An emergency would be something that prevents you from occupying your house in a safe and reasonable way. This would include:
Complete failure of the heating systems and/or hot water system. If your heating fails in summer, it is unlikely to be an emergency. However if it fails in colder weather, then this will be classed as an emergency
A water leak that cannot be contained
Complete failure of the electrics
Flooding caused by blocked drains that threatens to enter the home
A fault to a window or external door causing a loss of security.
If you have an emergency during normal working hours please call the customer care team on 0333 101 4065.
Please note, outside of these times please call Safeguard on 01207 50329.
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Consumables such as light bulbs are classed as normal home maintenance items and as such would not be covered by your warranty.The failure of a bulb may cause a circuit breaker to trip, which is normal.
The electrical circuits in your home are protected by a circuit breaker. If a light bulb goes out, it may trip the circuit breaker. This is normal.
Energy saving bulbs can be quite expensive initially but are good value. They will save you money in the long run and are also environmentally friendly.
Security bulbs are very delicate. Please leave in bubble wrap until installed as a finger print on the crystal can cause the bulb to blow.
It is recommended that you ensure that your fans are working while you are cooking or bathing to minimise the growth of mould and condensation. We cannot accept responsibility for any damage caused by damp where extractor fans have not been used properly.
In bathrooms without a window, you will find that the fan continues to run even after being turned off. This is because it is fitted with a timer to ensure that steam and humid air continues to be extracted after you have left the room.
What do I do if my extractor fan isn’t working?
Check the isolator switch is on. This switch will normally be on the outside of the room above the door frame
Make sure the light is working, as this will often be linked to the activation of the fan
If the fan still isn’t working, contact us.
Why is my bathroom extractor fan leaking water?
The main cause of water leaking from the extractor fan is condensation. To avoid this, ensure the extractor fan is left on when the room is in use
If your extractor fan is ceiling mounted, check that the ducting (the flexible pipe connecting the fan to the outside of your home) in the loft space has not been crushed or obstructed
If the above has been checked and you continue to experience issues, please contact us.
How do I maintain and clean my bathroom extractor fan?
Regular vacuuming and wiping with a damp cloth will ensure your extractor fan remains efficient
How does a MVHR system work?
MVHR systems are based on air supply, air extract and transfer zones within the building. A heat exchanger is at the heart of the system, whilst fans provide the air movement. Most systems have ducting to the various rooms.
Habitable rooms are provided with fresh air and wet rooms and kitchens are extracted on a continual basis
Before the extracted air is exhausted out of the building, the heat in the air is transferred by means of a heat exchanger into the fresh air, which is introduced into the building
The pre-warmed fresh air is introduced into all habitable rooms on a continual basis. Thereby the need to completely heat the fresh air as it enters the building is eliminated
No extract air is re-introduced or re-cycled, thus extracted germs and pathogens will not spread through the system.
Smoke and heat detectors
What are hard wired smoke detectors and heat detectors?
This means that they are connected to your distribution board and do not rely on batteries to work. However, if your electric should cut off, there is a battery backup so your smoke alarms will continue to work.
It is recommended that your smoke and heat detectors are vacuum cleaned every week to ensure that they are dust free. This will help ensure your protection from fire and smoke.
How often should I test my smoke alarms and heat detectors?
It is recommended that you test your alarms every week by using the test button on the individual detectors
What should I do if my smoke alarm sounds continuously?
If your alarm sounds continuously, immediately check your home for any fire or smoke. Next, check to make sure the electrics haven’t tripped. If you’re certain there’s no obvious cause and the alarm continues to sound, please contact us.
What if my smoke alarm sounds intermittently?
If your smoke alarm beeps intermittently, this could be for several reasons, all of which require your attention.
This normally means the mains power to the alarm isn’t working or the battery needs replacing. Check whether there has been a power cut and ensure the switch responsible for your alarms has not been tripped. If the alarm is receiving mains power, replace the battery.
Carbon monoxide alarms
Please note the following information is for guidance only please refer to your specific Carbon Monoxide Alarm user guides for exact guidance.
What should I do if the alarm sounds?
If the alarm emits four continuous chirps and the red light flashes, open all doors and windows. If anyone suffers headaches, nausea or any other symptoms that could be associated with exposure to CO, seek medical attention immediately. Turn off all gas appliances and if the alarm continues, leave immediately, keeping the doors and windows open. Don’t go back inside until a qualified professional has confirmed it is safe and don’t use any gas appliance again until they’ve been checked by a Gas Safe professional. If you’re worried about a gas leak or about CO fumes escaping from a gas appliance, call the 24-hour Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999.
What if the alarm sounds intermittently?
One chirp every minute together with a red light flashing indicates that dangerous levels of CO were previously detected, but that levels are now safe. Immediately stop using all gas appliances until a professional has checked them. Chirps every 30 seconds together with a blue flashing light indicate lower levels of CO that could become dangerous. Open doors and windows immediately, and stop using all gas appliances until a professional has checked them. A single chirp once every minute with a yellow light indicates a fault with the unit, in which case it will need replaced.
