Tenant's Toolkit

DIY Tips and Solutions

How do you change the washing machine filter?

Answer: This is a messy job but sometimes you have no choice but to clear the filter in a washing machine while it is still full of water if your washing machine stops working because of a blockage.

See WikiHow's solution here.

How often should you wash sheets, duvets and pillow cases?

Answer: We like to think we keep our homes pretty clean (no easy feat when you have kids, pets and a partner running around). But how often should we be cleaning or ditching these everyday items?

See GoodToKnow's answer here.

How do you change a lightbulb?

Answer: Changing a light bulb sounds like an easy process, and sometimes it is. However, there are important safety measures to keep in mind. Sometimes, you will need to replace a light bulb that is trickier. For example, perhaps the bulb is in a very high vaulted ceiling or is a car dome light.

For 4 possible ways to change a lightbulb, click here.

Note: for long fluorescent lights, the procedure can be different: if the light is flickering, usually it is the starter that needs replacing rather than the bulb. The starter is a small cylinder found at the side of the fitting that is detachable.

Who is responsible for unblocking a waste? (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bath)

Answer: Unblocking a sink or bath/toilet waste at any point following initial check-in is your responsibility.

There are many products available from supermarkets and DIY stores that you pour down the plughole to clear blockages. You can help prevent your sink, bath or shower from blocking by buying strainers that fit over the sink hole to catch any hair or food particles.

You can attempt to shift the blockage yourself using Wickes' guide here or contact a local plumber using a service like Which? Local or CheckaTrade.

Note: Never pour fats down the kitchen sink as these go solid when they cool and block the pipes and drains. Always let the fat cool down and once it’s solid put it in a container or a plastic bag and put it in the bin.

Who deals with water supply problems?

If you notice any of the following, you should contact your landlord as soon as possible so they can arrange with you to have a plumber visit:

  • No water or low pressure
  • Blockages and drainage issues
  • Sewer flooding
  • Misconnected pipes
  • Billing problems
  • Water meter issues
  • Burst or leaking water pipe supplying your house

For more information, see Which's article here.

How can I avoid mould & damp?

Mould starts as moisture from cooking, washing or drying clothes indoors on radiators. The moist air condenses on cool surfaces such as walls, mirrors, wall tiles and windows, and even some clothes.

When the moist air is warm it rises and often ends up on ceilings and in upstairs rooms. It’s then that mould starts forming.

If mould starts:

  • Wipe the mould off immediately with water. Do not use washing up liquid.
  • Apply a mild bleach solution to the wall or use a recommended product available from a DIY store.

Condensation can start in any home. You can do things to stop it happening:

  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors to stop steam going into other colder rooms.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom windows when cooking or washing to let the steam out, or use an extractor fan if you have one put in.
  • Open some windows in all the rooms in your home for a while each day, this will allow for a change of air.
  • Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles to stop mould forming.
  • If you use a tumble drier, vent it directly to the outside.
  • Use window trickle vents where these are provided.
  • Do not block, take away or cover air vents.
  • Do not switch off automatic kitchen or bathroom extractor fans.
  • Do not use bottled gas or paraffin heaters – these produce a lot of moisture and your tenancy agreement says that you are not allowed to use these.
  • Do not use your cooker to heat your home.  

How to produce less moisture:

  • Dry clothes outdoors whenever possible, otherwise use well ventilated rooms.
  • Cover pans when cooking.
  • Vent any tumble driers to the outside
  • Keep your house warm
  • Take steps to stop heat loss in your home.
  • Keep low background heat.

What should I do if the Wi-Fi fails?

There are several things that can cause a Wi-Fi connection to stop working and steps that you can do to fix the problem. There is a frequently updated guide here for figuring out the problem.