Get winter ready!

As temperatures start to drop, we've got lots of advice to help you get winter ready - whether it's dealing with condensation, preventing frozen pipes or energy saving tips.

Tackling condensation

Condensation is usually more of a problem in the winter as temperatures outside drop, and warm, moist air from inside causes condensation to form on cold surfaces such as windows, worktops and walls. This can be inconvenient but in the worst cases condensation can cause paint to flake, wallpaper to peel and mould to form.

Moisture is created by doing every day things like breathing, showering, cooking and laundry. It can’t be prevented but we can prevent the damage it can do.

Condensation can be reduced with adequate ventilation. Modern living has meant our homes have become more efficiently sealed and almost all the reports we get about mould are found to be caused by a lack of ventilation causing condensation.

Follow these simple tips to reduce moisture in your home:

In the kitchen and bathroom

• Cover pans when cooking and don’t boil water in kettles or pans longer than necessary
• Try to keep the door shut when cooking, so that moist air doesn’t spread to other rooms
• Use an extractor fan (where fitted) or open a window slightly until the air is clear
• When taking a bath or shower, keep the door shut and open a window slightly

Doing the laundry

• If possible, hang your washing out to dry in the open air
• If not, try drying it in a bathroom with the door shut and window open
• If you use a tumble dryer, run the vent pipe outside
• Avoid hanging clothes on radiators around the home

Everywhere else

• Make sure your home is ventilated by using window trickle ventilators or open windows slightly if moisture is present
• Never block ventilation grilles or air bricks
• Don’t let your home get too cold, so there are no cold surfaces for water to collect on
• Some types of gas and paraffin heaters are known causes of condensation
• If you have condensation on windows or frames, wipe them down – every day if necessary

The vast majority of damp and condensation problems can be solved by taking these precautions. However, if you have followed all the steps listed and you still have an area of dampness in your home that will not disappear, please contact us. If you do not follow the steps listed, we may charge you for the work to your home, such as mould removal treatment.

Gas servicing

We have a legal duty to check the safety of gas boilers, fires and other appliances in your home every year, so please ensure you respond and book your annual service when notified.

You cannot smell fumes from unsafe gas appliances but they can kill without warning in just a few hours. And apart from keeping you safe, the annual check also helps to keep down your gas bills.

Find more information on gas safety.

It's a good idea to 'stir' your gas central heating before the weather gets cold, so why not try it out now to make sure all of the radiators heat up. If you experience any issues, please contact us.

Frozen pipes

During very cold periods of weather, you may find that pipes in your property may become frozen. Here are a few helpful and simple tips.

  • Spot the potential problem areas: keep an eye out for any pipework and taps that might be exposed to freezing temperatures. Places where temperatures could drop below 0°C include garages, outside walls, gardens, sheds and lofts
  • Keep your central heating ticking over: if you can, leave the heating on constantly at a very low temperature
  • Get to grips with your stop tap: if the worst happens and your pipes freeze and then burst, shutting off the stop tap is the first thing you'll need to do. In most homes you'll find the stop tap under the kitchen sink, but it could be located in a cellar, garage or outbuilding. Make sure the tap turns freely and shuts off fully. If you do not know the location of your stop tap please contact us
  • If your pipes do freeze, open up kitchen cupboards etc to allow heat to the water supply pipes. To thaw the pipes use hot water bottles placed on the pipes, or use a hair dryer. You need to thaw the pipes slowly - do not use blow torches

Energy saving

Did you know that turning your room thermostat down by just one degree could save you up to £80 per year?

Here are some more quick tips:

  • Draw your curtains at dusk and tuck them behind the radiators to stop heat escaping and reduce draughts
  • Take a shower rather than a bath
  • Keep internal doors closed to reduce draughts
  • Choose the right size pan for the food you’re cooking and for the hob. Keep the lid on and only use enough water to cover the food
  • Don’t leave your TV and video on standby; turn off the main switches (even on standby, they can use up to 25% of the full amount of energy)
  • Don’t overfill your kettle. Use enough water for what you need, remembering to cover the element
  • When using your washing machine, always wash a full load or use a half load or economy programme
  • Turn lights off when leaving a room
  • Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly to keep them running efficiently
  • When replacing appliances, look out for the Energy Efficiency Recommended logo. The blue logo can be found on anything from fridges to light bulbs. It is a sure sign that the appliance being bought is one of the most efficient in its category

Switch to save

Switching gas or electricity supplier is easy these days and doesn’t affect your energy supply itself. For further advice and information on switching suppliers and energy saving, visit:

The Energy Saving Trust
Money Saving Expert

Did you find these tips useful? At Stonewater, energy saving and protecting our environment are very important to us. If you would like to hear more about how to save energy and look after the planet, please get in touch at [email protected]