With temperatures dropping below freezing, we want to make sure that you’re keeping safe and warm in your home this winter. For even more advice, visit the UK Government’s guide to keeping warm and well.
Here are our top tips for tackling the chill:
1. Making your home cosy
Breathing in cold air can be dangerous for your health and make you more vulnerable to chest infections, so it’s important to keep your home at a safe temperature. The NHS recommends a constant temperature of at least 18°c if you can.
As well as central heating, there are a few other ways you can warm up your space:
- Use draught excluders on gaps in your windows and doors and keep curtains closed in the evening.
- Keep furniture away from radiators and external walls – this allows heat from the radiators to circulate freely around the room and you’ll feel a lot warmer next to internal walls.
- Add a rug to tiling or laminate to insulate the flooring.
- Open curtains during the day to let the sun in, and close them in the evening to trap the warmth in – it might be worth investing a pair of thermal curtains for extra insulation.
- Consider purchasing an electric blanket – they are cheap to run and can make your bed toasty and warm on cold nights.
2. Keep your body warm
- Wear plenty of thin layers – this is more effective at trapping the heat than only wearing a single thick layer
- By keeping your hands and feet warm, you’ll help warm the rest of your body up. Wear some warm fluffy socks and a pair of gloves. You also lose heat out of your head, so consider wearing a hat around the house!
- Moving around and staying active gets your blood pumping which keeps you warmer. If you have limited mobility, moving just your arms may also help.
- Check if you’re eligible for the flu jab – it’s free for over 65s, carers, and those with certain long-term health conditions – just ask your doctor or your local pharmacy.
3. Planning ahead
When it’s freezing outside, the last thing you want is to be stuck without any heating or hot water. To prevent this and other issues from happening, there are a few home maintenance checks we recommend completing in the winter:
- Check your radiators – if your radiator has any cold spots, you might need to bleed it. Check out our guide to bleeding a radiator here. If you’re still having problems, get in touch.
- Check your boiler
- Check your stop tap – knowing where it is can help you turn your water off if you need to
- Ensure you’re following our Damp, Mould & Condensation advice
- Know the signs of a rodent in your home – pests are more likely to seek warmth in the winter months, make sure you know how to spot them. Follow our advice to prevent rodents in the home and contact BCBC if you see any inside the house.
- Contact us if you suspect there may be a frozen pipe (e.g. only trickling water, boiler won’t switch on or makes gurgling noises, unusual smells)
- Report any repairs to us by contacting our Customer Service Hub.
- Report issues with roads, grit, waste, damaged structures (e.g. bridges) to Bridgend County Borough Council.
4. Winter fuel support and discount schemes
You may be worrying about the cost of living this winter, so please make sure you know whether you’re entitled to any financial assistance. There are a number of schemes available from the government, including:
The UK Government is changing the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The scheme will give a £150 rebate to eligible households. Find out more about the Warm Home Discount Scheme on GOV.UK
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter. You can usually get a Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 26 September 1955. Check how much Winter Fuel Payment you can get and how to claim it on GOV.UK.
Cold Weather Payments are one-off payments to help you pay for extra heating costs when it’s very cold. You’ll get a payment each time the temperature drops below a specific temperature for a set period of time. You’ll only be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if you already get:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
If you’re eligible, you’ll get paid automatically. Find out more about Cold Weather Payments on GOV.UK.
You may be eligible for a £200 Alternative Fuels Payment (AFP) if your household is not connected to the mains gas grid and you use alternative fuels as your main form of heating.
Most eligible households will automatically get an AFP payment.
We’re partnering with Warm Wales to help ensure that our customers’ homes are safe and warm this winter.
Warm Wales, Wales’ first community interest company, work to alleviate fuel poverty in Wales and the South West through community projects and partnership working.
Areas of support provided by Warm Wales include:
- Home Safety: Information and advice about carbon monoxide, excess cold, dampness and mould, and support to access home adaptations schemes.
- Money Maximisation: Reducing energy and water bills, support with debt, and support with housing as well as access to full benefits checks to make sure you’re claiming everything you’re eligible for.
- Energy Advice and Affordable Warmth: Support with applications to grant-funded schemes, providing replacement boilers, central heating systems, and insulation to qualifying households; information and advice about smart meters and understanding bills; support to access discount schemes including the Warm Homes Discount.
Our Money Matters Team has a wealth of experience and team members are available to give confidential and free support if you are having financial difficulties.
These are just some of the things we can talk to you about.
- The payments you will need to make before moving into your new home, including bills such as rent, council tax, water, electricity, and gas bills. We can help you find the most affordable suppliers for your budget, and let you know of any discounts you are entitled to.
- What you will need on your moving day, which can often be costly when furnishing your home with the essentials. We can signpost you to places that can help you get all you need at a low cost.
- Ongoing support if you do start to struggle paying your bills.
- Reviewing your benefits, to make sure you will not be affected by any changes.
- Getting online, so you can get the best deals on the market, save money by going paperless, and stay connected for important updates.
- Providing support, advice and access to the financial services you need to improve your financial wellbeing.
If you would like some support, or have any questions you need help answering, then please get in touch with us.