Expert advice on how to beat the bitter conditions as cold snap approaches the North East

Stephanie Walker of British Gas.
Stephanie Walker of British Gas.
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A list of top tips have been drawn up by those in the know as they bid to keep people warm at home and safe on the roads.

British Gas engineer Stephanie Walker, who is based in the North East, has drafted up a host of ideas to help people keep their homes warm and working this winter.

She said: “There’s nothing better than getting back from an evening of festive fun to a cosy home.

“The best part of the job for me is the customer satisfaction.

"If a customer calls us to report a fault with their boiler and I go out and I’m able to fix it, that’s an amazing feeling. I sometimes get customers asking for me specifically and when they tell me this it really makes my day.

“During winter, boilers and heating systems have to work twice as hard. My advice would be to make sure your home is prepared."

• Wrap up… your water tank: The materials you need can be purchased from most DIY stores and will help to conserve water heat and save you money.

• Block the breeze: Make sure all of your home’s windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draught excluders is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills.

• Love your boiler: Check to make sure that your boiler is working properly. The older your boiler, the more inefficient it will be. If you have a pressure gauge make sure it is at the right pressure and top up as necessary. More information on boiler maintenance tips can be found on the British Gas website

• Insulate your pipes: Burst pipes are a huge issue for UK households during winter months. To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated by using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.

• Watch and learn some additional winter tips: To pick up some extra tips to help keep your home warm and working this winter, visit:

Meanwhile, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has issued the following advice following the yellow warnings of snow forecast during the weekend.

• Think about the safest possible way to get to your destination. If you can, avoid travelling on quieter roads or country lanes as these are less likely to be gritted.

• Don’t forget to clear off snow piled on the roof and bonnet as it can fall and blow on to the windscreen or the vehicle behind.

• Start your car gently from stationary and avoid high revs. If road conditions are icy and you drive a manual car, move off in a higher gear rather than first gear. Stay in a higher gear to avoid wheel spin.

• Never drive too fast that you risk losing control, but avoid driving so slowly that you risk losing momentum, especially when driving up a slope.

• Double your stopping distance from the vehicle in front of you. This will give you more time to slow down without relying on your brakes.