Maintenance

Student Maintenance

Your Property Maintenance

Unfortunately we can't guarantee that maintenance issues will never arise whilst living in one of our properties and whilst general maintenance of the property is tenant responsibility, we do appreciate that in certain circumstances you may not be able to resolve some of the problems you may face.

With this in mind, we do have a dedicated team of contractors on hand to help whenever their services are required. In order to avoid any unnecessary call-outs, potential call-out fees and the general inconvenience caused by some of these problems if they should appear, we have compiled a list of some of the most common issues we are called out to along with effective ways of resolving them...

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Some frequently asked questions:

How do I change a standard light bulb?

  • Turn off the lamp or light fixture.

  • Allow a hot bulb to cool before touching it.

  • Grasp the bulb lightly but firmly and turn anticlockwise until it is released from the socket.

  • Insert a replacement bulb lightly but firmly into the socket, and turn it clockwise until it's snug.

  • Turn the lamp or fixture back on.

  • Dispose of the used bulb.

How to change a spot light bulb? (GU10)

  • Turn off the power source to the light at the light switch or on the breaker box. Allow the light to cool before you touch the bulb.

  • Use a safe way to reach the light and ensure the platform is stable prior to mounting it.  

  • Use a cloth or a pair of gloves to remove the spring from the halogen light. Most halogen light bulbs will have a small spring to keep the bulb attached to the fixture. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the spring if needed.

  • Turn the old halogen bulb anticlockwise until the bulb can be pulled from the fixture.

  • Look on the side of the bulb to find a three letter code. This three letter code will give you the model number you need to replace the bulb.

  • Put the new bulb into the fixture. Turn the bulb clockwise until it is secure. The metal spring will be "clicked" into place when the bulb is secure.

How to defrost a freezer?

  • Switch off the freezer. Unplug the freezer from the power supply.

  • Empty the freezer. Remove all the food from the freezer. To prevent it from thawing, wrap it in newspaper and place it in a cool bag. Store this in the coldest area of your house.

  • Remove any drawers as you go. Take out the ice cube trays.

  • To prevent a puddle put newspapers around the base of the freezer. This will soak up the water as the ice melts. Old newspapers are ideal for this job as they can slide under the freezer and are extremely absorbent.

  • To facilitate the thaw fill a bowl with just-boiled water and place it by the freezer. Dip a cloth in the hot water and dab it onto the ice covered shelves. This accelerates the melting process. Run the hot cloth along the top seal of the freezer door, this area often traps food which has fallen down from the fridge.

  • Check the progress. After 15 to 20 minutes return to the freezer. Knock out any lumps of ice onto the newspaper. Roll up the now soggy newspaper sheets and discard and then lay out a dry layer. Pour another bowl of just boiled water. Dab the hot water over any areas which are still very icy. Refill the bowl with hot water and place it on a shelf under the areas with most ice. The warm steam will rise and defrost this stubborn layer. Leave the freezer until it has completely defrosted; this could take a couple of hours.

  • Once all the ice has been removed from the freezer, and the freezer has been cleaned, switch the power back on and replace the shelves, food and any ice cube trays.

How to stop a smoke detector from beeping?

  • Check the batteries to stop a smoke alarm from beeping. Repeated, single chirps from an electric smoke alarm lets you know the battery backup is failing. If you change the battery and still hear chirps, ensure you haven't put it in backwards.

  • Hold down the test button on the smoke alarm to reset the alarm and "clear" the failing battery from its memory if it's still beeping after you've changed the battery.

  • Use a vacuum attachment to clear any dust or insects from the fire alarm sensor. Try vacuuming twice a year to clear any spider webs or dust that can cause smoke alarm chirping.

  • Alter the temperature of your home if your smoke detector is beeping at regular intervals at certain times. Your smoke alarm may chirp if it thinks the house is too hot or too cold.

  • Call Aston Properties if none of the above methods stop the smoke alarm from beeping. We may need to replace your smoke alarms if they continue to malfunction.

  • Note: To ensure that you have a fully functioning smoke detector make sure you test each unit once a month by pressing the central button for 3 – 5 seconds.  

How to bleed a radiator?

  • With warm water in the radiator, switch off the Central Heating system.  

  • Fit a bleed key onto the bleed valve (this is usually at the top at one end of the radiator - on some designs of radiator, it may be at the back).  

  • Loosely wrap a piece of old cloth around the key to catch any expelled water.  

  • Open the bleed valve by turning the bleed a 1/2 turn anti-clockwise - hissing of air being expelled will normally be heard.  

  • When water starts to dribble out of the valve, close the valve by turning the key a 1/2 turn clockwise. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN.  

  • If the Central Heating system is a sealed system, check the pressure and, if necessary, top up the pressure as required (often 1 bar but check the instructions).

How to top up the pressure in your boiler?

  • Locate the filling loop which looks like a chrome flexible braided hose which links from the mains cold water pipe (15mm in diameter) to the heating return pipe (22mm in diameter).

