Looking after your home
Looking after your home
When you move in to a managed property, you will be given a copy of our 'Your Home' tenant guide. It has loads of helpful information, including an A-Z of practical advice to help with home maintenance. Your Property Manager will arrange a detailed check-in to show you how everything works in the house and answer your questions.
We advise checking the instruction manuals (perhaps nominate the most practical housemate for this) to ensure everything works ok.
Here are some basic A-Z tips on home maintenance
- Gas and electric central heating boilers can be set for the heating and/or the hot water to come on at the times you choose. The heating should not be switched off between October and April, even if you are away from the house, in case of pipes freezing and bursting.
- Electric Night Storage heaters work individually from a switch on the wall storing heat up at night on a cheaper off-peak electricity tariff and releasing the heat during the day and evening. The heaters take 24 hours from switching on to produce heat. Some have a boost button and others have an extra instant fan heater charged at day rate tariff.
- Do not put clothes (wet or dry) on the heater as this can start a fire. Use a drying frame instead,
- Water is usually heated by off-peak electricity at night. There may be an additional on-peak water heater if hot water runs out this will be on the wall by the hot water cylinder.
Condensation & Ventilation
In winter, the Oxford climate is damp. Following a few simple measures can help to avoid condensation:
- Keep the heating on consistently at a minimum of 15 degrees celsius
- Whenever possible when you are in the property open windows regularly to ventilate the house, particularly bedrooms
- Always use the extractor in the kitchen or bathrooms
- Draw back curtains during the day, and wipe off excess water condensation from window sills. Some windows have ‘trickle’ vents at the top of the window to leave open constantly.
Cookers & Extractors
- We would advise you to ask how to operate your oven at your check in. Many ovens have an automatic timer, and if this is activated the oven will not work. It is important that you know how to de-activate the timer in case you turn it on accidentally!
- The kitchen extractor will have either a stainless steel filter, or a paper filter. Stainless steel filters can be put in a dishwasher or cleaned in the sink, and paper filters just need to be replaced.
- Oxford is in a hard water area, so use dishwasher salt in order for your dishes to be cleaned properly. To top up the salt, open the circular screw knob (inside the machine) and pour in the salt until it is full.
- Rinse Aid is added to a special compartment on the door of the machine. A very small amount is released during the final hot rinse cycle to ensure that the water dries away properly and evenly to avoid leaving smears on glasses etc.
- We recommend cleaning the filter regularly to avoid it clogging up.
- Limescale will build up because of Oxford's hard water. It is harmless and can be removed by using a kettle descaler from a supermarket. This will maintain the kettle’s efficiency.
- At the check-in, you should be shown where the fuse box is. Most fuse boxes have circuit breakers (these are switches which can be re-set by hand). In the event of a power failure to any part of the property, we would advise that you first check that none of the circuit breakers has 'tripped'. If there is a complete power failure to the property, we recommend checking with your neighbours before contacting your Property Manager, in case the power cut is local (rather than just your property). It’s a good idea to keep a torch in a safe place!
Fridge & Freezer
- In order to keep your fridge and freezers working properly, they need to be cleaned/defrosted regularly. Be sure to use up all your food supplies before doing this! Scraping or chipping away at the ice may cause damage beyond repair.
- Again, because of the hard water in Oxford we would recommend using distilled or water from a Brita Water filter jug to fill steam irons. If limescale or brown liquid comes out of the iron, you can buy an iron de-scaler from the supermarket.
- Replacing lightbulbs is the tenant's responsibility. We recommend finding out the type of the existing bulbs in the property, and buying a small supply to replace when they fail. Halogen bulbs should not have direct contact with your skin so use a piece of tissue to fit.
Overflow pipes & plumbing
- All bathrooms & WC’s have an overflow pipe to prevent flooding. Sometimes overflowing water may appear outside the house. Whilst not being considered an emergency, it is important that you let your Property Manager know as soon as possible.
- It is advisable not to flush any paper product apart from toilet paper down the toilets.
Pictures & Poster
- Using Blu-Tack, White-Tack or clear tape to hang posters will leave an oily mark when removed, and you will have to pay for redecoration charges. We recommend only using proper picture hooks, after getting permission from your Property Manager by email.
- Oxford City operates a recycling bin collection with blue bins for recycling and green bins for landfill waste. Visiting Oxford City Council’s website will give you information on exactly what you can recycle and on which days your bins are collected.
- If you find you are getting less water from the shower head, this could be due to a build-up of limescale. It is usually possible to take off the shower head and put it in a limescale removing solution, which you can buy at a supermarket.
- Cleaning the seal around the shower should prevent black mould appearing (which will damage the seal).
- Keeping the shower curtain inside the bath or the shower door closed will prevent water leaking onto the floor.
- Setting up the telephone and broadband accounts will need to be done by the tenants.
- If you have a television then you need to make sure that you have a licence for it. You can buy this online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk or at a Post Office.
- To reduce the changce of the filter becoming blocked, you could clean it each time the dryer is used. This is simple and easy to do.
- If you have a combination washer/dryer,at the end of the washing programme, there will be a choice of drying cycles. The
drying capacity of combined washer/dryers is reduced compared with separate tumble dryers. It is best to take out half the clothes and expect the cycle to take up to 2 hours for heavy cotton items such as towels.
- Most washer/dryers use a condensing system where the moisture extracted from the items being dried condenses back into water, and is removed through the outflow pipe.
- Most machines will have a filter where foreign objects become trapped to avoid damage to the machine. It is best to clean the filter at least once a month, and is the first thing to check should any problems arise with the machine.
- All machines have a soap dispenser: most have two compartments, the left hand one is for the extra wash cycle. A third compartment is for the fabric conditioner. It is important to take out and scrub the soap drawer frequently to avoid a build up of soap deposits, which clog up the machine.
- This is a hard water area and we recommend that you buy "Calgon" to help with this and put in a tablet each time you use the machine. It will improve the quality of your washing and protect the machine.
- Only powder, liquid, liquid sachets or tablets for automatic machines should be used. Do not use a general detergent, which creates excessive soap bubbles and causes the machine to overflow and block up.
- Check your Operating Manual for accurate information.
- At your check-in, you should be shown where your stopcock tap is. This tap is on the incoming water main, and can be turned off in case of emergency. If you have a major water leak, switch the stopcock off and call your Property Manager.