Basic plumbing skills

A prerequisite of success in virtually any do-it-yourself plumbing project is a sound understanding of the existing plumbing system of the house. The cold water distribution systems, hot water supply systems and above-ground drainage systems in common use in the United Kingdom are described and explained below. Cold water distribution A communication pipe connects the … Read more

Know your central heating

How big should a central heating system be? Well obviously no bigger than it has to be. Over-sizing can result in waste of fuel and an unnecessarily costly installation. Under-sizing results in complaints of lack of temperature and too little hot water. Complaints of lack of performance are very difficult to answer, particularly if you … Read more

Bricks and blocks

Clay is the most common brick material. Commonly used is ‘fletton’ clay and the manufacturing method is ‘wire-cut’. Strong and durable. Some clay bricks are still made by hand. Calcium silicate An alternative material (also called ‘sand lime’). Smoother and lighter in colour than clay. Concrete Moulded concrete bricks in a variety of colours and … Read more


LAMPS are held in holders designed either to be suspended on the end of flexible conductors or to be screwed to bho ceiling or a rigid fitting. A holder consists of a brass casing in two parts, held together by a screwed collar and an internal porcelain base. The base includes two projecting spring terminals, … Read more


THE gas-filled lamp has now largely superseded the vacuum lamp, as it emits a whiter light and is more efficient: that is, gives more light proportionately to the electrical energy used. The bulb, after being exhausted of air during manufacture, is filled to half atmospheric pressure with a gas called argon, which is unable to … Read more


IT is important to know which lamps are suppliel through any particular pair of fuses. If the information is not already given on the fuse-box, and the fuses are not even numbered, the following course is advised. First, make sure that there is a lamp in every holder in the house, or at least one … Read more


LIGHTING current is brought into a house by two conductors connected with the street mains . Immediately after entering, the conductors are connected to a pair of fuses controlled by the company. Beyond this they run (one has to traverse the companys meter on the way) to a double-pole main switch, the opening of which … Read more


A Guide to the proper Lighting of each Room in a House YOU cannot create a successful scheme of decoration and then add the lamps as an afterthought. For the scheme is not complete without its lamps and their shades, and if they are added afterwards the chances are they may spoil your room or … Read more

How to Fit and Mend Fuses Safely

Fuses the fuses of various current rating have different physical dimensions (except the 15A and 20A which are of identical size) which prevents, say, a 5A cartridge being replaced by one of higher current rating, on 03 bath There are two types of circuit fuses, rewirable fuses containing ordinary fuse wire, and cartridge fuses. The … Read more

Fitting Electrical Switches

The modern rocker-operated 5A lighting switch is a square plateswitch containing 1, 2, or 3 switches on the one plate and has two screw holes for fixing to the lugs of a one-gang plastic shallow surface box or a metal plaster-depth flush box. Each box contains an earth terminal to which is connected the sleeved … Read more

Working with Cables and Plugs

Cables used for home wiring are mainly twin and earth PVC flat sheathed cables containing one red and one black PVC insulated conductor and one uninsulated earth conductor. The red conductor is used in the live pole of the circuit, the black in the neutral pole. (The black conductor is also used in the live … Read more

Lighting And Home Improvements

All too often lighting is limited to a single dangling bulb and lampshade; yet it has an enormously important and all-pervading effect on your house. No matter how good your decorating is, if the light is bad a room will look uninteresting. Good lighting can transform a very ordinary setting. What is good lighting then? … Read more

Wiring To Plugs And Equipment

Older wiring had red insulation for the live line, black for the neutral line and green for the earth wire. Newer wires conform to a European standard. If you have a 13 amp plug with a fuse, the live wire may connect under or alongside the fuse. The neutral terminal (marked N) is at the … Read more

Electrical DIY Work

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS 1 Electricity can kill. Treat it with respect. 2 If unsure about the safety of any equipment, consult an electrician. 3 Remove plugs before examining equipment and switch off at the mains before working on fixed equipment. 4 Do not overload circuits by using too many adaptors. 5 Do not use wall switches … Read more

Different Types Of Heating Systems Explained

Full central heating involves heating the whole of the house to a required temperature and maintaining that temperature irrespective of how cold it is outside the house. Since the boiler or central heating unit and the distribution equipment must have sufficient capacity to meet extreme outdoor conditions, the running costs of full central heating are … Read more

DIY Dangers – Hazards for the do-it-yourselfer

Accidents occur frequently during do-it-yourself or leisure activities, when attention is concentrated on the job, and sensible precautions often forgotten. Over-reaching to do just that little bit more, finding out it is too much, can cause home accidents. Painting and decorating Check that the ladder is in good order, that rungs are not weak or … Read more

Repairing and Maintaining Refrigerators and Freezers

Refrigerators and freezers are designed to keep perishable foods for varying lengths of time by storing them under suitable conditions and at the right temperature. The appliances work by means of a liquid refrigerant flowing through tubes which vapourizes into a gas and absorbs the heat from its surroundings — the freezing unit and refrigerator; … Read more

Installing Spotlights And Wall Lights

Wall-mounted lights and spotlights offer wide scope for lighting arrangements since they can be installed in any room as the main lighting or to supplement existing lighting, which is usually supplied by a conventional ceiling rose. If you have individual lighting, such as a rise and fall pendant over the dining table, wall lights can … Read more