Winter home maintenance tips
Discover some simple ways to look after your home during the winter months.
Test your heating before winter starts
- run the heating for 20-30 minutes and check the radiators heat up as expected.
Check for problems around the house
- make sure your gutters and drains aren’t blocked or leaking
- check your windows and outside doors open and shut properly
- check stopcock and isolation valves haven’t seized up. If they’re stiff, loosen them with WD40.
Protect your pipes if you go away for over 24 hours
- turn off your main internal stopcock or isolation valve to prevent frozen pipes
- leave the heating on a low setting to prevent burst pipes.
Frozen or burst boiler pipes
Modern condensing boilers produce waste condensation, which is removed via a plastic pipe outside your home. In cold weather, this pipe can freeze and create a blockage or split, which can stop your boiler working.
Boilers typically show an error message if this happens, but you should also look out for common warning signs, such as:
- the boiler won’t turn on
- gurgling sounds when the boiler is turned on
- taps with a low pressure or that don't produce as much water as normal
- the toilet cistern being slow to refill.
If you have a frozen pipe
If you can safely access it, try to thaw it out before switching the boiler on again. You can either hold a hot water bottle on the frozen pipe or pour hot, but not boiling, water over it.
If you have a burst pipe
Turn off the water supply at your stopcock (this is usually under your kitchen sink or in a cupboard) and switch off any electrical plugs or appliances affected by the water. Then phone our emergency repairs team on 0300 500 8000.