LOCAL MP Jonathan Reynolds is urging households to ‘keep a step ahead of winter’.
It comes after new research from British Gas has highlighted that having no heating or hot water would be the number one disaster for households this winter – but many people in Tameside have not taken action to ensure their homes are winter-ready.
Mr Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, said: “It’s really important to keep a step ahead of winter. I want everyone to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends.
“Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is really important, so I’d encourage people to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.
“I’ve taken several of the measures myself, including installing a smart meter, and have felt the benefits in our home and on our bills.”
Despite the autumn chill, a national survey shows that more than a third of households (36 per cent) have not checked that their central heating is working and four in 10 have not prepared for winter by getting their boiler serviced.
Having an annual boiler service carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer is crucial as it detects problems with the boiler and controls, including whether it is leaking poisonous carbon monoxide.
Keeping homes safe is an important part of winter preparation, yet only a third of people (33 per cent) have checked that their carbon monoxide alarm is working. Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’, because the gas has no odour or taste, and is invisible. Fitting an audible alarm is the second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Being energy efficient is particularly important during the winter months, and technology can help with this. Whilst nearly half of households (47 per cent) acknowledge that technology could help their home to run more smoothly during winter, just over a third (36 per cent) have smart meters.
GET THE BEST DEAL: Check you are on a tariff that is simple, transparent and fair.
GET SMART METERS: Your energy supplier will be able to install smart meters, which shows how much energy you are using, and what you are spending.
BLEED YOUR RADIATORS: To make sure they are working properly. If your radiators have cold spots at the top, this means you have air in the system, so you will need to bleed them to get them working efficiently.
• To do this, turn the system off and when cool turn the radiator key until the air stops and water runs consistently. Once you have turned the system back on, the problem should be solved.
• Bleeding your radiator may result in pressure dropping. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.
BLOCK THE BREEZE: Make sure all of your windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draught excluders, which you can buy from most DIY stores, is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills.
STAY SAFE: It’s vital to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and that you test it regularly.
LOVE YOUR BOILER: Check to make sure that your boiler is working properly before winter sets in. The older your boiler, the more inefficient it will be. If you have a pressure gauge, make sure the boiler is at the right pressure and top up as necessary.
INSULATE YOUR PIPES: To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated by using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.
MAINTAIN YOUR DRAINS: If you’re trying to keep your drains outside well maintained, it’s a good idea to make sure they are clear of debris at the point at which they enter the ground. This involves checking your gullies for autumnal leaves and twigs in order to ensure that they don’t restrict water flow at any point.
HEATING: Control your heating remotely with Hive Active Heating, which means you can control your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone with the Hive app. Find out more onlne at: www.britishgas.co.uk/hive