheme, please contact us on 01224 548000, e-mail us at enquiries@ospreyhousing.org.uk or download a copy here: Thistle Contents Insurance Leaflet PDF.

Useful Numbers

Make a list of the telephone numbers of all the agencies you might need to get in touch with at short notice and keep it in a handy place. This might include your gas, electricity and telephone suppliers, and your insurance company. Here are a few telephone numbers to get you started, but there may be others that are important to you.

  • AHP Repairs line 01224 548001
  • AHP emergency Repairs line (out of Hours) 01330 827177
  • Housing Energy Advice Officer 01224 548013
  • Scottish Gas 0800 048 0202
  • Scottish Power 0845 272 7999
  • Scottish Hydro Electric 0800 300 999
  • Scottish Water 0845 601 8855
  • British Telecom 151 (residential customers) 154 (business customers)

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