Clean the outside of the case occasionally to ensure the holes on the front of the unit aren’t blocked with dust or dirt. Avoid using some household cleaners and substances near to the alarm.
The position of consumer units and electric meters differs between house types, but your consumer unit and electricity meter will often be found near the front door of your house. You will have been shown the location of these during your demonstration tour.
How does it work?
All power circuits within your home, including the garage, are wired through a residual current device (RCD), which will trip should a defect be identified in the earthing system. If the trip operates, it may not necessarily be caused by a fault in your home and therefore you should check that all appliances are safe. Under the hinged front cover there’s a row of switches, each controlling a different aspect of the electricity in your home. Each switch will be labelled to show which area of the home it controls. You may notice the row of switches is split into two groups, each ending with a slightly different looking switch and a small button. These are RCDs, devices that immediately cut off the electricity supply if a person comes into contact with a live electrical connection. Knowing what these different switches are for will help you to know what to do in the event of an electrical fault. You can turn off your consumer unit using the main red switch on the unit.
Reading your meters will ensure that you achieve more accurate energy bills. When you read your meter, make sure to read the numbers from left to right and ignore the last figure, which is often in a red box.
Helpful hints and safety tips
Use a cable detector to locate cable runs within your property to avoid nailing through them
If you plug an electric tool for use in your garden into one of the socket outlets in your home, always use a power breaker device between the tools plug and the socket. The socket outlet, where fitted in your garage, has a power breaker (RCD). There is no need to use an additional one
Never use an appliance you believe to be faulty
It’s important to always read the manufacturer’s guidelines
When wiring appliances use the correct rating of fuse and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines
Remember to switch off electricity on your consumer unit if any work is being done on an electric circuit
Never use a portable electrical appliance in the bathroom. Personal appliances that plug into a purpose made shaver socket are the exception
The failure of a bulb may cause a circuit breaker to trip, which is normal. The electrical circuits in your home are protected by a circuit breaker
Security bulbs are very delicate. Please leave in bubble wrap until installed as a finger print on the crystal can cause the bulb to blow
What to do if you experience an electrical problem
Losing the electrical supply to your home can be frustrating and even alarming if you’re suddenly left in the dark. Normally though, it’s nothing serious. Here’s our step-by-step guide to what to do:
Finding the fault
If you lose electricity in your home, the first thing to do is check your consumer unit:
Check your consumer unit to see if any of the switches are in the ‘off’ position.
If the main switch and RCDs are all switched on, the most likely cause is a power cut. Check whether your neighbours have power and, if necessary, call your supplier for more information.
If some switches are off, start by turning on the main switch (on the far right). Then turn on any RCDs that have flipped to the off position.
You may find that one of the RCD switches immediately flips back to the off position. This indicates a fault in one of the circuits controlled by the switches to the left of that RCD.
If this happens, switch off all of the labelled switches to the left of the RCD that continues to switch itself off (or ‘trip’).
Now switch on the RCD in question and, one at a time, turn on the switches until the RCD trips again, or until you encounter a switch that flips itself off as soon as you turn it on. You now know which circuit is causing the problem.
You can now re-enable all of the switches in your consumer unit, apart from the one you have identified to be at fault.
Discovering the cause
Now that you’ve found the fault you can investigate what’s behind it.
If it’s a lighting circuit causing the problem, or a circuit for any built-in appliance such as a hob or electric shower, you will need the help of an electrician.However, if the switch controls a room circuit (i.e. one that supplies power to wall sockets), you can take the same approach again to finding the cause of the problem.
Unplug all electrical equipment from the room or rooms controlled by that circuit breaker, then switch it back on and plug your equipment back in as it was before, one device at a time, until the power trips again.
You now know which device is causing your circuit breakers to trip.
My lights won’t turn on
It might seem obvious, but make sure that the bulb hasn’t blown and tripped your consumer unit into the ‘off’ position. If this has, simply move the switch to the ‘on’ position and power should return.
One of my sockets isn’t working
Firstly check that all the switches in your consumer unit are in the ‘on’ position. Test the appliance in an alternative socket to ensure that the fuse within the plug hasn’t blown. If this appears to be the case, refer to the appliance manufacturer’s guide.
Programming your heating system
If your home has Hive thermostat (this is a smart thermostat connected to your boiler) this will allow you to:
Manage your heating and hot water from your smartphone
Boost your heating via the Hive app if you’re staying up late or heading home early
Adjust your heating hands-free using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Multizone-control up to three zones of heating
Set daily heating and hot water schedules
Frost protection – protect your pipes in winter
Geolocation – be reminded to switch the heating off, if you’ve gone out and left it on
Holiday mode – keep the temperature at home just right when you’re away
Ready by – pre heat your home to the right temperature at the tight time (new installations only)
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTT
Please refer to the Hive Active Heating Thermostat User Guide provided for user instructions.
Please note: you will need an internet connection and a Hive Hub to be able to control your heating remotely. If the Hive Hub is not connected to your Hive products you won’t be able to control them remotely via the Hive app. If the Hive app is not paired with the Hive products through the Hive app, your products will only work in standalone mode.
