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Housing Executive’s Belfast homes better prepared for cold weather

Published: Thur, 4 Sep 2014
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Frost stats have been fitted in 768 Belfast homes
Belvoir estate in the snow
When the kids go back to school and you start to notice the cooler weather, many people worry about heating and protecting their home during the winter.  
The Housing Executive has many tips and ideas that can keep the cold at bay.  This year alone it is investing almost £168,000 in Belfast by installing frost stats to protect their boilers against severe weather.  Five separate schemes have started in the last few weeks to fit 768 homes across Belfast with a frost stat in an effort to reduce the risk of burst pipes in its properties during very cold weather.  Hundreds of Housing Executive homes already have a frost stat fitted.  A further 190 have already been installed under these new schemes, and all installations should be complete by the end of October.

What is a frost stat?

A frost stat is a thermostat fitted to boilers that will turn on a heating system automatically when the temperature drops below a certain level.  The Housing Executive is installing thermostats to the outside of its homes all over Belfast with oil fired central heating systems.  If the outside temperature falls below freezing, the thermostat will automatically switch on the central heating system’s circulation pump.  The thermostat will not switch on the boiler but will keep water circulating around the heating system in an effort to stop the pipes freezing.
Other basic but effective steps can be taken to keep warm this winter and also reduce heating and electricity bills.  These cost very little to do.  Making small changes to your lifestyle and being aware of how to make these savings can make a huge difference to your carbon footprint, as well as your pocket!

Simple tips that cost very little or nothing

Throughout your home...

  • Close curtains at night to keep in the heat
  • Keep internal doors closed to reduce draughts and don’t block the radiators with furniture
  • Never leave hot water running
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Electrical appliances on standby could be costing you up to £100 per year – turn them off!
  • Fit low energy light bulbs – they use around one fifth of the electricity of a normal bulb.
  • Fit shelves above radiators to deflect heat into the middle of the room
  • Draught proof letter boxes and gaps at floor boards

And in the kitchen…

  • Only use the amount of water you need when boiling the kettle (but always cover the element of an electric kettle)
  • Use a toaster rather than the grill
  • Wait until you have a full load before using washing machines, tumble driers or dishwashers
  • Defrost fridges and freezers regularly

And finally…

  • Use the shower if you have one, rather than the bath (electric showers which heat water instantaneously are very expensive to run and should be used with care)
  • Never leave mobile phones on charge overnight, and
  • Make sure your computer equipment is completely switched off and plugs out.
Further advice on reducing the risk of frozen pipes and dealing with situations where pipes burst is available in our winter maintenance section, and for more information on energy saving visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/energywise or freephone 0800 1422 8655.