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Top tips for a warm, winter home

WinterDuring the colder months, we often get a lot of calls about damp and condensation.

Condensation occurs where moist air comes into contact with air, or a surface, which is at a lower temperature. It is generally noticeable where it forms on non-absorbent surfaces (i.e. windows or tiles) but it can form on any surface and may not be noticed until mould growth or rotting of material occurs.

Condensation can be prevented or easily treated simply by following a few tips: 

Moisture – cut down how much you make

  • Put lids on saucepans when you are cooking. 
  • Use an extractor fan or open the window when you take a bath or shower. 
  • Don’t dry washing on radiators, use a clothes horse in a room with an extractor fan.
  • Make sure your tumble dryer vents outside. 
  • A dehumidifier will help to get rid of the excess moisture in your home. (Turning up your heating will not get rid of condensation if your home is damp). 

More Tips

  • Don’t let furniture touch outside walls - leave a small gap.
  • Open doors on built in wardrobes on outside walls. Try to avoid clothes and shoes from touching outside walls.
  • Clean out gutters, and disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. 
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
  • If your house is empty during cold periods, you might want to drain the water system.

What should I do if a pipe bursts in my home?

  • Turn off the water at the main stop valve and switch off any central heating.
  • If the pipe is frozen, thaw it by gently warming it. 
  • Open all taps to drain the system.

If water is seeping through your ceilings, collect it in buckets. If the ceilings are starting to swell make a hole in the plaster to let the water pass without the ceiling collapsing
Do not touch any electrics or wiring if they've been affected - turn them off at the mains and call us.

Test your heating

It’s a good idea to test your heating before bad weather sets in.

Gas central heating

  • Turn all the radiator valves on.
  • Turn up the room thermostat to maximum.
  • Set the heating to run on your programmer/boiler.
  • After 15 minutes touch the radiators to see if they are starting to heat up.
  • If one or two radiators stay cold, it could mean a small amount of air has entered the system. All you need do is bleed those radiators by inserting the “bleed” key and turning it anti-clockwise. The air and a small amount of water will be released. Close the valve and then run the cold water tap for a minute or so to adjust the pressure.
  • If none of your radiators are working, contact us. Make sure you turn the heating system off.

If you have no heating or hot water

Is the pressure on the boiler at zero? If so, you need to re-pressurise your boiler. If you don’t know how to do this, please contact us.

Electric Storage Heaters

These heaters store up electricity during the cheapest electric tariff times then gradually release heat throughout the day. Depending on your tariff, they may store up heat overnight or during off-peak periods in the day. Each storage heater works by itself, so you can choose how you want to heat each room.

Stay Safe with Electric Heaters

  • Never cover the air vents of your storage heaters.
  • Make sure there is a gap of at least 15cm between the bottom of your curtains and the top of your heater.
  • Don't leave anything flammable close to the heater.
  • Heaters can get hot so consider fitting a safety guard.

We hope you stay safe and warm this winter. If anything does go wrong, you may find these tips help, but please ring us if you need help.