Cold weather information
Keeping your home warm
A University College London report, published in May 2011, estimated that in the UK 5,500 people died in 2009/10 due to cold homes. Inadequately heated homes can also lead to ill health, such as 'flu and pneumonia, and can aggravate long term health conditions, such as heart conditions and depression. At Albyn Housing, we advise our tenants to ensure that their homes are adequately heated throughout the winter months.
To make sure you and your family are warm this winter, please follow this simple advice:
During the day
- Heat your main living room to around 18°C – 21°C (64°F – 70°F) and the rest of your home to at least 16°C (61°F)
- Heat all the rooms you use
- Make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day
- Set your heating timer to come on before you get up in the morning and to switch off after you have gone to bed.
In very cold weather set the timer to come on earlier rather than turning up your heating, this will ensure your home is warm when you get up.
During the night
- Try to keep the temperature of your bedroom above 18°C (65°F) overnight.
- If you use a fire or heater to heat your bedroom, leave your door or window slightly open to ventilate the room (preventing the build-up of moisture which could cause condensation and damp).
- Unplug electric blankets before you go to bed (unless the manufacturer’s instructions state otherwise) and never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket even if it is switched off.
For your own safety, get your electric blanket tested every 3 years. Contact your local fire and rescue service for further advice.
Remember to air your home daily to reduce the risk of condensation and damp.
If you need information you can contact the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Hotline on 0800 512 012
The following websites also offer futher information and advice;
Help with the cost of heating
With the recent increase in the cost of living and in gas and electricity prices, fuel poverty is becoming an increasing issue. You are deemed to be in fuel poverty if you need to use more than 10% of your income to adequately heat your home. If you feel that you are in fuel poverty there is help available. We recommend that you contact your energy supplier in the first instance to ensure that you are on the correct tariff. You may also want to look at changing your supplier, there are several comparison websites available where you can check the options available in your area. If you are unable to pay your bill you should contact your supplier immediately to discuss it with them.
Further advice and assistance is available from your local Citizens Advice Bureaux.
You can also ask your Housing Services Officer to refer you to Pentland Energy Advice. They will advise about the best ways to:
- operate heating systems efficiently
- reduce energy use
- access the best fuel tariffs
To find out more and to access these services, contact us.
There are also two government schemes, the winter fuel payment and the cold weather payment, available to assist older people and those on benefits during severe winter weather. If you would like further information on these you can find out more at www.direct.gov.uk.
Winter proof your home
There are a few simple things you can do to prepare your home for winter.
- Let us know if there are any external repairs needing done. Visually check the outside of your home for any potential problems, such as blocked gutters or loose slates.
- Make sure you know where and how to turn off water and electricity supplies in the event of a burst pipe.
- Check the weather forecast regularly so you are aware of any cold snaps or weather warnings.
- Check our Frost Precautions page to find out how to prevent burst pipes and tanks.
- Check our Power Cut, High Winds and Flooding advice pages for information on what to do in an emergency.
Out and about
Much as we’d all like to spend the winter under the duvet, there are times where it is necessary to go out in winter weather. If you are going out in bad weather these Do’s and Don’ts should help to keep you warm and safe.
- Check the weather report before you travel.
- Dress warmly. Wear plenty of thin layers and wear a jacket, hat, gloves, scarf and warm shoes or boots even if you are only going a short distance or are travelling by car.
- Carry a fully charged mobile phone with you, if you have one. If you get into difficulty you can call for help.
- In severe weather, let someone know where you are going, what your route is and when you expect to return.
- If you are driving, make sure that your car is in good working order. Also bring a flask of warm drinks, energy bars, blankets and a shovel in case you get stuck.
- Travel if the police are advising against it.
- Take risks. If you are worried about travelling, driving or generally being out in poor weather it is probably better not to.
Be part of your community
During cold weather, elderly and vulnerable people are often unable to leave their homes for extended periods, and this can leave them isolated. Where possible we ask our more able tenants to support the vulnerable members of their community by checking that they are ok and offering any help that they can provide during winter weather. Sometimes just having a cup of tea with someone can make all the difference.