Handy Maintenance Guides

Throughout your tenancy you're bound to come across a few maintenance issues. Whilst some of them are likely to require the attention of a trained engineer, for the smaller everyday issues why not refer to our below guides to help you manage your home yourself?

 

Unblocking a sink, drain or toilet.
Sinks in the kitchen and bathroom can easily become blocked with food waste or hair, if you start to notice the water in your sinks or showers is draining slowly or the toilet refills high each time it's flushed, you may need to unblock your drains.
To avoid large blockages that will ultimately require a plumber to rectify, we recommend regularly using domestic drain unblocking chemicals which can easily be purchased from supermarkets or hardware stores. You may also want to invest in a small plunger to help remove minor blockages.

Helpful Tips:
- Never pour grease or cooking fat down the sink or drain.
- Carefully remove any food waste from plates before rinsing in the sink.
- Do not flush wet wipes, make up wipes, sanitary towels or other items down the toilet – dispose of these in a bin!
- Remove excess hair from the plughole after each time you use the shower to avoid blockages.

Be aware that if a plumber is called to a blockage that is a result of tenant negligence, then you could be responsible for the invoice!

 

Checking your fuse box.
If all the electric power in the property goes off, one of two things has likely happened;
There may be a power cut in your area – check the street lights, or your neighbours lights, go speak to a neighbour if you are unsure, to find out if it’s their property too, or just yours.
Or, a fuse may have ‘tripped’. This is likely to be due to a lightbulb or the fuse in a plug blowing. To find out where your fuse box is, check your inventory – it should tell you on the back page. Once you have located it, check all the switches are in the ‘on’ position. If any are in the ‘off’ position you will need to flick this back on. There may also be a main switch that will need to be flicked back into the on position.
If the electrics are off but none of the fuses are flipped ‘off’ then try flicking them all off then on again to see if this solves the issue.

 

Replacing a plug fuse.
If your fuse box trips repeatedly, or always trips when you try to use a certain appliance this may mean that the fuse to that appliance itself needs replacing.
To change the plugs fuse – unplug the appliance, unscrew the plastic casing and remove the fuse. Check its amperage (usually 13A) and replace with a new fuse of the same amperage – these can be purchased from any hardware store. Plug the appliance back in and test it.

 

Changing a lightbulb.
- Turn off the power
- Allow the bulb to cool before touching it
- Always reach the bulb safely, and ask a friend to help if it requires you standing on a ladder.
- Take the bulb out of the socket – this will depend on the type of bulb;
Bayonet Mount - this has two prongs which stick out of each side of the base. Hold firmly and push gently upwards into the fitting then turn anticlockwise as far as possible (usually only a quarter round) and then remove.
Screw Fitting – this type of bulb simply needs to be gently twisted anticlockwise until it is released from the socket.
- Replace the bulb with a new one of the same wattage and fitting type. 

Helpful tips:
- Remove the bulb and carefully take it with you to the shop to make sure you get the correct type.
- Save money and the environment by using ‘energy efficient’ bulbs.
- Never use a higher wattage than recommended on the fitting or shade label.  

 

Bleeding a Radiator.
Sometimes air gets trapped in the heating system or individual radiators, this stops the heating working as efficiently as it should and also stops your house getting as warm as it can too!

- Turn the heating on and check each radiator is turned up to hot (usually a small tap on the end of the radiator where the pipes connect it to the wall)
- Find out which radiators need bleeding – you’re looking out for cool spots. (Usually at the tops of radiators when the bottom is hot.)
- Use a flat head screw driver or radiator bleed key (available at most hardware stores) and turn the valve (located at the top of the radiator) until you hear a hissing noise.
- Keep a cloth underneath with the other hand to catch any escaping liquid.
- As soon as liquid starts to escape, close the valve quickly and tightly.

The radiator should now begin to heat evenly from top to bottom.

 

Hard water areas.
Leicester is a predominately hard water area; this means that you are more likely to have lime scale build up on your taps and water based appliances.
Regular cleaning with specific ‘lime scale removing’ cleaning products will help prevent this damaging the appliance or item irreparably.

Don’t forget lime scale also builds up where you might not be able to see it – inside washing machines, or under the water line of your toilet. Make sure you use cleaning products in your washing machine and occasionally run a boil wash, without clothes, to help prevent build up, as well as regularly bleaching your toilet overnight. 

ALWAYS READ THE LABELS! These products tend to be heavy duty so make sure you follow the directions and only use it on suitable surfaces, and keep yourself safe by ventilating the room well too!

 

Condensation and mould.
This is more common in older properties but can appear in any property if you don’t handle it properly. What you are doing, or not doing, can greatly contribute to rather exacerbating the issues, or helping to control and minimise the risk.

VENTILATE!
Mould and condensation tend to appear more in the colder winter months but this also coincides with people closing all their windows and doors. Try to open the windows a small amount each day where possible especially in rooms of high risk (bathrooms and kitchens).
HEAT!
In the colder months, it might sound obvious, but make sure you heating is on as constantly as possible, this helps to dry out any moisture that may be in the air. Having your heating on low constantly can also save you money, in comparison to having it on high in short bursts. 
CLEAN!
Sometimes mould and mildew can occur on walls or window sills, or ceilings. Do not let this develop and continue. Clean it away, with mould removal solutions if necessary (always read the label to avoid damaging the area further) leaving mould can lead to a stain that would need painting over to remove - a much more costly repair. 
THINK!
So many things cause moisture in the air, if you’re not taking action to try to combat this, then condensation and mould can damage the property. Drying clothes indoors, cooking, showering, even breathing releases additional moisture into the air!

For further advice on how to combat the moisture in your property, contact the office as we have several leaflets with more information on avoiding condensation and mould in your home.

Condensation and mould build up is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain, so if you are struggling make sure you speak to the office as soon as possible, as any damage to the property deemed to have been caused by this could be claimed against you.

For any urgent maintenance issues make sure you contact the office as quickly as possible so no furhter damage is caused by a delay. 

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