- No heating/hot water
- Radiators not getting hot or they are noisy
- No Electricity
- Dripping taps
- Blocked toilet/ sink
- Smoke alarms are beeping
- Damp/ Condensation issues
- To Summarise
No heating/hot water
The first thing that you should do is check the pressure.
If your boiler is not working, it could be as simple as a loss of water pressure. The water pressure indicator on the front of your boiler should read between one and two bars of atmospheric pressure. If it is below one, then your boiler pressure is too low, and your boiler will not work.
If your water pressure is low what do I do?
To top up your system and increase the pressure, you will need to locate your filling loop. This is usually a silver/grey coloured flexible hose with a small valve or tap at each end, to help these are common types of valves in the photographs below.
You will find the valve either underneath your boiler or nearby, some modern boilers will have the option to do this by buttons on the boiler panel, refer to your instruction book. If you do not have this to hand the internet is always a good place to go, typing your boiler manufacturer and model number into a Google search will often get results.
Make sure the boiler is switched off and the system is cool. The hose will have a valve at both ends – make sure both ends of the hose are securely attached to both valves.
The valves can be opened either by tap handles, or by using a flat headed screwdriver. Open both valves to allow the cold mains water into the system. You should hear water filling the system.
Keep an eye on the pressure gauge until it reaches 1.5bar, then close off both valves, one after the other. Once the pressure is at the required level, switch on and rest (if required) the boiler.
Check if the pilot light is on.
A pilot light is the small blue flame that burns inside a gas boiler, it very rarely goes out. When it does, the problem is often traced to a malfunctioning sensor, or from a strong downdraft into its exhaust. The first thing to do is to try and relight the flame. Follow the boiler instructions to relight the pilot flame, there may be an electronic ignition switch and/ or a knob.
Radiators not getting hot or they are noisy.
From time to time air can get into any heating system, the steps below can be carried out by any adult, without the need to call a heating engineer.
1: Turn your heating on so that all radiators in your home come on. Remember to wait until your radiators are fully heated (as hot as they can be) before moving on to step 2. You need to build up the pressure inside the radiator to be able to force the air out.
2: Find out which radiators need bleeding. Once your radiators are as hot as they can be, go and check each one individually to see if all parts of the radiator are warming up. Be careful, radiators can get very hot and you do not want to burn yourself.
Cool spots particularly form toward the top of the radiator, these are classic signs that the radiator needs to be bled to remove any air.
Once you have found your cool spots it is time to move on to step 3 and bleed them.
3: Switch off your central heating, this is reversing the process identified in step 1 and will allow you to handle the radiators without burning yourself or soaking your floor.
Bleeding radiators will require a radiator key (widely available in DIY stores), or a flat head screwdriver. We have provided below a typical photo of a radiator key.
At the top of the radiator at one end there will be a valve, you can attach the radiator key to the square part in the centre or put the end of the screwdriver into the groove.
Hold the key or screwdriver with a cloth (it is going to get hot), and have another cloth ready to catch any drips, then slowly turn the radiator key or screwdriver anti-clockwise. If air is escaping you will hear a hissing sound. Once there is no more air, water will come out and the valve will need to be closed very quickly. With the more modern screwdriver operated valve, water is likely to emerge as a jet rather than a dribble. Check the pressure by having a look at the gauge on your boiler. If the pressure is too low, you will need to ‘top up’ see the section called ‘If your water pressure is low what do I do?’for instructions.
Afterwards, you may want to run another ‘hot test’ to check that your efforts have been successful. Simply turn your heating on, wait for all the radiators to heat up and check for any cool spots, it may be that you need to do this two or three times to work out any air that might be in the system.
1: Firstly, you should check if your neighbours are affected. If so, it is possible that the power is off in your local area so please contact your local electricity network operator. They should be able to give you further guidance and say roughly how long the power will be off for.
If you have a pay as you go meter, check that there is sufficient credit.
2: Check the fuse board.
Next, go to the fuse board, there are several different types. One type is where you have little switches, check that these are all in the same position, where one or more switches are in a different position to the others this indicates where the fault may lie. Each switch will hopefully be labelled to show what is affected. A switch in the ‘up’ position means that it is on.
Something plugged in may be the issue, unplug everything (particularly kettles, toasters and irons), do ensure that everything is unplugged, not simply switched off. Next, make sure the switches on the consumer board are all in the same position, one by one plug in your electrical items and check it works until you come across one that trips the electrics and this will more than likely be the cause. Stop using this item immediately, if it belongs to the Landlord contact us, or if it belongs to you, you will need to repair or replace the item.
3: Changing a fuse or fuse wire on a consumer board.
To change a fuse in the consumer unit, firstly switch off the main switch on the consumer unit to cut off the supply.
Make sure the consumer unit has fuses inside. Some consumer units have miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) and these are different to fuses, they are not removable and have a button or lever to reset themselves.
