The weather forecasters warned us temperatures would drop this October weekend, but possibly not to the level they did.
With minus temperatures recorded in many parts of the country on 28 October 2018, frosty starts to the October 29, and with daytime temperatures forecast not much higher than a few degrees, most of us will have cranked up our heating.
That first real use of our heating may have caused some of us problems.
Heating and/or hot water
If you think you have a heating or hot water emergency, contact us on 0345 678 0555.
With extreme temperatures in the past, we have often seen freezing and burst pipes over the winter holidays. Burst pipes cause lots of damage, not only to our property but to the things inside. You are expected to take reasonable precautions against this happening as part of your tenancy agreement with us.
Do not turn your heating system off, even if you are not at home. It can be cheaper to keep your home at a low, constant temperature, rather than letting it go very cold. Turn down the thermostat to the lowest setting, or set your timer to come on often. This will help to prevent burst pipes which could cause damage. Let warm air circulate around your home by leaving doors, including cupboard doors and the trap door to your roof-space, open. Don’t leave your heating on high, as this will result in costly bills.
If you have no heating and hot water, check the pressure gauge on your boiler. 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 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 (usually between 31 October and 1 May), or at any time of the year for elderly or vulnerable residents.
If we agree your repair is an emergency, we will ask you to stay home until one of our contractors comes to fix it. This should be within four hours. If we do not feel it is an emergency, we will make an appointment to have the repair carried out as a ‘non-emergency’ within our guidelines. We will explain what these are. You can also find out more about emergency and non-emergency repairs on pages 10 - 12 of our repairs handbook.
When you contact us to 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.
What can I do to Help?
A lot! If you don’t have any problems, but you are worried you might, there are lots of ways you can help to prevent them. We can’t safeguard against a mechanical fault, but we can help to keep appliances working properly by keeping our heating on a low constant heat (which is usually cheaper than set times) and by gently unfreezing any frozen pipes – 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.
We want to make sure you stay safe and warm in your homes this season, and you can help to make sure that happens.