Are you winter ready?
Get ready for winter with our month by month 'winter ready' hints and tips
We want to support our customers through the coming months with useful hints and tips to help you keep yourself, and your home, safe and warm this winter.
- Know your free emergency numbers - for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999*. In a power cut dial 105
- Test your smoke / carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Remember; if you have battery operated alarms make sure that you have spare batteries for replacements just in case.
- Look out for relatives and neighbours - with 3.6 million older people in the UK living alone*, please take a minute to check on your neighbours. Are they prepared for the colder months? Can you help carry out some basic checks for them?
- Join the Priority Services Register (PSR)- The PSR helps gas and electricity companies look after customers who have additional communication, access or safety needs. Find out more about the extra support we offer
- Get your home winter ready with these handy tips
- Keep a regular eye out for weather warnings in your area so you are prepared for snow, ice or storms.
- If you haven’t done so already, check your central heating is working correctly. Turn your heating on (and ensure the timer is working). After 20 minutes, check your radiators are starting to get warm (from the bottom up)
- Bleed radiators of air if you find they are not getting hot at the top. Use a radiator key to and open the small valve at the top and to the side of the radiator slightly until water begins to drain out – tighten back up quickly! Radiator keys can be purchased at a minimal cost from your local DIY store
- Check any existing pipe insulation (only where visible) to make sure it is in good condition to protect your external pipes and taps from freezing in cold weather. A cheap way to protect pipes, if insulation is missing, is to wrap them in old towels or blankets. Read our advice on What to do if your boiler isn't working and its winter time
- Follow winter health tips from NHS Winter Health
Follow our top tips on how to stay safe and warm this winter
Here are a few simple ideas to help keep your heating costs down and to make sure you stay healthy during the winter months:
- Wear warm clothes in layers - clothes made from wool, cotton or fleecy fabrics are warmest. When you go out wear a hat, gloves and scarf and when you're indoors, wear warm socks and slippers to keep your feet cosy.
- Set your heating to come on just before you get up and switch off after you've gone to bed. If it's very cold, set your heating to come on earlier and turn off later rather than turning the thermostat up.
- Keep your main living room at 18–21°C (64–70°F) and the rest of your house at 16°C (61°F) at least. Turn radiators off in unused rooms and shut doors to keep heat in the rooms you use most. If you can't heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room throughout the day and your bedroom just before you go to bed. In bed, use either a hot water bottle or an electric blanket.
- Think about installing thermostatic valves on radiators in rooms you use the most.
- Move any furniture away from radiators to allow the heat to circulate better.
- Remember to close your curtains to keep the heat in and draughts out.
- Consider adding draft excluders to maximise the heat in the house and minimise drafts and cold getting in.
- Find out of you are entitled to any benefits or grants such as winter fuel payments and insulation costs.
- Have regular hot drinks and have a flask handy if you find moving about difficult. Eat small amounts regularly throughout the day - foods such as porridge, soups and stews will help keep you warm.
- Try to keep as active as possible to boost your circulation. Move around at least once an hour and avoid sitting still for long periods. Even light exercise will help keep you warm. Put your feet up when you sit down as it’s coldest nearest the ground.
- Keep a list of useful/emergency contacts and local organisations which can offer support people like you by your phone.
- Keep torches, a battery-powered radio and spare batteries where they’re easy to find in the dark in case of power cuts.