The fuse blowing is an indication either that the circuit has been overloaded or that a short circuit has occurred somewhere in the circuit. Before replacing the fuse, it is important to identify what has caused it to blow. Switch off and unplug all the appliances connected to the circuit to ensure that it is not overloaded. If you have extension cables be mindful what is plugged in as a socket can be easily overloaded.
If you do not know which fuse has blown then remove each one in turn and inspect the fuse wire inside. If the fuse wire is broken then it will require replacement, fuse wire is available in DIY stores.
There are various different types of fuse carries in use, but the principle is the same. The three most common are the single bladed and double bladed fuse wire carriers, and the cartridge fuse.
First ensure the consumer unit is switched off. The fuse wire is held in place by two screw terminals at the top and bottom of the fuse carrier. Unscrew these terminals but do not remove the screws. Then remove the blown fuse wire from the holder.
A cartridge fuse is similar to those found in plugs only bigger. The cartridge fuse is held by removable carriers similar to above. First ensure the consumer unit is switched off. Then remove the fuse carrier containing the blown fuse.
The fuses are usually held clamped in place by the surrounding plug and can be prised out. Some fuse cartridge carriers are held together with a screw that must be removed to gain access to the fuse. Replace the faulty fuse with an equivalent fuse. Reassemble the carrier and slot back into the consumer unit.
The table below shows the colour fuses and typical uses:
This is generally as a result of a washer which does wear out from time to time, it is quite simple to change this. We have found a video on YouTube to hopefully explain how to do this.
Blocked toilet/ sink
Common cause is a blockage in the waste pipe which can frequently be freed by using toilet or sink un-blocker easily purchased from any supermarket, use the prescribed amount and leave for a least an hour to allow it to work, then using a plunger, plunge the toilet at least ten times or more. Try flushing the toilet to see if the blockage has cleared.
Smoke alarms are beeping
There are two types, these are:
- one is mains powered, you can tell this by a small green or red light inside, if you have one of these the batteries cannot changed by a user, call us if this is the case.
- The second type is battery operated, these usually need a 9 volt ‘PP3’ square battery, these are widely available and something that you should do.
Damp/ Condensation issues
Wintertime and the cold weather can result in damp or condensation. Damp may well be a structural problem that will be dealt with by the Landlord, but condensation is mostly caused by the lifestyle of the occupier.
The first signs are the appearance of black mould spots and a musty smell in the coldest parts of the property, usually in the bedrooms and bathrooms. If the property has been free from these signs in the warmer summer months, then it is unlikely to be a damp problem created by defects in the property and condensation is the most likely cause. A relatively unknown fact: a 5 person household puts about 10kg of water in the air every day!
What is the different between Damp and Condensation?
Damp arises from water leaking into external defects or excessive moisture within a building. Condensation however is a process where moisture (steam) in the air inside the property condenses into water droplets on cold surfaces. This is most noticeable on hard, non-porous, surfaces like glass or tiles, where water may condense on the glass and then drip down to form puddles on windowsills. With soft surfaces like wallpaper, carpets, bedding and clothes the water will be absorbed in these items making them cold and damp and eventually resulting in mould.
What causes Condensation?
Rooms that are cold and inadequately heated, thereby creating lots of cold surfaces. The production of too much steam from cooking, washing, tumble drying, air drying of cloths and showering etc, all result in moisture laden warm air which will rise to the highest and usually the coldest part of the house where condensation takes place.
Inadequate ventilation of the steam produced at source (e.g. cooking, bathing/ showering), which keeps it all in the sealed envelope of the house.
How Condensation and Mould can be prevented?
Maintain a constant minimum temperature in all your rooms of about 21c, minimize the amount of steam produced when cooking and washing and always ventilate. Keep internal doors closed. Avoid drying wet clothes on radiators and try to keep them outside the main house. Make sure tumble dryers have an external vent. In modern homes, ensure the trickle ventilation vent is open at all times. Where condensation does occur, you should wipe down and clean surfaces with appropriate mould and mildew cleaner to stop the build-up of mould growth or damage.
When you first move into a property with us, you will be presented with a ‘Condensation – Tenant Factsheet’. This will give you an understanding of what condensation is and how to avoid it and if necessary, deal with it. If you have mislaid your copy, please contact us and we will re-send it to you.
At all times you are expected to act in a ‘Tenant like manner’.
There was an important legal case in 1954 (Warren -v- Keen, Court of appeal), the judge which issued this defined each party’s responsibility when it comes to repairs. In his judgement, Lord Denning defined ‘Tenant like manner’ as follows:
“The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, where necessary, and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unblock the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see his family and guests do not damage it and if they do, he must repair it; and if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time, or for any reason not caused by him, the tenant is not liable to repair it.”
We will always give you guidance if you are unsure of your responsibilities.