Wall mounted heating programmer
Your home may have a wall mounted heating programmer. Please refer to the user instructions provided on how to programme the specific programmer installed in your home.
Controlling your heating
Zoned central heating
Zoned central heating means you can set different temperatures in separate parts of your home, or have the heating set to come on at different times in different areas, to suit your lifestyle. In larger homes where this is fitted you’ll find two separate programmers on walls in different areas of the house.
You can regulate the temperature of your home’s central heating by using wall-mounted thermostats. Once your thermostat is set it will activate your radiators, allowing you to regulate the temperature in each room using the thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs).
Another way to regulate the temperature in specific areas of your home is with the thermostatic valves on your radiators. These will only be found in rooms that don’t have a wall thermostat.
By using TRVs you can control the temperature of individual radiators. TRVs are attached to the side of the radiator and alter the flow of hot water depending on the room’s temperature.
To set your TRV:
Set your thermostat to the required temperature.
The TRV will be numbered one to five, with one being the coolest setting and five the hottest. It’s best to set most of your TRVs to three, but your bedrooms at two.
There will also be a frost setting, marked ‘*’. When this is set the valve will automatically open when the surrounding temperature drops to 7℃.
Let your whole house warm up for an hour and then check the temperatures in each room. You can adjust the TVRs up or down to suit.
If you want a specific room to heat up it’s best to turn up the TRV in that room, but if you want it to get generally warmer throughout the house, turn your thermostat up.
Always ensure radiators are not blocked by curtains or furniture, as this will affect their performance.
Your central heating programmer may automatically adjust the time to accommodate the start and end of British Summer Time (BST). Please refer to the quick guide (which will have been provided to you when you moved into your new home) on how to use and adjust your programmer. If you move into your home during wintertime, try to avoid having the heating on too high, as a constant even temperature will minimise shrinkage.
Your boiler and warranty
To ensure your warranty remains valid, you must service your boiler annually. You can do this either via the manufacturer, an independent fully qualified Gas Safe registered plumber or a qualified electrician depending on the system installed. It is essential that you keep a record of the service history to ensure that the warranty remains valid. If you do not service your boiler annually, this will render your warranty for the appliance null and void, so it is worth setting a reminder in your calendar to have your boiler serviced.
Re-pressuring your combination boiler
If your combination boiler loses pressure it will be less efficient and may not function properly. There’s a pressure gauge in the control panel under the boiler, if it’s below the 1.0 bar, you’ll need to re-pressurise. You can re-pressurise your boiler simply by following these steps:
Turn off the boiler.
Find the chrome valves with black taps under the boiler, one on a pipe just off centre and the other on a pipe dropping from the boiler to the right. Ensure the taps are at 90 degrees to the pipe. If the braided flexible pipe is attached to both valves, go to point five.
Remove the two chrome ‘blanks’ from the valve outlets, turning anti-clockwise to loosen.
Find the braided, flexible pipe (filling loop) next to the boiler. Attach this to both valves by tightening the end connectors clockwise.
Keep turning until they are tight.
Turn the black valve on the right-hand valve 90 degrees so the handle is in line with the pipe.
Turn the black handle on the left-hand valve through 90 degrees. Check the pressure gauge, as you’re now re-pressurising the system. Keep going until the pressure is between 1.0 and 2.0 bars (1.5 is ideal). At this point, turn the valve handle back and likewise with the right valve.
Turn the heating back on and remove the filling loop.
If you need to re-pressurise more than once in a three-month period, there may be a leak.
Re-pressuring your hot water cylinder
Re-pressurising your hot water cylinder is quite simple. Here’s how:
Turn off your boiler.
Find the red expansion chamber at eye level, attached to the wall near the cylinder.
Find the chrome valves with black taps below the chamber. Turn the taps at 90 degrees across the pipes. If the braided flexible pipe (filling loop) is attached to both valves, go to point six.
Remove the two chrome ‘blanks’ on the valve outlets, turn anti-clockwise to loosen.
Find the filling loop attached to, or next to, one or both valve ends. Attach it to both valve ends by turning the end connectors clockwise until they are tight.
Turn the black valve closest to the pressure gauge so it’s in line with the pipe.
Turn the black handle on the other end through 90 degrees, constantly checking the needle on the pressure gauge, as you’re now re-pressurising your system. When it’s between 1.0 and 2.0 bars (1.5 is ideal), turn the valve handle back to its original position.
Repeat with the right-hand valve.
Turn the boiler back on. Remove the filling loop and replace the caps.
The way that radiators work is by convection. The radiator heats up the air around it and, as hot air rises, this heated air rises up and draws cooler air into and through the radiator from below. These currents of air gradually heat up a whole room, so it is vital that air can flow easily through and around a radiator in order for it to heat a room efficiently.
What should I do if the radiator isn’t heating up properly?
It is important to firstly check that the thermostatic valves on your radiators are set correctly.
