This section of the website is focused on some simple things you may want or need to do yourself when living on your own.
What to do if your electricity goes off and how to check fuses
Simple DIY tasks like hanging a picture
When you need to get a professional in
Get started below.
The most important thing to remember here is if in doubt, get an expert in or talk to someone you know and trust!
Your fuse board (also called a consumer unit)
One of the most important things to know when you move into a property is where the fuse board is. The fuse board controls all the electricity in the house and is designed to keep you safe, it does this by automatically turning things off if there is a problem. If this happens you will need to reset the ‘Trip Switches”.
Where is it going to be?
Fuse boards can be placed anywhere as long as they meet certain rules. Common places they can be found include under the stairs in a cupboard in older properties, near your front door, in a cupboard in your kitchen or in a cupboard in your lounge. As said they can be in other places so make sure you locate it as soon as you move in.
The picture on the left shows you the kind of thing you are looking for.
Resetting Trip Switches
A very common problem that everyone encounters from time to time is the electricity ‘tripping’ this means that your fuse board has detected a problem and turned off the electrical items connected to the problem. Sometimes this can be as simple as a light bulb blowing.
The picture on the right shows a fuse board (or RCD) with one of the trip switches down, if something goes off in your house and you look at your fuse board and one is down it will tell you where the problem is.
Flicking the switch back up will sometimes be all you need to do to fix the problem, if you can't flick it back up then something that is still plugged in is causing the problem.
Below each switch it should have writing which tells you which part of the electrical system the switch is for, they will say things like ‘Upstairs Lights’, ‘Kitchen’ or ‘Sockets’. If you can't flick it back up you can try unplugging everything one by one until it stays on, this will tell you what was causing the problem.
Stopcock – Turning off your water supply
Another hugely important part of living on your own is knowing how to turn off the water supply if you need to, no one wants a flooded house!
What is a Stopcock?
A stopcock is basically a master tap that can turn off the water supply in your house, if you ever have a leak anywhere you are going to need to turn the whole water supply off to make sure that your house doesn’t get flooded and is safe before someone can get to you to fix the problem.
A stopcock usually looks something like the picture to the right and is usually under your kitchen sink (but not always!) so make sure you know where it is.
If you do ever have a water leak the very first thing you should do is turn the stopcock until the water stops, you can test it has turned the water off by turning on a tap, if no water comes out the water is off.
If you do have problems with a water leak you are going to need a professional to fix it so speak to whoever owns your housing about fixing the problem or arrange it yourself if it's your responsibility.
Water, Gas and Electricity Meters
Just like your fuse board and stopcock you need to know where the meters are for your water, gas and electricity. These measure how much of each of these utilities you use and are what your Bills will be based on.
Sometimes you will have to take a reading of these yourself to send to the company providing the service and someone may come out to read it on behalf of the company.
Below are pictures of what meters commonly look like, yours may be different however.
Where are your meters likely to be?
Your electricity meter is going to be in your house and is likely to be next to or near your fuse board.
Gas meters are usually outside the property but this may not be the case in older properties or flats.
Your water meter can be in the property or even outside under a manhole cover.
With all of these if you are in doubt about where they are ask your landlord or someone you trust to help you find where they are.
Getting some Tools
Getting a few basic tools can be a really good idea when you move into a property of your own.
Some simple tools you may need include:
Flat and Phillips Head Screwdriver
Heavy Duty Tape (Duct Tape)
You may want to add more tools than this but these will help you complete some basic tasks around the home and can all be cheap to purchase.
AND REMEMBER IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ABOUT ANYTHING IN YOUR HOUSE SPEAK TO YOUR LANDLORD OR AN ADULT YOU TRUST!