HOMEOWNERS are being urged to prepare for the cold as East Lancashire looks set to be plunged into another period of icy temperatures.

Forecasters have warned sub-zero blasts could arrive towards the end of the week, disrupting services and hitting those most vulnerable.

Home repair experts 24I7 Home Rescue have issued top tips to help guard your home - and your health - as the mercury plummets.

Ranjen Gohri, director of the Clayton-le-Moors based company, said: “We know all too well how unpredictable the British weather can be and it’s important to prepare for anything the winter months might throw our way.”

Here’s six tops ways to keep your home life running smoothly while the temperatures drop.

Put together a home emergency kit

Mr Gohri says: “It’s important to stock up on the essentials and make sure an emergency kit is to hand in case disaster should strike.

“Ideally your kit should include a torch with plenty of spare batteries, your important documents and an alternative source of heat if your boiler happens to shut down.

“You should also have three days of bottled water and food that won’t spoil, such as canned goods. Any essential medication, a first aid kit, and any emergency contact numbers should also be packed.”

Insulate your home

Mr Gohri says: "Pipe insulation – available at almost every DIY and home improvement store – will stop your pipes from seizing up when the thermostat drops below zero.

"Your gas boiler’s condensate pipes are at particular risk of freezing during the winter, and when these freeze, a boiler breakdown is almost inevitable. Pipe insulation won’t only protect your boiler – it will also protect your wallet, as it will improve the efficiency of your central heating system.”

Temporary measures to lock the heat in your home include pulling the curtains to prevent warmth escaping through the windows, using draught excluders and even masking tape to plug holes where heat can escape.

Mr Gohri says: “Little steps such as these take no time at all and can make a huge difference to how comfortable you feel while sitting indoors.”

Prepare your car and grit your drive

Before starting your engine make sure you have an ice scraper, a torch and a battery-operated radio in your car. A snow shovel and a first aid kit could also prove handy on your journey.

It’s also worth packing extra layers and blankets in case you get stuck and face spending the night in your vehicle.

Try to make sure your paths, driveway and your route onto any main roads are gritted before you set off. You can collect grit from your nearest grit box and if you don’t know where that is, get in touch with your council to find out.

Bring pets indoors

Mr Gohri says: "If you have pets who usually live outside such as rabbits, bring them inside. Not only can they suffer in the freezing temperatures but their drinking water will also ice over.

"If you don’t want to bring them into the house, move them into a sheltered space such as a garage to protect them from the cold.”

Get covered

Check your boiler and heating system and make sure you have the correct cover in place.

Mr Gohri says: “Don’t wait until you lose heating and hot water to take action. At 247 Home Rescue we have access to local engineers who will aim to reach you in as little as four hours.

“We also have a 24 hour emergency claims line available 365 days a year to provide extra peace of mind.”

Cosy up

Make sure you have plenty of layers and blankets around the home, particularly if you live with small children or elderly people.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on elderly neighbours who might need a little extra help as the cold weather bites.