Moving out on your own as a student can be pretty stressful. For many of us, it’s the first time we’ve ever lived away from home, and it’s a time when getting to grips with the basics of running a household and performing maintenance tasks starts to become part of our everyday reality.
Thankfully, help is at hand – here’s our brief guide to help you handle some of the common household tasks you might encounter now you’re living the student life…
Changing Light Bulbs
Let’s start with the basics. There’s every chance that since you came to uni, this is the first time you’ve been tasked with changing a light bulb – but don’t worry, it’s a doddle! Just follow these simple steps:
Step One: Turn off the Power
You should never change a light bulb while you’re still connected to the power, so be sure that everything’s off to avoid electric shocks. It probably goes without saying that changing light bulbs is best done during daylight hours for this reason. Make sure the bulb has had a chance to cool down before you try and remove it.
Step Two: Grab a Ladder
This will help you reach the light bulb in safety. Never try and stand on an unstable surface otherwise you could well fall and injure yourself.
Step Three: Remove the Old Light Bulb
Your bulb will have either a screw fitting or a bayonet fitting, each of which requires a slightly different approach. To change a bayonet bulb, firmly push upwards whilst turning in an anti-clockwise direction. To change a screw-fitted bulb, twist anticlockwise until you feel the bulb loosen. Be gentle when you remove the bulb to avoid damage to the connection and place the removed bulb somewhere safe for disposal.
Step Four: Replacing the Bulb
Grab a replacement bulb and place into the socket. Ensure it is firmly and securely fitted, and then restore power, switching on the light to check it works.
If your radiator feels chilly even when the heating is on, it might be time to bleed it. Radiators sometimes get air trapped within them which stops the normal flow of heat from reaching you which can lead to cold rooms. There’s no need to panic, though – this issue is very common and can be easily remedied. If you have issues with all the radiators in your home, then it might be time for a more professional approach as there could be a much larger underlying issue.
To bleed your radiator, you will need to locate the radiator key, a means of opening the valve at the top of the radiator which is turned to adjust. Some more modern models can be turned with a screwdriver, and radiator keys are available from many DIY outlets.
- Open the valve on the radiator, turning to the ‘open’ position.
- Catch any drips of water which escape the bleed valve as the cold air leaves the radiator.
- Repeat the process throughout the home for extra thoroughness.
- Check boiler pressure levels to make sure heat is being distributed around the house.
Topping Up Boilers
Combi-boilers are a common feature of rental accommodation. When the pressure falls, it can lead to a cold house. To top up the pressure:
- Check for the filling loop, located directly underneath your boiler. This will resemble a metal pipe complete with a valve.
- Open the valve which responds to a flat-head screwdriver, allowing the cold mains water to reach the heating framework, and increasing the pressure to your heating system.
- If your boiler keeps losing pressure, there might be a leak in your central heating meaning it is time for your student landlord to call in the professionals.
Checking smoke Alarms
Knowing how to accurately check your smoke alarm is another key skill you need to master, and this one is particularly important for ensuring your continued safety in your uni accommodation. Your landlord should have already fitted a working smoke alarm in your new home, but you can test the battery life by pressing the ‘test’ button.
To change the batteries, open the compartment on the back or side (depending on the alarm) and replace old batteries with new ones. When your smoke alarm is running out of power, you’ll normally hear a bleeping sound coming from the fire alarm – so you should have plenty of warning that it’s time for a change.