If you’re still feeling chilly with the central heating turned up high, check your radiators. If they have cold spots, especially at the top, it’s likely you have air trapped in the system and that you need to bleed your radiators.
How to bleed your radiators
You should always turn your heating off before you bleed your radiators. It can sometimes get a bit messy so it’s a good idea to put down some towels or plastic sheets to protect your carpets and floors.
You’ll need a radiator key, which you attach to the square insert at the centre of the valve at the top of one end of the radiator. (Some radiators will require a flat-blade screwdriver instead)
Turn off your central heating and allow the radiator to cool
Find the bleed valve, which is normally at the top on one end, and put the cloth directly below it to catch minor drips
Put the key into the valve and turn anti-clockwise until you hear a slight hiss of air. Once the hiss turns to a gurgle or )water starts to escape, close the valve
Retighten the valve by turning clockwise and turn your central heating back on
Following this you may need to re-pressurise your hot water cylinder or combi boiler
What if my radiator is leaking?
If you notice any leaks at all around your radiator you should:
Immediately close both valves on the radiator to isolate it
Open the bleed valve to release the pressure, which should slow down or even stop the leak
There are a few easy steps you can take to get the best possible use from your radiators. And remember, if your radiators are less efficient than they could be, your boiler has to work harder.
Don’t place furniture too close to radiators. Not only can this damage your furnishings, but it’ll also stop the heat circulating properly.
Don’t dry clothes on your radiators, as it can cause condensation and rust.
Check your radiators once a month for cold spots, which could mean you need to bleed them.
Avoid placing wet towels on radiators, use heated towel rails if possible.
Other rooms may also have an aerial point depending on the specification of the home.
How to fit an aerial
An aerial can often be fitted within the loft space itself
The aerial cables will terminate in one location within the loft space, normally close to the loft entrance hatch
We recommend you employ a qualified tradesman or aerial specialist to fit and connect an aerial.
Why is my additional aerial point/s not working?
If you do have an aerial fitted, ensure your installer has connected all aerial points.
What to do if you suspect a leak:
Extinguish all flames and cigarettes
Do not use electrical switches or mobile phones whilst in the building
Turn off supply at the gas meter located outside your property
Open doors and windows where possible
Call National Grid immediately
Do not tamper with gas installations or attempt to fix it yourself. Report the gas leak to National Grid on Freephone 0800 111 999
If you call National Grid, they will give you safety instructions similar to the above. An engineer will visit and they are obliged by law to disconnect your appliance and will not do anything else.
The very best thing you can do for your home’s plumbing is also the easiest: maintain it. Toilets are often the most used fixture in a home but with proper use and regular maintenance, your toilet can last a long time.
Toilets no longer require external overflow pipes, which terminate to the outside of the building. This has been superseded by an internal overflow which allows excessive water to discharge directly into the toilet bowl.
What shouldn’t I flush down the toilet?
A great deal of blockages are caused by people flushing inappropriate things down the toilet and the home owner is ultimately responsible for clearing blockages caused by misuse, so it’s important to know what can’t be disposed of down the toilet:
No nappies, sanitary products, cotton wool etc.
Even wet wipes that are marketed as flushable can cause issues
Please do not pour any oil, solvent or flammable liquid down the drains. Check with your local authority to find out about their recycling and disposal facilities
It's important to understand that we cannot accept responsibility for sorting out problems due to misuse. If a basin or bath is slow to drain, please ensure you try a sink un-blocker before reporting a drainage problem. If you use a bleach block that affixes to the rim of the toilet bowl, please ensure that it is secure and cannot fall into the toilet trap (U-bend) as it may be difficult to retrieve. Check that a cistern type bleach block does not foul the operation of the filling and flushing mechanisms of your toilet. These types of toilet blocks may be corrosive. We will not be responsible for repairing any damage caused to the toilet fittings, fixtures or floor coverings as a result of using these products.
How do I fix a loose lid or toilet seat?
Fixing this is usually just a matter of simply tightening the nuts and bolts that hold the seat and lid in place. The toilet seat bolts may be visible, or they may be behind plastic covers that can be lifted away from the bolts, or gently prized up with a flat-bladed screwdriver. If the bolts have a slot for a screwdriver, it’s important to make sure that the seat and lid are properly aligned on the toilet and simply tighten clockwise, until the toilet seat is no longer loose.
Take care if the bolts are made of plastic, as over-tightening may cause them to break. If the bolts are turning without tightening you’ll need to hold the nut at the other end, under the toilet. Sometimes these are large and can be tightened by hand. For smaller types, you may need a pair of pliers to secure them while you tighten the bolts.
What do I do if the flush isn’t working?
There are several different flushing mechanisms so if your toilet isn’t flushing, there could be a number of different reasons for this. In which case, please report the issue to us.
What if there is continuous flushing?
Should a problem occur with the toilet flush continually running, please immediately turn off the water at the appliances individual isolation valve and report the issue to us. Please note we will not accept claims for excessive water bills.
The main water supply to your home is controlled by a stopcock, sometimes called a stop-tap. It can be found outside your home, by the water meter. There is normally a second stopcock inside your house.
