Sign & Symptoms

Many of the symptoms described below indicate that people are unwilling or unable to spend money on heating and, as a consequence, their health may suffer.

Identifying a cold home

Those people living in cold homes may:

  • have regular chesty coughs and colds
  • tend to live in only one room to keep heating costs down
  • wear excessive clothing indoors
  • look blue and cold
  • have hands that feel cold
  • spend excessive time out, for example in the library or on buses, finding other places to keep warm
  • be reluctant to leave hospital
  • be admitted to hospital frequently
  • sit with hot water bottles or use other unusual ways of keeping warm, such as gas cookers
  • complain of feeling cold
  • spend an excessive amount of time in bed
  • keep the curtains closed all day in an attempt to keep the heat in

The house itself may:

  • have no visible means of heating
  • be very draughty
  • have windows that are wet with condensation
  • have ice on the inside of the windows
  • smell of damp
  • have isolated heaters around the house
  • have payment meters
  • have mould on the walls

Identifying an insecure home

Those people living in insecure homes may:

  • have been the victim of burglary or distraction burglary before
  • complain that they do not feel safe at home
  • appear inappropriately trusting of strangers

The house itself may:

  • be situated in a high crime area
  • be screened in some way from public view (eg by a hedge or fence)
  • have external doors that are flimsy or do not close properly
  • have inadequate locks on doors
  • have ground floor windows that cannot be locked
  • show signs of a previous, or attempted, break in
Picture: Norman and HEET van

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