  • There will be a tap at the mains end. Open it slowly and you should hear water rushing through. This might be a flat screw also which can be turned using a flat headed screwdriver.  

  • Keep an eye on the pressure gauge on the boiler control panel and let the needle climb to 1 – 1.5 bar then turn off, vent the radiators and if necessary repeat process.

What to do if you smell gas?

  • Do not spark any electrics or create a naked flame.

  • Do not use your mobile telephone inside the property.  

  • Ventilate your property as best you can.

  • Call National Gas Emergency on 0800 111 999

How to unblock a sink?

  • Firstly ensure that the taps are turned off and try and scoop as much water out of the sink as possible. This can be discarded down an external drain or the toilet.  

  • Check the plug hole to see if the blockage is obvious and remove if applicable.  

  • You will need a bucket and a towel for the next part. If the sink isn’t very full then you may be able to use a bowl.  

  • You will notice that the ‘U Bend’ has two sets of threads – one directly underneath the sink and one further along where the bend finishes. Unscrew the first set of threads (underneath the sink) and then slowly and gently pull it free. You should at this point place the bucket and towel underneath the sink to catch any water or debris that may be stuck.  

  • Then undo the second set of threads – to be found at the end of the bend. This will allow you to remove this section of pipe which is in the shape of the letter ‘U’. If there is a blockage it will most likely be in this section of pipe and you can use a screwdriver or piece of flexible wire to clear out the inside.

  • The most common blockage is a build up of fat so to avoid this in the future do not pour oil or fat down the sink.  

  • Once you are happy that the blockage is cleared you need to replace the ‘U Bend’ and ensure the threads line up and each section is securely in place.  

  • Run the tap to check for leaks to be double sure that the problem is fixed.

How to unblock a shower drain?

  • If the shower drain is blocked the usual causes are hair, blocks of used soap, razor heads and hair grips. These are all easy to retrieve.

  • To do this you will need to unscrew the plug guard covering the drain in the shower. This can be done using your fingers however if it is stuck you can use the handle of a kitchen utensil to loosen it. Be careful when you are doing this part.  

  • Next you will need to locate the offending blockage. You can use your fingers here but it can be a bit slimy so maybe wear gloves or use a long handled spoon to scoop out the blockage.  

  • Discard the blockage in a bin and replace the drain guard.  

  • To ensure the drain is cleared pour a sensible amount of drain cleaner or thick bleach down the plug hole. After 30 minutes pour boiling water down the drain and run the shower for a minute or so to clear any excess bleach and dirt.

What to do if the electrics stop working in your house?

  • Firstly prior to this happening it is helpful to know where your circuit board is located. This can be in many places in the property however common places are next to the electric meter, near a front door or in a cupboard under the stairs.  

  • When the electrics trip, you will need to flick up the fuse that has tripped the entire electrics. This is safe to do and does not need the presence of an electrician.  

  • If the problem persists then it could be due to a faulty fuse in a plug, a light bulb that will need changing or even a fault with one of your appliances. Before we send anyone out to ‘fix’ this kind of fault, we ask that you have first tried to identify what is causing the fuse to trip. This is a simple process which involves unplugging EVERYTHING, flicking the fuse back up and then plugging in all appliances one by one. If there is a fault with any of the appliances, the fuse will trip when that particular appliance is plugged back in and turned on.

  • If resetting the fuse box is unsuccessful and you are not able to identify the cause of the problem, please call us on 0113 293 6080 and we will arrange a visit as soon as possible.

How to drain a washing machine?

  • Unplug the power to the washer. Turn the hot and cold water supply valves off by turning the handles in a clockwise direction. (The valves are usually mounted on the wall behind the washer.)

  • Use a pair of pliers and remove the flexible hot and cold water supply hoses from the back of the washing machine near the top by turning the fittings in a counter-clockwise direction. Move the washer away from the wall slightly if more room is needed to reach the supply hose fittings. (The hoses may be made of black rubber or braided flexible stainless steel.)

  • Move the washer as far away from the wall as needed to place a bowl on the floor at the rear of the machine in close proximity to the washer drain hose.

  • Lift the flexible washer drain hose from the drain pipe, which is usually attached to the wall behind your washer. Sometimes the washer drain hose is hooked over the edge of an adjacent utility sink. Lower it to the bowl, keeping the drain hose at ground level to let gravity drain the water from the tub. Let the water drain into the bowl. Keep a close watch on the bowl and refit the hose to the drain pipe to stop the flow when the bowl is full and needs emptying. Continue this process until little or no water comes from the drain hose.

  • Remove any wet clothes from the washer tub. Use a small plastic container to bail the remaining water from the washer tub. Small amounts of water left in the tub will not matter.

Am I allowed to paint my room?  

Please contact the office to discuss your requirements directly. Written permission needs to be obtained before you begin decorating. Please be advised that we do not allow any colours other  than magnoliaor white.