DIY Quandries

If you’re not into DIY then there’s no need to continue reading. This post is mainly for people googling for particular problems so that I can share a bit of hard-found knowledge!

Over the past year or so I’ve been renovating a house. It’s pretty much done but there’s lots of DIY issues that are new to me. Googling them didn’t get me anywhere, all you often find is a ton of scare stories.

Of course, the best advice is to go to a professional. If you want to try this at home, don’t blame me when you flood the place. With that in mind, here are a list of the DIY puzzles I’ve come across recently. 

Shower running hot and cold

This is commonly caused by a broken shower thermostat, which would be obvious because the other hot taps in the house run fine. If they also ran hot and cold, it would be a boiler issue, and that’s what’s happened in my case. I recently switched from gas cylinders to a bulk storage tank and apparently the plumber didn’t re-calibrate the boiler (or whatever it is they need to do). The boiler is cutting itself out as a safety precaution.

Pressure for the central heating loop dropping frequently

I had a leak in the system. I went round all the radiators, checked the pipes coming out of the floor for any leaking water, found one that was damp, and tightened it. Then open the inlet tap to re-pressurise the system and bleed all the radiators.

Lots of black smoke coming out of the car exhaust and juddery power

This was caused by a split in the intercooler pipe. It’s a very common fault and causes a lot of black smoke, poor performance and juddery power at about 2000RPM. The cost to have it replaced professionally is about £100, in my case, I bought a £25 replacement from ebay and fitted it myself in an hour. Another common cause on my car (Ford Mondeo) is a blocked-up EGR valve but that wasn’t the case here. My fuel consumption went from 35MPG to 50!

I got a good description of the problem and how to fix it from this forum thread.

Mould/damp on a particular wall

I assumed there was damp coming through from outside but this wasn’t the case. I had a lot of condensation which was causing it. I ventilated the place properly, kept it properly heated (the room was usually cold beforehand), treated the area with anti-fungal spray, repainted and that seems to have permanently sorted it! The main thing to remember is ventilation. I moved furniture away from the area so air could get to it.


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