Repairs

Fixing common home repairs yourself

You may think that home repairs require serious DIY skills, but many everyday jobs are easier than you think. You’ll find short guides below for some of the most common home repair problems.

Unblocking a toilet

Unblocking a toilet isn’t much fun, but it’s quite a simple task. Before you call us, you must show you have made all reasonable efforts to unblock the toilet yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Firstly, remove as much paper and water from the toilet as you can into a bucket.
  2. Next, put a plunger at the bottom of the toilet, then quickly push up and down to force a jet of water along the waste pipes.
  3. If you don’t have a plunger, use a piece of flexible wire to try and clear any blockages.
  4. If this doesn’t work, the problem might be further along the waste pipe. In this case, go outside and find the nearest drain cover to your toilet.
  5. If the chamber is full, the blockage is further along the waste pipe and out of reach, so you’ll need to call a professional in. If you’re a tenant, you can request a repair, and let us know what you have done to unblock the toilet yourself.

Unblocking a sink

Most sinks get blocked by hair, food or a small object that’s stuck down the plug. Before you call us, you must show you have made all reasonable efforts to unblock the sink yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Cover the overflow hole in the sink, place the plunger over the plughole, then quickly push up and down to force a jet of water along the waste pipes.
  2. If that doesn’t work, we need to see if removing water from the system helps. Put a bucket under the trap in the pipework and unscrew the collar. Water should flow out into the bucket and the blockage should clear.
  3. If the blockage remains, put the bucket back under the trap in the pipework and unscrew the collar again. This time, put some flexible wire into the pipe to try and dislodge the issue.
  4. If the previous steps haven’t helped, it’s probably the drain that’s blocked. Try a drain unblocking solution.
  5. If the sink is still blocked and you’re a tenant, you can request this repair, let us know what you have done to unblock the sink yourself.

Changing a toilet seat

We don’t replace toilets seats, so this is something you have to do yourself. This job is a little fiddly, but it’s pretty straightforward. Grab yourself a screwdriver, a wrench and some pliers. Then follow the instructions below:

  1. Use the screwdriver to pop open the caps that attach the lid to the toilet.
  2. Use the wrench or pliers to hold the nut that’s underneath the seat bolt.
  3. Remove the seat bolts with a screwdriver and lift off the old seat.
  4. Take the new seat and push the new bolts through the holes.
  5. Tighten the bolts by hand and make sure the new seat is central.
  6. When it’s central, use the wrench to tighten the bolts.

Radiators are cooler at the top than the bottom

If a radiator is cooler at the top than the bottom, this is caused by trapped air. All you need to do is release the trapped air (this is known as bleeding a radiator).

  1. To bleed the radiator you’ll need a radiator key (available from most hardware stores), or flathead screwdriver, and a towel.
  2. Slot the radiator key or a flathead screwdriver into the valve at the top of a radiator. Turn the valve and you’ll hear a hiss as the trapped air leaves the system.
  3. Eventually air will stop coming out. You might then get a trickle of water, so use your towel if necessary. At that stage, tighten the value. After a few minutes, the radiator will become consistently warm.

Electrical appliance isn’t working

If you’ve got a small electrical appliance that isn’t working, the fuse in the plug might need changing. Follow these instructions:

  1. Unplug the appliance.
  2. Unscrew the back of the plug.
  3. You’ll see 3 wires – the live wire (brown), the neutral (green) and the earth (green and yellow stripes).
  4. Move the wires out the way and unscrew the screw that’s holding the fuse in place.
  5. Replace the fuse with a new one, put the screw back in and replace all the wires in their right positions.
  6. Screw the back of the plug back on and test the appliance. If it still doesn’t work, it may be something more serious. You’ll need to speak to the manufacturer, so leave the appliance as it is to avoid causing damage and voiding the warranty. If you’re a tenant, you can request a repair.

Need help?

If you’re unable to fix the problem yourself, you can request a repair.