Here are some Frequently Asked Questions and answers on various subjects to do with office maintenance at The Workstation. Please read carefully and if you cannot find want you are looking for, please call a member of The Workstation team for assistance on 01727 260 177 or send us a message.
You have noticed that black mildew is building up on the bathroom or kitchen ceiling or walls and tiles – condensation
Understand why damp and mould may be occurring.
Properties built of brickwork without a cavity are more prone to condensation. However the property will have been handed over to you without any signs of dampness and with adequate ventilation. Black mildew appears usually where there is water condensing on interior surfaces. You will probably also notice water running down the inside of the windows during cold weather The moist air within the flat reaches a cold surface (glass,tiles,outside wall). Black mould is not usually the sign of dampness coming in from outside but caused by condensation
Several things could therefore be happening since you moved in:
- The fan to your bathroom or kitchen extract may be switched off. not working or impeded in some way. Please check that it is switched on. If there is an extract fan the fuse spur will be over the door into the bathroom. Report the problem if the fan seems to be faulty
- There may be too many of you – the flat is let to the optimum number of people – extra guests staying on a regular basis could mean the ventiliation cannot cope.You will have to take extra measures to reduce the build up of damp air or stay at their place!
- washing is being left on radiators – increasing the moisture content of the air. Please only hang washing on airers and use dryers if one has ben supplied
4.The heating is being put on for short periods at very high temperatures. You all go out to work so only need the heating on for a short time in the morning and evening , however this causes extremes of temperature which can lead to high moisture content in the air. Turn the heating down to a more moderate temperature (around 19-20 degrees and leave it on for a longer periods- this doesn’t cost more to do)
keep moisture to a minimum , do not leave kettles or pans of water boiling.
keep bathroom and kitchen doors shut when cooking or bathing.
Do not block window vents or extracts and open windows when you can so that foul air can escape
Avoid putting large peices of furniture up against outside walls – this traps cold air against a cold surface
If mildew does build up it can be washed of with diluted bleach.The mildew should not then return if the measures are taken as outlined above
The co operation of residents is essential if condensation is to be reduced
Check that the fused spur switch is on( this is normally located over the entrance to the bathroom). If this is switched on this will have to be reported as a fault
Check that the extract has not been blocked or fan impeded with anything
If this has blocked locally this is usually caused by food or fat. This is up to tenants to clear and if they cannot they must make their own arrangements to arrange for a contractor to clear it. If we are called to clear a blocked sink we shall charge our standard call out charge
The most common source of a food blockage is a build up of rice or pasta – please scrape these foods in to a bin before washing up
If you live in a house or ground floor flat please check that the gulley which the sink drains into is not blocked (outside the kitchen in the garden or yard). This can prevent the sink from draining properly. The gulley can become blocked by leaves, balls, coke cans etc. If the gulley is blocked and we are called out you may be charged.
If the boiler seems to be completely silent and doesn’t ignite – even when the heating or hot water shoudl be coming on
There is a very low danger of carbon monoxide from room sealed appliances. All our boilers are room sealed and therefore there is hardly any danger from fumes as these are all expelled outside the property.
Our boilers are serviced annually as well as the landlords gas safety check carried out by our own Gas Safe registered plumber.
Gas hobs generally are not a cause of carbon monoxide unless there is a yellowing burning flame (a candle gives off more carbon monoxide ).
dishwasher reported as not cleaning properly
This is almost always due to the machine not being filled correctly with either salt or rinse aid .you will be charged our standard call out if this is found to be the cause . Please check this first
You should not use ‘powerball’ tablet cleaners on their own – you must still use salt and rinse aid .
the drains smell
The most common cause for this being reported is when there is a build up of food in the traps to the kitchen sink. This is a house keeping issue and if we are called out to attend you may be charged
use soda crystals on a regular basis – follow the manufacturers instructions. If done regularly this will prevent blockages also. Soda crystals are generally more effective than advertised products.