Finding and operating your external stopcock
If the main water pipe to your home is damaged, the external one may need to be turned off. You’ll normally find the external stopcock under a cover, probably by the water meter, set into the pavement or path in front of the house. A screwdriver can be used to remove the cover and to turn off the water, you may need a long-reach tap tool or stopcock key.
Finding and operating your internal stopcock
Normally, when you need to isolate the water supply to your home, you’ll use the internal stopcock. It’s a large, brass valve that looks a little like a tap, with a water pipe projecting from either side.
Once you’ve located your stopcock, it’s a good idea to regularly test it to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in one position, and will always be ready to use in an emergency.
It is important to turn off your boiler before you shut off the water to your home, to reduce any chance that your boiler may attempt to run without an adequate water supply.
Isolating individual appliances
Some of the plumbing in your home will have individual isolation valves, so you can stop the water supply to certain areas without affecting your entire home.
In general there are two types you are likely to come across in your home:
The first has a coloured plastic ‘tap’ to switch it on or off, and is used to control the water supply to appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. When the plastic handle is in line with the water pipe, the valve is open and water can flow. When the handle is at 90 degrees to the pipe the water is shut off;
The second is used to isolate fittings such as taps or toilets. These require a screwdriver to operate. When the screwdriver slot is in line with the water pipe, the valve is open and water can flow. When the slot is at 90 degrees to the pipe the water is shut off.
Your home may have integrated kitchen appliances which provide you with intelligent, reliable, and appealing solutions to make life that bit easier every day.
Where do I find the serial number of my appliance?
Should you experience a fault with your appliance, you will need a note of the product serial number. Each appliance has a plaque detailing the model and product serial number, your user manuals will show you where the plaque can be found on your appliances.
What to do if you have an issue
We want your problems to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to register kitchen appliances with the manufacturer. Complete and return the product card found either inside the appliance or given to you when you move in your new home.
All warranty claims must be reported directly to the appliance manufacturer. This is to allow you to speak directly to their service team and ensure that full details of the product and fault can be accurately reported, and that you can agree a convenient time for a service engineer to attend.
Caring for your stainless steel hob
Remove grate, burners and rings and soak in a mixture of soap and hot water.
Spray the hob with a multi-surface cleaner, following the application instructions.
Wipe down the hob with a non-abrasive cloth, wiping away any debris, then buff with a dry cloth.
Clean any remaining dirt from the burners, rings and grate with a soft pad.
Dry burners, rings and grate thoroughly before replacing them.
Wipe with a small amount of baby oil to bring to a high shine.
Laminate worktops are designed for easy maintenance and to be long lasting with a little help from you. Everyday stains such as coffee spills and finger marks clean up easily with a damp cloth, whilst tougher stains may require the use of a non-abrasive, non-acidic cleaner, applied with a soft bristled brush.
Although they offer resistance to scratches, always use a cutting board when using sharp objects. Never place hot pans or dishes directly onto surfaces, always use a heat resistant mat to avoid damaging the worktop.
It’s recommended that you clean Silestone work surfaces often with a mild detergent and water, followed by rinsing it with warm water and drying the surface. Weekly polishing should return the surface to its original condition. You should not place hot pans directly onto Silestone work surfaces as this may cause damage. Spills should also be removed immediately using a mild detergent to prevent staining. It is important to thoroughly wipe and dry particularly along worktop joints to prevent damage to the worktop.
Cupboard doors have been made to withstand the normal wear and tear associated with everyday kitchen life. However, any spills should be wiped immediately and dried thoroughly. If you have spilt any oil-based substance such as butter or cooking oil, it should be wiped away immediately to prevent staining.
Avoid placing electric kettles, toasters and steamers directly below wall units and on worktop joints to minimise the effects of condensation. Doors and drawers should be wiped clean with warm water and a damp cloth containing a mild detergent, such as washing up liquid. You should avoid the use of scouring pads or wire wool and not use abrasive cleaning agents.
My kitchen drawers/doors need aligning, is this covered under the warranty?
Minor adjustments to your kitchen doors and drawers are not a defect and are considered normal home maintenance.
Kitchen cooker hoods
The hood is designed to catch grease and food particles, helping to keep the air in your kitchen clean and free from smells. It may simply be a filter, or it may extract air through the outside wall of your home. You might have one or two filters – either way, they will require a small amount of maintenance.
If your cooker hood vents air outside then the only part needing regular maintenance is the grill that sits across the face of the hood – a fine mesh through which all the air is sucked and which captures oil and small particles of food.
These usually simply unclip and drop down for cleaning. Wash gently with hot, soapy water to remove grease and oil deposits, and replace once completely dry. Please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions if you require further guidance.
If your cooker hood vents back into the room, there will also be a charcoal filter that removes strong odours and smoke from the extracted air.
This will need to be replaced periodically and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. You should consult the manual provided for your cooker hood.
