Stay warm and well this winter


As the temperatures drop this winter, and with the current Covid-19 restrictions in place, most of us will be spending a lot more time indoors. So it’s important to make sure your home is snug and safe.

We’ve put together useful information and advice to help you stay well, look after your home and cut your energy bills this winter.

Ways to keep well, heat your home and save on energy bills

  • Draw your curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
  • Layer up. Wearing several layers of clothes is better than one chunky layer. Items made of cotton, wool or fleecy fibres will help maintain your body heat.
  • Have at least one hot meal a day and plenty of hot drinks, too.
  • Chuck out sloppy slippers to avoid slips and falls. Wear shoes or boots with good grips and don’t be tempted to just pop outside in slippers.
  • Keep active when you’re indoors.
  • Turn on your heating as much as you can when it’s really cold. It can be cheaper to keep your heating on all the time but at a slightly lower temperature than to turn it on high when you start to feel cold. If you’re struggling with the cost of heating your home please get in touch with us. Our Community Impact Team may be able to advise you about help and support available.
  • Turn the heating off or down in any rooms that are not in use.
  • Work out a comfortable room temperature by turning down the thermostat by one degree at a time until you’re happy with temperature. The temperature will always depend on where the thermostat is located in your home.
  • Be a good neighbour - if you can, keep an eye on others in your area who may be struggling and let us know if you’re concerned. If you are checking on people who aren’t in your support bubble remember to follow ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ guidance.
  • If you live in a flat and use a communal boiler or meter, try and keep your G6 topped up at all times with enough credit to avoid any potential disconnection to your energy supply. Read more information in the winter guide here on our website.
  • Keep some bottled water in stock and your kettle filled so you can still make a hot drink if your water pipes freeze.
  • Follow official Covid-19 guidance. Stay up to date with the guidance on the Oldham Council website and
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Advice on how to protect your home from the cold

How can I stop my pipes from freezing?

  • Regularly open cupboard doors and loft hatches to let warm air circulate around pipes.
  • Keep your heating on low during a cold spell – even if you’re away.
  • Occasionally run your taps to make sure water flows through them.
  • If you have a hose pipe connected to an outside tap at your home, disconnect it over winter. It's likely to freeze in very cold spells and the ice can back up in the pipe inside your home.

How can I thaw a frozen pipe inside my home?

  • If you have a frozen pipe inside your home, please follow the steps below to defrost it. Please remember you are responsible for defrosting frozen pipes at your home.
  • First, turn off your stop tap.
  • If the pipe is in a cupboard, empty it to allow warm air in and leave the cupboard doors open so air can circulate.
  • Use a hairdryer set to ‘warm’ to warm the pipe. After a few minutes, the water should begin to defrost.
  • Open one cold and one hot tap so the water is running as slowly as possible - a constant drip is enough. This will help to keep water constantly running in the pipes and running water will not freeze.
  • Read more advice on what to do if pipes inside your home freeze and how you can thaw them safely.

Boiler not working?

  • If your condensing boiler stops in very cold weather, the likely cause is the overflow pipe has frozen. This is the pipe from your boiler that leads to the outside of your home.
  • To defrost a frozen overflow pipe first pour hot water (not boiling water) over the section of pipe that is frozen. Make sure you put a bowl or something similar underneath to catch the water.
  • Hot water bottles are also very handy to use in this situation. Just fill them up as usual and hold against the frozen pipe. Simply move along the pipe slowly until it has fully thawed.
  • Once the pipe has thawed, you will need to reset your boiler. Simply press the re-set button once and wait for the boiler to restart.
  • If you still have no heating after following the advice, call Sure Maintenance on 03333 212797.

I’ve got a burst pipe!

  • It’s really useful to know where your stop tap is before you have an emergency so locate it in your home. It’s usually under the kitchen sink.
  • If you have a burst pipe, turn off the stop tap quickly to limit the damage and get in touch with our Contact Centre urgently. Call 0161 393 7117.
  • As well as a stop tap, many of our homes are also fitted with a Surestop (blue switch). This also turns off the water. If you need to turn off the water for any reason, please use the stop tap first if accessible, before using the Surestop.

No water? Check if your neighbours do

  • If your water stops running, check if your neighbours have the same problem. If they do, the supply pipes may have frozen. Contact United Utilities on 0345 672 3723. You can also see details of current incidents on the United Utilities website.

Need to report another repair?

  • You can report a routine repair online 24/7 using MyAccount or call our Contact Centre on 0161 393 7117.
  • Please report repairs to your boiler, radiators or heating system by calling Sure Maintenance on 03333 212797.