Helpful advice

Electrical Testing and Safety

We will inspect the electrical power and lighting installations in your home at least once every ten years to make sure they still meet current standards and to identify any necessary repair work.

To stay safe when using electrical appliances, you should:

  • Always make sure that plugs are wired correctly and fitted with the right fuse.
  • Always use a NICEIC-registered or equivalent contractor to carry out electrical repairs or wiring.
  • Never use an appliance that has a damaged cable/wire.
  • Never have too many items plugged into one socket.
  • Never use cracked or chipped plugs or sockets.
  • Never touch plugs, switches or any electrical appliance with wet hands.
  • Never fit a socket outlet in your bathroom.
  • Only use a shaver outlet if it is a special, permanently wired one.

Immersion Heaters

If your property has an immersion heater with a manual reset button, we would request that you contact us by email HousingRepairs@tendringdc.gov.uk or 01255 686477 on any occasion that this needs to be reset, rather than doing this yourself. Our contractor will then be able to make sure that your immersion heater is working properly before it is reset.

Where we install new immersion heaters in the future we will also make sure that the reset button is sealed within the unit and can only be reset by a suitably competent person, to further ensure your safety.

Important safety advice has been issued to raise awareness of a rare but potentially serious scalding risk from domestic hot water systems.

This advice has been issued following two similar fatal incidents elsewhere in the country in the last five years where a large volume of near boiling water poured through bedroom ceilings onto occupants sleeping below. The cause of these incidents was a faulty thermostat on an immersion heater on the hot water system.

An overheating immersion cylinder will normally show warning signs and these typically include:

  • Excessively hot water coming out of the hot water taps.
  • Excessive noise or "bubbling" from the hot water cylinder.
  • Hot water coming out of certain cold water taps (some storage cisterns also feed cold water taps in the bathroom)
  • Steam/moisture in the roof space.

In any of these circumstances you should immediately switch off the immersion heater in your home and contact us by email on HousingRepairs@tendringdc.gov.uk or 01255 686477.

You should not use your immersion heater again until after we have arranged for the system to be checked over.

The council has alerted its maintenance contractors and systematic checks will be carried out to ensure that no problems of this nature exist in any of our properties. All of our properties are also thoroughly inspected prior to letting. Further information can be obtained from the Health & Safety Executive through the useful link above.

How to Guard Against Frost

At the beginning of a cold spell:

  • Keep the property warm at all times
  • Let the warm air circulate
  • Make sure you know where the main control tap or stop valve is and how to turn it off (if it does not work properly, ask us to repair it).

If you leave your home empty when the weather may turn cold and there is a danger of hard frost, you should protect your home against water damage from burst pipes.

When you return home:

  • Turn the stop valve on again and make sure enough water comes out of your taps. This is to check that there is no air in your pipes.
  • If you have switched on your central heating, but the radiators are not getting hot, turn the system off and tell us. First check the timer is working and the pilot light is lit.

If you have any problems doing this, please contact us on 01255 686477.

What to do if you get a frozen pipe:

  • Turn off the water immediately at the stop valve.
  • Switch off any immersion heater.
  • Turn of all taps.
  • Contact us on 01255 686477.
  • Do not try to thaw frozen pipes with a naked flame.

What to do if you have a burst pipe:

  • Turn off the water immediately at the stop valve.
  • Turn on all the taps to drain the water from the system as quickly as possible, to stop it flooding your home.
  • Find out where the water is coming from.
  • Put a container underneath to catch any leaks.
  • Contact us for advice before you turn the water back on.

If there is any water coming through light fittings or ceiling roses, do not turn on the light and contact us immediately.

Watch our video below with advice about frozen pipes.

Condensation

Condensation is simply water vapour in the air condensing (or changing into) water on windows, walls, floors even clothing or cupboards. There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. If the air gets colder, it cannot hold all of the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation.

What causes condensation?

