Elizabeth was originally referred to WECHI after being admitted to Southmead Hospital and needing some cleaning and clearing work carried out at the property before being able to return home safely.
This work was completed using our Hospital Discharge funding. The original referral from the Hospital also mentioned that client would be open to advice on a move to more suitable accommodation.
I made an appointment to visit client with a view to discussing her current housing situation and advise what our Housing Options Service could assist in way of support. During the visit Elizabeth advised me she had lived in the two bedrooms first floor flat for the last 30 years, having first moved there with her late father.
The after affects of a fall have severely restricted her mobility and with no lift negotiating the stairs to the flat has become a very difficult and painful task.
It had also contributed to her becoming lonely and isolated in her current flat, and only going out to hospital appointments with assistance from ambulance crew. We discussed possible options for more suitable housing to make life easier and safer for her in the future. She wanted to remain in the same area of Bristol and live independently preferably in a Ground Floor Flat, or a complex with a lift. Arrangements were made with three Estate Agents to obtain valuations of her current property, and client then chose her preferred selling Agent. A buyer was found quite quickly who offered the full asking price, and we then began the search for an alternative property.
As an offer had been accepted on her property, we had a budget to base our search criteria. As she was an internet user, Elizabeth was able to use the Property search engines in the hunt for somewhere more suitable. I also assisted with this task and we both identified a One Bedroom Ground Floor Flat in Henleaze that provided most of her requirements. I made the necessary arrangements with the selling Agent to view the property and accompanied her to the viewing. The property provided many of Elizabeth’s requirements and she was keen to purchase the property. After some negotiations an offer was accepted on the Flat. I then obtained quotes for the conveyancing work and the sale and purchase was able to proceed. While the conveyancing was taking place arrangements were made for Removal quotes, and preparations made in advance of moving date. After a few hiccups during the conveyancing process the relevant transactions were completed, and the various tasks of changing address and notifying service providers were undertaken.
As there was going to be some residue from the property transactions Elizabeth would be able to spend some money on adapting the bathroom to meet her needs, while also acquiring other items to make her life easier and safer.
I arranged for the installation of new white goods, also replacement blinds that were easier to use. One of our Trusted Electrical Contractors made some additions to the electrics to eliminate trailing wires for client’s laptop. Our Handypersons Service were able to lower window handles and adjust internal doors. Arrangements were also made for a Recliner Chair Supplier to visit the property and demonstrate to Elizabeth the various options prior to making a purchase. I was also able to recommend a Cleaning Company to visit on a regular basis to carry out domestic work in the flat. The final piece of work was the bathroom adaptation, which involved the removal of the bath and the installation of a level access shower. WECHI were able to arrange for this work be done and the finished bathroom allows Elizabeth to use the shower safely and independently.
This case shows what a difference our Housing Options Funding can make to an individual’s life and help future proof them for the years ahead. I will leave the last word to Elizabeth who informed me of “how happy and pleased she was with her new flat, and the positive difference it had made to her life”.
It can be difficult to know for sure that your roof needs repairing. Here is a quick guide to some of the telltale signs that your roof has some issues that need to be taken care of as soon as possible.
It’s not always easy to spot issues with your roof, but it’s certainly very easy to put off repairs when you’re worried about the cost or hassle. However, you should familiarise yourself with these signs that your roof needs repairing. If you delay any repairs that need doing, you could be faced with much more expensive problems further down the line. Let’s go through some simple checks you can make yourself before you give us a call.
First of all, check the inside of your roof
The very first sign that your roof needs repair is water leaking into your home. If you spot a leak, dark streaks on the walls or damp and mould on the ceilings, go into your loft and check the roof. Water can leak into the property because of broken tiles or flashing.
Whilst you’re up there, check for any light coming from outside. A secure roof should not let any light in at all. Light shining through indicates that there are holes or cracks in the roof itself. If you can see that the roof is sagging then call us straight away. A sagging roof is a very serious problem that could suggest structural issues with your home.
Next, have a look from outside
Some issues may not present themselves from the inside. You should also try to spot what you can from outside – which is also easier said than done sometimes! Some things can be clearly visible to you from below, whereas others won’t be. Any information you can pass on to us on your initial call will be helpful though.
