This section gives you some helpful information and tips on running your home and the equipment in it.

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2 This section gives you some helpful information and tips on running your home and the equipment in it. Electricity Fuse board (electrical consumer unit) Make sure you know where your fuse board is and how to turn off the electricity supply. Your fuse board will either have fuses or trip switches. Modern fuse boards are fitted with a circuit-breaker fuse system. If there is a fault, a switch is tripped (see diagram a) and the circuit is broken. Older fuse boards have fuse holders and when a fuse blows it must either be replaced, if it is a cartridge (see diagram b), or rewired using special fuse wire of the correct amperage (see diagram c). Fuse cartridge Isolation switch a b c Tripswitch Replaceable fuse wire Cartridge fuse 68 If a fuse continues to trip or blow, this may be due to a faulty appliance.

3 Changing a fuse Keep fuse wire or replaceable cartridges handy in case a fuse blows. Before replacing the fuse, turn off the supply at the isolation switch (this is on the fuse board). Replace the fuse with the fuse wire or cartridge, or reset the tripswitch on the circuit breaker. If the fuse blows again, unplug all of your appliances from their sockets and try again. Plug in each appliance one at a time and switch it on. This way, if the fuse blows again, you will know if you have a faulty appliance. Home maintenance Don t forget if you cannot sort out the problem, check with your neighbours because there may have been a power cut. Water Find out where the stopcock is for your water supply and test it regularly to make sure it works. You do this by turning it off and running the cold tap in the kitchen. The tap should stop running almost immediately. Stop tap or stopcock A stop tap or stopcock is usually found where the water supply enters your home. You use these to shut off the supply to the property if there is a water leak or burst pipe. 69

4 Gate valve Gate valves are often in the airing cupboard. Isolation valve supply on supply off Isolation valves will allow you to isolate the service to the cistern, taps, bath, basin and so on by simply turning the screw at the top of the valve. This will then shut off the individual supply. This will allow you to keep a water supply to the rest of your home. Cistern Overflow Lid Handle Ball valve Isolation valve Water-supply pipe Flush pipe Flushing system 70

5 Stopping an overflowing cistern If a cistern overflows, you can take temporary action. Lift the float to stop the overflow. Tie a length of string to the arm of the float and attach it to a piece of wood or similar to bridge the width of the cistern. Float Avoiding frozen pipes Home maintenance In very cold weather, try and keep some heating on at all times. Open inside doors to allow warm air to circulate as well. If you have a loft hatch, open it to allow some warmth to circulate into the loft to help prevent pipes and tanks freezing. Do not place loft insulation directly under water tanks. Thawing frozen pipes If your pipes freeze, it can take a long time for them to thaw out. First turn off the stopcock. Put a heater close to the pipe (a hairdryer is ideal). If you cannot thaw out the pipe, keep the stopcock turned off unless you need water this will stop you being flooded if the pipes thaw suddenly and burst. If you keep your stopcock turned off, you must turn it on every few hours to allow the tank to fill up. 71

6 If the hot-water tank is not filling up, or no hot water is coming through the hot taps, you must not use your water heater, back boiler, immersion heater or central-heating boiler. These can become dangerous if you use them without water. Be prepared for the pipe thawing have a bucket or bowl ready to collect any water if the pipe has burst. Leaking pipes If your pipes are leaking, you should do the following. Turn off the stopcock. Turn off your water heater, immersion heater or centralheating boiler. If you have a back boiler, put sand or water on the fire and let it go out. Turn on the hot and cold taps to drain all the water. Put a container under the leaking pipe to collect any water. If the leak is close to the floor, use a baking tray or something similar with a towel placed on it. The next three pictures should help you identify a fault in your bathroom. Tap Waste trap Hot- and cold- water supply pipes Mastic sealant Overflow Overflow End panel Side panel Plughole Cistern Flush pipe Water-supply pipe Toilet seat 72 Waste outlet Pan

7 Radiators If the top part of your radiator is cold, this may be because air is trapped. Bleeding the radiator will release this air and allow hot water to fill the radiator. Bleeding a radiator Put the bleed key over the bleed valve, holding a cloth underneath to catch any water. Turn the key anti-clockwise and you will hear a hissing noise this is the air being released. When the hissing stops and water starts to appear, turn the key clockwise and close the valve tightly. Never unscrew the valve completely. Home maintenance You can use a small screwdriver to open the valve on some modern radiators. When bleeding your radiator, the water may be hot. Bleed valve Bleed key Thermostatic radiator valve 73

8 Condensation Keeping windows and doors shut all the time can shut in all the moisture we produce in the air when we wash or dry clothes, cook, and have baths and showers. This can lead to problems with condensation. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Condensation happens when warm air comes into contact with cold air or a cold surface. When warm air in your home meets something colder, like a window or a wall, it releases the moisture as tiny drops of water. If we don t get rid of that moisture, it will turn into mould. This looks like a mass of tiny black spots. (This is different from the marks made if water leaks into your home from outside such as in a roof leak. A leak like this will leave a brown tidemark showing how far it has spread.) Reducing condensation 74 Keep each room in your home warm but ventilate rooms you are not using by opening windows slightly if it s not too cold. Steam causes the most condensation so, when you are cooking, keep lids on saucepans and turn down the heat as soon as the liquid has boiled. After a bath or shower, try to ventilate the room to the outside, not to the rest of the house. Just opening a window (and closing the door) will help. Use extractor fans if you have them. Try to dry clothes outdoors or in a tumble dryer vented to the outside. Wipe away any large amounts of moisture on windows or walls.

9 Don t put furniture against outside walls, as this traps moisture against the wall, which can t dry out if there is no air circulating behind the furniture. Don t seal or cover up any air bricks or vents. Paraffin and liquid-gas appliances produce a lot of condensation so do not use them. Make sure the soil level is below the damp-proof course. This will prevent other forms of dampness. Home maintenance 75

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