Sinks and stainless steel care
Stainless steel will offer good performance and long service life in your kitchen providing the correct maintenance is carried out. Stainless steels can stain and discolour due to surface deposits and so in order to achieve maximum corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal, the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean.
Follow these tips for the best performance from your stainless steel appliances:
Never chop food directly on your kitchen sink, or allow any sharp objects to grate against the surface
Grit can easily get embedded in the underside of plastic sink bowls that will gradually scratch and wear away your sink’s surface
Stainless steel sinks should be dried after use to prevent watermarks, and harsh or abrasive chemicals should not be used when cleaning
To brighten a dull stainless steel sink scrub it with a little bicarbonate of soda, then rinse with white vinegar followed by plenty of clean water
Finally, a buff with kitchen paper should keep your sink shiny.
My under-unit light bulbs need replacing, are these covered by my warranty?
Consumables such as light bulbs are classed as normal home maintenance and as such would not be covered by your warranty.
In some properties certain windows may have been fitted with handles that cannot be locked and therefore always remain unlocked. This arrangement is to comply with the fire safety requirements of the building regulations. We would strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the operation of each window throughout your home and consider this for all occupants.
Operating outward opening windows
To open your window, insert the key and turn it to unlock. Push the button to release the handle, turning it towards the main window pane and pushing to release the window. To close it, simply pull the window back into the frame and turn the handle when the window is flush with the frame until you hear the button click. For additional security, lock the window with the key.
Operating tilt and turn windows
Some of your windows may have the tilt and turn function. This means your window can tilt or fully open. When the window is closed, the handle will be vertical, with the lock at the top. To open your window, insert the key and unlock it.
Tilt: tilting the window allows the window to open slightly for ventilation. To do this, turn the handle 90 degrees and pull the window towards you. To close it, simply push the window back into the frame and push the handle down into the lock position.
Fully open: to fully open the window, the window must first be fully closed. Turn the handle 180 degrees and pull the window inwards. To close the window, push the window back into the frame and move the handle back into the lock position. For additional security, lock the window with the key.
Care and maintenance
To clean PVC-U windows and doors, please clean with mild soap and water. It is important to avoid all solvent based or abrasive cream cleaners such as CIF or AJAX. Solusafe or an alternative non-abrasive cleaner can be used to remove stubborn marks.
Take care to avoid damage to the external mastic seal around the frame. Do not use spirit or solvent based cleaners as these can discolour and damage the PVC-U frame and sealing gaskets.
Both doors have handles, however, in order to open the doors, you will need to unlock both, opening the “main” door before the second door will follow. To close the doors, close the secondary door, followed by the main door, lifting both handles before locking them.
If keyed locking is installed, insert the key into the lock, turn 360 degrees and remove. Rotate all slave handles 90 degrees, so they are now positioned horizontally. For door opening out, push the door frame above the slave handle and open the door fully. For doors opening in, pull the handle open.
Other than shrinkage, condensation is the most commonly occurring effect of drying out in a new home.
It does not matter if the surface is horizontal or vertical, it can even be beneath a floor or wall covering or inside a wardrobe or cupboard.
Condensation occurs in new houses as a part of the normal drying out process. Your house can take a period of years to dry out completely.
To allow this water vapour to escape harmlessly, you should heat and ventilate your new home gently and consistently. Avoid peaks and troughs of temperature and leave windows and doors open each day as much as you can. Leave the trickle vents at the heads of the windows and patio door frames open to allow some air to circulate.
Damp patches at the sides of windows and patio doors are usually caused by condensation.
Leave doors to under stairs cupboards open to allow free circulation of air during the drying out period.
Condensation can build up on cold water feed pipes, including the cold feed pipe to the WC and can be mistaken for a leak.
In areas where you will be producing water vapour such as bathrooms and kitchens, try to remember to close doors while the water vapour producing activity is occurring e.g. cooking, washing, running baths and showers.
Ventilate these rooms as effectively as you can to avoid the vapour drifting into other areas of the house. Keep windows closed when using extractor fans.
Remember to close the doors and open the windows of rooms when water vapour is being produced to prevent vapour drifting to other areas of the house.
Avoid drying laundry or towels in the house, particularly on radiators. The difference in weight between the wet and dry washing represents the weight of water you will send into the atmosphere of the house.
Avoid opening the loft hatch.
Remember that gentle constant heat and frequent ventilation will help your new home dry out with fewer effects of condensation.
The best way to prevent condensation is to heat your home gently and ventilate at the same time.
Keep heating on at all times during cold weather, keep heating on low if the house is unoccupied during the day.
Intermittent heating will cause the condensation to be deposited as the air and the building’s surfaces cool down. Ventilation is required to get rid of that moisture, particularly in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
If you have a tumble drier, unless it is a condensing type, remember to vent it properly to open air.
If condensation has occurred:
Mop up as much as possible.
Heat the room to a constant, moderate temperature.
Open the window a little.
Keep the door shut
Plasterboards are fixed to the concrete block inner skin of the cavity wall using a special adhesive. The plasterboard is then given a plaster skim finish or taped finish.