You might be able to spot any loose, cracked or missing tiles easily. If you see any moss or mould this would suggest moisture damage on the roof. Sometimes on flat roofs, you will see water collected on the surface of the roof, which can lead to moss and mould and later a sagging roof. As the roof continues to rot from the water damage, a sag can lead to it fully collapsing. Don’t let it get to that stage!
Check your gutters
If your guttering is coming away from the exterior of your house, this could suggest that the roofing is starting to come loose. You might also find pieces of tile or shingle in the gutters – another telltale sign that the roof is rotting or starting to deteriorate.
Get in the habit of checking your roof
You should check your roof regularly, both inside and outside, for any of the signs mentioned above. If you see any of these early warning signs then it’s time to think about getting your roof repaired. The best thing to do is to act quickly and call us to discuss how we can help. One of our expert surveyors can visit your home for free to survey your roof and determine what repairs need to be undertaken.
Concerned about the cost of major repairs?
You may be able to receive some financial help to meet the cost of repairing your roof. We partner with the not-for-profit lender Lendology CIC. Lendology offers low-cost Home Improvement Loans to homeowners across the South West. If you can’t take out a loan or you aren’t eligible, we can look into other funding options on your behalf. Our Information and Advice team will be happy to discuss your circumstances with you and help in any way we can.
This might seem like an obvious choice for number one on our list! However, many people still do not have any security cameras installed in their homes. It’s easier now than ever with Smart technology that doesn’t cost the earth to install or run. Smart security cameras come with apps to monitor your home from wherever you are. They work with whatever devices you use – smartphone, computer or tablet. You can even get Smart camera doorbells now, allowing you to see and speak to people at your door remotely. This means that even if you’re home you can decide who to let in before you answer. Many of these cameras have motion detectors and recording. They’re a must-have.
Home Security Tip 2 – Garden security lights
Another classic security measure that’s easy to install in your garden or driveway. Motion-activated security lights can help you and your loved ones see and move safely in the dark, but will also deter any intruders with a sudden burst of light. They can be installed in your front and back garden or anywhere where there is access to the property. You don’t even need to wire them in. Some are solar-powered, and some can be plugged into standard sockets. Our Handyperson team can advise on the best type for you.
Tip 3 – Make sure your gates and fences are up to scratch
Making sure your fences are good quality and in good condition is of paramount importance. Any holes, gaps or other damage can allow intruders to gain access or get a good look at your property before entering. Not to mention that fallen fences are easy for someone to climb over. Once your fences are fixed up, consider having some extensions to the top, such as trellis panels. They can also be attached to walls for some extra height, as well as having climbing plants growing up them as an extra deterrent.
Gates should also be well maintained and easy to lock with bolts or padlocks. Check the hinges as well as the condition of the wood or metal frame. if you have a rear gate that adjoins the fencing, make sure the door is at the same height as the fence itself. Ideally you should secure this gate with two different locks so that it can’t be forced open.
Home Security Tip 4 – Keysafes – a secure key storage solution
Keysafes are surprisingly a very safe way to store your keys, outdoors as well as indoors. We only supply the Supra C500, which is one of only a few models that are recommended by the police. If you’re buying your own, make sure you do your homework and find out just how secure it is. We’ll still happily install it for you. Your keysafe will be mounted to the wall in a discreet location, with a cover to hide the combination lock. The Supra C500 is reinforced so that it cannot be broken into. In an emergency they can be a lifesaver – but only give out the code to the emergency services or people you trust.
Tip 5 – Lock down your shed and outdoor buildings
Tools in your shed can be desirable to would-be thieves, so make sure that you have decent locks on your shed door. Even if some of the items aren’t very valuable, remember that they could be used to aid someone breaking into your home. You can lock away tools inside units in the shed or secure things like ladders to posts, racks and walls by using a padlock and chain. For larger sheds and outdoor buildings, you might consider window locks or bars.
Tip 6 – Graveled paths and driveways – a surprising deterrent
Keep your gravel paths and drives topped up with gravel – the noise from someone walking on it can alert you to their presence. You’ll need to be sure that there’s enough gravel remaining on the top layer so that it makes as loud a noise as possible under feet. You can also put gravel around plants and shrubs so that there’s nothing for someone to hide behind in the garden without making some noise.
