Residents across Manchester are being urged to make sure their homes are winter ready for the end of January as British Gas predicts its engineers will have visited almost 3,000 homes across Greater Manchester this weekend and next week to carry out vital boiler maintenance and repairs.
A local British Gas engineer has shared a few top tips for households to keep a step ahead of the weather, after a record-breaking winter which brought the country to a standstill last year.
Last winter, more than 23,700 homes in Greater Manchester experienced boiler breakdowns, leaving residents unable to heat their homes.?During the Beast from the East, temperatures of below -10°C and wind speeds of over 60mph led to the busiest week on record for British Gas, with 104 calls for assistance coming in every second – thirteen times usual call volumes. Engineers across the country cancelled their holidays and stayed at home to be there for their customers.
As a chill hits Manchester, Joanna Flowers, a local British Gas engineer, is urging residents to make sure their homes are ready for anything the weather might bring. She says:
“Our research shows that having no heating or hot water during the colder months is people’s worst winter disaster in the home. There are some really simple steps you can take to help prepare your house for winter and keep everything running like clockwork, but if something does go wrong, we’re always on standby to come to the rescue.”
Stay a step ahead of the weather with these top tips…
1. Bleed your radiators: This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget. If you haven’t bled your radiators for a while, air might have entered the system and have formed bubbles at the top of your radiators, which stops them from working efficiently.
2. Block the breeze: Your windows and doors should seal properly but for those that don’t, there are lots of options to help keep cold air out and warm air in. Fitting draught excluders – available from most DIY stores – is a quick, easy and affordable way to cut down on your energy bills and draught-proof your home.?Letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings can also make a real difference.
3. Maximise the heat: There’s nothing better than settling down in front of your favourite box set as a family, but before you get too comfortable, think about where your heat sources are. Putting your sofa in front of a radiator may keep the best spot in the house extra toasty, but it will absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the room.
4. Look after your boiler: Stay ahead of the weather and make sure your boiler’s working properly. For peace of mind, why not protect your boiler, heating, electrics and plumbing with easy-to-find homeware products.
5. Insulate your hot water system: Stopping heat from escaping doesn’t just save you money. When temperatures drop below zero, it’s important to make sure that the water inside your pipes doesn’t freeze and cause them to burst. Lagging materials are available from most DIY stores – an easy, cost-effective solution for protecting your water tank and pipes.
6. Be energy smart: It’s inevitable that our energy use will increase when the heating’s on over winter, but there is a simple way to keep track of how much you’re using – and spending.
7. Install a carbon monoxide detector: You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, and it kills around 30 people a year. Fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home – as well getting your boiler checked once a year, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted.
8. Make the most of soft furnishings: Hanging curtains and placing rugs on hard floors are some of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home warm during winter. Thick material (the thicker the better) prevents heat from being lost through windows and doors – just don’t forget to open your curtains during the day so that the sun can do some of the work!
9. Use tech to control your heating remotely:? Ever thought about controlling your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone? Now you can.
10. Get the help you’re entitled to: It’s worth finding out if you’re eligible for extra assistance with your energy bills, especially at this time of year. £140 winter rebates are available through the Warm Home Discount scheme, and face-to-face advice, financial support and grants are available from the British Gas Energy Trust (even if you’re not a British Gas customer).