Maintenance tips

You are responsible for keeping the inside of your home in good condition. Here are some handy tips to ensure your property stays in tip top shape.

Lime scale can be removed from baths, sinks, shower heads and taps with a descaler available from DIY shops

Blockages in kitchen sink waste pipes can be prevented or cleared by flushing through using a suitable drain clearing product

Outside gullies should be kept clear of leaves and other debris so that water drains away easily.

Make sure you know where the main stopcock is and how to turn it off – check it turns once a year to ensure it hasn’t seized.  Also be sure to know how to turn off your electricity and gas supply in an emergency. If you do not know how to do this, ask any of our staff or contractors when they next visit you.

When pipes leak

Place a dish or bowl underneath the lead. Pull back any carpets and lay down newspaper or towels to absorb any water. Then call in the repair.

When pipes burst

Turn off the water at the main stopcock, and any gate valves from the water tank, and switch off any water heaters. Open all taps to drain water from the system.  Then call in the repair.

When ceilings bulge

To prevent the ceiling falling down, place a bucket under the bulge and pierce a small hole to let the water through.  Then call in the repair.

When pipes freeze

Turn off the water at the main stopcock and open the cold taps. It is best to leave the pipes frozen and allow to thaw naturally.  Conserve hot water until the pipes are thawed.

Warning!

  • Never tamper with the electricity provider’s fuse and seals
  • If in doubt, contact Customer Services on 01933 234450.

Turning off electricity

If you need to turn off all electricity (e.g. because of water penetration) use the main ON/OFF switch on the consumer unit.

Fuse or trip switch

Check your consumer unit or fuse box: it will either have fuses or trip switches. Modern electric circuits are fitted with a circuit breaker fuse system: if a fault develops, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken. A fault may also trip the RCD safety switch.

When a switch is tripped

Open the cover on the consumer unit to expose the trip switches. The consumer unit is usually next to the electricity meter. Check when the switches have tripped to the OFF position and put them back to the ON position.

If tripping occurs again

It is probably being caused by a faulty appliance. You need to identify which circuit is affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing a problem.

Which appliance is faulty?

Go around the house noting which set of lights or sockets are not working. Unplug all appliances on that problem circuit and switch off the immersion heater. Switch the tripped switch to the ON position and plug in the appliances one by one until the trip goes again. Leave that appliance unplugged. If one of our appliances is at fault, report the repair; otherwise repair or renew your appliance.

Clearing a sink or bath blockage

Bail out most of the water using a suitable container. Hold a cloth/rag firmly over the overflow opening and place a plunger over the drain hole. Pump the plunger up and down rapidly. Plungers can be obtained from most DIY shops. After clearing the blockage, it is advisable to clean out the waste trap.

Cleaning out a waste trap

First out bail any excess water from the bath, basin or sink using a jug or bowl. Place a bowl underneath the trap and unscrew the joint to remove the trap. Clean thoroughly and replace the trap, checking that the seals are in place and that all joints are screwed up tightly.  Blockages are usually caused by the build-up of fat, tea leaves, hair etc. and especially hand soap residue.  It is advisable to keep wastes clear with a drain clearing product if you suffer from slow draining water before it blocks completely.

If more than one fitting is blocked

The problem may be in the soil stack or main drain. This would need to be cleared by our contractors.

Clearing blockages

If the pan is already full, remove most of the water into a suitable container using a jug or bowl. Push the toilet brush or plunger to the bottom of the pan and pump up and down vigorously about 10 times.

This creates a vacuum and pressure which may shift the blockage. Check by flushing the toilet to see whether the blockage has gone. You may need to repeat the process several times before the toilet flushes normally. Do not use plungers with a metal disk, as these may chip or crack the toilet bowl.

Avoiding blockages

Toilet fresheners that attach to the rim of the toilet pan should be fastened securely to ensure they do not fall in and cause a blockage. Blockages are usually caused by unusual objects: nappies, toys, sanitary towels, toilet fresheners etc. If such a blockage occurs as a result of one or several of these objects becoming lodges, you may be charged to clearing the blockage.  Do not use toilet fresheners which are dropped in to the cistern as these can affect or damage the flushing mechanism within.

  • Don’t block airbricks or air vents
  • Open windows in all rooms for at least 10 minutes every day, but preferably for longer (especially upstairs)
  • Try to keep temperatures between 18 – 21°C whilst indoors
  • Hang thick, heavy curtains but open them each morning and ventilate the room as above
  • Close internal doors whilst cooking and open the windows
  • Use your extractor fan if you have one
  • Open bathroom windows after bathing/showering and leave them open for at least 20 minutes. Alternatively, if you have a condensation control fan, leave it switched on to do it’s work automatically
  • Wipe down windows (and bathroom tiles) with a window squeegee
  • Dry washing outside where possible, or place clothes on a drying rack in the bathroom and ventilate or use the extractor fan
  • Put lids on pans when cooking
  • Leave a gap between furniture and walls to allow air to circulate.