Home Security Tip 7 – Door and window locks, front and rear
Most burglars will try to enter via the rear of the property. This is because it is generally a more vulnerable point. It’s more likely to be neglected and isn’t near the street where someone might see or hear. You should make sure that forced entry into your home is very difficult. You could put a chain or bolt on wooden rear or side doors. For French doors, you can install a patlock, which fits on the internal side handles. A patlock is as much a visual deterrent as a barrier to breaking in and succeeds at both. It releases quickly with no need for a code or key.
Tip 8 – Prickly or thorny plants can also deter burglars
You don’t always need fancy gizmos and gadgets to make your home secure. Certain plants can be very effective at deterring burglars, such as prickly pyracantha or gorse bushes. Dense shrubs and evergreens can be a physical barrier, especially coupled with gravel around them to make noise if someone is pushing against them. Thorny climbers can be grown up trellises and fences to make them much more difficult to climb.
Just remember not to let them overgrow! Not only could they be hazardous to you or any family or guests, but overgrown and overhanging plants and shrubs can block entrances. They also provide the opportunity for unwanted guests to hide behind or underneath them.
Tip 9 – Curtains and blinds are still a top home security measure
A curtain or blind might not seem like a substantial security measure, but they help to keep people from seeing into your home from outside. If someone was looking for quick access into your home, an open window is a much less attractive option with noisy blinds to contend with. When windows are covered with a blind or curtain it’s also much harder for someone to know if there is anyone inside the house.
Standard curtains are fine, but a net curtain also adds an extra layer of privacy. A handyperson can easily install one for you, as well as sort out any curtain poles that might be coming away from the wall. Many people opt for blinds nowadays. Depending on the type they can be a very stylish addition to your home. Remote operated electric blinds have come down in price in the last few years, making them more accessible to more homeowners regardless of their income and ability.
Home Security Tip 10 – Be smart when you’re going on holiday
It should go without saying, but make sure all doors and windows are locked, including your shed. If you’ve got a security alarm then definitely set it before you leave. It’s important to cancel deliveries coming to your home, particularly if you have milk or papers delivered. You might ask a friend or neighbour to come around now and then to pick up your mail or any parcels. This also makes it look like someone is still at the house. You could even ask your neighbour to use your driveway a few times during the week. Your lights can also be put on timers to come on at night.
It’s a good idea to think about getting a safe to store away any of your valuables. You might also take photographs of your valuables and mark them with your postcode and house number. This will help the police to identify and potentially recover your items if they are stolen. Photos also help if you are making an insurance claim.
Perhaps most importantly though – try not to share that you’re on holiday on social media. If your posts and profile are public then you are advertising that you are on holiday! So save the snaps for when you return safely.
Ask us for advice
If there’s any aspect of home security that you need some help with or advice on, contact our Customer Service team for an obligation-free chat. We Care about your security.
Below you will find a link to the full evaluation summary of The Learning Disabilities Assitistive Technology Project.
The project involved work with up to 100 individuals with a learning disability (LD) living in the city of Bristol, to assess for and install assistive technology (AT) solutions and to measure the outcomes.
The three key predefined outcomes of the project were to:
Promote independence choice and control for individuals: support people with LD to live as independently as possible with the right care and support.
Reduce and Prevent adults with LD entering inappropriate services: support adults (and carers of) with learning disabilities who require urgent housing and are at risk of entering inappropriate services such as inpatient and registered care services for learning disabilities.
Mainstream the use of assistive technology in the learning disabilities and housing pathway: increase the total number of adults with LD supported to live in their own home specifically people with complex needs/challenging behaviors.
It’s so important to keep your home warm in the winter, when the temperature is much colder and the frost has set in. Here are some helpful tips for keeping nice and toasty all winter long.
It might seem obvious, but it really is so important. Older people are more vulnerable to illness during the winter because the cold suppresses the immune system. That means it’s easier to contract heavy colds and the flu and increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks.
This guide will give you some quick ideas on how to keep you and your home warm in the winter months, so you are healthy and hearty until the spring finally arrives.
Be smart about your heating
Set your heating to at least 20 – 21C, and close off rooms that you aren’t using to keep the heat locked into where you are going to be. You should shut doors to rooms where the radiators are on so that you are keeping the heat in where it’s needed. A smart thermostat can help you control the level of heat from wherever you are, so you can turn it down if you’ll be out for a while or plan ahead for when you’ll arrive back.
