Prepare your home for winter

The South East is forecast an extremely cold winter. A little preparation can help keep your home, its contents and its inhabitants safe during cold weather.

Ten tips to winter-ready your home

1. Lag your pipes

If your pipes get too cold, the water inside can freeze. As well as the hassle of stopping your water supply, frozen pipes can burst and create leaks that may damage your home or possessions.

Protect your pipes by surrounding them with lagging – a cheap, foam tubing. It's easy and requires no special DIY tools. Follow the link below to find out to lag your pipes:

How to stop your pipes freezing and bursting

If do you notice a frozen tap or pipe at home follow, our advice:

What to do if your pipes freeze

2. Locate your stop tap

Your stop tap allows you to turn off your home’s water in an emergency, such as a burst pipe. It’s usually found under the sink or stairs. Locate your stop tap and check it’s working, so you know what to do in a crisis.

3. Leave your heating on low

Leaving your heating on low helps protect your pipes from freezing. If you’re going away, turn it to a low level or schedule it to switch on for an hour in the morning and afternoon. Some systems have a built-in frost setting for this purpose.

4. Service your boiler

During the colder months, your boiler has to work hard. So boilers often break in the winter. Remember to service your boiler regularly so it keeps running smoothly. Otherwise you could face a cold home and a costly repair bill. You may also wish to check whether your insurance covers winter emergencies, just in case.

5. Bleed your radiators

If your radiators have air trapped inside, they can take longer to heat your home. Bleeding them lets the air out, so they’re more efficient. Check whether your radiators are hot at the bottom but cool at the top. If so, it may be a sign they need bleeding.

Bleeding your radiators is simple. You just need a radiator key, which you can buy cheaply from a DIY store. Use the key to gently open the valve at the top of the radiator. You’ll hear the air escape. As soon as a drop of water comes out, twist the valve shut and you’re done.

6. Fix dripping taps

If you have a dripping tap, your pipes have more risk of freezing. After all, even a dribble can freeze inside. Fortunately, you can usually fix a dripping tap simply and cheaply by changing the washer.

7. Clear your drains and gutters

Leaves and muck can block your gutters and drains, stopping water flowing. Water that has nowhere else to go may build up and leak into your roof and walls. Or it may freeze and damage your property. Keep your drains and gutters clear to avoid costly repairs.

8. Disconnect your hose

If water is left in your hosepipe, it can freeze and split the hose – or force its way back into your pipes and cause leaks there. Disconnect your hosepipe and drain it. For extra security, you can pop an insulating bag over any external taps when they’re not in use.

9. Insulate your home

If heat escapes from your home, your heating has to work harder – increasing your energy bill. A house loses a quarter of its heat through the roof. Save money by making sure your loft is insulated properly. You can also keep heat in by shutting doors, using draught excluders and drawing your curtains.

10. Request individual support

If you’ve got individual needs that mean you’re concerned about the cold weather, you could apply to be added to our priority services register. This is a confidential register for customers with individual needs, so our staff know how best to support you. 


From freezing temperatures to heavy wind and rain, we know how disruptive severe weather can be.

We launched WeatherEye to help our customers stay prepared, whatever the weather.

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