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Fire Alarms

It is the tenant’s responsibility to never cover up, or remove the batteries from, a smoke alarm. You risk death or serious injury and the Landlord can sue for damage caused to their property.

Changing the battery is a tenant responsibility and instructions are usually on the detector if you get up alongside it. Most detectors are designed to slide off their fixing to disconnect from the power supply and remove the battery. Before they can slide off there is a catch on the side of the detector between the ceiling and the detector itself that must be pushed in and released. This is usually done by inserting a flat screwdriver head or something similar where indicated. The alarms are designed to come off easily when the catch is released and should NEVER be forced. Some systems have a separate fire panel. If this beeps or says there is a fault try the reset button.

Ventilation, Condensation and Mould

Condensation occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with a cold surface. Walls, ceilings, and in serious cases floors become covered with moisture which can cause mould, rot, and the growth of fungus. The occurrence of condensation is increased if a property is not properly ventilated, the temperature is not moderated, or if excessive moisture is being produced. The cold weather is usually worse for causing condensation because windows are opened less frequently, and more moist air is trapped indoors for longer.

Steps to reduce condensation

  • When possible, hang your washing out to dry. If you have to dry clothes indoors, put it in the bathroom with the door closed and a window open. Do not dry it on radiators, or in front of the fire. If you have a tumble dryer, make sure it has an outside vent to carry away the warm moist air. Alternatively, ensure the room is ventilated whilst the dryer is in use.
  • Keep pan lids on when cooking, and use minimal water for cooking.
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when the rooms are not in use, this prevents warm moist air from spreading to other rooms.
  • Ventilate your bathroom for about twenty minutes after use - leave a small window open.
  • Ventilate your home for about an hour a day by leaving all internal doors open and opening a small window upstairs and one downstairs, which are at opposite positions in the house. This is called 'cross-ventilation'.
  • When filling a bath, run the cold water first and add the hot water last, this will reduce steam production by as much as ninety per cent.
  • Ventilate your cupboards and drawers. Try to ensure they are placed against internal, rather than external walls. Place heavy furniture on small blocks to allow air to circulate underneath, and avoid having furniture flush against walls for the same reason.
  • Try to keep some heating in all rooms during cold weather - condensation is caused by cold surfaces so a little heat over a long period of time is more effective than a blast of heat for a short time.

Radiator Issues

Trapped air or gas prevents hot water from heating your radiator fully. This can mean that the top of the radiator is cold whilst the bottom, and pipework adjoining the radiator is hot. If this is the case, then you will need to bleed the radiator. To Bleed a radiator:

  • Turn on the heating so that all radiators in your home come on. Once your radiators are all hot, go and check each one individually to see if all parts of the radiator are warming up. Before you bleed any radiators make sure your central heating is switched off.
  • Bleeding radiators usually requires a radiator key, but with more modern radiators you can use a flat-blade screwdriver. At the top of the radiator at one end there will be a valve. You can attach the radiator key to the square bit in the centre or put the end of the screwdriver into the groove.
  • Hold the key or screwdriver with a cloth, and have another cloth ready to catch any drips, then slowly turn the radiator key or screwdriver anti-clockwise – if gas is escaping you’ll hear a hissing sound.
  • Once there is no more gas, liquid will come out and the valve will need to be closed quickly. With the more modern screwdriver operated escape valve, liquid is likely to emerge as a jet rather than a dribble.

How to troubleshoot boiler problems

Most combination boilers and many standard boilers are now installed as Pressurised Systems. This can prevent the boiler from working if the pressure drops. If you find that the system pressure has fallen, it is your responsibility to re-pressurise the system.

To top up your system and increase the pressure, you will need to locate your filling loop. It most usually is a small plastic tap and is connected to the central heating system by a metal hose. To fill the system, use the tap you have located to open and close the filling loop. When the tap is opened it will allow fresh water to flow into your Central Heating system. As this happens you will hear the water passing through the valves into the system. It is recommended that you open the valve slowly to allow the system to fill up gradually to between 1 and 2 on the gauge. When you do this a steady increase in pressure will be seen on the pressure gauge.

When the recommended pressure is reached close the valve by turning it in the opposite direction to which you opened it. There is no need to worry if your system does accidentally become over pressurised. All modern systems are designed with safety in mind and a pressure safety valve is incorporated into the plumbing. This acts like an overflow pipe releasing the excess pressure and allowing the system to revert to the recommended levels. It is very important that the valve is turned off after re-pressurising the system.

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