The gap between the plasterboard and the concrete blocks creates a small secondary cavity, and because of this, if you are making a fixing, you will require a long enough screw to achieve the correct depth of fixing into the block work. There are also cable and pipe runs behind the plasterboard. Use a proprietary electronic detector to locate them before you attempt to drill any holes. If your house has plastic water and heating pipes, avoid drop zones.
Internal partition walls
For fixing to these types of walls a proprietary type of plasterboard fixing for hollow walls is recommended.
Please consult your local DIY supplier for recommendations on the correct type of fixing to use for the weight and size of the item you will be fastening to the wall.
As this is a natural process, a certain amount of shrinkage cannot be entirely avoided, but efforts can be made by the homeowner to minimise the shrinkage that will occur once you move into your new home. The shrinkage may manifest itself as cracks in plaster, usually at the tops and internal corners of walls or joints between boards. The cracks may also appear where materials of different types meet, for example, the timber of the staircase and the plastered wall above it. The majority of normal shrinkage cracks can be filled using a proprietary brand of fill.
Most normal shrinkage cracks can be filled when you decorate. However, if you are concerned about any unusually large cracking (larger than the edge of a pound coin) in your home please contact us. To minimise shrinkage, try to maintain an even temperature which is not too high, to allow the structure to dry out gradually. Ventilate to allow the evaporated moisture to escape. The paint finish we use is only intended as a cosmetic cover to the plaster. We recommend redecoration within 2 years of occupation with silk or matt paint – please do not use vinyl paint as this slows your home’s drying out process. Any minor imperfections in the paint finish will improve with subsequent redecoration.
Please note we are not responsible for repairing minor shrinkage cracks in the mortar or render of the external brickworks which is caused by thermal movement as this is not classed a defect.
Your new home may have the benefit of a garden with turf or a seeded lawn. It's important to understand that your grass needs care to allow it to bed in and become an established lawn and this process can take up to two years. Here are a few hints and tips on how to ensure your lawn beds properly in the first two years:
Keep off newly laid lawns as much as possible especially if it has been laid during wet conditions or in winter
If your lawn was laid in dry conditions, keep it well watered. Watering should take place in the morning or evening to avoid it from being scorched by the sun
Wait until roots stabilise in the soil before mowing. New turf takes at least one season to settle properly. When you do mow it, do not cut it too short
Feed the lawn each spring (after the last frost) and throughout the summer
During autumn, aerate the lawn with a garden fork to allow healthy root growth and drainage
Shrinkage may appear where turf joins. This is perfectly normal and to be expected, fill any gaps with appropriate compost
Keep lawns aerated to improve drainage and prevent attacks by leather jackets (crane fly larvae) which feed on grass roots and stem bases.
Shrubs and trees
Before you plant shrubs, hedges or trees:
Most shrubs and trees need little attention once they are established, but should be regularly watered during the first year
Newly planted trees should be drenched at least twice a week and more frequently during dry spells
Never plant trees too close to your house as roots may interfere with your foundations
You can cut back trees and plants overhanging into your property, but we’d recommend talking it over with your neighbour first. In the case of trees, you should also consult the local authority to check for any Tree Preservation Orders
However, it is normal for some areas to become a bit waterlogged in extremely wet weather conditions. The gardens surrounding newly constructed properties are subject to compaction. Should your garden retain water for a prolonged period, turfing and planting can assist in recovering.
This isn’t a construction defect and so isn’t covered by your warranty
Wait to see if the water drains away of its own accord within a day or so
If the water is within three metres of your home and doesn’t drain away within a reasonable time, and especially if you experience prolonged flooding in that area near to your home, please contact us to discuss the matter
Water pooling more than three metres from your home is not covered by your warranty
Making home improvements such as installing patios, block-paving or other impermeable surfaces in your garden may reduce the rate at which water drains away and make the area more susceptible to waterlogging.
Unlike your home, the external walls of your garage are likely to have been built with a solid wall of bricks or masonry, without a cavity.
This means water can sometimes make its way through over time, when the masonry becomes saturated, especially during prolonged rainfall. This is perfectly normal and not a construction defect.
Your garage door is not a sealed unit and rain can enter.
We cannot accept any responsibility for damage to items stored in your garage.
If you have a garage, the door needs regular maintenance. Please refer to your garage door maintenance guide for details.
Do not erect any structures over them or obstruct access to them in any way. Keeping drains clear should be an essential part of your homeowner maintenance regime, here are some pointers of which areas need your regular attention.
How do I clear my ACO drains?
ACO drain channels capture rainwater that may run off your drive or patio. As the drainage channel is open, silt and debris may build up and affect the performance of the drain. Regular clearance of the channel will help ensure the drain remains effective.
Carefully remove the drain cover; in some cases you may need to unscrew this
Remove any debris that has built up in the drain channel
Once clear, flush through with a bucket of water,
Replace covers securely after cleaning
Guttering and downpipes
This is important as we will not be responsible for repairs or replacement of gutters when they have been damaged or misaligned by ladders being leaned against them in the course of work being carried out.
