The 2021 festive weather forecast is 'unsettled' with possibly a 'sprinkling of snow' for some of us.
Because of the way Christmas falls this year, we close at 4pm on Christmas Eve and we don't reopen until 8am on December 29. Our out-of-hours emergency service will cover during these hours for anyone in need of an emergency repair.
What is an Emergency?
An emergency repair is something which threatens your health, security or safety, or could cause major damage to your home. In the case of heating and hot water, it is generally breakdowns in extreme cold weather, or at any time if you are elderly or vulnerable.
If we agree your repair is an emergency, we will ask you to stay home until one of our contractors comes to fix it. The contractor will make the emergency safe and fix it if possible there and then but, if it is a 'make safe' a return appointment will be needed to solve the problem. If we do not feel the repair is an emergency, we will make an appointment to have the repair carried out as a ‘non-emergency’ within our current guidelines. You can also find out more about emergency and non-emergency repairs on pages 10 - 12 of our repairs handbook.
When you report your repair, please tell us your name, address and contact details. You also need to let us know when you will be at home, and if there is anything we need to know about how we access your home, for example, if you may not hear our contractor knocking, or it may take you a little longer to answer the door.
Heating and/or hot water
When temperatures are extreme, the result can be freezing and burst pipes. Burst pipes cause lots of damage, not only to our buildings but to the things inside. You are expected to take reasonable measures to stop this happening as part of your tenancy agreement with us.
Depending on what kind of heating system you have, you might find it is better for you to keep your heating on low all the time so it takes less energy to warm up your home and keep it warm. However, the Energy Saving Trust doesn't recommend leaving heating on all day if you have a traditional boiler heating system. Here is a link to a video explaining how to properly use your heating to get the best out of it and keep your home warm for as little cost as possible. Keeping your home warm and well ventilated will also help with any damp and condensation problems.
If you have no heating and hot water, check the pressure gauge on your boiler. If you prepay for your energy on a meter, please check you have credit. If you know, or have instructions on how to increase the pressure on your boiler, follow them. Your boiler should restore itself to normal without the need to contact us.
If you have a burst pipe, turn off the mains water supply immediately by turning the stopcock clockwise. (Make sure you know where your stopcock is). This will stop any more water getting into the water pipes. If the burst pipe is on the main water system the rush of water will eventually stop. If it doesn’t, the problem may be on your cold water storage system, and you will need to drain down your cold water storage tank which will usually be in your roof-space. This video from Northern Ireland Water shows you just what to do.
What can I do to help stop any problems?
You might be surprised what you can do. If you don’t have any problems, but you are worried you might, there are lots of ways you can help to prevent them. There is information on what to do in a flood on the Gov.UK website. You can also find out where flood warnings are and what the different warnings mean and if the area you live in is at risk.
If you know the problem is a frozen pipe, you can gently try to thaw it. Never with a naked flame, but a hairdryer is great.
You can find out more about our repairs service in our repairs handbook. It includes emergency advice, (in the case of gas and electrical problems) and, on pages 16 - 22, explains which repairs are our responsibility, and which are yours.
Don't forget, you don't have to ring through for repairs that aren't emergencies, you can report these online.
We hope you stay safe, warm and dry in your homes this season, but if you have a real emergency, our out of hours team are standing by.