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Handy Tips


Taking a few straight forward steps to look after your home can save you money and ensure you know what to do if you have an emergency. Please use the index for advice and tips.


You Should know where the services to your home can be turned off

  - Water|

  - Electricity|

  - Gas|

1 - Condensation|

2 - Blocked Toliets|

3 - Blocked Sink|

4 - Resetting a trip switch|

5 - Changing a fluorescent tube or starter|

6 - Heating Systems|



You should know where the services to your home can be turned off


Do you know your stop tap is?  It is where the water pipe enters your home, usually under the kitchen sink.  Do you know where your gate valves are for the hot and cold water storage tanks?  They are usually by the storage tanks.  Make sure that you can access your taps and valves and turn them off easily if you need to.


Do you know where your consumer unit (fuse box) is? If you need to turn off your electricity supply you will need to be able to turn the main switch into the ‘OFF’ position.


Do you know where your emergency shut off valve is to cut off your gas supply in an emergency?



1 - Condensation

Damp houses can not only cause mould to grow on your walls and furniture they can also cause health problems.  Condensation is caused by water vapour in the air turning back into water when it hits a cold surface.  We all produce water vapour by breathing, bathing, cooking and drying clothes. 


Moist air condenses on cool surfaces such as walls, mirrors, wall tiles and windows.

Warm moist air rises and often ends up in colder rooms or walls and forms black mould.

What to do

Reduce the amount of moisture that gets into the air by;

tickbox  Putting lids on pans

tickbox  Opening kitchen or bathroom windows when cooking or washing – if the 

  moisture can get out it will.

tickbox  Using extractor fans where they are provided

tickbox  Not drying washing on radiators.  Dry washing outside whenever you can.  If

 you have washing drying in a room, open a window.

tickbox   Making sure your tumble drier is vented to the outside if it has a vent hose.

tickbox  Reporting any leaks and drips so they can be repaired quickly.

Treat any areas affected by black mould with bleach or a fungicidal wash (one part bleach three parts water) this will kill the spores.  Always follow manufactures instructions.  When you repaint, paint in a good quality fungicidal paint.



2 - Blocked Toilets

NEVER put face wipes, nappy wipes, nappies or sanitary towels down your toilet as it will block.  If we have to clear a blocked toilet you will be charged unless there is a problem with your drain or the problem is with a communal drain. 

If your toilet does block you may be able to clear it by pouring a few buckets of water down the pan.  If this does not work call the Repairs Centre to report the problem.



3 - Blocked Sinks

NEVER put fat, grease or anything other than liquids down the sink.  Make sure that you remove as much food from plates and pans before washing up.  We will charge you to unblock any sink in your home to the main drain.


Get into the habit of cleaning your drains every so often with soda crystals or drain clearing products.  Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.

If you do have a blocked sink you can clear it by

tickbox  Using a sink plunger – remove as much water as you can, hold a rag tightly over the overflow to seal it, place the plunger of the plug hole and pump up and down rapidly.

tickbox  Using drain clearing products – always follow manufacturer’s instructions

tickbox  Unscrewing the plastic trap under your sink and clearing any blockage. Remember not to use the taps or pour water down the sink while the trap is unscrewed.  Place a bowl under the trap before you unscrew it to catch any water.



4 - Resetting a trip switch

Some consumer units (fuse boxes) have up/down switches and some have buttons.  All the switches will normally be in the ‘ON’ position until a fault ‘trips’ one or all of them in the ‘OFF’ position. 


If your consumer unit has buttons in the OFF position it means the button has popped out.  If the button is still in it is ON.


What causes the switches to trip?

tickbox  A fault with an appliance

tickbox  A surge of electrical power

tickbox  A light bulb blowing

tickbox  A circuit is overloaded by using too many extension leads on a circuit

If a trip switch goes in your home part or all of your electrics will stop working. 


What to do if your circuits trip?

Use a safe step ladder to look at your consumer unit.  Make sure you do not overstretch and that the step ladder is on a flat surface.  Check which trip switch or button is in the off position. Put this switch or button back into the ‘ON’ position.


If the switch trips again – check all the room in the house to see which lights or sockets are not working.


Unplug any appliances in that circuit.  Reset the trip switches so that they are in the ‘ON’ position.  Plug all the appliances back in one at a time so you can find out which appliance is causing the problem.  Once you have found it, do not use the appliance again until it has been checked by an electrician or replaced.  If all else fails call the Repairs Centre. 


Remember that if the fault is caused by one of your appliances we will charge you to attend.  We will also charge you if the trip switch only needs to be reset.



5 - Changing a fluorescent tube or starter

If a fluorescent tube is flickering or only lights at the end you need to change the starter.  If the tube is dim or will not light, the tube needs to be renewed.


You are responsible for changing any light bulbs or fluorescent tubes in your home.  We can do this for you but we will charge.


If you need to change the starter or tube in a fluorescent light;

tickbox  Turn off the light switch

tickbox  If the light has a cover pull it away by pulling the bracket away at one end.

To renew the starter:

tickbox  Twist the starter anti-clockwise and pull it out

tickbox  Put a new starter in and turn it clockwise to lock it in

To renew the tube:

tickbox  Release the tube by pulling away one end of the support bracket. You may have to twist the tube to release it.

tickbox  Fit the new tube by putting the contact pins into the holes in each support bracket.  You might have to twist the tube to fix it into place.

tickbox   Replace the cover.



6 - Heating systems

Check your heating systems are working before the cold weather starts.  If they are not, call the Repairs Centre so we can fix it before it becomes a problem. 


Setting the temperature on your thermostat 

A comfortable temperature for a house is between 18 and 22 degrees.  Set your temperature on your thermostat.  You can save money by keeping your home on a lower, steady temperature rather than putting your heating on higher for shorter period.

Related Information


Postal Address Housing Landlord Services,
Kinson Hub Office, The Kinson Hub, Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
BH11 9AW
Telephone 01202 451915
Minicom 01202 454728
Email Housing Landlord Services
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