Radiators – reflect heat and bleed when necessary
Your radiators are so important – they need to be working properly so that they are effectively heating your home. If your radiators have cold spots and don’t heat up evenly then they need bleeding. This can be done with a radiator key or flat head screwdriver, but you might want to get a handyperson in to take care of it for you, just in case there are any further issues.
You can buy reflective radiator foil to keep our rooms warm and cut down on the heating bills. The reflective foil helps by reflecting the heat back into your rooms instead of it being lost through the walls. This is best for radiators on walls that are not adjoining inside rooms and face outside. Your handyperson can give you some solid advice on where they will be most effective in your home.
Don’t lose heat through the cracks
Make sure that your house isn’t losing heat through the windows, doors and floors. Floorboards are not great at retaining heat, especially if they are older boards and have gaps in them. Even laminate flooring can get very cold when winter comes, so think about getting a rug to stop cold air coming in and heat going out. Decent socks and slippers will also keep you feeling very toasty too.
You should also consider getting a draft excluder for your doors, and even for windows. Rolled up towels can also work as a stopgap. Decent curtains with a lining will help retain heat – the heavier the curtain the better for this. Keep curtains closed when you are out and close them when it gets dark to retain the heat for as long as possible. Conversely, open them in the daytime as the sun will heat the room for you, for free!
Lining your loft keeps you home warm in the winter and beyond
Proper insulation in your loft ensures that there is minimal heat being lost from the top of your home. There are a couple of types of insulation, such as loft boards or loft insulation rolls. They are all designed to stop warm air from escaping from the attic space. It’s good to get a professional in to do this for you, as some of the materials can be irritating and difficult to lay properly.
Dress and cover yourself for warmth in your home this winter
Don’t forget to look after yourself by dressing warmly this winter, even if you are staying in the house. Slippers and socks are important of course but also use blankets when you are lounging on the sofa. Wear pyjamas to bed, and underwear underneath if you feel you need it. A blanket on top of your duvet is also a great idea as your temperature fluctuates during the night when you sleep.
Make sure you are eating right, because the right amount of fat for your BMI helps you keep warm too. Alcohol makes you lose body heat so drink it in moderation, or not at all.
Keeping you and your home warm – we can help
We are happy to give you all the help and advice you need to prepare yourself for the colder months. Our handyperson team can assist with lots of smaller tasks that will soon add up in the warmth stakes. If you need help with insulation, our project management team are well equipped to assess what needs to be done and arrange the repairs as soon as possible. Drop us a message for an obligation free chat!
There’s nothing worse than having a blockage in the bathroom. It’s inconvenient at best, and a nightmare at worst. Especially if your only toilet is blocked! If you’ve ever wondered how to unblock a toilet or sink easily, this guide is for you.
This advice will help you unblock a toilet or a sink, but sometimes the issue calls for the expertise of a plumber. Our handypeople are experts in all manner of plumbing problems around the home. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you’re struggling to clear the blockage on your own.
Unblock a toilet in three simple steps
It’s easy to tell if you have a blockage in the toilet pan. At one point or other in our lives, we’ve watched with dread as the flush water rises up to the toilet rim. Even if the water does drain away slowly but surely, there is still some obstruction that needs attending to before it gets worse. Usually, a blockage will sit in the pan’s outlet. Any further down in the drainage system might be more difficult to take care of. So, grab your rubber gloves and apron, and let’s get the water flowing free again!
Step 1 – first try a warm bucket of water
Take a full bucket of warm water and pour the water into the toilet pan from a height. This will usually clear a very simple blockage with the warm water dislodging anything that is stuck and a bit of force from the poured water. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to use a bit more elbow grease.
Step 2 – use a good old-fashioned toilet plunger
You’ll need a large toilet plunger rather than the smaller ones designed for sinks. How do you know which type is for toilets? Toilet plungers have a flange that folds up into the plunger cup when not in use. The flange creates a tight seal by completely covering the hole. You can get long handle ones that make it a lot easier to work on your blockage.
A toilet plunger should also be completely submerged in water to work, so if the toilet isn’t full of water, take your bucket and fill it up with warm water again. You also need to make sure the water won’t overflow. There’s usually a cut-off valve on the pipe behind the toilet that you can turn off. However, some older toilets won’t have this so you’ll have to go into the toilet tank and prop the float up so the tank doesn’t refill when it’s flushed.
