As the temperature drops and the dark nights are here, there are many things you can do so that your house doesn't get caught out in the cold. Your home needs a little bit of TLC during the winter to ensure you don't run into any problems.

The most common problems can be a loss of water supply, heating issues, leaking toilets and sinks not draining - which is often because of frozen pipes. Follow these simple tips to help keep your home in top condition:

  1. If you have a pre-payment (token) meter, check that it hasn't run out of credit.
  2. Turn your thermostat up to maximum. If your heating starts to work you can turn the thermostat back down to the temperature you want.
  3. Check that all the radiator valves are turned up.
  4. Check that your timer is switched on.
  5. If you know where your stop tap is, empty the cupboard and allow some warm air to circulate around the pipe. Try blowing warm air on the pipe using a hairdryer or place a small heater in front of the cupboard. After a few minutes you should find that the water starts to defrost. You should not leave any heated appliances unattended whilst doing this.
  6. You might find that the condensate pipe on your boiler has frozen - the pipe from your boiler which leads to an outside drain. Try these methods to thaw the frozen condensate pipe.
    1. Use hot water (not boiling) and pour over the end of the pipe where it is frozen using a suitable container like a watering can.
    2. Hold a hot water bottle or heat wrap around the condensate pipe.
    3. Once the pipe was thawed you should re-set your boiler. Hold the re-set button for 10 seconds and wait for the boiler to re-fire.
  7. If your toilet or sink is not draining, it probably isn't a blockage that can be fixed by a plumber. Before reporting this as a repair, pour some hot water down as this may defrost the frozen water in the pipes.
  8. Leave your heating on a low setting during the night to stop pipes freezing.
  9. Check if your boiler is displaying any fault codes.