It doesn’t matter if it’s a mansion or a shed, a brand new apartment or an ancient house, every dwelling encounters its fair share of household issues.
Most of them are unavoidable and inevitable. But you can prepare for the unexpected by reading this article about how to solve 5 of the most common household issues.
Faulty electrical wiring
Electricity can be fickle. Not only does it suffer from surges and outages due to lightning or damage to power lines, but bad electrical wiring in the house is an all too common problem.
An outlet may simply stop functioning or part of the wiring can burn, your lights may flicker due to frayed wiring, or your fuses may blow due to overexertion. Older homes may even have out-of-date electrical systems that need replacing.
No matter the issue, we recommend you consult a licensed electrician to undertake any potential repairs.
No hot water
Hot water is a luxury we often take for granted. However, If you’ve ever stepped into an ice cold shower that you expected to be hot, we’re sure you’ll agree, you’ll want to get it working again quick smart.
If you have a gas hot water system, you probably haven’t suffered many or any unexpected cold showers, that’s because gas hot water outages are extremely rare. A household on our* natural gas network has, on average, just one unplanned outage every 112 years – making it much more dependable than grid electricity.
But if your hot water isn’t working for whatever reason, the first step is to determine whether you still have cold water running (to ensure it’s not a water mains issue). If your cold water is still running, it’s likely a hot water system issue. The next step is to figure out if yours is a gas or electric water heater.
If you have a gas water heater:
- Check the pilot light. This ignites the gas, which heats the heater’s water, so if it’s off, follow the instructions for your hot water system to relight it safely.
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound coming from your hot water system, make sure the system is turned off and contact a licensed gas fitter to rectify the problem. Turn the gas off at the meter to be safe.
- Problem with gas supply. If your hot water system seems fine, locate your gas meter to see if it’s active, and check our website for current outages.
If you have an electric water heater:
- Look for blown fuses. Electric water heaters are prone to power cuts and surges, so see if any switches have tripped and reset them. You may need to call out your electrician to replace fuses that have blown.
- Check to see if the thermostat is working properly. If it’s not working, it should be replaced by a technician.
- Reset the high-temperature cut off switch if it has tripped.
If none of these fixes worked, then your hot water system may be in need of repair or replacement.
None of us want to see insects roaming free around our humble abode. Ants, cockroaches, termites, moths, spiders, bed bugs. Just reading these is enough to make our skin crawl.
If you’re suffering from a current insect infestation, you might be tempted to pick up the phone and call the closest exterminator, or run down to the supermarket and get a heavy duty insect spray.
But there are a couple other methods you may wish to try first. One, which also happens to make your house smell wonderful, is mint plants and peppermint oil. Ants, spiders, mosquitoes, even mice, can’t stand mint. Mix 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil in 8 oz of water then spray around your doorways, vents and windows.
For those pesky smaller critters and plant dwellers, neem oil works wonders. A product of the Neem tree, this oil kills over 200 species of insects but won’t hurt humans or wildlife. Spray neem oil on indoor plants to help control things like aphids, thrips, and white flies.
The most common type of mould found in homes is mildew. Mildew is a surface mould that goes from grey to black and grows in damp places like around windows with condensation, bathrooms, and damp walls.
Try not to let mould become an issue in your home. It can give off toxic spores and vapours, which can possibly result in allergic reactions, asthma and flu-like symptoms.
If your house suffers from mould, getting rid of it will take a bit of time and elbow grease. Regular household bleach is a good starting point. It works well to destroy mould and remove any discolouration. Make sure you read the label, as bleach is harsh and may need to be diluted before using. Also ensure the surface is bleach-friendly.
Another popular method is to use diluted vinegar, which kills mould. Mix roughly 80% vinegar to 20% water in a bucket, and use a microfibre cloth to clean the affected area. Rinse often to avoid cross-contamination doesn't occur. You can use bleach to try and remove any leftover streaks or discolouration.
Appliances can malfunction for a number of reasons. They may simply be too old, have some internal issue you just can’t figure out, a fault that causes a circuit to switch off, or be exposed to an almighty power surge. The list goes on.
Sometimes there’s no option but to get a new one, but often the problem can be solved by calling in an expert. Whether it’s a washing machine or dryer, fridge or freezer, heater or air conditioning, you may well find that it’s worth trying to keep the appliance functioning for longer as opposed to buying an expensive new one.
However, if you are considering upgrading your appliances, remember that the simple mechanics of gas appliances make them more reliable and less prone to failure.
*AGIG's network includes Australian Gas Networks and Multinet Gas who serve over 1.2 million consumers in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.