If you’re young, a student or a first-time renter, you’re likely to call your parents in a panic when something goes wrong on your property. You might never have had to deal with an electrical blow-out or a flood situation, and these things can seem scary at first.
It is useful to know a little bit of DIY for all unexpected household situations. In this guide, we’ll run you step-by-step through a few simple, important things to know.
- Blown Fuses
Ever had your power blow out suddenly? It’s probably because you overloaded the circuit by having too many electrical units on at once. If you had your TV on while drying your hair while charging your phone all in the same room – that’s probably why. Luckily, it’s an easy fix.
- Unplug everything to ensure the power doesn’t blow again when you’ve restored it.
- Then, go and investigate where your household electrical panel is (usually in the basement, under-stairs cupboard or utility area).
- Check to see if any circuit breakers have turned to ‘off’. Turn it back on and go forth with your day – minding not to use too many plugs at once.
- Or, if you have a fuse box, check to see if any fuses have melted. Take the melted one with you to the hardware store to get an exact replacement match.
If these tips don’t restore your electricity, consult an electrician who can inspect for a bigger problem.
- Socket Sparks
Small sparks are normal when you plug something into a socket. It looks scary but isn’t anything to worry about. However, in an emergency situation like a big spark, smoke, or your socket causes you an electrical shock, call in an electrician to assess whether the plug is safe for use or not.
Forgot you left the bath running an hour ago? Come home to a broken washing machine and water everywhere? Or had a pipe burst? Take action quickly to minimize damage.
- Turn off your water at the stopcock (usually stationed under the kitchen sink) and your power at the electrical panel, to prevent further flooding and electrical issues.
- Soak up all the water on your floors to prevent damage to flooring and woodwork – you may need to sacrifice a few towels here…
- Open all windows and doors to help dry out the area. You can also use fans, heaters, and the AC to circulate air (only plugin electricals in dry areas of the house).
- In the case of a burst pipe, call in a plumber to replace or repair it before turning the water back on.
- Fill in Holes
Fill in small holes (from hanging pictures on nails, etc.) in your walls and pretend they never happened – especially if you’re renting a place! You’ll need a few tools for this. Grab a putty knife and some instant filler solution (both cheap from hardware stores), fill in the hole, then use sandpaper to flatten when it’s done.
The filler is likely to dry white, so go to a paint store and grab several testers that are close to the color of your walls – these are usually free. Then paint over the patch in the closest color, or mix some together for an exact match. Viola!
- Bleed a Radiator
Radiators with trapped air inside won’t heat your rooms efficiently because of cold patches inside that don’t heat up. Relieve the trapped air by ‘bleeding’ your radiator.
Firstly, turn the radiator off by removing the cap on the temperature valve at the bottom of the radiator and screwing it clockwise. With your central heating turned OFF, use a radiator key or flat-blade screwdriver to unscrew the valve at the top. Hold the key/screwdriver with a cloth and have another cloth ready to catch drips.
Slowly unscrew the valve and hissing air will escape. Once water starts coming out, you know all the air has been forced out and the valve needs to be replaced quickly. That’s it – now you can enjoy a toasty warm house!
Author: Ellie Wiseman