ABINGDON HANDYMAN

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Plumbing
How do I tighten the connectors to a monobloc tap?
The parts in the tap itself are almost inaccessible. You get mono-bloc tap connectors. These have a reduced diameter connector one end and an olive-compression fitting in larger diameter the other end. There are also push fit plastic variations.

The end going to the tap have large fat black rubber washers in. Offer them to the threaded pipes inside the tape and do up tightly by hand. No tightening with a tool is possible or needed. Amazing. It's the way they are designed. Firm hand tight is enough.

Sink or bath tap will not turn off

Try and locate a small stop cock or tap along the pipework, often, just under the sink to turn off.

Toilet Cistern overflowing.
Try and locate a small stop cock or tap along the pipework, often, just under the sink, to turn off. Or... take the top off the cistern to see if anything is stopping the ball/float from coming back up. Try lifting the float or ball up to shut the water off. Tie it up.

Toilet System Overflow runs all the time
If you just fitted the cistern, you have put the outlet pipe too far up inside the cistern. This stops the flushing valve from closing properly. Slide it out further. If an existing cistern, check the ball cock is shutting off. If it does shut off, replace the flushing valve.

Gas
I can smell gas
Ring your gas supplier's emergency number. Their number is on your bill. Turn off any appliances with a flame, eg, your boiler. Turn off all lights, and open doors and windows if the smell is strong. Only open the doors when you have extinuighed every  flame.

Chimney
My chimney is on fire.
Telephone emergency services and leave the building. Close all doors. Most chimneys catching fire might just be soot burning off, and most houses with lined chimneys in all likelyhood will not burn your house down, but thefire services will extinuish the fire before it can get too hot and damage the chimey itself.

Sparks coming from your chimey may present additional hazard to houses close by if they have thatched roofing. If you have adjacent houses with thatched roofs, go and tell the occupants and inform the fire services too.

 

Water is pouring through my ceiling upstairs.
Is it rain water or an upstairs tap left on? If it is rain water, you will need a roofing service. Are the pipes below the sink or bath leaking?

 If you have a metal water tank in your loft, it could have become rusty, holed and leaking. Check it. Tie up the ball cock to stop the tank refilling, then go and turn on the cold water tap in the bathroom. Both the sink and the bath taps. Let them run for a while. Is the tank emptying? Yes? Good - run the taps until it empties. There will still be some water left in the tank. Use towels and a bucket to soak it out.
The tank will need replacing!

I have locked myself out.
Best to call a locksmith as they often have skeleton keys. If you are unable to locate one, I can 'break-in' for you but there will be damage to the door.

A tree in my garden has fallen into the road.
Telephone your local council or their highway services. If it is safe to do so, and you have a warning triangle in your car, please place it some distance from the tree to warn approaching motorists.

I have a wasp hive in my loft
Your
local council will remove it as wasps are considered pests.

I live in a New Build House and cracks are appearing in the walls or floors,  or some other defect is starting to happen.
A lot of New Builds put up in the last 5 years are (in my personal opinion) not built very well because they are built on Green or Brown field sites which are excavated and built on too quickly, without leaving time for land to settle or get drained. I'm very sorry you are having an issue. You need to immediately raise the complaint by writing to the company which sold you the house. Keep a copy of your letter and their reply. Talk to other residents in adjacent houses and see if they are getting problems too. You may need to form a group to get recompense if the building company are avoiding your complaints.

It might also help to write to any surveyors you or your mortgage company employed so they put pressure on to the building company to get your faults remedied.



 

I have a bee hive in my loft
Locate and telephone a local bee keeper. They will be glad to take away a productive hive.

I have rats in my garden
Phone your
council. They will deal with rats as pests.

Electrical
I have sparks or smoke coming from an electrical socket
.
Locate your main consumer unit which has a main switch on it and turn it off. Then call me.

My light bulbs don't seem to last very long
If your light has a loose wire, worn switch, or bad (loose or worn) bulb connector, arcing will occur at the point of bad connection. This rises the voltage dramatically over milliseconds through the bulb filament. Consequently the wire filament gets very hot and then cooler. This fatigues the metal filament, shortening it's life. Eventually, when you turn it on, it will pop at that weak point. You need me to come and check the connections.

A window pane has broken and rain is coming in
Sellotape bin liners, or carrier bags, or a plastic refuse sack to the inside pane and then call me.

All electric power or a part of our
electricity has just gone off

If it's all gone off, it could be a power-cut. More likely it's a bulb just blew out and switched off the main switch (RCB) of your consumer unit, or blew a fuse in there, or switched off a mini circuit breaker.

Go to the control box (the consumer unit) of the electric supply to your house. Are all the switches in the same position along the row. The main switch (sometimes two of them) might be off too. If it is on, and one of the mini-circuit breakers) has switched off, turn off the main switch first, reset the minor switch, and then turn on the main switch.

Do not hold any switch on! Click it on and let go.
If it pops off again, it's likely you have a bigger problem than a blown light bulb.



I hope this helps.
Your local handyman.