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Winter warnings

December 5, 2018 Kate Porter

During the winter months and especially over the Christmas holiday period contractors in general, and particularly boiler engineers, plumbers and electricians, are very booked up and may not be available. Also, even if they can respond to an emergency, they may not have access to the parts needed to make the necessary repairs. Therefore, landlords and tenants, below is a useful check list to help minimise the chances of a breakdown, water leak or other problems.

01           Ensure that there is plenty of oil, gas and/or other fuels needed.

02           Check that boilers have been serviced and are in good working order.

03           Chimneys/flues including Aga and Rayburn flues should be swept annually.

04           Ensure that septic tanks have been emptied.

05           Check that white goods are in good working order.

06           Check that pipes are insulated with lagging where sensible.

07           Pay particular attention to outside taps and it may be worth turning off the water supply all together to outside taps or at least ensuring they are insulated.

08           Check that you are aware of the location of the stopcock and that it works.

09           Check the guttering to ensure it is free from blockages and leaves as this reduces the risks of leaks and blockages.

10           If there is a persistent cold spell it is advisable to keep the heating on low constantly to prevent pipes freezing.

11           Bleed radiators; keeping the heating system healthy is important as low pressure can cause a problem.

12           Maintain good ventilation in the property otherwise damp and mould will develop.

13           If you are going away remember to leave the heating on to prevent pipes freezing.

14           If you are going away it is wise to inform somebody who could check on the property for you. Also, please do remember tell us or your landlord if you are leaving the property for a long period of time.

15           Immediately report or attend to any leaks you may have detected however small, it may seem insignificant but a small drip will often lead to a larger problem.

16           Ensure you have torches with full batteries to hand.

* If you smell gas – Call the Gas Emergency Services on 0800 111 999.

If you are in immediate danger evacuate the building and then call the Gas Emergency Service.

If you think you could have a gas leak, you’ll need to turn off the gas supply at the meter.

How to turn your gas off at the meter in an emergency (if it is safe to do so)

If the gas supply is in a cellar or basement then don’t turn it off. Evacuate the building and do not re-enter as the concentration of gas may trigger an explosion, from even a small spark.

If your meter is easy and safe to locate, to turn off your gas supply, first locate the gas emergency control valve, which you should find next to the meter. In newer houses, the gas meter and isolation valve are often outside in a meter box. If not, try looking under the stairs, beneath the kitchen sink or in the garage. We suggest you find out where your gas meter and emergency control valve is, so you’re prepared in case of an emergency.

To turn off the gas supply, simply turn the handle a quarter turn so the lever is at 90 degrees to the upright gas pipe.

Next steps:

  • Open all windows and doors.
  • Don’t turn electrical switches on or off – including your TV, computer, oven, etc.
  • Put out any naked lights (flames), e.g. your hob or candles. Don’t smoke, strike matches or do anything that could cause ignition.
  • Open any electric doors or gates manually.

*information taken from npower

Water leak – Turn off water at the mains. Switch off electrics if the water leak is near lights or power outlets.

Electrical fault – Check that fuses have not blown, circuit breakers are in the ‘on’ position and that there has not been a power cut in the area.


The Country House Company Emergency Management phone – 07824 467 518

We have a dedicated out-of-hours phone, manned by the Management Team at The Country House Company, for our landlords and tenants of managed properties wishing to contact us in an emergency.

This phone will be checked regularly but not necessarily answered at all hours so where there is a risk to life or damage to the fabric of the property and where applicable please call the emergency services on 999.