Repairs - Frequent problems

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Common Repair issues

As a tenant you will experience issues with things in your home.  Sometimes, this can easily be sorted out and do not require a visit from a contractor.  Some things are more complex and will definitely need to have a repair carried out.  Some repairs will be your responsibility to sort out and some will be your landlords responsibility.  See below for information on how to deal with some of the common issues:

My washing machine wont empty/spin - I can't get my washing out

This most common reason a wahsing machine will not empty is due to a blocked filter.  The filter is usually situated at the bottom of the machine at the front behind a panel.  Place some cloths or towels at the base of the machine, slowly unscrew the large nut at the bottom and water should escape.  When you have completely unscrewed the filter, clean out any debris and screw back into place.  The machine should now spin and complete the wash cycle.  If this does not solve the problem, a repair visit will be required.

My washing machine smells

Over time, a build up of soap scum and other materials can build up inside the machine and soap dispenser.  You should routinely run a cleaning cycle to keep your machine fresh.  This can be done easily by firstly cleaning the soap dispenser and the rubber seal, then run the machine empty on the hottest wash cycle with a cup of household bleach.  After this wash has run, repeat another empty hot wash with a litre of white vinegar.  DO NOT PUT THE BLEACH AND VINEGAR IN THE MACHINE AT THE SAME TIME.    These two cleansing washes should leave your washing machine smelling fresh.

I have no lights upstairs/downstairs

If your lights are not working, but you have electrical supply at the plug sockets, it is likely that a bulb has blown and this has tripped the consumer unit fuse.  This is perfectly safe.  All you need to do is flick the relevant switch back on and identify the faulty bulb and replace it with a new one of the correct wattage.  You should have your lighting back.

My sink won't empty or it is very slow running away

You may have a blocked drain.  The main cause of blocked drains, is due to things such as fat and waste food being emptied down the sink, soap scum and hair balls.  Sometimes other items are poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet and this can also cause a blockage.  Over time, fat and soap deposits can build up and if items such as wipes are also flushed down the toilet, they will cause the underground pipes to block.  In the first instance, do not pour things down the sink or drains.  You should pour unwanted fat/oil in plastic containers when cool and then dispose of the container in the waste bin. 

My toilet pan fills up when I flush the toilet

When the toilet pan fills up and is slow to discharge, this is due to a blockage.  Unwanted items flushed down the pan, can result in blockages.  If this happens, you will need to call a plumber or drainage company to clear the blockage.  If the cause of the blockage is as a result of your actions, or those of your visitors or family, you will be charged for the cost of clearing the drain.

My toilet wont stop filling up

This can be due to debris entering the tank and getting lodged in the valve.  If after lifting the lid, you cant see anything at the bottom of the cistern, report this to your landlord/letting agent

My toilet is overflowing

This is usually due to the ball valve no longer being effective, report this to your landlord/letting agent

I have no hot water

If you have no hot water, first and foremost, check that you have sufficient credit if you have a prepayment meter.  Is your boiler alight?  If the pilot light has gone out, you should see if you can reset the boiler.  Consult your instruction manual.  If you have credit and you have reset the boiler and you still are unable to get hot water, report this to your landlord/letting agent.

I have no heating

Firstly check if you have hot water.  If you have hot water but no heating and you have a gas boiler, you should check if the water pressure has dropped.  If you go to the boiler, there should be a guage on the front, if the indicator is below No 1, the pressure has dropped.  The indicator should be in the green area, usually registering between 1 and 2.  If the pressure is below this, report this to your landlord/letting agent.

Some of my radiators are cold

If some of your radiators are cold or feel cold at the top and warm at the bottom, it is more than likely that they need to be bled.  This is a simple task that you should do.  Get a cloth and a radiator key, hold the cloth below the valve and insert the key, turn slowly, if there is air inside the radiator, you will hear a hissing sound, this is normal.  Do not open the valve too much, once the air has been released, water will come out, shut the valve, ensure no further water is escaping, then repeat this to the other radiators in your home.  Once you have removed the air from the system, your radiators should heat up.  You may need to repeat this again in a couple of days, especially at the start of the cold season, when you have not been using the heating for a while.  If this does not sort out your cold radiators, report this to your landlord/letting agent.

I have a leak from .....

Whenever water is escaping from anywhere other than a tap, you should inform your landlord/letting agent as soon as possible.  You should make reasonable effort to contain the escaping water, by collecting it in a suitable container, so that you minimise the damage to fixtures and fittings.  A little bit of water goes a long way and can do a lot of damage. 

I have mould in my bathroom/kitchen

If you have mould growth in any area of your home, you are more than likely to be suffering with excess condensation.  Condensation is generated during the normal course of living.  It is important that your home is kept warm and adequately ventillated at all times throughout the year.  Your home needs fresh air to hep remove the moist air and this will be done by opening windows.  You do not need to make the area cold by introducing fresh air even when your heating is on. 

When you cook, bathe or shower, it is important to remove the excess moisture in the air as quickly as possible.  Do not allow excess moisture to sit on cold surfaces in your home as this will encourage the mould spores to generate.  If you have mould growth on your seals round the bath or sink, you should clean this off and ensure you keep the area as dry as possible after you have finished.  The surfaces just need to be wiped down using a microfibre cloth to remove the water.  A couple of minutes taken to wipe down the moisture, will keep your home mould free. 

if you have a tumble drier, make sure you ventilate your home whilst this is in use.