Please do not allow your window cleaner or aerial fitter to lean their ladder against your plastic gutters, as it could damage your home.
It's also important to know that your gutters can also get clogged with debris and leaves, especially during the autumn and if your gutters are close to trees. Cleaning your gutters regularly is an important part of home maintenance and it's important to know that any damp patches on the walls below may indicate blockages.
It's important to understand that although they are a robust material, roof tiles are brittle and are not designed to take a person’s weight, so we advise that you do not allow aerial fitters or window cleaners to damage your roof tiles.
Wildlife such as birds and wasps finding their way into your roof isn’t the result of a building defect.
We’d advise you to seek specialist help such as the RSPB. Some developments may be required to include bat boxes in the roof space to conform to the local ecological plan. Your sales advisor will tell you about this but for more information, visit the Bat Conservation Trust.
To avoid heat loss from the rooms below, the ceilings are insulated to a high standard and the roof space is ventilated.
This means the temperature in the roof space can be very low and conversely in sunlight can be very high. Condensation can appear in the loft space. You may find the more the loft hatch is opened and closed, the more condensation may appear.
It's important to remember that although a spacious area, your loft is not designed to be a living area or for storage which is a common misconception of the function of a loft space.
Loft space access
It's integral that if you do need to go into the loft to be careful to only step on the wooden beams and not in between, as this could result in you breaking through the ceiling below.
Additionally, we wouldn’t recommend the loft for storing for the following reasons:
As it’s at the top of your house the temperature can vary quite a lot. It tends to be more humid, which could cause items stored there to become damp or even mouldy
There will often be air vents set into the eaves to allow airflow through the roof space. Using your loft for storage may affect this airflow and cause condensation to form
We would also not recommend boarding your loft space. Again, we can’t accept responsibility for any damage caused.
The deposits are known as efflorescence and are a consequence of the drying out process. They are natural salts contained in the materials that were used to make the bricks and build the wall. As the brickwork dries out, the salts appear on the surface of the wall.
Do not try to wash the deposits off the brickwork as this will only drive the salts back into the wall. Simply remove with a soft brush. If you notice fine cracks in the mortar joints of the brickwork, they are due to materials shrinking at different rates. We are not responsible for repairing normal shrinkage cracks.
White powdery deposits on the brickwork are normal and will eventually disappear. Do not try to wash the deposits off as this will increase the deposits.
Damp proof course
We would advise not to pile any materials up against the walls of the house or garage, or block up any of the air vents as this will prevent necessary ventilation, which may lead to mould or condensation problems and you may bridge the damp proof course (DPC) and cause penetration of damp through the brickwork. A small amount of dampness in a few courses of brickwork above the DPC is normal. This is usually caused by rain splashing up off pathways and this should not be of concern.
Q&A Construction Careers
Watch a Q&A event held at our Milburngate site with key members of the construction team including the: project director, project manager and quantity surveyor.
The panel talk through their career journey's in construction, what opportunities are available and the range of roles and opportunities.
This event is suitable for secondary age and college age students who may be thinking about their career choices.
To access this free resource, please email Ashleigh Coombes, email@example.com.
Guess the Construction Job
This activity goes through a series of short videos that provide an overview of 14 different job roles in the construction industry, and gives clues as to what this role could be.
Worksheets available with the video give students some hints and tips and a list of the 14 job titles to try and guess which matches with the person in each video.
To access this free resource, please email Ashleigh Coombes, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Importance of Health and Safety
This activity goes through a short video outlining the importance of health and safety when working on, or living near a construction site.
The video looks at the correct uniform needed to be worn and the reasons why, and why you should never access a construction site unless accompanied by a qualified person.
This event is suitable for primary school age students and above.
To access this free resource, please email Ashleigh Coombes, email@example.com.
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Project Manager Placements
This is a 1-2 week unpaid placement, covering Monday to Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm.
Locations and dates:
Newcastle area, Brunel Terrace, NE4 7NL - January 2022
Newcastle area, Red Hut, NE5 3SB - January 2022
Newcastle area, Losh Terrace, NE6 3BD - January 2022
Newcastle area, Somerset Place, NE4 6JS - January 2022
Newcastle area, Sceptre Street, NE4 6PR - January 2022
Newcastle area, Newburn Park, NE15 8PU - January, March, April 2022
You will be shadowing and assisting the site manager to gain valuable experience and insight into the day-to-day management of a construction site. This will include: supervising the labour force, monitoring subcontractors, checking materials, inspecting work, overseeing quality control and health and safety aspects.
If you're interested in applying for one of these roles, please email Ashleigh Coombes, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a 1 week unpaid placement, covering Monday to Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm.
Locations and dates:
Durham area, Travellers Green, DL5 5EB - December 2021
You will be shadowing and assisting the joiners on the project to gain valuable experience and insight into the trade. A joiner will generally specialise in first, second and final fix work. This involves fitting wooden structures such as doors, window frames, staircases, partition walls, roof timbers and floor and roof joists.
If you're interested in applying for one of these roles, please email Ashleigh Coombes, email@example.com