News and tips

Practical skills for students

Nothing is more annoying than finding your electrics have cut out in the middle of the night, and you cannot contact the landlord until morning. Here we are going to explain how you can help yourself in the meantime during this and other minor disasters.


It is so very frustrating when the power trips out, and you are left in the dark. Rather than just retiring to bed, head to your fuse box and pull out the fuses, one by one. Each time flick the master switch on. When you have worked out which fuse is tripping the power, leave that fuse out and replace the rest. Now you will at least have some power, whilst you wait for the landlord to repair it.

In our apartments, we have newer fuse boxes, where there are just switches, the tripped one does not affect the others.


If you do have a major leak, and the apartment is starting to resemble a swimming pool, then you need to act fast to stop the flow of water. Head to the kitchen sink, usually under the sink is a stop cock. It may also be next to your boiler. Turn this red stopcock off and the water should stop flowing out.

Dripping Tap

Under each sink you may find an isolator, it looks like this:

water pipe isolator

Get a screwdriver and turn the isolator 45 degrees and this will cut off the water supply to that tap. This means you do not have to listen to that constant drip, drip, drip.


The heating always seems to go wrong when its cold! If your radiators are not heating up, check if there is heat coming in and just heating the bottom of the radiator. If it is, then the radiator needs ‘bleeding’, this is done with a little key. You can get one from most hardware stores like B and Q. You place the key in the side at the top of the radiator. Place a bowl under to catch any water and then turn the key slightly until you hear air coming out. Let as much air as possible out, once water starts to appear, turn the key back to close the valve. You should now have a warm radiator.

If there is no heat getting to the radiator, then its time to investigate the boiler. Look at the boiler, is it switched on? If not turn it on. Is the heating set to come on? Check the thermostat controller to make sure it is set for the right time. If both are on and set up right and you still have no heating, then call your landlord.

Blocked Drain

This is mostly just plain annoying, but if you want to clear it quickly then follow these steps. First check the outside drain to see if that is blocked, by leaves for example. If so, clear them away. Then check drain itself for hair and pull the hair out of the drain( common in the shower and yes, it is a bit disgusting). If you still have a blocked drain, then try pouring boiling water down. If that does not work, then pour 1/3rd of a cup of baking soda down the drain then pour 1/3rd of a cup of vinegar. It will fizz immediately. The fizzing action will help to remove the blockage that has built up in the pipe. Let it sit for one hour or even overnight if you can. Then flush the drain with hot water.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks will get you sorted for a while. Do contact your landlord for a full repair as these are often temporary fixes.