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Cold weather advice

Created on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
by Michael Futers

When cold weather comes it’s important to take steps to make sure you stay warm.  Try to look out for family or neighbours who may be at risk too.

Flu jabs and extra payments

Cold weather can affect your health, especially if you have an existing condition or are frail.  If you’ve had a flu jab that should help set you up.  If you’re entitled to a one take it up.

Many people also qualify for payments to help with fuel costs.  Most people born before 5 January 1951 should get winter fuel payments this year.  If the weather stays below 0ºC for seven days people on certain income related benefits will receive a cold weather payment.  These are normally automatic but if you think you qualify and don’t get them – check.

Stay warm when it’s cold

The easiest and cheapest thing to do is to put on extra layers of clothing.  Lots of thin layers are more use than one of two thick ones.  Put on extra layers including a hat if you go out.  Check that children wrap up well before going out.

Heat the rooms you live in most at 21ºC or 70ºF during the day.  If you can’t heat all your rooms make sure you keep at least the one you’ll be in most of the time.  Use the timer to switch it on before you get up in the morning or return home during the day.

At night try to keep your bedroom above 18ºC or 65ºC.  If you use an electric blanket keep it maintained and use it correctly.  Never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle at the same time.

It helps if you have regular hot drinks and food during the day.

It is important to keep active too.  Try to move around at least once an hour.   Babies,  older people and those with certain health conditions children are at greater risk of hypothermia.  Learn to recognise the signs.  We shiver when we are cold.  But if you can’t stop shivering when you try to, hypothermia may be setting in.

Protect your home too

Just as we can seize up if we get too cold, our home can too, especially if no-one is going to be there.  If you are going to leave your home unoccupied during cold weather please talk to us for advice on what you need to do.

condensate pipe

If your property has a thin condensate pipe from the boiler it can freeze if the weather is cold causing the boiler to shut down.  If this happens give us a call.  However you may be able to solve this if the pipe is at ground level.  You can pour tepid water over the frozen pipe.  Don’t use boiling water.  Gradually this will thaw the inside allowing the pipe to clear.  If you are at all unsure about what to do call us first.  If your condensate pipe is only 22mm wide let us know as we are replacing these with 32mm ones to reduce the risk of them freezing.

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