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Bad Weather Advice


General Advice

Stay Informed. Keep up to date with the weather forecast on the television, radio, internet and newspapers. You can check the latest weather reports here: .

Remember to keep warm to minimise the risk of hypothermia (a condition where the body becomes dangerously cold). Make sure your heating is at the right temperature (around 18°C/65°F (bedroom) and 21°C/70°F (dayroom), so you can keep warm and keep your bills as low as possible. Use room thermostats or other heating controls if you have them to monitor the temperature indoors. Make sure you have sufficient funds on your pre-payment gas and/or electric meter for a few days.

To help keep warm:

  • wear several thin layers of clothes to trap body heat rather than one thick layer
  • wear clothes made from cotton, wool or a fleecy material to maintain body heat
  • keep warm in bed
  • remember to wear a hat if you go outdoors – a lot of body heat is lost from the head
  • eat well and have at least one hot meal each day
  • have hot drinks throughout the day
  • have adequate heating on at home and take measures to reduce draughts and heat loss

Look after Yourself and Check on Older Neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe, warm and well. Layer your clothing and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.

Food is a Vital Source of Energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day, and (if you can) keep active in the home. Stock up on tinned and frozen foods to prevent you from needing to go out when it is icy outside.


Away from Home?

Empty buildings are at particular risk during this cold weather. If you’ll be away for a few days, consider turning off your stop tap and draining down the system – This means there will be no water in the system to freeze. Keeping your heating on low will also help keep your home warm and prevent your pipes from freezing.

 Keep your Home Cosy

Keep your home warm by using draft excluders and closing curtains at night.

Make your Home Safe and Warm.

Draught-proof around windows and doors – seek energy advice on this. Avoid blocking ventilation points in the home

If you are Without Electricity, make sure you have:

  • A supply of torches and/or camping lanterns for emergency lighting
  • A camping gas cooker or other means of cooking if you rely entirely on electricity
  • A battery-powered radio (make sure you have replacement batteries) in order to receive regular local radio information bulletins

If your electricity supply fails, turn off all major appliances, particularly electric fires and cookers until power is restored. Never open deep freezers until your electricity is fully restored – cover with newspaper and blankets for extra insulation. If food thaws out do not refreeze, use it straight away or consult Local Council Environmental Health Services for general advice.  Avoid using candles as this is a fire risk.

If you are Without Heating/Hot Water

Check that your heating is working properly. If you are without heating or hot water please contact us on 0800 085 7843 and we will arrange for our Heating Contractor to attend.  If we can’t rectify your heating within 24 hours we will supply you with temporary heaters.

In Case Water Supplies Fail, store a few filled containers with fresh water for drinking purposes, especially for young children and for infant feeds.

Protect your Property. When severe weather is forecast stow away garden furniture and remove loose articles from outside the house – these might cause damage if blown around. If severe weather strikes, stay indoors, close windows and curtains to protect yourself from breaking glass.

Stay Safe Outdoors. If you have to go out, where possible, clear and grit/salt your paths for an accessible route. Make sure you dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes. Also, tell someone where you are going and let them know when you get back. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and with you at all times. If you are planning a long trip, take any medication you need to take regularly and a copy of your repeat prescription.

Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers in case you need to call for help

Clearing ice and snow at home and work

Merthyr Valleys Homes has a Winter Maintenance/Snow and Gritting procedure available which sets out what we do and don’t do in snow or bad weather. Contact us for a copy of this policy.

The website has more advice about you clearing snow and ice.

Frozen pipes


If your pipes do freeze, you will need to act quickly to reduce the risk of them bursting. You should:


  • Turn the water supply off at the stop tap.
  • Try to defrost the pipes by placing warm towels or a hot water bottle on them, or using a hairdryer on its lowest setting. Pipes MUST be thawed slowly. NEVER use a blowtorch or an exposed flame. Do NOT attempt to defrost pipes if you do not feel you can carry out this action safely.


If the worst happens and the pipes do burst, you should:


  • turn the water supply off at the stop tap.
  • try to stop any escaping water with blankets, buckets or towels.
  • Contact us to report the issue IMMEDIATELY call us on 0800 085 7843.


If your property has no water supply please speak to your neighbours before reporting this to us in order to determine if your property is an isolated case or an issue regarding Welsh Water issue that is affecting your street/area.  If the whole street is affected please report this to Welsh Water: 0800 052 0130.


Check your Stop Tap 

Know where your stop tap is, both internally and externally, and check that it works. You’ll need to get to it quickly, and know how to turn it off should the worst happen.  If you’re unfamiliar with the locations please contact us for advice.

Outdoor Taps

Don’t leave a hosepipe attached to outside taps. If you have an outside tap turn off the valve (which may be inside) and drain down the tap and pipes. This stops them becoming damaged.


Check your Gutters

If you are able to do so check the gutters and drains are clear of leaves or debris. This will help to prevent blockages and flooding. This can also stop leaks and damage to your walls and roof.

Electrical safety at Christmas

The information in the links below  give information and tips on how to ensure you keep your home safe when possibly using extra electrical lights and items over the Christmas period.

Related Links

Roads – Gritting
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council

Winter Safety
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

Clearing snow