York Housing Association

Hints and Tips

Finding the cheapest deals on household bills

If you're wanting to compare the costs of different suppliers, and find out the cheapest, uSwitch.com is well worth knowing about. Their website offers free, and reputable, advice on the savings and cheapest deals you can get on a whole range of home utitlites and services, including gas, electricity, telephone and digital TV. Why not take a look, or ring their Customer Services on 0800 093 0607 (Freepone) or 0845 601 2856.

Gas Central Heating

If you are too warm, turn the heating down by 1C - this can cut up to 10% off your fuel bills. If you are going away for a few days then leave the thermostat on a low setting to provide protection from freezing without costing too much.

Hot water

Water shouldn't be heated to a scalding temperature. For most people, setting the cylinder thermostat at 60C (140F) is usually quite adequate for bathing and washing

A water meter could save you pounds!

How about saving more money by having a water meter installed. You could cut water bills in half, especially for small households with low water consumption. To weigh up the advantages of switching to metered water supplies you should look at the information on the back of your last water bill, or ring Yorkshire Water's helpline for advice on 0845 124 2424. But don't forget before having a meter installed you need our permission first.

When using the washing machine

Try to have full loads and use the lower temperature wash. With today's washing products you can do a wash as low as 30C or even 15C. This could save you up to three quarters of the cost of the hottest cycle.

Storm Warning - A repair to your roof

In very stormy weather there are times when it is not safe for a contractor to attempt outside repairs. If a leak occurs, put a bowl and towels underneath it. Use either cat litter, newspapers, sawdust etc to soak up the water and an opened up black bin liners as a waterproof sheet.

If water is coming in through an electrical fitting, turn off the relevant supply at the fuse box (but DON'T tamper with the fitting itself or any other switches). Report the problem to us so that an electrician can attend.

If you see loose tiles, hanging windows etc which could cause injury if they fell, please contact us to cordon off the area until repair work can be done.

In case of a fire

In the event of a fire in your home you should first call the Fire Brigade (telephone 999) and only attempt to put out the fire yourself if you think there is no risk to you or others. Take the safest escape route and close the door to the room where the fire has started and keep it shut. If you find yourself trapped, go into a room and shut the door. Put any cloth you may have to hand against the bottom of the door to keep out smoke. Call for help from the window.

To help prevent a fire

To help you prevent a fire starting, remember to unplug all electrical appliances when they are not in use. Avoid using long and frayed flexes, and don't overload electrical points. Close all downstairs doors before going to bed and ensure smoke alarms are in working order. Make sure all cigarettes, candles etc are safely stubbed out and keep matches and lighters out of reach of children. Remember, never leave pans of fat unattended.


This can be a real problem, especially around autumn and winter times. The most visible signs of condensation are streaming windows, damp walls and sometimes black mould. Sometimes the simplest solutions are often the best ones. For example, open a window when cooking and use the extractor fan if you have one. Don't let rooms get too cold, constant low-level heating need be no more expensive than sudden burst of heat. Never use bottled gas or paraffin heaters as they can make condensation worse. Contact our repairs department if you are experiencing this problem for further advice.

What to do in a power cut

If your electric suddenly goes off first check to see that all the circuits in your home are affected, or a fuse has blown. If all the power has gone off ask a neighbour to see if it is a general power cut or only to your home.

Avoid opening a freezer during a power cut. Food inside should keep for at least 12 hours or more. Keep a stock of candles and holders and a torch handy. Remember, if you request an electrician and they find the fault lies with one of your appliances you will be recharged.

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