Advice Issued for Safe and Warm New Year
19th Dec 2012
Frozen pipes and heating faults account for over half of winter insurance claims
OFTEC which represents the domestic oil heating industry today issued advice to householders on how to keep warm, stay safe and avoid home heating disasters.
The advice from the trade organisation is to help householders enjoy the break and prevent the potential nightmare of frozen pipes and potentially costly boiler breakdowns in 2013.
David Blevings, OFTEC Northern Ireland Manager, commented: “During the very severe weather over the Winter period in 2010/11, frozen pipes, boiler and central heating faults accounted for 62% of insurance claims.”
OFTEC’s tips and preventative measures to help homeowners avoid being left out in the cold include:
- Keep your are going away for the break heating on constant - during cold weather it is often more efficient to keep the heating on low constantly, rather than running it at full capacity at intervals throughout the day. This keeps the system at a constant warm temperature and prevents freezing.
- If you are going away for the break Check your fuel supply – confirm also that you have oil in the tank as a number of call outs over the winter season are due to the boiler running out of oil.
- If you are going away for the break - leave your heating on for at least an hour a day while you are away from home.
- If you are going away for the break Insulate your pipes - to prevent a freeze up, install lagging around your home heating and water pipes to insulate them. A professional can fit this for you or keen DIY’ers can purchase lagging from a DIY store.
- If you are going away for the break Watch out for the carbon monoxide – the risk applies whether your burn oil, coal, peat, wood or gas and the best prevention is to have appliances serviced regularly by a qualified technician. A secondary measure is to fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is sold in many retail outlets and DIY stores from £20.
- Be on the look-out for changes to your boiler - a black smoke may indicate a
- build-up of soot preventing the boiler from burning oil efficiently and yellow or brown staining around the boiler or flue may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion and should be checked by an experienced technician.
- Close doors and curtains - the very simplest measures can lead to major energy savings so remember to close curtains and shut doors to keep heat in the rooms you use most. Where possible, ensure your radiators are not obstructed by curtains or furniture.
- If you are going away for the break Central heating controls and thermostat - ensure the central heating controller is switched on and the thermostat is in the correct position
- If you are going away for the break Do not attempt to fix or service the appliance yourself – modern boilers require a trained and professional technician to ensure your system is operating correctly, efficiently, and safely.
- If you are going away for the break Keep the details of a plumbing and heating technician close to hand – a breakdown can be stressful enough without the hassle or lottery of finding a trusted tradesman in the directory. For oil users, the use of a highly skilled OFTEC registered technician is strongly advised and can be found on www.oftec.org
- If you are going away for the break Be Savvy – grants of up to £1,000 are currently available from the Department of Social Development in Northern Ireland for those replacing an inefficient boiler for a more energy efficient condensing boiler. In the event of an older boiler breaking down, professionally registered technicians can guide householders through the process of applying for the grant.
- If you are going away for the break Prevention – the overall advice from OFTEC is to have a qualified technician check and service your appliance before the cold weather sets in. A simple check over and service may prevent that disaster!
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