Meet Captain Cosy, the warm homes hero who will be giving you all of the information you need to keep cosy this winter.
Click on any of the titles below to open up a list of handy warm home hacks courtesy of Captain Cosy.
You can also find her on social media by searching for #CaptainCosy.
Keeping Safe During Snow
It is easy to forget that our homes are vulnerable to the weather too, so the team here at Trivallis have prepared 7 top tips to get you prepared and keep you safe.
Keep your heating ticking over while you are out
Keeping the heating on a low level will help warm the house and ensure that with warm water in the pipes that they won’t freeze.
Check you are in credit with your pre-paid meter
Many of us are on pre-paid meters and getting out to the shops to top these up can be difficult in cold and icy weather. Make sure that you have enough credit there to cover you for the next few days so you don’t go without.
Make sure you have the essentials
Make sure you have the food you need, even if it’s just the usual bread and milk. It is worth picking up any prescriptions too, just in case it’s too cold to venture out.
Use salt or sand to clear icy paths
Using warm water to melt snow might refreeze and turn to black ice. Instead, use salt or sand (ordinary table salt or dishwasher salt works fine too). You should use around a tablespoon for each square metre.
Go on the hunt for your stop valve
The stop valve (or stopcock) controls the water coming into your home. You might need to use this should any pipes freeze or burst. They are usually found under the sink or under the stairs but if you don't know where it is, get in touch with us at Trivallis and we will point you in the right direction.
Keep pets indoors
Remember that our furry friends feel the cold too, so keep them indoors and warm
Keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours
If you are able, keep an eye on any vulnerable neighbours. Popping in for a chat or doing a little shop for the essentials can be a big help and stop people from feeling isolated should the weather prevent them from leaving home.
If you have an urgent request as a result of the weather such as a boiler breakdown or burst pipes then you can call us on 0300 003 0888.
Avoid Frozen Water Pipes
Water pipes and condensate pipes can freeze up when cold weather hits.
Signs of this can be no running water or low water pressure. Check with your neighbour to see if they have running water. If they do, it could be that your pipes are frozen.
Here are Captain Cosy’s top tips for how to deal with frozen water/condensate pipes:
Find your internal stop valve, which controls the water coming into your home, and turn it off. They are usually found under the sink or under the stairs but if you’re a Trivallis customer and don't know where it is, get in touch with us and we will point you in the right direction.
Drain the cold water system only by flushing the toilet and opening cold taps over sinks and baths.
Check pipes for signs of damage and, if it’s safe and possible to do so, slowly thaw the frozen pipe with hot water bottles, or pour hot water – not boiling – heated by a kettle or a microwave over the end of the pipe where it is frozen using a suitable container like a watering can. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw a pipe.
Once the pipe has thawed you should re-set your boiler by holding in the re-set button for 10 seconds and wait for the boiler to re-fire. Check the 'Your Boiler' section of this page for information on how to do this.
Switch your stop tap back on and check your water is running properly again.
If you are a Trivallis customer and are unsure of anything to do with your home or tenancy at any time, call us on 03000 030 888.
Risk of frozen pipes lowers if you lag your pipes (lagging material is available from most DIY stores).
If you're not going to be at home for a while, turn off the water at the stop valve and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes.
Don't forget, if you're a customer then let us know if you're leaving your home vacant for a while so we can give you advice on keeping it safe and secure.
Check out this video from British Gas with tips on how to thaw a frozen condensate pipe:
Driving in severe weather conditions
This information is shared from the Met Office.
Always adjust your driving according to the conditions and plan your journey by checking the latest weather forecast. You can also look for clues on road conditions such as ice on the pavement or on your windscreen before you start your journey and take extra care.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTE IF POSSIBLE FOR BETTER CONDITIONS
- Stick to the main roads where you can. You should drive with care and respect the road conditions wherever you drive, but if you cannot avoid driving on a minor road, take extra care.
