• Frost Precautions
    • The house should not be left entirely without heating for more than a day or two in very cold weather. If the house is to be left for any length of time and the heating turned off, it is safest to drain off the hot water and cold water systems completely. This means turning off the main supply stopcock on the cold riser to the cold water storage tanks. Hose pipes should be fitted to draincocks and the system drained down. All taps should be turned on until they run dry, then turned off again. Flush the WC. If you are unsure on how to undertake any part of these precautions, please call us on 01628 543101 and speak to a member of our Housing staff.
    • Before turning on the heating, you must turn on the main supply stopcocks and the stopcocks of the downpipes from cold and hot water storage tanks. Turn on taps until the water flows freely again.
    • Keep all pipes and tanks in the roof space, outhouses and external WC’s well insulated to prevent freezing up and bursts pipes. If you have controllable gas/oil/electric heating, it is possible to avoid this inconvenience by adjusting the timer to bring the heating on for an hour or so twice a day at a reduced level. This will normally keep the dwelling free from freezing.
  • Leaking, Burst Or Frozen Pipes
    • If pipes leak, place a dish or bowl underneath the leak. Pull back any carpets and lay down newspapers or towels to absorb any dampness.
    • If pipes burst, turn off the water at the main stop cock, and any gate valves from the water tank, and switch off any water heaters. Open all taps to drain water from the system. Some items of equipment may have their own isolation valve (either a gate valve, or a service valve). If not, you may be able to isolate the fault by just turning off a gate valve on a pipe coming out of the cold water tank. This will leave you with some services, even though it might only be cold water at the kitchen tap. You could then temporarily flush toilets using a bucket of cold water.
    • If electric fittings get wet DO NOT TOUCH and turn off electricity at the meter.
    • If the ceilings bulges prevent the ceiling from falling down by placing a bucket under the bulge and pierce a small hole to let the water through.
    • If pipes freeze turn off the water at the main stop tap and open the cold taps. It is best to leave the pipes frozen but you may try to thaw the pipe using a hot water bottle
  • Electrics


    Check your fuse box if you lose power to all of the sockets or lights in a room or on one floor of a house. Modern fuse boxes simply need you to flick a switch or press a button. The fuse box is normally located near to a front door, in a cupboard or perhaps under the stairs. Find out where yours is before you have a problem.

    Remember a blown fuse indicates a problem somewhere else, possibly a faulty socket or light fitting. If you think electrics may have been affected by water, give them time to dry out before resetting a fuse switch. Fuses should be marked to indicate which circuit they manage, e.g. lights, sockets etc. If a fuse cannot be reset, this information is useful to the electrician in identifying where the problem will be in the property.

    Switches and Sockets

    Some fittings also have a fused switch or fuse in the circuit so that they can be isolated (this commonly applies to immersion heaters and the like). If something doesn’t work and it has a fuse switch, check the fuse first before reporting a problem.

    Remember Electricity CAN KILL - repairs should be carried out by a qualified electrician. ALWAYS turn off power at the fuse box before doing any electrical repairs yourself. If in any doubt, call us out.


  • Smoke Detectors

    Your smoke detector has been designed to be as maintenance free as possible. To keep your detector in good working order you must:

    • Test the detector weekly (see section below “How to Tell if the Detector is Working Properly”).
    • ELECTRICAL SHOCK HAZARD: Turn off mains power at the fuse box or circuit breaker powering the detector before following these cleaning instructions.
    • Vacuum the detector at least once a year, using the soft brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner.
    • Clean the detector’s cover when it gets dirty. Hand wash the cover with a cloth lightly dampened with clean water. Dry it with a lint-free cloth. Be sure not to get any water on the detector components.
    • Test detector after restoring power.
  • How to tell if the Smoke Detector is working properly

    When the indicator light flashes about every 40 seconds, the detector is receiving power from the battery or electrical current. Test the detector weekly by pushing firmly on the test button until the horn sounds. This should take 20 seconds. If the alarm horn makes a continuous loud sound, the detector is working properly. This is the only way to be sure that the detector is working.

    Never use an open flame of any kind to test your detector. You may set fire to and damage the detector as well as your home. The built-in test switch will accurately tests all detector functions as required by Underwriters’ Laboratories. It is the only correct way to test.

    If you have a battery powered smoke detector, this will be replaced with a wired system whenever it becomes necessary to carry out an electrical check to your home.

  • Wall fixings

    Most modern houses have walls of lightweight materials which may require special fixings to secure heavy pictures, mirrors, bathroom cabinets etc. Steel pin picture hangers can be used for lightweight articles.

    This is a list of some wall constructions and the fitting to use.

    • Blockwork (breeze block): plastic or fibre wall plugs and screws.
    • Paramount Partitioning (hollow plasterboard): “rawl plugs”, spring toggles, rawl and/or similar butterfly bolts.
    • Plasterboard on blockwork: “rawl plug”, spring toggles, rawl anchors or similar, butterfly bolts, but heavy articles should be fixed direct through the partioning into blockwork using plaster or fibre wall plugs and larger screws.
    • Plasterboard on timber supports: articles should be fixed directly through plasterboard into timber supports with timber screws/nails, or as for “Paramount” into the plasterboard


  • Central Heating

    Please read the operating instructions for your central heating so that you know how to operate this safely. If you do not have instructions please call our Customer Contact Centre on 01628 543101

    If your central heating does not work, here are a few simple checks you should make before reporting this as a repair:

    • If you have gas central heating this needs both an electrical and gas supply to operate the controls and ignite the boiler, so check that both of your supplies are working.
    • Check that the timer is set correctly. This has to be re-set in Autumn and Spring when the clocks change.
    • Check the thermostat is not set too low. If it is the heating will not come on.
    • Switch your heating to constant. This overrides the timer. If the heating comes on this means that your timer is not set correctly.
    • Check that your radiators are turned on and that if they are fitted with individual thermostats these are set to a high temperature so that they come on.

    If your central heating still does not work, please call our Customer Contact Centre on 01628 543101.

    Heating and/or hot water loss is classed as an emergency for calls received between 8am to 7pm and at any time of the day or night for elderly and disabled customers.

  • Trees

    Requests for the pruning of trees will only be considered if they are deemed to be a legal nuisance. We know that there are additional problems that trees can cause but these are minor in comparison to the benefits trees provide. We will therefore not prune trees for the following reasons:

    • Loss of light or reduced light to properties;
    • Effects on TV reception;
    • Obstruction of views;
    • Interference with private vegetation;
    • Obstruction of BT or Utility cables;
    • Minor or seasonal ‘nuisances’ such as:
    – honeydew (dripping sap);
    – bird droppings;
    – squirrels gaining access to properties from trees;
    – leaf, fruit or flowers fall;
    – smells generated by trees


    For more information about the benefits of trees please see our policies page