Keep warm and well

Winter welfare picture of a heart shaped radiator

Don't suffer in the cold - follow these tips to keep warm and make sure you're claiming all the help that you're entitled to. Being cold isn’t just uncomfortable it can be bad for your health.

Keeping warm at home

  • Keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts.
  • Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have regular hot food and drinks.
  • Aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count towards your five a day.
  • Wear several layers of warm clothes to trap heat between the layers (instead of just one chunky layer)
  • Keep moving if you can, as this will help keep you warm. Try not to sit for more than an hour, get up and walk around, make a hot drink and spread housework throughout the day.
  • Prepare for cold weather. Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, warm clothes and any medication so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
  • Power and utility companies have schemes which prioritise some households for reconnection after cuts or problems. Check if you meet the criteria and sign up. Find out if you meet the criteria and if so, sign up.

During the day

  • Heat your main living room to around 18 to 21ºC (64 to 70ºF) and the rest of the house to 16ºC (61ºF).
  • Heat all the rooms you use in the day.
  • Heat your bedroom before going to bed.
  • Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed. In very cold weather set the heating to come on earlier.
  • Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated.
  • Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can kill.

At night

  • Draw your curtains at dusk and tuck behind radiators to help keep heat inside.
  • Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
  • Keep the temperature above 18ºC (65ºF) in your bedroom.
  • Open the window or door a little for ventilation if you use a fire or heater in your bedroom.
  • If you have an electric blanket, use it as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle together as you could electrocute yourself.

Reduce your energy bills now!

Find out about keeping your home warm and reducing your energy bills at the same time.

Download our new guide: ‘Health and Wellbeing – Practical Information for Independent Living’. The guide is for you if everyday tasks are becoming more difficult. It is about support and services that are in your community. As well as family and neighbours, many groups and organisations in Salford can help you stay independent and well. Our guide has details of these organisations and how to contact them.

Download the guide (Adobe PDF format, 4mb)

Help paying for your heating

Winter Fuel Payments are made every winter to people born on or before 5 April 1954, regardless of the temperature. If you haven't had a winter fuel payment call 0800 731 0160.

When the weather is particularly bad for seven days or more, you can also get a Cold Weather Payment, if you receive any of the following:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support and Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance if you also have:
    • a disability or pension premium
    • a child who is disabled
    • Child Tax Credit that includes disability or severe disability element
    • a child under five years old living with you
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you also have:
    • the support or work related component of ESA
    • a severe or enhanced disability premium
    • a pensioner premium
    • a child who is disabled
    • Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element
    • a child under five years old living with you

Tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus if you think you should receive a Cold Weather Payment but haven't had one. If you're still struggling to pay your heating bills speak to your energy supplier.

You can also contact our Welfare Rights Service to find out about any other benefits you may be entitled to.

Preparing for the next spell of cold weather

  • Stock up on basics such as long life milk, food that you can heat up easily and matches if you need to light a fire or gas cooker.
  • Improve your home's insulation and draught proofing. Call 0161 793 2264 to find out about grants that may be available.
  • Think about any medication that you need to take and plan to have enough in.

Be a good neighbour

If you have a neighbour who could be vulnerable in the bad weather, check to see if they are okay.

More help

Make sure to get your flu jab.

Downloadable documents

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

This page was last updated on 2 December 2022

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