Put the plunger under the water and completely cover the pan outlet. Pump the plunger handle up and down, which creates an air vacuum that dislodges the blockage. Have an old towel or kitchen roll on hand to soak up any water that does spill as you pump the plunger. Expect to have to keep pumping for a while – 10 to 15 minutes should do it. If it doesn’t something more heavy-duty might help.
Step 3 – use a drain auger
Not everyone has a drain auger, but it’s a good idea to have one for emergencies. You’ll need one that’s designed specifically for toilets. An auger is a wire coil that either has a turn handle or an automatic winder handle with a trigger. Its probe goes around the toilet’s U-bend, rotating as you turn the handle, pushing through the blockage to dislodge it. Make sure you wear protective gloves, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and clean the auger thoroughly with bleach after use.
Unblock a sink in three steps
If your sink becomes slow to drain water away, or stops draining it completely, there’s probably a blockage in the waste pipe. Most of the time this is caused by accumulated grease, waste or fibres caught below the plughole. If the water doesn’t drain away at all then there’s usually some obstruction caught in the waste pipe. Before tackling a blocked sink you’ll need to put on some rubber gloves, an apron or an old top, and if you’re using any chemicals it’s wise to wear safety goggles too.
Step 1 – use a sink plunger
Firstly, remove any debris that is in the sink. Scoop out as much as you can. Take out the plug if it is in. Next, fill the sink up with water. Just like with the toilet plunger, we need a little water in the sink to help with suction. Ideally, you would also put a damp cloth into the sink’s overflow (the small air vent that is usually below the taps). This helps to stop the loss of pressure when you’re plunging. If it’s a dual sink you’ll need to block the other sinkholes in the same way.
This will give enough pressure for you to plunge. Take your sink plunger and create a seal around the hole. You’ll need to pump the plunger up and down vigorously for up to 30 seconds. Remove the plunger and see if the water is draining away. You will likely need to repeat this step several times.
Step 2 – use a chemical cleaning product
If step 1 didn’t do the job, you should try using a chemical cleaner instead. Before you start, the experts recommend that you smear some petroleum jelly around the plughole to protect it from chemical damage. You’ll definitely need gloves and goggles for this step, and don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using the cleaning product. Chemicals are highly toxic, so be careful when handling them. Make sure you do not use these types of products where you might have used bleach or other chemicals as this can cause a reaction that produces harmful gasses.
Step 3 – remove the waste trap and use an auger
If that hasn’t worked, it’s time to remove the waste trap. Grab a bucket to place beneath the trap, which is situated under the sink. This will catch any water that comes out of the pipes. You’ll need to put your gloves back on and unscrew the trap. Be prepared for a sudden gush of water! Empty the trap out into the bucket.
If this has not unblocked the sink then you’ll need to use a drain auger to probe into the pipes, which will hopefully reach and unblock the obstruction. Once this has been completed, screw the trap back on. Make sure you also put the washers and o-rings back on too. Be careful to not overtighten the trap when you put it back on, in case you need to repeat this step in the future.
It can be difficult to unblock a toilet or sink – so if you are struggling don’t hesitate to call in a professional plumber or handyperson!
If your gutters have sprung a leak you’ll want to get them repaired as soon as you can. In order to fix a leaking gutter you need to know what the root cause of the problem is.
Gutters should allow any rainwater to flow away freely. If the water is pooling and overflowing from gutter pipes it can saturate the walls below it. This can cause some serious structural damage to your house in the long term. That’s why you should fix a leaking gutter as soon as you can. In order to do that, you need to know what’s causing the problem first.
What causes gutters to leak?
There are lots of things that can cause a gutter to leak. There are three main areas where you are likely to have a leak: the downpipe joint, the gutter joint or along the gutter length.
If there is an obstruction in the downpipe of the gutter itself then you’ll notice overflowing water. This is more than just an annoyance with the dripping or gushing water spilling onto people below. It can be a trip hazard as well as cause structural damage in the long run. You should aim to get your gutters and downpipes cleaned or cleared at least twice a year to avoid blockages.
Dirt and grit can also get stuck in the seal between joints. This happens when pipes contract during cold weather, trapping small debris inside as it shrinks. This creates a small gap for water to escape from, making it doubly important to keep the gutters clean throughout the year.
