Keeping your home safe
We're committed to ensuring you have a home that is safe and warm; a home that works for you and one that you can afford.
We have a legal responsibility to carry out regular safety checks which are essential to making sure that your home is running as efficiently as possible.
Use the tabs below to find out more about keeping your home safe - for information specifically on asbestos head to our asbestos safety guide.
Fire safety in the home
Did you know that your local fire and rescue service can arrange a free home fire safety or fire risk check? To find out more and to download their factsheets take a look at the Fire Service website.
A few basic rules to follow to stay safe in your home are:
Test your smoke alarm every week
Never leave cooking unattended or get distracted while cooking
Always ensure cigarettes and candles are fully extinguished at night
Don't overload electrical sockets or extension leads
Make sure you know your escape plan and you have no obstacles in your way if you need to use it.
Here's some advice from the Government to help keep you and your family safe from fire.
We want your home to be safe and warm, and to make sure everything is OK we need to service your gas fire and boiler every year.
It's also a legal requirement for us to complete these checks which means, as much as we don't want to, if we're not able to carry out the servicing we will have to cap your gas supply for your safety.
If you've got an appointment that you can't make, please get in touch. We understand that life gets in the way sometimes so just let us know and we'll change it for a time that suits you better. Please be aware though that we do need to complete all gas safety checks before the 12 month anniversary of the last check comes around.
These checks only take around an hour but they could save you money and are crucial to keeping you safe and warm. Take a look at the short video below to find out more.
Water safety in your home
Legionnaires disease is caused by legionella bacteria that can grow in water sources in your home. Luckily there are some simple steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.
What is Legionella and Legionnaires disease?
Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, usually contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. It can be found in outside water sources, but also in hot and cold water systems in your home.
Luckily it’s rare for people to contract Legionella-related diseases. However, in certain conditions the bacteria can grow which increases the risk of someone catching the disease. The risk of contracting Legionnaire’s disease increases with age and is higher among people who:
- are over 50
- are heavy smokers or drinkers
- suffer from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
- have diabetes, lung and heart disease
- have an impaired immune system
What can you do?
There are some steps you can take to keep your water system safe:
- set your hot water thermostat to 60°C (140F) which is the recommended temperature for legionella control
- dismantle and clean your shower heads of limescale and debris every 3 - 6 months.
- disconnect and drain external hoses when not in use, and regularly flush external taps.
- thoroughly clean your tap heads
- Flush infrequently used outlets (outside taps, hand basins, showers etc.) at least once a week for at least 5 minutes (hot then cold)
Leaving your home empty
If you’ve been away from home for more than a week or if you have taps, showers or toilets that you don’t use every day we also recommend that you:
- run all taps and showers for at least five minutes.
- if you have a hot water cylinder which you’ve turned off or not used for a while, heat it up to at least 60°C to kill off any bacteria.
- flush the toilet twice to circulate fresh water and empty the cistern.
Remember you should always tell us if you are leaving your home vacant for more than 28 days.
When to contact us
You should call us on 0300 123 2222 if:
- Your boiler or hot water cylinder isn’t working properly, especially if the water is not coming out of the taps at a high enough temperature
- The cold water is still running warm even after you’ve run off any water which may have accumulated in the pipes. Your cold water should not go above 20°C
- You notice any debris or discolouration in the water.
Most of our customers have a mains fed cold water supply but if you still have a cold water storage tank ensure it has a close fitting lid and is lagged with insulation. If not, then please contact us to rectify this.
Did you know? You're twice as likely to die in a fire if you don't have a working smoke alarm.
All our homes should have at least one smoke alarm fitted to each floor of your property. For example if you live in one of our bungalows then you would have one smoke alarm but if you live in one of our three storey town houses you should have at least three smoke alarms installed.
Our alarms are mains wired with a backup battery. We will service these alarms once a year when we visit your property to check other things (like in a gas service), however it is your responsibility to check these at all other times.
We (and the fire service) recommend you:
Test them every week by pushing the test button on the alarm
Keep it clean using a vacuum nozzle or brush to remove cobwebs and dust on and around the alarm
Don't paint over the alarm
If you can't reach it use a broom handle or something similar. You should replace the battery when needed. Never remove the battery except to replace it.
If you don't have a smoke alarm or your alarm doesn't work report it as soon as you can by calling 0330 1234 034 and we'll send someone out to fix it for you.
Carbon monoxide alarms
Carbon monoxide alarms
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the 'silent killer' as it is colourless and odourless. It can come from faulty appliances powered by any fuel that burns. These include gas, solid fuel and oil fuels. CO alarms detect the presence of this poisonous gas.
We fit a CO alarm in our customers' homes with an open flue or chimney. If you are concerned and don’t have a CO alarm please contact the fuel safety team. We'll test your CO alarm each year but you should also regularly test it. Please make sure you replace the battery when needed. For further CO advice click here.
If your alarm is not working contact us on 0330 1234 034 and we'll arrange an emergency repair for you.
We also test that your home's electrical system and fitted appliances are safe. We'll contact you when we need to do this. Please make sure you give us access to your home so that we can complete these important checks that help to keep you and your family safe.
If you've run out of spare plug sockets, you may be tempted to use multiple appliances using a multi plug adaptor. Depending on the appliances you plug in and the amounts of power they generate, it could overload and possibly cause fire. Check the appliances you are plugging in by using this socket overload calculator.
You can also register your own electrical appliances to give you piece of mind and help you to be the first to know of any safety repairs or recalls.
If you have a solid fuel heating system we have a legal requirement to service and check the equipment every year. Please remember not to light your fire on the day of your service.
If you’re a dual fuel household we may need to service both your heating sources. Unfortunately, as solid fuel services are carried out by a specialist contractor this could mean two visits to your home.
Customer barbecue safety advice
Have fun but be safe:
- do not use a barbecue indoors or in an un-ventilated space as there is a significant risk of creating dangerous carbon monoxide gas
- do not use a barbecue on a balcony
- keep children, pets and garden games away from the barbecue
- always use barbecues as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions
- ensure your barbecue is a manageable size
- position your barbecue on level ground and keep it well away from anything that may catch fire (sheds, fences, trees, tents etc.)
- do not attempt to use petrol or paraffin to start or revive a barbecue, instead use lighters or approved fire starter fuel
- have a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergency use to dampen accidental fire.
- never leave barbecues unattended
- after use, ensure the barbecue is fully extinguished and cool before moving or putting it away
- empty barbecue ashes onto bare garden soil or a compost heap
- do not place hot ash in dustbins or wheelie bins as the ash can melt the plastic and cause a fire
- do not bring the embers indoors
- do not store gas cylinders in communal areas. In the event of a fire gas cylinders can explode and block escape routes
- store gas barbecues and cylinders outdoors, ensuring they are not blocking access/escape routes and paths, ideally in a locked shed away from direct sunlight and frost
- take care when turning bottled gas barbecues on and off
- ensure the tap is turned off before changing a gas cylinder
- after use turn the gas supply to the barbecue off first and then the barbecue control, this will prevent gas from leaking.
- only change gas cylinders outdoors or in a well ventilated area
- ensure all joints are tightened, safe and secure before moving or packing the barbecue away
- tell your neighbours you are having a barbecue, especially if they have washing hanging on the line
- be considerate and keep music/noise to reasonable levels
- keep barbecues under control to avoid excessive smoke drifting across into neighbouring gardens/properties.
- remember during warmer months many neighbours will have their windows open.