If you do use a caustic solution to try and unblock a drain please report this to the office so that the plumber is aware of what has been used
if you use a bleach to clean a drain from a sink or basin , pour the belach down the overflow rather than the drain itself as this is where the smells are emerging from
the fridge is not working properly
- the fridge may not be working correctly as it has been switched off – this may seem obvious but is a common cause of reported faults
- check the fused switch socket (normally located above the worktop locally to the appliance is switched on)
- check the fuse in switch spur or plug is changed as per manufacturers instructions – like for like
- check that the thermostat control setting is at around 3-4
- check that the icebox or freezer compartment does not require defrosting – this is the most common cause for faulty fridges being reported – the fridge cannot maintain a temperature of the freezer compartment is wedged open with ice.Please defrost before calling out
You will be charged if any of the above causes are found to be the cause of the fault. If all the above are checked the applicane will be checked and replaced
Gas hob not working properly
The most common cause for a gas hob being reported as faulty is poor housekeeping. The rings or burners must be kept clean. If not the gas will burn unevenly and if left to clog up with grease will become less efficient. The ignition spark will also not work if it is allowed to clog with grease.
If the hob is found to be not functioning because it is dirty you will be charged our standard call out.
Hobs can always be lit with a match.
If you smell gas …….
every property has an isolator valve by the meter usually near the entrance to the property- it is a large lever and usually coloured yellow. Turn the gas off, open a window and ventilate the area call TRANSCO on 0800 111 999
you expect the heating to come on
your heating will be regulated by a thermostat of some kind:
- Room thermostat – if this is set low this will not let the heating come on – it should be set at bwteen 19-21 degrees please check this first as this is the most common cause for heating problems being reported at the beginning the the cold weather – you will be charged our standard call out if this has not been checked first.
- thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s)- in some installations each radiator has a thermostat on it – this will control the heating room by room – don’t be surprised if your radiator is off and all the others are on – is your room actually cold – your room may face South.
- if the thermostats are covered by clothes, towels etc they will get deactivated due to being satisfied and turn the heat off – check that rooms stats and TRV’s are not covered.
- if the radiator is hot at the bottom but cold at the top the system needs attention -THIS MUST BE DONE BY THE WORKSTATION. 80% of our systems are pressurised and bleeding is inappropriate.
the kitchen extractor hood is not working
(see damp in kitchen and bathroom )
check fused/switched socket is switched on – normally located above the worktop locally to the appliance.
check fuse in switch spur or plug – chnage in accordance with manufacturers instructions
One or two lights not working
this is likely to be the fittings themselves
check the bulbs – have the correct bulbs been fitted ? There is usually a label on the fitting
check the bulbs are not damaged – if they are you will need to replace these
the most common cause for lights reported as not working is found to be the bulbs/lamps) If we are called out to find that the light works once the bulb is replaced you will be charged our standard call out rate
Lights to one part of the flat or house are not working
this is likely to have been caused by a fuse tripping. You will have a fuse board, usually near the entrance or beneath the stairs or hall cupboard. The fuse on the faulty circuit will either be popped out or need switching back on. If the fitting is faulty it may trip again. If the light fails to work the bulb will need changing. You may find another appliance has tripped the circuit
None of the lights or power working
check with neighbouring properties as this is most likley to be caused bya power cut – there is nothing you can do but wait for the power to come back on – make sure everything is switched off in the meantime
The lock has become awkward and stiff to turn key
spray WD40 on the lock itself and follow instructions . If this doesn’t work report the fault.
No hot water
this may indeed be a fault with the boiler but there are things that you can do so that you can have hot water temporarily whilst you wait for the plumber to visit
Do you have a ‘combi’ or a ‘system’?
a combi does not have any storage cylinders. If you have a combi you can try switching off at the power to ‘reboot’ it. Switch back on and this sometimes will fire it up. If it doesn’t re boot report this as a fault. you will probably not have any heating either
1. check the programmer first – is the thermostat correctlyset
2. check the cylinder stat – this is actually on the cylinder – this can sometimes be knocked by the vacuum or suitcases stored next to it – check that it is on and at temperature ( about 60 degrees)
3. you can heat water with the immersion – this is an electric switch close to the cylinder usually with a red light on it or labelled . Again this is a temporary measure so the fault needs to be reported
With a Combi boiler there shouldn’t be any problem.