How gutter wear and tear happens
Gutters will expand and contract throughout the year with the change in the seasons and the weather. If they aren’t cut to the right length then expansion and contraction can expose the seals or not have enough pressure between the seals to seal tightly enough. Most modern guttering systems are made to handle the changes in temperature, but older ones will be subject to serious wear and tear over time.
Even things like snow falling from your roof or sustained weight upon the gutters can cause repetitive damage. A heavy impact from a ladder if you are having roof repairs can do a lot more damage than you think, weakening it before the elements get to it or exacerbating an existing problem. Loose gutters or downpipes may be missing connecting bolts or clips.
Quickly fixing a leaking downpipe or downpipe joint
First, if the water is overflowing from the hopper head at the top you should check to see if there is a blockage in your downpipe. You may be able to use a garden hose to blast out a simple blockage caused by leaves or small debris. To do this, cover the drain the turn on the water, aiming the hose up the pipe. You can also dislodge slightly tougher obstructions using a wire placed into the top of the downpipe. For lower down blockages you can take the section of pipe off and insert a wire or drain rod into that section directly.
For a leaking downpipe joint, first clean the area to remove any dirt, loose paint or rust. You can purchase repair tape to wrap around the joint. Overlap the ends of the length of tape then squeezing tightly to mould the tape to the shape of the joint. Once it’s dried, you can use your garden hose or a bucket of water to flush some water down the pipe to check it is fixed.
Using sealant for cracks and holes in gutters
Roof and gutter sealant might be more appropriate for the joints of metal pipework, and also cracks or holes. Again, you’ll need to clean the area around the crack or the joint. Also scrape off any excess rust if it’s metal. You’ll need to fill the cavity with just enough sealant, making sure to smooth it down with your finger (use gloves!) or a sealant smoothing tool.
For cracks and holes, first seal the inside area, wait for the sealant to dry, then seal the outside. You’ll still need to smooth the sealant down and test that the hole is repaired once it’s dried by flushing water down the gutter or pipe. Weatherproof tape is sometimes a good option for gutter cracks too. However, you may find it harder to seal the area properly compared to using sealant.
Replacement parts for leaking guttering
If you have older gutters or metal ones, you may find it difficult to source the exact parts you need. Luckily, some gutter parts from different manufacturers are interchangeable. You’d just need to know the width of the opening at the top of the gutter, the shape, and the type of material it’s made from. Generally, downpipes are easier to replace as they are usually either just round or square-shaped. However, if you’re finding any of this difficult it’s much easier to call a local handyperson with gutter repair experience. They can do the hard work for you.
How We Care Home Improvements can help
Our trading standards approved service and award-winning handypeople can tackle a multitude of jobs in your home and garden. Our local, friendly and trusted tradespeople are more than just typical handypeople. As well as knowing how to fix a leaking gutter they include experienced plumbers and carpenters.
Whatever job you need a helping hand with at home, we can send someone out to do the best quality work that you can rely on, for a competitive price. Contact us today for a quote or some obligation-free advice.
Burst pipes. Leaks. Flooding. We all dread these things happening in our homes. Here’s how to handle a plumbing emergency if it happens to you.
Water damage can ruin your home, so you’ll need to act quickly in any case of a plumbing emergency like leaks or flooding. The best thing to do is not to panic, but to know about the basic steps you can take in the first instance. You’ll need a few basic tools and a little knowledge before you call in the pros to make any fixes permanent.
The very first thing to do in a plumbing emergency
If you do get a leak or burst pipe, make your home safe by immediately turning off the electricity at the fuse box. If water gets into sockets or electrical appliances the situation can quickly turn from an inconvenience into something more deadly. You’ll need to make sure that no water got into these places after the leak has been taken care of. If it did, make sure that everything has dried out before you turn the power back on.
Next you should turn off the water
You should also turn off the water supply in the property. Learning how to turn off the water can save a lot of time and effort if you have a burst pipe. To turn the water supply off for the whole house you’ll need to find the internal stop tap. This is usually in one of the following places:
Under the kitchen sink
In an airing cupboard
In a downstairs bathroom
Under the floorboards by your front door
Under the stairs
In the basement or cellar
Turn the tap clockwise to stop the water. You will then need to run the hot and cold water taps in your home to completely drain the system. This should stop any leaks in their tracks and allow any repairs to be done safely.
