Home Maintenance – Hints and Tips


Here are a number of useful hints and tips about maintaining your home and equipment to ensure everything is well maintained and operating safely but remember, if you have any concerns about your property or anything within it, you can always give us a call in the first instance on 07892 891116.

What to do if you suspect a gas leak?

If you suspect a gas leak turn off the gas supply at the meter and call Transco immediately on 0800 111999

  • Open doors and windows and leave them open
  • Ensure that the gas tap e.g. to the cooker has not been left on accidently and switch off at your meter
  • Do not switch any electrical appliances on or off including light switches or wall sockets
  • Put out any cigarettes immediately and do not use any naked flames such as lighters or matches.

Gas safety check

We will arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to carry out a gas safety check to your home every year, and to provide you with a record of this check.

How to unblock a sink

When a sink is becoming clogged it normally takes some time to drain or it may not drain at all. The most common cause of blockages is food, particularly fatty foods, and also hair deposits.

Please therefore ensure that you never dispose of food down the plughole, no matter how small the amount.

  • You can also maintain your drain by regularly using a chemical drain cleaner, remembering to carefully follow the instructions on the label.
  • Using a plunger is the easiest method of dislodging debris. You may also unscrew the trap to the sink but this involves more skill and effort.
  • Block the overflow for the sink with some wet tissue, creating a vacuum effect (this stops the air being forced down the sink simply escaping through the overflow). With some water in the sink, place a plunger over the sink waste, ensuring that the rubber cup is fully submerged (the presence of the water helps to provide a seal). Push the plunger down quite a few times with both hands to force water through the pipe work, thereby dislodging the blockage.

How to unblock a toilet

Never put anything down the toilet except human waste and toilet tissue (this includes wet wipes)!
Another common cause of blockages is a dislodged toilet rim freshener. If you use these products, check to see if it has fallen down the U-bend prior to plunging. In any case, do not continue to flush as the bowl will simply overflow.

You need to force water down the trap with a plunger using both hands. Ensure that the water in the toilet bowl is pushed at force in order to clear the blockage.

If this doesn’t work, run some water down the sink or bath. If the toilet does not drain the blockage is probably further down the soil pipe, and a drain rod will be required.

In all circumstances, prevention is better than cure, so please ensure that you use sinks and toilets responsibly, as outlined above.

How to check washing machine for blockage

Before you call us to arrange an Engineer to repair the machine, please check the drain pump filter and hoses first.

How to check your washing machine drain pump filter

Do not just pull out the filter when the machine has water in it as the water will come out and you will get very wet or have a very wet floor as all the water in the washing machine will come out from there!Make sure that the filter is completely clear then try to run a rinse and spin only before you attempt to do another load of washing in the machine.

Washing machine still not draining

If you do all of this, get the filter cleared and you cannot find anything then it is entirely possible that either the drain pump itself is faulty or, there’s something still in the washing machine preventing it from draining.


Why does condensation occur?

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air meets a cold surface. The risk of condensation depends on how moist the air is and how cold the surfaces of the rooms are. Both of these depend on how the building is used.

When does condensation occur?

Condensation occurs usually in winter because the building structure is cold and therefore windows are opened less, preventing moist air from escaping.

Where does condensation occur?

Condensation that you can see occurs often for short periods in bathrooms and kitchens because of the steamy atmosphere and quite frequently for long periods in unheated rooms.

How you can prevent condensation in your home

  • Reduce the moisture content of room air
  • In areas prone to condensation, it is important to try to prevent or minimise this. In the kitchen, for example, try to use the extractor fan when laundering clothes or cooking. If you don’t have one, closing the doors and opening a window can have the same effect.
  • After bathing, keep the bathroom window open and shut the door for long enough to dry out the room.
  • Remember to provide adequate ventilation in other rooms. In old houses a lot of ventilation occurs through fireplace flues and draughty windows. In modern homes sufficient airflow does not occur unless a window or ventilator is open for a reasonable period each day. All that is needed is a very slightly opened window or ventilator.
  • When drying washing remember to close doors and allow ventilation by means of an extractor fan or window. Otherwise the moist air may spread to other rooms and cause problems.
  • Provide reasonable heating
  • Try to make sure that all rooms are at least partially heated. Condensation mostly occurs in unheated rooms.
  • To prevent condensation, room surfaces need to be kept reasonably warm. It takes a long time for a building to warm up, so it’s more economical and effective to have a small amount of heat over a long period than a large amount over a shorter period.
  • Houses and flats left unoccupied and unheated during the day get very cold. Whenever possible, it is best to keep heating on even if at a low level.
  • In houses, the rooms above a heated living room benefit to some extent from heat rising through the floor. In bungalows and most flats this does not happen. Furthermore, some rooms lose heat due to the number of outside facing walls, as well as the close proximity of the roof. Such rooms are most likely to have condensation problems, and adequate heating is therefore necessary.

Three important things:

  1. Prevent the spread of moist air from areas where it congregates, such as kitchens, bathrooms or places where clothes are put to dry.
  2. Provide adequate ventilation to all rooms so that moist air can escape.
  3. Ensure reasonable levels of heating.

Note to our tenants – please note that you may be liable for a call out charge if an Engineer visits and it turns out the blockage was due to something you had left in the machine, put down the sink, etc. Speak to your Property Manager if you have any queries.