Repairs hints and advice

Frozen or burst pipes

General advice
You should know where your main and internal stoptaps are. The internal stoptap is usually under the kitchen sink or in the downstairs toilet. The external stoptap is usually where the mains water pipe enters the property.

If you have hot and cold water tanks in your home, you should know where the gate valves are. The cold tank valve is usually by the cylinder in the airing cupboard.

Make sure that you can easily turn all stoptaps and valves. Please check before you turn the stoptap off, that you are not turning off the water supply to other properties.

The pipes and tanks in your roof space should be insulated. If they are not, contact us to arrange us to carry out the work.

If you are going away during the winter and the weather is going to be cold, leave the heating on a low constant heat to ensure your pipes do not freeze.

Emergency action

Frozen pipes
If your water pipes freeze, you should turn off the water at the main stoptap. It is probably best to leave the frozen pipe to thaw naturally, but you may try to thaw the pipe by placing hot water bottles over the frozen area. Take great care when you are doing this. Never use a blowlamp to thaw a frozen pipe.
If the water system is frozen you should turn off the water heater.

Burst pipes
If a water pipe has burst you should:
• turn off the water at the main stoptap and turn off any gate valves from the water tank
• turn off any water heaters
• open all taps to drain water from the system.

If electrics are getting wet, do not touch. Turn off electricity. Switch mains to ‘Off’ at the consumer unit or fuse board.

Bleeding a radiator

General advice
If the top part of a radiator is cold, this is because air is trapped in the system. Bleeding the radiator frees the air and lets hot water fill the system.

Check what type of boiler you have. If it is a combination boiler, follow the instructions for bleeding radiators in the boiler manual carefully. If you are not sure, contact us.
Always turn off the heating system before bleeding a radiator, otherwise the pump will draw more air into the system.

If the whole radiator is cold, check that the radiator valves are open and that the thermostatic radiator valve is set correctly. If there is still a problem, contact us.
If more that one radiator is cold, check that the room thermostat is set correctly. If there is still a problem, contact us.

What to do
Check what type of boiler you have to see whether it is safe to bleed the radiator. If it is:
• turn off the heating system before you start work
• place the key over the bleed valve, this is the small square plug at the top end of the radiator and hold a cloth around it to catch any water that comes out
• gently turn the key anti-clockwise a couple of turns until you hear a hiss - this is the air being released
• when the water starts to come through, turn the key back clockwise to shut the valve off.
Take care not to unscrew the valve completely as the plug will come right out and hot water too. If the problem keeps happening, please call us.

Trip switches

General advice
Modern electric circuits are fitted with a circuit breaker fuse system. If a fault develops, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken.
The fuses and trip switches are in the consumer unit which is usually next to the electricity meter.

Switches are usually tripped because:
• too many appliances are being used at the same time
• an appliance is faulty or misused
• a kettle has been over-filled
• a toaster hasn’t been cleaned
• a light bulb has blown
• an immersion heater is faulty.

What to do
• open the cover on the consumer unit so you can see the individual trip switches.
• check which switched have tripped to the Off position
• put these switches back to the On position If the switch trips again, you may have a faulty appliance. You need to identify which circuit is being affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem.

To identify the problem appliance:
• check all the rooms in the house and note which set of lights or sockets are not working.
• unplug all appliances on that circuit
• switch the tripped switch to the On position
• plug in appliances and switch lights on one at a time until it trips again
• do not use double adaptors when testing appliances.

If an appliance is faulty, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it. If a wall or ceiling light is faulty, keep it switched off and contact us.
Never touch the electricity company’s fuses and seals.

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