Water pipes are at risk from freezing if left unheated during a cold spell. If you are leaving your property overnight or going to be away from your property through the winter period you should take the following precautions:
- Leave your heating on a low background heating setting, especially overnight.
- Turn off the water stopcock for your house before going away.
- If you have a power card or gas card meter, make sure you leave enough credit to provide power and gas to keep the heating on while you are away.
- If you are going away for a long period contact the Customer Contact Team on 01592 630922 for advice on additional precautions you should take.
If you discover a leak in your property, turn off the water at the stopcock and contact Kingdom’s emergency repairs number. If the leak is near any electrical fittings, turn off the electricity at the mains.
Kingdom’s insurance does not cover your floor coverings or other household contents from damage, such as leaks and so we would strongly recommend that you take out and maintain a household contents insurance policy.
External Tap Advice
The advice below is for all residents during the winter period where you have an external tap at your home.
External taps are prone to bursting during freezing conditions, in order to avoid burst pipes to external taps residents can take these two simple steps as a precaution:
Step 1: Isolate the water supply to the external tap during frosty weather by turning the valve which is normally located under the kitchen sink – Your Guide to New Home should show the location
Step 2: Go outside and open the tap once isolated to let any drips of water in the tap run out so as not to freeze in the pipe run.
Gas Heating Servicing
The annual gas service is to make sure the continued safe operation of your heating system. Boilers that have not been serviced each year can be extremely dangerous; even though they may appear to be working correctly they can in some instances be giving off poisonous fumes. If your boiler is serviced annually and is repaired by a competent person the risk of problems developing is very low.
It is very important that you take all reasonable steps to make sure that you provide access for the annual gas service appointment. If the date you are given is unsuitable, contact our gas contractor as soon as possible to arrange another appointment. Servicing is carried out during normal working hours from Monday to Friday. During the pandemic, servicing appointments can be delayed, if anyone in the household is self isolating, but must be carried out as soon as possible after the 10 or 14 day self isolation period is over.
We appreciate not everyone can be available on the first appointment date, however, after 3 unsuccessful attempts to gain access we will have no choice but to consider forcing entry to your property to carry out the service or to cap your gas supply until we can service the system. We have the right to do this under your tenancy agreement as your boiler would be deemed to be unsafe unless it has been serviced.
As your landlord, we have a legal duty to check boilers at least once every 12 months to make sure they are operating safely. If you do not let us in to do the service during the first 3 requests for access, you will be recharged for any costs associated with forcing entry and making additional service visits.
Dangers From Legionella in Domestic Hot and Cold Water Systems
Although we would stress that there is no cause for alarm, as a precautionary measure, we must highlight the possible dangers from legionella. We have provided this information to advise you on how best to minimise any risk of infection.
What is Legionella?
- Legionella is bacteria that can live in domestic hot and cold water pipes and tanks.
- The bacteria can survive low temperatures and grows rapidly at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C. They are killed at higher temperatures and this is the main method used for their control in domestic water systems.
- Legionnaires’ disease is a pneumonia-like illness caused by the bacteria.
- Although the dangers of legionella problems being present in frequently used domestic hot and cold water systems is not as high as in larger scale water systems, it should not be ignored.
How can Legionnaires’ Disease be Caught?
- The infection is caused by breathing in water droplets or spray-mists which have been contaminated by the bacteria. Those most at risk include elderly people, smokers and those suffering from long-term illness.
- It is not contracted through drinking contaminated water and cannot be passed from person to person.
What Can Residents do to Reduce the Risk from Legionella?
- If your house has a hot water tank make sure that the water temperature is set at a minimum of 60oC on the tank thermostat. If you need help or advice on doing this please contact our Customer Contact Team on 01592 630922.
- Regularly run all cold water taps for at least 2 minutes to flush them out. For hot water taps and showers make sure they run at full temperature for at least 2 minutes. For little used taps this should be done weekly.
- Regularly clean your shower head and hose, if you have one, with a mild disinfectant solution.
- If you have a shower or hot water taps that are seldom used, bath taps for example if you normally use only the shower, please contact us for further advice on how to make them safe.
- If your house is going to be unoccupied for more than 2 weeks at any time, and particularly in the summer, drain down your water system and refill it on your return. If you need help or advice on doing this please contact us in advance of your holiday.
- By following these basic rules you will minimise any risk to you and those in your household from legionella.
If you have any concerns on this issue or any of these recommendations, please get in touch with our Customer Contact Team on 01592 630922