- Only travel if really necessary. Snow ploughs are unable to get through if the road or motorway is full of stationary traffic, so do not make journeys unless completely necessary to give Highways England and local authorities the space they need to help you on your journey.
- Avoid steep hills and exposed roads hills and exposed areas are likely to present more challenging driving conditions in snow and ice.
MAKE NECESSARY PREPARATIONS BEFORE YOU SET OFF
- Clear your windscreen of snow, frost or condensation. The Highway Code stipulates you must be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle.
- Clear any snow off the roof of the vehicle before you drive away, otherwise you may cause snow to fall on your windscreen hampering your vision. Read about the dangers of driving with snow on your car from RAC.
USEFUL TIPS FOR DRIVING IN SNOW:
- Accelerate gently, using low revs. You may need to take off in second gear to avoid skidding.
- You may need 10 times the normal gap between your car and the car in front.
- Try not to brake suddenly - it may lock up your wheels and you could skid further.
- Be extra cautious at road junctions where road markings may not be visible.
- Read more tips from RAC about driving in snow.
- Look out for winter service vehicles spreading salt or using snow ploughs. They have flashing amber beacons and travel at slower speeds - around 40 mph. Stay well back because salt or spray can be thrown across the road. Do not overtake unless it is safe to do so - there may be uncleared snow on the road ahead.
There are lots of different makes and models of boilers across our homes but essentially they all work in a similar way. If you are a Trivallis customer and find yourself without heating or hot water, it’s worth taking a quick look at your boiler before calling out Trivallis’ repairs team. It could be a simple matter of re-setting the controls.
Here are Captain Cosy’s top tips for what to do if your boiler stops working…
Error codes and what they mean:
• Baxi Boiler – E133 – CHECK GAS METER AND RESET BOILER
• Baxi Boiler – E119 – NO PRESSURE, TOPUP PRESSURE AND RESET BOILER
• Glow Worm Boiler – F1 + F4 – CHECK GAS METER AND RESET BOILER
• Vaillant Boiler – F28 + F29 – CHECK GAS METER AND RESET BOILER
• Vaillant Boiler – F22 – NO PRESSURE, TOP UP PRESSURE AND RESET BOILER.
Need to reset your boiler?:
• BAXI: turn the control dial from ‘ON’ to ‘R’ and then back to ‘ON’.
• GLOW WORM: turn the boiler off then back on again.
• VAILLANT: there is a reset button on the boiler that simply needs to be pressed.
Captain Cosy doesn’t want you to feel the cold this winter so if re-setting the boiler doesn’t work and you are a Trivallis customer, please call us on 03000 030 888 to arrange a repair call-out.
Be a Good Neighbour
When the cold weather hits, we’re all a little more vulnerable.
Captain Cosy is asking you to be a good neighbour and check on older people who live in your area to make sure they’re safe and well.
Public Health Wales suggests making sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.
Warm Home Discount
Captain Cosy wants to share a number of schemes that can help with your energy bills this winter.
Cold Weather Payment - if it's very cold where you live (at or below 0 degrees) for a period of time, and you're receiving certain benefits, you may be eligible to receive £25 a week for each 7 day period of cold weather. For more information, visit HERE
Warm Home Discount - this is a discount on your electricity bill. You may be able to get it if you get Pension Credit or are on a low income. For more information, visit HERE
Winter Fuel Payment - this is an annual tax-free payment to help with heating costs for older people. Make sure you're registered to get it - once you are, you'll receive it every year without having to do anything. For more information, visit HERE
Be SMART With Energy
Smart meters are a great way to get you thinking about how you can power your homes for less and make them more efficient.
Captain Cosy recommends getting a smart meter fitted to help you keep cosy whilst keeping tabs on how much you are spending on gas/electric in the winter months.
The below link has a handy leaflet that will give you all the information you need to get in touch with your energy supplier. Get a Smart Meter installed and start saving money on your energy bills.
Click HERE to download