If you have a leak under the sink you might be better off isolating the taps rather than turning off all the water in the house. You’ll likely see red and blue isolation valves under the sink, for the hot and cold taps respectively. Turn them clockwise and do the same as you would for the main water valve. There are ways to isolate the water to places like the toilet and the washing machine too. If you aren’t confident to do these just turn off the main water supply.
Look after your valves
It’s important to know where your water valves are and to keep them well maintained. You should check them every 6 months. Try opening and closing them. If they can’t be turned easily you can apply some oil or lubricant to them. Just make sure that they aren’t completely open as this makes them more likely to seize up. Close them by up to a half turn once you’ve checked them. That should mean that they are easy to close if there is a plumbing emergency. Once the water is off you can either call in a pro or try to tackle the problem yourself with our helpful advice.
Fixing a burst pipe
It’s possible for you to make a temporary repair to a burst pipe before calling in a plumber or handyperson. However, you’ll need to have a couple of supplies and basic tools to do so.
The quickest way to stop a leak from a burst pipe is to apply a pipe repair clamp. These can be bought from some DIY or hardware stores. Some literally clamp onto the pipe with no tools needed whilst others have to be screwed on with a screwdriver. Check the instructions before buying so you’ll know what you need and what to expect.
Self fusing tape – handy in a plumbing emergency
The other way to make a quick fix to a pipe is by using self-fusing or self-amalgamating tape. This is a special type of tape that creates a watertight seal around pipes and hoses. Here’s how to use it:
Wipe the pipe clean on either side of the hole so that the tape can bond easily.
Cut about 20cm of tape off with a pair of scissors and remove the backing from the tape. Once the backing tape is removed you’ll need to work quickly otherwise it loses it’s stickiness.
Stretch the cut bit of tape out to roughly twice its length. Start wrapping the tape tightly around the pipe, starting slightly away from the hole. Keep the tape tightly stretched as you’re wrapping it around the pipe, overlapping half of the tape so that it bonds to itself.
When you reach the hole in the pipe, leave a gap where the hole is and wrap the tape over to the side of the hole. Keep on wrapping until you reach the other side of the hole. Then go back the other way with another layer of tape, this time covering the hole.
Do this until the hole is completely sealed. Press down firmly when you reach the end so that the end of the tape bonds with itself.
Fixing leaking pipe joints
It takes pipework and soldering knowledge to completely fix a leaking pipe joint. However, plumber’s repair putty can do a remarkable job of completely sealing leaking joints.
Dry the pipe with a cloth and then key the area that needs sealing with a wire brush.
Put on some rubber gloves to protect your skin and fingers, then take enough putty to cover the repair. You’ll then need to roll and work the putty with your hands until it is a consistent colour all over.
At this point, you’ll then need to quickly put the putty over the damaged area of pipe joint. Work it into the gap between the pipe and the joint to seal it up, smoothing it down as much as possible.
Leave it for 24 hours to completely harden before turning the water back on.
What to do about leaks from water storage and tanks
If you spot water leaking from your ceiling below the loft there may be a leak in your water storage cistern or tank. If you don’t have water storage in the loft then there may be a roof problem that needs to be attended to. In either case, you’ll need to act quickly by going up to assess the situation before water damage causes a ceiling collapse.
If the water storage tank is indeed leaking you should put buckets, bowls or containers underneath the leaking areas to catch any water. It’s important to go and turn on all the taps in the house and flush the toilets. This will empty the pipes and the cistern (as long as the main stop valve is off).
The leak could be caused by a burst pipe, but it might also be the cistern itself leaking or overflowing. If the leak is coming from a hot water cylinder you’ll need to turn off the boiler. There is usually a draincock around the base of the cylinder that will allow you to drain it using a hose, but if this proves to be difficult or intimidating to do you should just call in a plumber.
Investigating any leaks helps you and the plumber
Being able to take these initial steps in the event of a plumbing emergency will save damage to your home and your possessions, and maybe even save your life in extreme cases. It also helps the plumber or handyperson when you initially describe the problem to them, as well as later when they can crack on with the repairs.
Nobody wants to get a plumbing leak – it’s an inconvenience at best and a nightmare at worst! With the help of this guide, you can tackle it head-on with confidence. Once you have, contact our handyperson team. We’ll send one of our skilled plumbers who can fix the problem for good.
Lately, it has become more popular to make your bathroom disabled friendly or more accessible earlier in life rather than later.
