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Handy Tips

This page modified May 8, 2014

A series of tips on servicing your property.

Television System

Communal TV: Formerly with SCCI, this has now been changed to Community Vision.  Please can we ask that if you experience any problems with your TV signal that you contact Rendall and Rittner directly who will inform Community Vision.

Leaks

The first sign of a problem with the plumbing is a leak from one of the overflow pipes from your property.

The town houses have overflow pipes which discharge onto the first floor balcony and into the downstairs shower room. Flats have overflow pipes which discharge straight out of pipes over the rear gardens.

The first thing to determine is the source of the discharge.

If you have hot water in your property and the discharge is warm or hot then you have a problem with the safety valve fitted to your hot water cylinder. The safety valve activates under certain conditions:
over-pressure, vacuum and over temperature (see below).

A slight dripping from the discharge pipe may be caused by running so much water from the hot water cylinder that the cold supply cannot keep up and a slight vacuum is created, activating the safety valve. When the hot water cylinder fills up with water the valve should close and the dripping should stop. If it persists in dripping you may have some limescale trapped in the valve. This may be dislodged by flushing it out - pull the shiny metal lever on the end of the valve for about 2 seconds. Water will flow out of the valve possibly taking the limescale with it. If this fails to cure the leak (give it 10 minutes for all the water in the pipe to drain out) then the washer inside the valve may need replacing. Generally it's only the washer that needs replacing not the entire valve (a difference of more than £100 pounds). Employ a reputable plumber to do this. You will need to drain the hot water cylinder when the plumber comes before they can dismantle the valve.

   
If you have a continuous warm/hot discharge then it indicates a problem with either the pressure or the temperature in the hot water cylinder. The temperature is regulated by a thermostat fitted against the metal of the hot water cylinder usually in a cut-out of the cylinder jacket (see right). You should not set the temperature on the dial above about 65 degrees. If the water does not heat up enough and the thermostat is set high it indicates that your thermostat needs replacing.

If the temperature of your water is OK but the safety valve is still leaking look at the pressure gauge on your pump. If this is under 1 bar or over 2.5 bar then your pump/pressure vessel needs servicing or replacement. The pressure vessels (blue tanks) should last 10-12 years before they need replacing although the internal rubber diaphragm may need to be changed before that. See the page on replacing your pump. The pumps themselves usually have a lifetime of over 20 years.

   
If the discharge from the pipe is cold then it's probably from the supply cistern (the top black plastic tank) which means that the ballcock on the mains water feed needs replacing. It's the same sort of ballcock assembly found on all household water tanks. Employ a reputable plumber to replace the ballcock.
   
Should you need to turn off the mains water in your house or flat there are two mains water stopcocks. One is in the cupboard where your pump/pressure vessel is. You can find it on the copper pipe which leads up to the topmost black water tank. The second can be found in the cupboard under your kitchen sink. It only controls the feed to your kitchen sink, dishwasher and washing machine. It looks like a small chrome block on the pipe (see right). You turn off the water using either an Allen key (small hexagonal bar) in the little hole on the front of the stopcock or a screwdriver in the slot on the front. The use of an Allen key is recommended and plumbers should carry such items.

 


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