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Autumn and winter jobs for around the home and garden :: Posted by: Admin on December 3rd, 2013

Fireworks

Autumn and winter jobs for around the home and garden

Winter is fast approaching and before the really cold and wet weather gets here now is the ideal time to do maintenance jobs around the home and garden in preparation for winter. So if you have a spare half day or a weekend and the weather is a lovely autumnal day why not get out in the winter sun and do those jobs ready for the winter months.

Leaves

Leaves look nice when they are golden brown and red whilst they are still on the trees but as they fall off they can be a real pain. They can make driveways and paths slippery under foot, block gutter and downpipes and generally make the garden look untidy.

So a good sweep up can make the world of difference and as an added bonus you can bag them up and compost them ready to be spread of the vegetable patch the following year.

Gutters and downpipes

As mentioned above, leaves can build up and block gutters and downpipes creating drainage problems and potentially damp issues in the property. If you have a ladder or access to one or maybe a friendly neighbour with a ladder you could borrow, you can clean out the leaves from the guttering and downpipes along with other debris that may of accumulated over the past year such as sand and grit from the roof tiles and grass that may of started growing, even bird nesting materials.

Simply remove the debris and run some water along the gutter and downpipe from a hose or watering can to ensure the gutters are in good condition, flow freely and don’t leak.

Broken glass and windows

If you have any broken or cracked window panes it is a good idea to get them fixed or replaced. If you have single glazing this is especially important to help reduce heat loss and draughts from getting in.

You will also stop any water being able to get in and causing more damage.

Draught excluder

If you have draughts around doors and windows, or even letter boxes you can quickly and relatively cheaply reduce or completely iliminate them simply by buying and fitting draught excluders.

Draught excluders and readily available from DIY merchants and stores and are easy to fit, many door and window draught excluders simply are self adhesive, some require fitting with screws, such as in the case of a letter box draught excluder.

Roof tiles

Slipped, missing or cracked roof tiles could potentially cost you a lot of money in damage. If water gets into a loft space and you are unaware of it not only could the contents of your loft be damaged but eventually the room ceilings and walls will get damp, this could be costly to put right.

So to prevent this take a walk outside and look up at your roof, can you see and ridge tiles missing, or any broken or cracked tiles, if there are either replace them yourself, or better still, call a roofer to do it for you.

If you have flat roofs do you get a pool of water when it rains, this could create a problem or even be a sign of a problem, if you have a pool of water after it rains on your flat roof it could mean the boards under the felt are rotten and sunk thus leaving a dip in the felt for the rain to gather, again it is worth investigating yourself or calling a roofer.

Painting

Ok the winter isn’t the best time for painting outside but you could to a temporary job by making sure wood is protected with paint, a simple undercoat and topcoat on the bare areas could help protect the wood over the winter and you can go back and do a proper job in the spring of the following year.

Boiler and heating

We all rely on our heating this time of year, so it is worth checking everything is working OK before the really cold weather comes, if you have radiators that are colder at the top than the bottom you may need to bleed your radiators, if you are unsure of this ask a plumber.

You should always call an registered gas fitter if you need work done on your boiler or gas fire.

If you have an open fire, when was the last time you had the chimney swept, does it need doing before you have an open fire?

Outside tap with hose fitted

Outside tap

If you have a outside or garden tap you should make sure the pipes are lagged to avoid the pipes from freezing, also if possible turn off the isolator valve that feeds the outside tap and drain off the water by opening the tap, so there is no chance of the water freezing. You could also buy and fit a garden tap jacket that goes over the tap to keep it from freezing.

Flooding and snow be prepared

If heavy snow is forecast make sure you know where the snow shovel is, if you have one. You can also buy rock salt for your paths and driveways. Keep heating on but at a lower level to help keep the house warm. Be aware of sliding snow of thawing roofs. If you have a conservatory you should ideally have a snow guard fitted to the fascia to prevent snow sliding on the the conservatory roof and damaging it.

