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Winter home maintenance tips

Discover some simple ways to look after your home during the winter months.

Test your heating before winter starts

  • Check your heating system is working, including your radiators. 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.

See how you can fix some simple plumbing problems

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 cause the pipe to 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:

  • boiler won’t turn on
  • gurgling sounds when the boiler is turned on
  • taps have low pressure or don’t produce as much water as normal
  • toilet cistern is 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.