Stored hot water will need a re-heat time time of approx 20 mins. Try staggering the use of the shower.
please make sure you distinguish between whether :
the silverware is leaking
is the shower head or where the shower meets the wall leaking or are there leaks around the controls
the shower enclosure is leaking – this can be caused by several failures
the mastic around the shower door or screen needs reapplying
failure in the grouting and tiling , this will need to be repaired
a gasket may have come loose or been disodged – this then allows water to seap around the screen
or improper use – the door is not being closed properly whilst the shower is in use
shower is not working properly – not much water comes out of head
- The most usual cause of this is that the shower heads need descaling – you will be charged our standard call out of we this is found to be the cause. You can either use a spray descaler in accordance with the manufacturers instructions or dismantle the shower head and use a scrubbing brush or similar. Some shower heads have a single screw holding them together whuch will need to be loosened in order to clean it
- the second most common cause for a shower not working properly is that the hose is split or damaged – this requires replacement and will be done once reported. However can we ask that you are accurate in your reporting of the probable cause – if you report that the hose needs replacing then plumber can bring one with him on the first visit rather than making a return trip
- Try straightening hose as it may be twisted inside.
your heating will be operated by a thermostat of some kind :
- Room thermostat – if this is set low this will not let the heating come on – it should be set at bwteen 19-21 degrees please check this first as this is the most common cause for heating problems being reported at the beginning the the cold weather – you will be charged our standard call out if this has not been checked first
- thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s)- in some installations each radiator has a thermostat on it – this will control the heating room by room – don’t be surprised if your radiator is off and all the others are on – is your room actually cold – your room may face South
- if the thermostats are covered by clothes, towels etc they will get hot and turn the heat off – check that rooms stats and TRV’s are not covered
- if the radiator is hot at the bottom but cold at the top the system needs attention -THIS MUST BE DONE BY THE WORKSTATION. 80% of our systems are pressureised and bleeding is inappropriate
The washing machine is leaking even when the machine is not being used
this is a problem with the hose itself of connection to the water supply, this should be reported
The washing machine is leaking only when in use
This can be caused by any of the following all of which wil require an installer to check over
soap tray, door,or hose
washing machine is not working
1. Check that the machine is plugged in to the power and that the power is switched on – the power point will usually be behind the machine. the flat wil have been handed over to you with the machine plugged in but may be a cleaner has had to move the machine since then
2. Check the water is on.This will have been left on if the flat has been handed over to you but the machine may have been moved by a cleaner since we handed over)
3. Check that the remote fused switch spur ( normally located over the worktop locally to the appliance) is switched on.This can sometimes be switched off by mistake as it can be confused with a power socket
4. Check the fuse to the switch spur or plug. Install a fuse like for like in accordance with manufacturers instructions
5. Check that the filter or lint trap is not blocked
6. ‘Calgon’ can be used for hot and cold water feed washing machines to help limescale build up but it is totally useless for cold water feed machines which most are now adays
water leaks – minor leak within property
water leaks generally occur on pipework that is installed to serve the sanitary ware. 90% of our properties have service valves to each pipe serving each appliance and piece of sanitary ware.
A service valve is also known as a quarter turn screw. This is a brass fitting with a screw head at it’s centre fitted to the copper pipe (pipe sometimes painted) The screw head then needs to be turn one quarter turn 90 degree contra to the flow of water in the pipe . Ideally you can use a screw driver but you can also use a knife or nail file .
Using the service valve means that you do not have to shut off the water to to whole flat. You will be able to isolate a faulty appliance, fitting or pipework.
you then need to report the fault on to us so that it can be attended to
WC is blocked ( water closet, toilet, loo is blocked)
If the loo is blocked and is failing to drain away please make sure this is understood and that it is not that it won;t flush which is usually how it is reported. We will attend if the WC or sewer is blocked. However it it is shown that inappropriate items have been flushed down the WC you may be charged
WC is overflowing
be careful to distingusih between the WC pan overflowing and the cistern overflowing. If the cistern is overflowing it will generally drain in to the WC pan. You can stop this by turning of the water supply at the service valve ( quarter turn screw) a bucket of water can then be used to flush the WC as a temporary measure
WC won’t flush ( water closet, toilet, loo won’t flush)
If the WC won’t flush this is not the same as a blockage but sometimes it is reported as if it is as urgent.
If the cistern has a lid then carefully lift this off and lift the hook to the ball valve. This will flush the bowl and as a temporary measure is quite satisfactory
Alternatively if access can’t be gained to the costern you can simply flush a bucket of water down the loo pan and this will flush the contents of the bowl away