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Here’s some advice on the basics of looking after your home in winter. We’ll be here when you need help from us and we’ll aim to respond as quickly as possible.
And if you need advice on the following, please call us on 0344 800 3800
The stopcock is a valve for turning off and on the cold water supply to your home. They’re usually found in your kitchen, below the kitchen sink or in the ground floor bathroom. It’s important that you know where the stopcock is and that you check it’s working.
Turn the stopcock in a clockwise direction to shut the water supply off. You can turn the water supply back on by turning the stopcock in an anti-clockwise direction.
How do I check it?
Frozen condensate pipes are a common problem in winter months. Here’s a short guide to help you thaw your frozen gas boiler condensate waste pipe in a safe and easy way.
The condensate drainage pipe is a plastic pipe (typically grey or white in colour) coming from the bottom of your boiler. It is likely that this pipe is frozen if:
If the pipe freezes you should report this.
Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather, it appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. Generally it occurs in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards.
Produce less moisture
Do not block permanent ventilators.
For more information, please refer to our leaflet:
Ventilate to remove moisture:
If you are away this winter, you should keep your central heating on at a low level and leave the loft hatch open slightly to allow warm air to circulate in the loft space. If you require assistance to drain down your heating system/turn off your water supply, please call us on 0344 800 3800 and we will arrange this for you. We’ll need 7-10 days notice of this and you must tell us when you’ll be returning so that we can make arrangements to refill your system.
You must not light your central heating boiler before your system is refilled.
If you expect low temperatures while you are away, pour some salt into the toilet pan and other waste pipes to stop the water from freezing. Do not forget to make arrangements for emergency access to your home before your leave. If you are going away for an extended period, you should provide us with a contact number and an address of a key holder to your property. Ask someone to check your home regularly while you are away.
If you have any concerns about a property that you think may be empty that we don’t know about, please call us immediately. Unprotected properties in severe weather can cause damage to other homes through frozen pipes and bursts.
We strongly recommend you obtain insurance for damage to furniture and fittings, personal possessions and redecoration. Bernicia does not insure your belongings and has no responsibility to assist in drying out or replacing your furniture etc.
Bernicia tenants have access to the SIMPLE Tenants Home Contents Insurance Scheme. This offers an easy, low cost way for tenants to protect their household effects. Call 0344 800 3800 for more information. Do it before it’s too late.
Turn down your thermostat by just 1°C and you’ll cut your fuel bills by up to 10%.
Use energy saving light bulbs, they last 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs and using one can save you around £55 over the lifetime of the bulb. Always turn off lights when you leave a room.
Keep a lid on it – the saucepan that is. Use just enough water to cover vegetables, not a full pan, and try using the microwave instead of the oven – that’ll save money too. When using your kettle only boil as much water as needed, but remember if this is an electric kettle make sure the element is covered.
Washing at 30°C uses about 40% less electricity than at a higher temperature. Try to wash full loads. If you can’t, use a half load or economy programme instead.
Look out for the energy efficiency rating whenever you buy new appliances. ‘A’ rated appliances are the most efficient and cheapest to run.
Don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so make sure any repairs are reported and taps are fully turned off.
Closing curtains, especially lined ones, will stop heat escaping through your windows.
Consider fuel switching.
Phone: free on 0800 169 65 65
Phone: free on 0800 074 0745
Online: www.metoffice.gov.uk or local news stations
Bursts outside your home
Phone: 0345 717 1100