But making your bathroom disabled-friendly doesn’t mean that it’ll look clinical. There are many modern fixtures and fittings that can maximise independence and safety whilst looking stylish. We have experience in designing and installing accessible bathrooms for people living with:
A personal assessment from an Occupational Therapist (OT) can help identify adaptations that will meet your current and future health needs. However, we can also offer you simple advice on specialist equipment and fixtures to increase your comfort and independence in your bathroom. Here are our top 6 ways for you to make bathing a safer experience, now and in the future.
1. Install a level access shower
A level access shower is a type of shower that doesn’t have a step or lip before you enter the showering area. So people with all levels of mobility can enter the shower without fear of tripping. This makes it suitable for children, older people or wheelchair users.
This is possibly the single biggest adaptation that you can make to your bathroom to make it safer. It gives you easier access to the shower in a self-contained area for showering. You can have full height shower screens to stop the water from splashing to other areas. Carers can easily assist with bathing if necessary, or the screens can have a frosted effect for full privacy.
2. Install grab rails in key locations
Grab rails are the next most impactful thing you can install in your bathroom to make it disabled-friendly. This is because they allow you to hold onto something for stability, avoiding falls and injuries when bathing. They are also very quick and easy to install.
Most grab rails are made from tough moulded plastic or stainless steel. They can be positioned next to the toilet, in the shower, or on and near to the bath. This gives you something to hold on to when making any difficult movements or when you need help with balancing. Wheelchair users can even use them to help with transferring onto a toilet or bath/shower board.
3. Non-slip flooring or anti-slip mats
Slip-resistant flooring offers extra safety, especially if you have a level access shower. All of our showers come with a slip-resistant floor for your peace of mind. However, if you have a regular shower or bath it’s worth investing in high-quality anti-slip mats.
Poor quality mats that aren’t secured properly can be just as much of a falls risk as not having a mat at all. That’s why we recommend only thick rubber mats from a trusted retailer. Thick rubber will almost always have great traction, especially if the mat surface is ribbed or dotted. Thicker mats are also less likely to have their corners turn up, which is also a trip hazard.
4. Add stools, boards and seats to aid bathing
A walk-in shower might make it easier to bathe, but if you’re able to stand you may still find it hard to stand for long periods of time. A hot shower can be fatiguing. Couple this with balance issues and a wet room or walk-in shower is no longer a safe option.
That’s where stools and seats come in. A shower stool is much easier and more comfortable to sit on than sitting on the floor. These stools are made of hard reinforced plastic, with strong suction pads or rubber ferrules on their feet to keep them in place. They have slats or that allow the water to flow through and drain away.
You can also have a seat fixed to the wall that drops down and folds up. This keeps things flexible, depending on who is using the shower. If you have a bathtub still then you can use a small shower stool or buy a bath/shower board that sits on top of the bath.
5. Motion sensing lighting
Automatic lighting can be a blessing, particularly at night or when there is minimal light coming into the bathroom from windows. Motion-activated lights mean that you don’t need to worry about locating a light switch or pull cord in the dark. They are also very energy efficient, given that they turn themselves off when they aren’t in use.
Many older people will use the bathroom during the night, so it’s always important to make sure that the hallways leading to the bathroom are well illuminated. This will make any potential trip hazards clearly visible.
6. Thermostatic showers with easy-to-use controls
A thermostatic shower guarantees a safer shower by keeping a stable temperature for the duration of your shower. There aren’t any sudden changes to the temperature because of someone turning on a tap or flushing the toilet elsewhere in the property. There’s no danger of the shower user being scolded by very hot water. They are a major feature of the dementia-friendly wet rooms we install.
It’s also wise to make sure the shower is equipped with easy-to-use controls. For some people a one-button shower is appropriate, but also for others keeping the controls familiar will avoid any accidents or confusion. There are remote buttons and Smart functions available for carers and loved ones to keep control over the shower for those that can’t operate it themselves.
Improve your bathroom and transform your life!
The bathroom will always present difficulties for some older people or those living with a disability. However, some thoughtful and clever changes can transform the way that you bathe. Loved ones and carers will have the peace of mind that comes with these extra safety measures. But most importantly, you can remain independent in your own home for longer.
Some of our suggestions are easier to implement than others. If you need any advice at all, just remember that we’re here to help you in whatever way we can.