Here I will share my knowledge to help save you money, unnecessary work, or help problem solve.

Obviously these are for guidance only, so if you are at all unsure, please seek expert advice.

All the tips have come from seeing the issues in the course of my work.

If you are thinking about putting up curtain poles etc, rather than trying to secure them direct to the walls, install a wooden batten and secure it to that. Quite often the walls do not hold the fittings very well and it is not unusual to find the brackets pulling out after a time. a batten secured to the wall gives better support and is much more usefull especially if you wish to change the rail again at some time. A few screws into the wood is better than making new holes in the wall. The batten can be painted to blend in the with the wall and will not cause you issues in the future nor give you extra holes to fill in.

If the thermostatic valve stops working on your radiator and the radiator fails to get hot, before you call out the heating engineer, check that the cause is not from a stuck pin in the thermostat housing on the radiator. Turn the radiator dial all the way up to its highest number and then release by hand a collar just under the number dial. this is unscrewed by hand to release the thermostatic from the radiator. if it dosen't unscrew by hand you are doing something wrong (do not use a wrench as you will be doing something wrong and potentially could cause a flood) once the thermostat is removed from the radiator you should find a metal rod/pin in the centre of the connector on the radiator. this pin has a tendancy to stick in so a squirt of penetrating oil (WD40) and a tap should find it popping back up. push it in a couple of times to allow the oil to penetrate and once it is moving in and out easily put the thermostat back on. That should solve you problem.

If it dosen't you may have air in the radiator that needs bleeding out (there is always one somewhere in the system that collects air). Now it is easy to bleed a radiator BUT some new boilers work with the system pressurised. Before you do bleed the radiator check to see if your boiler has a pressure gauge. if it does the pressue should normally read between 1 and 1.5 (or show a needle within a green zone). if you bleed a radiator with this type of system it will need re-pressurising once done. Please phone for advise.

Another general tip about this type of boiler. if the pressure drops to zero the boiler wont work. if it has done it is likely that there is a small leak in the system somewhere and will need to be corrected. Check all the radiators for wet joints. by doing this you can direct an engineer to the right area and have the knowledge of what needs to be done to correct this and re-pressurise the system.

Hot water taps have a tendancy to start to seize up in areas affected by hard water (Daventry) Before you splash out on expensive new taps, it is usually possible to replace the tap mechanism (inners). You need to know what you are doing before taking a tap apart but a new mechanism costs about £5.00 so even after allowing for labour it is quicker and cheaper than having to replace the taps.


Gutters can be a real pain. Avoid putting wire "Traps" in the down pipe "to stop leaves blocking the pipe", they have a tendancy to  actually block the gutter as leaves and debri build up behind them. Unless you can cover the whole gutter with some sort of net, dont bother. If nearby trees are causing you problems then get the gutters cleaned out once or twice a year instead.

Blocked gutters and broken/disconnected down pipes are the cause of a lot of damp issues in walls in houses yet are easy faults to correct, and by keeping your gutters clear you can save a lot of potential damp issues and damage in the future.

It is  not wise to run cables in the gutter so as to "hide from sight"(ariel/satellite cables), these again cause obstructions in the gutter and eventually block it.

When painting with emulsion paints pay that bit extra and get a good branded paint. A quality paint will cover even a strong colour in 2 coats, a cheaper paint may not cover well after 3-4 coats; also dont buy cheap and chearfull brushes unless you want a cheap and cheerful finish.