Condensation can occur because your home is too cold. Condensation can also occur because your home is poorly ventilated, maybe when you shut all the windows and vents, or don't use extractor fans. Condensation can also happen when your home is too wet. Maybe you dry your clothes on radiators, or use a tumble dryer without a vent to the outside, or use portable gas heaters.

Condensation and Mould Growth

There are several things that you can do if you have a problem with condensation in your property.

  • Leave the heating on during cold weather.
  • Wipe down windows, sills and frames where condensation occurs, but do not leave the cloth on a radiator to dry.
  • When taking a bath or shower keep the doors shut and the windows open slightly to avoid moisture spreading through the house.
  • Wherever possible dry clothes outdoors, not on radiators and if you have a tumble dryer make sure that is is vented to outside the property so that the moist air does not build up in your home.
  • Avoid using portable gas or oil heaters as they produce very large amounts of moisture.
  • Try to move furniture so that the area behind your wardrobes and cupboards is well ventilated and is preferably against an internal wall and try not to overfill them as this prevents air circulation.

You can usually identify dampness as an area of brown staining on walls. Staining on the lower walls may indicate rising damp, which occurs where the damp proof course is defective or is covered by a pathway or garden. Leaking plumbing or broken pipes can also cause dampness. If you think you have dampness please contact us on 01255 686477 or by email HousingRepairs@tendringdc.gov.uk and a surveyor will call to investigate.

Watch our video below with advice about condensation.

 

Preventing Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires disease is a kind of pneumonia, which is named after an outbreak of sever pneumonia that affected a meeting of the American Legion in 1976. It is caused by water borne bacteria that can be transferred to people by breathing in droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria.

The symptoms of this illness are very similar to those of the flu and include a high temperature, cough, muscle pains and headaches and these are treated with antibiotics. However, most people who are exposed to these bacteria do not become ill and the disease is rare.

Although cases of legionnaires disease are normally associated with large industrial water systems, it is possible for the bacteria to form in domestic water systems in certain conditions. We would therefore recommend that you follow the advice given below to make sure that your water system remains safe:

  • Keep your cold water storage tank covered.
  • Make sure that any lengths of pipe, showers or taps that are not used regularly are flushed through frequently to remove any stagnant water.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect any taps and shower heads in your home.
  • Make sure that taps and showers are flushed through following any periods when they have not been used to move any stagnant water, for example when you get home from holiday.
  • Report any repairs that are needed to pipework, taps or showers in your home promptly and contact us if you have any concerns about the equipment installed in your home.
  • Follow the advice that we give you if you apply for permission to install your own shower.

If you have any concerns about the quality of your drinking water, please contact Veolia Water Through the useful link above.

Home Fire Safety

We have produced a Home Fire Safety Guide that gives advice about things that you can do to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out, as well as the action to take in the event of a fire.

Gas Safety And Servicing

We have produced a Gas Safety Leaflet that gives helpful advice and tips.

How To Use A Storage Heater

How They Work

Most storage heaters are wall-mounted and look a bit like radiators. They work by drawing electricity over the course of a few hours at night (normally between midnight and 7am during the winter months and between 1am and 5am during the summer, although this can vary) and storing it as heat in a 'bank' of clay or ceramic bricks to use the following day.

The advantage is that they can consume electricity at night, when it is cheaper, and give out their heat many hours later. As a consequence they work best if the household is on an Economy 7 tariff.

Avoid using supplementary plug-in heaters or the convector button (found on some storage heaters). It is better to turn up the input on your storage heater and store more heat. Understanding how to operate your storage heaters as effectively as possible will help you to stay warm enough and not waste energy.

For further information about the controls and settings on your storage heaters please see this PDF document.

Asbestos In The Home

Please see our Asbestos leaflet for further information.

Please see some more useful documents below-

Damp & Mould Leaflet

Repairs Handbook

Gas Safety Leaflet

Condensation Leaflet

 

Last updated on: 31/03/2017 - 11:24