If major flooding is warned, take all valuables upstairs to keep them dry and safe. Put sandbags at the bottom of doors to try and reduce the amount of water getting in. Take a look at the Met office guidance for flooding.

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How to Install an Outdoor Tap :: Posted by: Admin on July 20th, 2013

How to Install an Outdoor Tap

Outside taps are essential if you use a garden hose to water the garden, use a sprinkler, irrigation system or even just a pressure washer to clean the patio or car. If you have not already got one you may be thinking it is going to cost a lot of money to call a plumber in to do it. Well if you are confident enough you can fit an outside tap yourself by using an outside tap kit readily available in hardware stores.

In this post I will describe how to fit an outdoor tap but you can also watch the included video to see how it is done. As with all plumbing jobs, if you are not sure how to do it, call a professional plumber to give advice or do the job for you, you do not want to end up ankle deep in water.

If you buy an outdoor tap kit you will have everything you need to install the tap, including an isolator tap.

Outside tap with hose fitted

Tools required

You will need the following tools:

  • An Outdoor Tap Kit
  • Masonry Drill Bits (6mm and 16mm)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Adjustable spanner
  • PTFE (thread tape)
  • A Sharp Knife

Installing the water supply pipe

To install the water supply you need to connect to an existing copper water pipe. This is done by using a self cutting isolator tap to cut into the copper pipe. You should clean the copper pipe, remove any paint with a scraper or knife in the area you are going to install the isolator tap.

Remove the isolator tap from the clamp and attach the clamp to the copper pipe in the place you wish to have the isolator tap. Ensure the clamp seal washer is correctly in place before tightening the clamp to the copper pipe.

When the clamp is in place take the self cutting isolator tap and place it into the clamp hole making sure the isolator tap is turned off, be careful not to cross thread the tap, screw the isolator tap clockwise until the cutter has cut a hole into the copper pipe.

Once the isolator tap has cut a hole into the copper pipe you need to secure the tap by using the back nut onto the clamp. You can test the isolator tap now by turning it on, catch the water in a bucket, the turn the isolator tap off again.

Once you are happy the isolator tap is fitted OK and working, you can connect the water supply flexible hose to the end of the isolator tap.

You should now drill a 16mm hole through the wall if you are having an external tap, but if you are having the tap in say a garage you do not need to do this stage. If you are drilling a hole, do so now and push the water supply flexible hose through the hole.

You can now move on and fit the outdoor tap.

Installing the outdoor / garden tap

Once you have the water supply to the location of your outdoor tap you can then install the tap.

Take the backing plate / wall mounted connector, the water inlet and the tap and wrap some PTFE (thread tape) around the threads to ensure a watertight seal. Wrap the PTFE tape around the thread a few times of both the inlet and the tap. The screw the inlet onto the backing plate / wall mounted connector and use an adjustable spanner to tighten this onto the backing plate.

Now decide where you wish for the tap to be fixed to the wall, mark the holes using the backing plate and drill and rawl plug the holes, then screw the backing plate onto the wall.

You now need to cut the water supply flexible pipe to the correct length, you can cut the pipe with a sharp knife, once you have done this you can push the pipe onto the water inlet on the backing plate, secure the pipe using a hose (jubilee) clip.

Next you can screw the tap into the backing plate / wall mounted connector, tighten the tap into the connector with adjustable spanners.

Now the tap is fitted and you have the water supply connected up you can attach the hose adapter or whatever fitting you have for the tap.

Finally, you can turn on the isolator tap to allow water down the water supply hose and to the outdoor tap, then undo the tap and test the function of the tap.

You have just fitted an outdoor tap.

How to Install an Outdoor Tap video

Watch this video to see step by step stages of how to fit an outdoor / garden tap.

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Posted in DIY Tips, Gardening, Handyman tips, Plumbing, Video | No Comments »


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