To avoid emergencies, it is important to keep your home well maintained and carry out the relevant checks prior to the winter months.

Boiler & heating system

  1. You should have your boiler serviced every 12 months and in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidance. Servicing must be done by a qualified gas engineer, so ask to see their credentials. If you’re renting, it is the landlord’s responsibility to organise annual Gas Safety checks.
  2. Please check to see what repairs are covered by your boiler/heating system manufacturer, supplier or installer before calling us. If you have a repairer guarantee or warranty in place, this may cover you for your requirements. If we come out to you and repair the heating system/boiler, your warranty could be invalidated.
  3. Signs that your boiler/heating system requires de-scaling or a powerflush, which are not covered under your policy include: noisy boiler/heating system, sludged-up pipes or poor circulation.
  4. If you are a Landlord, by law you must make sure that you maintain gas appliances and ensure they are in a safe condition. You should also arrange safety checks and inspection of the installation pipework every twelve months. You should also hold a Gas Safety Record (CP12) as proof. It is your responsibility to make sure that you fulfil your legal obligations.

Save energy this winter

  1. Heat your home to at least 18°C. If you are over 65 or have a health condition this is particularly important.
  2. Please ensure you use your central heating timer. Set your timer to come on just before you get up and turn it off after you have gone to bed.
  3. If the temperature does not suit you, avoid turning the thermostat up. Instead, set your heating to come on earlier and turn it off later.
  4. If heating all the rooms that you use in your home is not possible, prioritise those you use at certain times of the day. You can prevent heat escaping by remembering to close curtains and shut doors.

Heating & insulating

  1. Ensure radiators are not obstructed by curtains or furniture.
  2. Ensure all windows and doors in your home are fitted with draught proofing to seal any gaps. This helps to keep your home warm and will also help keep energy costs down.
  3. Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes. This is especially important for pipes outside of the house, which could freeze during the winter months


  1. Where there is a major leak in your home, immediately locate the stop valve (also known as a stop cock/tap) and turn it off. Then call us. It is usually in a room where water is used often and on the ground floor. Your stop valve will probably be a metal tap and you should rotate it clockwise until completely closed.
  2. Often a bucket or similar, is the simplest solution to catch the water and a towel wrapped around any leaking pipework.
  3. If leaking water might threaten your home’s wiring, turn off the electricity at the fuse box.
  4. You can prevent outdoor taps from freezing firstly by checking if you have an isolation valve on the indoor pipework leading to it, and turning it off. Once off, turn the outside tap on to remove all excess water inside the tap.
  5. If you cannot isolate the tap, you can lag the pipe using a thermal tap jacket, which you’ll find in most DIY stores.
  6. Prevent limescale build up in your taps by turning them on all the way and leaving them to run for a few minutes.


  1. Where shared drains are the responsibility of your local water authority, they will assist you with any shared drainage emergencies.
  2. Pour soda crystals down your indoor drains every 6 months to clean them. Use plenty of water to wash them down and follow the guidelines on the packaging.
  3. Clear outdoor drains of leaves after the autumn to prevent flooding and be aware that cooking fats and food can cause blockages.
  4. If your cistern is cracked, leaking or overflowing, call us and then get a bucket or similar to try and catch the water. Stop the water supply to the cistern by turning off the isolation valve – which should be somewhere going up the back of the cistern. Alternatively, turn off your water completely at the internal stop valve.
  5. If your flushing mechanism uses a traditional ball cock, lift the arm with the ball float on the end until the water stops flowing, then put a thin piece of wood (like a wooden spoon) across the width of the cistern and tie the ball cock arm to it, so that the valve is held in the off position.
  6. If you have a button mechanism we suggest you wait until the engineer arrives so as to not cause further damage.
  7. If your toilet is blocked, do not keep flushing as this could cause the water to overflow.
  8. Try using a plunger, but avoid compressed air products and chemical drain cleaners. Use a plunger for sinks also. If the plunger does not manage to unblock your sink, try 1/3 cup of vinegar and another of bicarbonate of soda to dissolve grease blocking your drain.

Internal electrics

  1. Have your wiring and fuse board tested every 5 to 10 years.
  2. Before calling us, check to see if your neighbours have electricity. If there is a power cut in your area you need to contact your regional electricity network operator.
  3. If one or more of the switches on your fuse box has tripped and if you feel happy/confident doing so, you can isolate the fault.
  4. First of all turn off all of the switches, including the mains switch. Turn on the mains again first, followed by all other fuse switches, one at a time. If the switch trips out again, you will know where the fault lies.
  5. Don’t plug more than one splitter or extension lead into a single socket. An overloaded socket is a risk to your fusebox and can cause fire.

Power outage precautions

  1. This winter households could lose power for up to three hours at a time in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, it is important to be prepared in the unlikely event that there is a power outage.
  2. If you have any medical equipment that requires electricity, contact your Distribution Network Operator (DNO). They may be able to put you on their Priority Register for assistance in the event of a power outage.
  3. Ensure you have multiple torches with spare batteries. Wind up torches are useful if you do not have access to spare batteries.
  4. In the event of a power outage, you should contact the DNO that covers your area. They are responsible for maintaining physical electricity supplies to your home.
  5. Keep your mobile phone charged to make emergency calls. Portable chargers are useful to have in the event that a power outage takes place when your mobile battery is low. Ensure that these are also fully charged and in a convenient place.
  6. Make sure fridges and freezers are closed, with a blanket over them, as they will stay cold for many hours.
  7. Important documents should be kept in a safe and easy accessible place.
  8. Turn off appliances such as irons, ovens and electric fires as they pose a hazard if the power comes back on when you are absent.

Gas Safety

  1. If you smell gas, think there is a gas leak in your property, or are worried that fumes containing Carbon Monoxide are escaping from a gas appliance, you must immediately call the free National Gas Emergency Service to get your gas supply isolated.
  2. Their emergency number is 0800 111 999.
  3. Please ensure you open windows where possible to get fresh air into the property and allow the gas to escape.
  4. The National Gas Emergency Service will provide further instructions you must follow to keep you and those living with you safe.